Between Heaven and Earth in Balboa Park.

Today I stepped through a door and found myself somewhere between Heaven and Earth.

The fine art exhibition, titled Between Heaven and Earth, filled Gallery 21 in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center. Canvases on the gallery walls flowed with shadows, mists and dimly seen forms. The San Diego artist who ushered these visions into existence is Catherine Carlton.

Her more mysterious pieces seem to blend earthly scenes with a sense of their spiritual essence. Her creations evoke a subtle emotional response–a feeling that there is more to this world than what meets the eye. Some of her pieces include sacred symbols or bits of verse.

I particularly loved her art made with layered wax containing pigment. Images of rain, lightning, and natural landscapes are ethereal, fluid, and alive. You can see an example in my next photograph.

Catherine Carlton creates this sublime beauty in her art studio at Liberty Station. She particularly loves to produce commercial art, and has painted murals for various local restaurants..

If you’d like to see more of her work, visit her website here!

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!

A place like heaven, and full of surprises.

Balboa Park to me is a place like heaven. A place overflowing with joy and sunshine and smiles and wonder. A carefree place that is full of surprises.

Today I enjoyed a few delightful surprises during my walk–as you’ll see.

The House of Peru hosted a lawn program today at Balboa Park's International Cottages.
A huge crowd had gathered at the International Cottages. The House of Peru hosted a colorful lawn program today.

Peruvian born Mario Torero, internationally famous muralist and activist, greets the audience before receiving an honor.
Peruvian born Mario Torero, internationally famous muralist and activist, greets the audience before receiving an honor.

The brass ring might appear any moment.
The brass ring might appear at any moment.

Balboa Park is one of the most wonderful places on Earth.

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!

Colorful stained glass windows of The Abbey.

Stained glass window and reflection in a mirror inside The Abbey on Fifth Avenue, originally the Park Place Methodist Episcopal Church.
Stained glass window, and its reflection in a mirror, inside The Abbey on Fifth Avenue.  The building was originally the Park Place Methodist Episcopal Church.

I’ve walked past The Abbey on Fifth Avenue many times over the years. I often pause to admire the monumental building’s Classical Revival style exterior and take a photo or two. But last weekend I finally ventured inside.

That’s because The Abbey was open to the public during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017. It was one of several fascinating places that I visited!

The Abbey on Fifth Avenue is utilized by Hornblower Cruises in San Diego for private parties, weddings and corporate events. In 1910, however, when its doors were first opened to welcome the people of San Diego, the building was a place of worship: the Park Place Methodist Episcopal Church. A gleaming gold leaf statue of the angel Gabriel stands atop the roof, blowing his horn, summoning eyes around Bankers Hill. Approach the building and one sees its dozen stained glass windows illustrating figures from the Bible.

Stained glass when viewed from outside a building can often appear a bit dull and unremarkable. When seen from inside, however . . . words can barely express the feeling. It’s like finding the end of a rainbow. It’s like stepping into a light-filled heaven.

Please enjoy some photos of The Abbey’s exterior and interior.

Today the Abbey on Fifth Avenue is operated by Hornblower Cruises and Events. Built as a church in 1910, the building has undergone various changes over the years. In 1984 it became a restaurant.
Today the Abbey on Fifth Avenue is operated by Hornblower Cruises and Events. Built as a church in 1910, the building has undergone various changes over the years. In 1984 it became a restaurant.

Photo of The Abbey taken from the intersection of Olive Street and Fifth Avenue in the Bankers Hill neighborhood, near downtown San Diego. A new building is under construction on its north side.
Photo of The Abbey taken from the intersection of Olive Street and Fifth Avenue in the Bankers Hill neighborhood. A new building is under construction on the north side.

Stained glass windows seen from the outside.
Stained glass windows seen from the street outside.

The 1910 Park Place Methodist Episcopal Church was built in the Classical Revival style, which is quite unusual in San Diego.
The 1910 Park Place Methodist Episcopal Church was built in the Classical Revival style, which is quite unusual in San Diego.

Gabriel blows his horn. Light reflecting from the gold leaf shines brightly like the sun.
Gabriel blows his horn. Light reflecting from the gold leaf shines brightly like the sun.

This gorgeous stained glass skylight and purple floor lights tinting the walls make a memorable dining experience at these tables on the second floor of The Abbey.
This gorgeous stained glass skylight and purple floor lights tinting the walls make a memorable dining experience at these tables on the second floor of The Abbey.

Another dome of stained glass in the ceiling.
Another dome of stained glass in the ceiling.

These doors on the second floor have beautiful floral stained glass panels.
These doors on the second floor have beautiful floral stained glass panels.

The interior of The Abbey on Fifth Avenue is a wonderland of colorful light.
The interior of The Abbey on Fifth Avenue is a wonderland of colorful light.

People pause by one of the south-facing stained glass windows.
People pause by one of the south-facing stained glass windows.

These tables along the second floor overlook a large space where people might dance or mingle during a special event.
These tables along the second floor overlook a large space where people might dance or mingle during a special event.

Stained glass shows classical columns and a cross in a crown.
Stained glass shows classical columns and a cross in a crown.

If I recall, this stained glass panel was in a door on the second floor. Those appear to be grapes.
If I recall, this stained glass panel was in a door on the second floor. Those appear to be grapes.

More stained glass behind dining tables on the north side of the second floor.
More stained glass behind dining tables on the north side of the second floor.

The many stained glass windows seem to fill the historic building with magic.
The many stained glass windows seem to fill the historic building with magic.

Close look at one window.
Close look at one window.

Christ portrayed in one radiant window.
Christ portrayed in one radiant window.

Religious figures near wine glasses hanging in a bar on the second floor. An interesting juxtaposition.
Religious figures near wine glasses hanging in a bar on the second floor. An interesting juxtaposition.

The beautiful stained glass is both mysterious and penetrating.
The beautiful stained glass is both mysterious and penetrating.

Another vibrant stained glass window portrays a risen Christ in heaven.
Another vibrant stained glass window portrays a risen Christ in heaven.

A scene from the Bible. One of many stained glass windows that fill The Abbey on Fifth Avenue with color and life.
A scene from the Bible. One of many stained glass windows that fill The Abbey on Fifth Avenue with color and life.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Angel hovers above homeless person.

An angel hovers above a homeless person.
An angel hovers above a homeless person.

I usually don’t post only one photograph, but I captured a remarkable image this morning, and thought some of you might like to see it. I was walking into the Panama-California Sculpture Court at the Casa del Prado in Balboa Park when I observed the standing figure titled “Religion” hovering like a heavenly angel above a homeless person sitting alone on a bench.

Joyful, colorful street art shows music in heaven.

A diverse choir of humans singing joyfully in heaven. The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo is represented with touching fingers producing musical notes.
A diverse choir of humans singing joyfully in heaven. The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo is represented with touching fingers producing musical notes.

There’s some uplifting street art in Mission Valley. It’s painted on a large electrical box on Camino del Rio South, between the Scottish Rite Masonic Event Center and the First United Methodist Church of San Diego, which also hosts the St. Francis and St. Tarcicius Catholic Church.

As you can see, this artwork depicts happy people singing and making music in heaven among angels. The musicians appear to include both Louis Armstrong and Jimi Hendrix.

A joyful, colorful vision of harmony!

Jimi Hendrix plays electric guitar in heaven in colorful street art.
Jimi Hendrix plays electric guitar in heaven in colorful street art.

Louis Armstrong plays his trumpet in heaven with an angel nearby. Some colorful street art painted on a large electrical box on Camino del Rio South in Mission Valley.
Louis Armstrong plays his trumpet in heaven with an angel nearby. Some happy street art painted on a large electrical box on Camino del Rio South in Mission Valley.

Musical street art near both First United Methodist Church of San Diego and St. Francis and St. Tarcicius Catholic Church. An imaginative glimpse of happiness and harmony in heaven.
Musical street art near both First United Methodist Church of San Diego and St. Francis and St. Tarcicius Catholic Church. An imaginative glimpse of happiness and harmony in heaven.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

A short story about painting angels.

Here we go again! I wrote another short story! What does it have to do with Cool San Diego Sights? Nothing. Silly me!

This very short work of fiction is about life. And painting angels. It has a happy ending! Click this link to read it on my writing blog Short Stories by Richard!

Thank you! I promise my next blog post will actually be about San Diego!

And by the way–I just posted four beautiful photos of barren trees in a heavenly sky on my other blog, A Small World Full of Beauty.  In case you’re curious, I took those photos this morning in Mission Valley.

Enough blogging for today!

Richard

Orchids in Balboa Park’s amazing Botanical Building!

I believe all these beautiful images are of orchids! I apologize if I'm mistaken. Most photos were taken just inside the left door to the Botanical Building in Balboa Park.
I believe all these beautiful images are of orchids! I apologize if I’m mistaken. Most photos were taken just inside the left door to the Botanical Building in Balboa Park.

I believe all these photos are of orchids. Unfortunately, I’m not an expert when it comes to plants or flowers. Heck, I hardly even rank as an amateur. But I do recognize exquisite beauty. And you’ll find it just inside the left door of Balboa Park’s amazing Botanical Building!

I don’t know the types or names of these orchids. I looked for signs, but saw none. If you recognize anything, leave a comment!

Deep velvet beauty for everyone to enjoy.
Velvet beauty for everyone to enjoy.

So much to absorb in the amazing Botanical Building--one's eyes leap from bloom to bloom.
So much to absorb in the amazing Botanical Building–one’s eyes leap from bloom to bloom.

Nature's masterpieces are often small and fragile.
Nature’s masterpieces are often small and fragile.

Should you ever visit Balboa Park in San Diego, don't miss the Botanical Building. The enormous lath building stands behind the reflecting pool near El Prado.
Should you ever visit Balboa Park in San Diego, don’t miss the Botanical Building. The enormous lath building stands behind the reflecting pool near El Prado.

White angel-like flower seems to signal that the world is just fine.
White angel-like flower seems to signal that the world is just fine.

Many orchids in clay pots hanging from a wall trellis.
Many orchids in clay pots hanging from a wall trellis.

A long strand of gems.
A long strand of gems.

Everywhere you turn in the Botanical Building you'll discover lush plants and natural wonders.
Everywhere you turn in the Botanical Building you’ll discover lush plants and natural wonders.

A lady glides into heaven on Earth.
A lady glides into heaven on Earth.

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Natural beauty at amazing Japanese Friendship Garden.

Visitors stroll through endless natural beauty at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.
Visitors stroll through endless natural beauty at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

Please enjoy the following photographs. They were taken today at the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego’s wonderful Balboa Park. As you can plainly see, natural beauty is abundant in this amazing garden. I hope you have a chance to visit.

Gleaming droplets of water descend from a hollow bamboo kakei into the tranquil, cleansing tsukubai basin.
Gleaming droplets of water descend from a hollow bamboo kakei into the tranquil, cleansing tsukubai basin.

Even age and imperfections in this fallen leaf are beautiful beyond description.
Even age and imperfections in this fallen leaf are beautiful beyond description.

A rocky island, seemingly, in the karesansui dry stone garden, with carefully raked gravel encouraging meditation.
A rocky island, seemingly, in the Karesansui Dry Stone Garden, with carefully raked gravel inviting meditation.

Looking upward into the sunlit leafy canopy near the koi pond.
Looking upward into the sunlit leafy canopy near the koi pond.

The day's light makes striking patterns of living green.
The day’s light makes striking patterns of living green.

Flaming red bougainvillea blooms catch the eye of a young person walking through the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego.
Bright red bougainvillea bracts catch the eye of a young person walking through the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego.

Bougainvillea flowers are beautiful sights in the bonsai garden.
Bougainvillea red is an especially beautiful sight in the bonsai garden.

A yellow day-lily which is growing near the Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate.
A yellow day-lily which is growing near the Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate.

Bamboo leaves flutter in a gentle San Diego breeze.
Bamboo leaves flutter in the gentle San Diego breeze.

This small sculpture of a child is a mystery. One of the groundskeepers told me that. It might be a young Buddha, or an infant who tragically died. No one seems to know its history.
This small sculpture is a mystery according to one of the groundskeepers. It was placed in the garden by someone unseen.  The sculpture might be a young Buddha. It might have been placed here by someone who lost a child.  No one seems to know its history.

Bright green palm fronds produce instant human delight.
Bright green palm fronds produce instant human delight.

Close-up photograph of the amazing seed pod of a sago palm.
Close-up photograph of the amazing, strange seed pod of a sago palm.

Delicate white flowers of the star jasmine seem to have descended into this world from a heavenly place.
Delicate white flowers of the star jasmine seem to have descended into this world from a heavenly place.

Close-up photo of torn wood fibers where a dead tree limb finally separated from the trunk.
Close-up photo of torn wood fibers where a dead tree limb finally separated from the trunk.

Water cascading over stone shines in the sunlight. A small happy river flows through the bottom of the spacious garden canyon.
Water cascading over stone shines in the sunlight. A small gentle river flows through the bottom of the spacious garden canyon.

Looking down through magical, glistening, jewel-like water.
Looking down through magical, jewel-like water.

Jumbled leaves have turned many colors.
Jumbled leaves have turned many colors.

Nature's fantastic patterns are evident everywhere you turn in the amazing Japanese Friendship Garden.
Nature’s fantastic patterns are evident everywhere you turn in the amazing Japanese Friendship Garden.

I believe this is a white azalea, but I'm not certain.
After being corrected by a great reader, this appears to be a gardenia.  I first thought it might be a white azalea!  That shows you how much I know!

Visitors at the Japanese Friendship Garden stand in the shade of the Inamori Pavilion looking down at a very beautiful waterfall.
Visitors at the Japanese Friendship Garden stand in the shade of the Inamori Pavilion looking down at a pleasant waterfall.

A pink saucer magnolia bloom and buds. In the background you can see the new Inamori Pavilion, which opened this year.
A pink saucer magnolia bloom and buds. In the background you can see the new Inamori Pavilion, which opened this year.

Another photographer was recording the infinite natural beauty that anyone can plainly see at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Another photographer was recording the carefully arranged natural beauty at the Japanese Friendship Garden.

Even dry brown curled leaves can take one's breath away.
Even dry brown curled leaves can take one’s breath away.

Leaves and shadows of leaves.
Leaves and shadows of leaves.

If one small place can contain such abundant wonder, imagine what the vast universe holds.
If one small place can contain such abundant wonder, imagine what the vast universe holds.

Natural beauty at the amazing Japanese Friendship Garden
Natural beauty at the amazing Japanese Friendship Garden

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Sailboats race on shining San Diego Bay.

Sailboats on shining San Diego Bay.
Sailboats on shining San Diego Bay.

I snapped these photos almost directly into the sun.  I assumed they’d turn out lousy.  But the effect is actually pretty cool!  To me it looks like white sails winging through a brightly shining heavenly space!

Sailboats race in a bright silvery space.
Sailboats race in a bright silvery space.