Beaumont’s naval Art of the Sea in San Diego.

Planes Roar Into Action from the U.S. Aircraft Carriers Wasp and Enterprise, watercolor, 1941. The Irvine Museum Collection.
Planes Roar Into Action from the U.S. Aircraft Carriers Wasp and Enterprise, watercolor, 1941. The Irvine Museum Collection.

An extraordinary exhibition of work by one of America’s greatest artists is now on display at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Art of the Sea collects many iconic works by Arthur Beaumont (1890-1978), renowned for his wartime commissions for National Geographic Magazine, and for being named by the U.S. Navy the Artist Laureate of the Fleet in 1958.

Arthur Beaumont’s dramatic paintings not only depict massive warships in action at sea, but ships of every type in locations around the world, and diverse landscapes painted from his travels and rich personal experience.

As a young man Beaumont worked on a ranch in Canada, where he developed his love for sketching and painting. He moved to California and became a ranch hand in the San Joaquin Valley; he then later lived in Los Angeles, working as an artist. His fine portraits were noticed by the U.S. Navy, for whom he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He eventually became America’s foremost military artist. His dramatic paintings record important aspects our nation’s history through many decades.

My poor yellowish photographs in the softly lit Gould Eddy Gallery hardly do justice to the dynamic, brilliantly colorful paintings you’ll experience in this world-class exhibition. Over the years, the Maritime Museum of San Diego has featured some very important artwork, including a breathtaking collection of works by James E. Buttersworth, but this might be my favorite so far!

If you love fine art, or military history, or the sweep of American and world history in general, you must not miss Art of the Sea. After you check out these amazing paintings, stretch your legs and enjoy the many historic ships of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, rated one of the very best maritime museums in the world!

Extraordinary paintings by famed artist Arthur Beaumont fill the Gould Eddy Gallery in the Steam Ferry Berkeley, at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Dozens of extraordinary paintings by famed artist Arthur Beaumont fill the Gould Eddy Gallery in the Steam Ferry Berkeley, at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Sign describes the life and work of Arthur E. Beaumont, named by the Navy the Artist Laureate of the U.S. Fleet in 1958. He is also known for his wartime commissions for National Geographic Magazine.
Sign describes the life and work of Arthur E. Beaumont, named by the Navy the Artist Laureate of the U.S. Fleet in 1958. He is also known for his wartime commissions for National Geographic Magazine.
A painting of a California Mission, watercolor on paper, 1949. The Irvine Museum Collection.
A painting of a California Mission, watercolor on paper, 1949. The Irvine Museum Collection.
Cowboy at the Corral Lassoing a Steer, oil, 1929. The Bowers Museum.
Cowboy at the Corral Lassoing a Steer, oil, 1929. The Bowers Museum.
John Paul Jones on the USS Ranger, July 4, 1777, pen and ink, 1934. The Stuart Bourdon Collection.
John Paul Jones on the USS Ranger, July 4, 1777, pen and ink, 1934. The Stuart Bourdon Collection.
Portrait of Admiral William D. Leahy, oil on canvas, 1936. U.S. Naval Academy Museum.
Portrait of Admiral William D. Leahy, oil on canvas, 1936. U.S. Naval Academy Museum.
Heavy and Light Cruisers Range Far to Scout or Fight; USS Astoria and USS Phoenix, watercolor on board, 1941. The Irvine Museum Collection.
Heavy and Light Cruisers Range Far to Scout or Fight; USS Astoria and USS Phoenix, watercolor on board, 1941. The Irvine Museum Collection.
Navy Sea Planes, watercolor, 1941. The N. Arthur Astor Family Trust.
Navy Sea Planes, watercolor, 1941. The N. Arthur Astor Family Trust.
War Weary USS San Diego Returns to Home Port, watercolor, 1967. The Hilbert Museum.
War Weary USS San Diego Returns to Home Port, watercolor, 1967. The Hilbert Museum.
Snow Field Training, watercolor, 1942. Catherine Campbell Beaumont Collection.
Snow Field Training, watercolor, 1942. Catherine Campbell Beaumont Collection.
Fog Horn, watercolor, ca. 1950. The Hilbert Collection.
Fog Horn, watercolor, ca. 1950. The Hilbert Collection.
Chinese Junk Boat, watercolor, 1963. Robert Dreibelbis Collection.
Chinese Junk Boat, watercolor, 1963. Robert Dreibelbis Collection.
Stella Polaris, Howard Hughes' yacht, watercolor, 1935. The Los Angeles Maritime Museum.
Stella Polaris, Howard Hughes’ yacht, watercolor, 1935. The Los Angeles Maritime Museum.
Relief of McMurdo, watercolor, 1959. The Irvine Museum Collection.
Relief of McMurdo, watercolor, 1959. The Irvine Museum Collection.
The Last Voyage of the Queen Mary, in the company of the USS Long Beach, watercolor, 1972. Catherine Campbell Beaumont Collection.
The Last Voyage of the Queen Mary, in the company of the USS Long Beach, watercolor, 1972. Catherine Campbell Beaumont Collection.

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A paradise of fine art in San Diego!

Jorge Luis Borges wrote: “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” As someone who loves to read and write, I agree.

But I also love to experience life, contemplate and be inspired in other ways. So paradise, to me, would also be like a museum full of extraordinary artwork.

Anyone who’d like to enter such a paradise in San Diego should visit the San Diego Museum of Art. Every time I go, I feel that I’ve ascended to a blissful place–an elevated place where I become fully alive.

My docent pal Catherine guided another great tour of the museum this weekend, and as I and other guests walked from gallery to gallery, my eyes couldn’t stop jumping from wonder to wonder. And I had to chuckle a couple of times, too. Catherine has been known to spontaneously inject bits of wry humor into her tours. With this simple blog post I would like to thank her for being so generous.

The San Diego Museum of Art never ceases to amaze me. I’m always discovering something new. It contains a truly world-class collection of fine art, including masterpieces by some of history’s most celebrated artists. The museum has also collected many pieces that have a special connection to San Diego.

I’ve always thought it would be amazing if one small gallery were permanently dedicated to San Diego–to San Diego’s most renowned artists, and to timeless works of art inspired by our beautiful and surprisingly diverse city. Just imagine!

Do you love art, too? If you ever find yourself in Balboa Park, please walk over to the San Diego Museum of Art.

Then step through the front door into Paradise.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Javier Marín and the human search for identity.

Visitors to the San Diego Museum of Art enter Gallery 15, where many human figures sculpted by Mexican artist Javier Marín stand horizontally upon a large wall.
Visitors to the San Diego Museum of Art enter Gallery 15, where many human figures sculpted by Mexican artist Javier Marín stand horizontally upon a large wall.

Yesterday, during my walk through Balboa Park, I stepped from the Panama 66 outdoor cafe into Gallery 15 of the San Diego Museum of Art . . . and look what I saw!

Upon one large wall stand numerous small sculptures of the human body, created by Victor Javier Marín Gutiérrez, a Mexican artist whose celebrated work has been exhibited internationally.

The organic sculptures stand on the wall in poses of naked expression, casting dynamic shadows that crisscross in every direction. There is anguish and joy and perplexity and care and simple, wonderful being. There is flesh and there is soul. There is that ongoing internal search for human identity.

According to the San Diego Museum of Art’s website: “Javier Marín’s work, above all, is about beauty, a particularly human beauty that reflects what the poet José Emilio Pacheco described as ‘the terrible miracle of being alive.’”

Looking across at the wall containing many small sculpted human forms is like gazing down from above upon the mass of naked humanity. It’s like a Creator gazing down upon his living, breathing, dancing Creation.

This astonishing wall is an example of the Javier Marín sculpted work now on display in the San Diego Museum of Art’s free Galleries 14 and 15.

The exhibition will be officially kicked off with a special event on Thursday, September 27, 2018. Culture & Cocktails: Art of the Body includes a VIP pre-tour with the artist himself.

The exhibition will continue through March 3, 2019.

Javier Marín's fleshy sculpted forms include every sort of human expression.
Javier Marín’s fleshy sculpted forms depict every sort of human expression.
Gazing at representations of our mysterious selves.
Gazing at many representations of our mysterious selves.

UPDATE!

I saw even more amazing Javier Marín art during a later visit to the museum, and here are some photographs!

The first photo showing sculpted elements of the human body intermixed, is of a piece that can be viewed in Gallery 14.

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The next two photos, taken in the San Diego Museum of Art’s first floor rotunda, are of several large, truly stunning sculptures that are described: Untitled I, II, VI. Polyester resin and iron wire, 2004.

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I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Moon Gold shines in San Diego Museum of Art!

Chrysanthemum Lacquer Box, Nancy Lorenz, 2017. Inspired by a lacquered wood box in the San Diego Museum of Art's collection.
Chrysanthemum Lacquer Box, Nancy Lorenz, 2017. Inspired by a lacquered wood box in the San Diego Museum of Art’s collection.

Have you ever dreamt of dipping a brush into bright molten silver or gold, to paint and swirl that precious shine all over a canvas? This vision comes to life at the San Diego Museum of Art in their current exhibition Nancy Lorenz: Moon Gold.

Nancy Lorenz uses silver and gold leaf, mother-of-pearl and lacquer on large canvases of board, cardboard and jute to achieve the effect I just described. She calls these gestural applications of water-gilded gesso Pours. Some of her abstract creations appear like gleaming treasure raining down from sun-glowing clouds, through and into strangely Earth-like places. Others appear to be swirled with bright, pure heavenly essence. Moonbeams seem to emanate from her dreamlike Silver Water Screen.

Other pieces, including several fantastic boxes, look like they’ve been frosted with pure, sumptuous, smoothly dripping gold!

The exquisite gilding and lacquer work of Nancy Lorenz, who lived in Tokyo for a span of years, is influenced by Japanese decorative arts. Every line and fine detail seems perfectly placed. The refined brilliance of her unique artwork is extraordinary.

Nancy Lorenz: Moon Gold is a treasure for greedy eyes. So go and see it at the San Diego Museum of Art before the exhibition ends on September 3, 2018.

Exquisitely beautiful art shines at the Nancy Lorenz-Moon Gold exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art.
Exquisitely beautiful art shines at the Nancy Lorenz: Moon Gold exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art.
Moon Gold Mountain, Nancy Lorenz, 2018. Moon gold leaf, clay, cardboard, on wood panel.
Moon Gold Mountain, Nancy Lorenz, 2018. Moon gold leaf, clay, cardboard, on wood panel.
Gold Flying Apsaras, Nancy Lorenz, 2017. Gold leaf, mother-of-pearl inlay, black lacquer, clay, gesso, on wood panel.
Gold Flying Apsaras, Nancy Lorenz, 2017. Gold leaf, mother-of-pearl inlay, black lacquer, clay, gesso, on wood panel.
Lemon Gold Sunlight with Rain, Nancy Lorenz, 2017. Lemon gold leaf, silver leaf, clay, cardboard, on wood panel.
Lemon Gold Sunlight with Rain, Nancy Lorenz, 2017. Lemon gold leaf, silver leaf, clay, cardboard, on wood panel.
A section of Rock Garden Room, Nancy Lorenz, 2004. Silver leaf, mother-of-pearl inlay, pigment, gesso, shellac, on 12 wood panels.
A section of Rock Garden Room, Nancy Lorenz, 2004. Silver leaf, mother-of-pearl inlay, pigment, gesso, shellac, on 12 wood panels.
Silver Sea and Sky, Nancy Lorenz, 2017. Silver leaf, mother-of-pearl inlay, lacquer, on wood panel.
Silver Sea and Sky, Nancy Lorenz, 2017. Silver leaf, mother-of-pearl inlay, lacquer, on wood panel.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Alfred Mitchell’s fine paintings of San Diego.

La Jolla Cove, Alfred Mitchell, oil on canvas, circa 1950.
La Jolla Cove, Alfred Mitchell, oil on canvas, circa 1950.

Today, with great thanks to my docent friend, I enjoyed several exhibits at the San Diego Museum of Art. The first exhibit, and perhaps my personal favorite, was a small collection of landscape paintings by Alfred R. Mitchell.

Silent Light: Alfred Mitchell features deeply beautiful work by an artist who spent most of his life in San Diego. Along with several other local artists who obtained national stature, including Maurice Braun, Arthur Fries, Charles Reiffel and Donal Hord, he was a founding member of the Contemporary Artists of San Diego. He also helped to create the La Jolla Art Association in 1918 and the Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego in 1925. The latter institution is known today as the San Diego Museum of Art!

Here are photos of four pieces that I particularly like. My poor old camera doesn’t do them justice. Each painting is infused with light and indescribably rich color. Each seems a perfect memory–a brief moment in the life of this world made timeless.

You might recognize these particular four locations. They are all by the ocean in La Jolla. It’s a place of great natural beauty where I love to walk.

Silent Light: Alfred Mitchell can be enjoyed through August 19, 2018. If you’ve fallen in love with the landscapes of San Diego, you’ll be awed by these extraordinary paintings.

Cliffs South of La Jolla Shores, Alfred Mitchell, oil on board, circa 1930.
Cliffs South of La Jolla Shores, Alfred Mitchell, oil on board, circa 1930.
Bathing, Alfred Mitchell, oil on board, undated.
Bathing, Alfred Mitchell, oil on board, undated.
La Jolla Coast Walk, Alfred Mitchell, oil on board, undated.
La Jolla Coast Walk, Alfred Mitchell, oil on board, undated.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Architecture and light at Timken Museum of Art.

The Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park is designed to be filled with natural light.
The Timken Museum of Art in Balboa Park is designed to be filled with natural light.

Would you like to enter a truly magical place? Step into the Timken Museum of Art. Walls disappear, and suddenly you are surrounded by fine art masterpieces, natural light, and the greenery and open space of beautiful Balboa Park.

I took a special tour of the building during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2018 OPEN HOUSE event. I jotted a few notes and will now try to describe my experience.

According to our tour guide, David Kinney, a Balboa Park Conservancy Board Member, the building housing the Timken Museum of Art is disimilar in many respects to the extremely ornate Spanish Colonial buildings lining El Prado, which were designed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The Timken has clean, symmetric, simple lines. It is the only building in Balboa Park specifically designed for people to walk around. The museum was built in 1965 and incorporates many facets of modern architecture. It was designed by San Diego architect John Mock, who intended it to be a “see-through” museum, where boundaries are blurred and gardens and sky are visible from many points inside.

When built, the Timken was the most expensive building ever constructed in San Diego. The building is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of mid-century Southern California Modernism and the International Style in the nation.

The abundant travertine, bronze and glass create a magical effect. Visitors to the museum feel surrounded by San Diego’s native sunshine. There are views of small gardens, the Plaza de Panama, the Lily Pond and families enjoying picnics on nearby grass.

By taking a few steps into the museum’s intimate galleries, visitors can view one of the most amazing small collections of fine art in the world. There are 60 major works, paintings by the likes of Copley, Johnson, Bierstadt, Veronese, Guercino, Clouet, Claude, David, Brueghel, Rubens, van Dyck, Zurbarán and Murillo. The Timken owns the only Rembrandt to be found in Southern California. Every work is partially bathed in indirect natural light, from hidden skylights along the walls in each gallery. During our tour, as we gazed at the Rembrandt, a cloud passed over the sun, and the light in the gallery dimmed. It was an extraordinary experience that infused additional life into the moody masterpiece.

Come along with me as I show you a few photos. Read the captions for more info!

Fences enclosing a small garden and sections of the museum seem like airy lacework. The building's white travertine reflects San Diego's sunlight.
Fences enclosing a small garden and sections of the museum seem like airy lacework. The building’s white travertine reflects San Diego’s sunlight.
Turning west, we can see the California Tower across the Plaza de Panama.
Turning west, we can see the California Tower across the Plaza de Panama.
Our tour guide describes an architectural marvel.
Our tour guide describes an architectural marvel.
This small garden by one large museum window was created in 1983 by a Japanese master designer.
This small garden by one large museum window was created in 1983 by a Japanese master designer.
Inside the central lobby of the museum. The seats are Italian made. Another large window allows light in from Balboa Park's beautiful Lily Pond.
Inside the central lobby of the museum. The seats are Italian made. Another large window allows light in from Balboa Park’s beautiful Lily Pond.
Inside one of the galleries. The small fine art museum is free to the public and a popular destination in Balboa Park.
Inside one of the galleries. The small fine art museum is free to the public and a popular destination in Balboa Park.
Lights along the ceiling perimeter include skylights, admitting natural indirect sunlight.
Lights along the ceiling’s perimeter include hidden skylights, admitting natural indirect sunlight.
Saint Bartholomew, Rembrandt van Rijn, oil on canvas, 1657.
Saint Bartholomew, Rembrandt van Rijn, oil on canvas, 1657.
The Timken's collection was begun by the Putnam sisters, who had a passion for fine art. They also loved Russian Orthodox religious icons, a few of which are housed in one gallery.
The Timken’s collection was begun by the Putnam sisters, who had a passion for fine art. They also loved Russian Orthodox religious icons, a few of which are housed in one gallery.
Our tour ventured into the Timken's employee lounge, where we saw the original blueprints of this iconic building.
Our tour ventured into the Timken Museum’s employee lounge and meeting room, where we saw the original blueprints of this iconic building.
Also displayed was one early Timken architectural design concept, where the building would have been circular.
Also displayed was one early Timken Museum architectural design concept, where the building would have been circular.
A very cool free museum in San Diego, the Timken combines the magic of sunlight, a carefree day in Balboa Park and fine art.
A very cool free museum in San Diego, the Timken combines the magic of sunlight, a happy, carefree day in Balboa Park and fine art.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

San Diego African American fine art exhibition.

Green Tea. Kadir Nelson, giclée on canvas.
Green Tea. Kadir Nelson, giclée on canvas.

If you love fine art, there’s something you really need to see. Legacy in Black is an exhibition featuring the work of local African American artists who enjoy national and international acclaim. You can enjoy this exhibition for free by visiting the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

A number of outstanding pieces represent the work of eight artists who’ve made significant contributions to our city’s cultural life. Many of the artists have produced public art around San Diego and California. Faith Ringgold has had works exhibited in places like The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Museum of American Art, and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Ernest Eugene Barnes Jr. was the official artist of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Kadir Nelson was the lead conceptual artist for Steven Spielberg’s film Amistad, and his work is often featured on the cover of The New Yorker magazine. All eight artists featured in this exhibition are exceptional.

Legacy in Black is a collaboration between the San Diego History Center and the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art. Head on over to Balboa Park before the exhibition closes on March 28, 2018!

Sandlot Football. Ernie Barnes, acrylic on canvas.
Sandlot Football. Ernie Barnes, acrylic on canvas.
Legacy in Black, an exhibition of work by local African American artists, is now on display at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.
Legacy in Black, an exhibition of work by local African American artists, is now on display at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.
I'll Fly Away. Manuelita Brown, bronze with painted wood base, 2003.
I’ll Fly Away. Manuelita Brown, bronze with painted wood base, 2003.
Coming to Jones Road Part II #5, Precious, Barn Door and Baby Freedom. Faith Ringgold, acrylic on canvas with fabric border, 2010.
Coming to Jones Road Part II #5, Precious, Barn Door and Baby Freedom. Faith Ringgold, acrylic on canvas with fabric border, 2010.
The Valley. Jean Cornwell Wheat, acrylic on canvas, 2014.
The Valley. Jean Cornwell Wheat, acrylic on canvas, 2014.
Gridiron Hero. Ernie Barnes, acrylic on board.
Gridiron Hero. Ernie Barnes, acrylic on board.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!