Oil paintings created on San Diego train ride!

Travelling by a train is like moving through a dream. The window beside your seat produces ever-changing visions. Glimpses of the world blink past, one after another. Your eyes are subject to a series of momentary impressions.

It can be hard to capture good photographs when riding the train up the coast from San Diego. You’re moving, there’s a dusty window and reflections to deal with, and of course there’s the critical matter of timing. When I snapped photos yesterday during my Coaster train ride from San Diego to Encinitas, most of the images turned out badly blurred and poorly framed.

So I decided to use the Oilify filter of GIMP’s graphics software to transform the photos of my journey into a series of dreamlike oil paintings!

All aboard! We’re about to leave downtown’s Santa Fe Depot . . .

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!

Del Mar’s natural beauty, beach from Coaster!

I was careful to sit on the west side of the Coaster yesterday for my trip from San Diego to Encinitas. The very best views can be enjoyed from that side when riding the train through Del Mar.

I thought it would be fun to take photographs of the natural beauty. As we quickly moved through La Jolla out over Los Peñasquitos Lagoon I had my camera ready.

I snapped photographs nonstop as we flew over the marshy lagoon and past Torrey Pines State Beach, then up along the bluff’s edge toward Seagrove Park.

We were moving so fast that the nearby vegetation was a blur. But my small camera was able to capture the distant sandstone cliffs of Torrey Pines State Reserve, the broad Pacific Ocean’s beautiful white surf, people down below on the beach, and even a line of pelicans flying through the blue sky.

I altered these photos a bit, sharpening them and increasing contrast.

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!

Art and architecture at La Jolla’s Athenaeum.

The southwest corner of the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library in La Jolla.
The southwest corner of the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla.

Visit the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla and you’ll find yourself moving through a warm, polished, light-infused world where beautiful dreams are sustained. Last weekend I stepped through the library’s doors and was amazed by what I discovered.

The Athenaeum is home to a large, regionally important collection of books and media concerning music and art, and a permanent collection of artwork. It is a repository for beauty that is timeless. The library is refined and welcoming, like a fine museum.

Each quiet room is a refuge for the contemplative mind. And a richly furnished temple for the heart. And a universe brimming with inspiration and creativity to nourish the human spirit.

The Athenaeum is one of only 16 nonprofit membership libraries in the United States. As you might imagine, it has a very unique history.

In 1894 a group of six women came together to create the La Jolla Reading Club. Five years later a cottage-like Reading Room was built at the corner of Wall Street and Girard Avenue. The most notable founding member, the first president of the Library Association of La Jolla, was wealthy newspaper publisher, philanthropist and La Jolla resident Ellen Browning Scripps.

In 1921 a larger Spanish Renaissance-style building replaced the Reading Room. The elegant new structure was designed by famous architect William Templeton Johnson, who also designed the San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History. Much of the funding for the new building came from Scripps. Kate Sessions, the horticulturist often referred to as the Mother of Balboa Park, planted an outside garden.

In 1957 the library opened the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room with its striking rotunda, designed by artist and architect William Lumpkins.

In subsequent years additional expansions were made, which allowed for the founding of the Athenaeum’s School of the Arts. Today the expansive library hosts art exhibitions, galas and musical concerts throughout the year.

How does one describe the rare beauty of the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library?

Here are a few photos…

Posted at the corner of Wall Street and Girard Avenue are many cultural events hosted by the Athenaeum.
Posted at the corner of Wall Street and Girard Avenue are many cultural events hosted by the Athenaeum.
Plaque in Memory of Florence Sawyer Bransby, who purchased this corner lot in 1895 and on it built La Jolla's First Library, The Reading Room.
Plaque in Memory of Florence Sawyer Bransby, who purchased this corner lot in 1895 and on it built La Jolla’s First Library, The Reading Room.
People walk along Girard Avenue beside the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library.
People walk along Girard Avenue beside the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library.
Banner by window of the library building designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Banner by window of the library building designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Photo of the library's iconic rotunda, designed by William Lumpkins.
Photo of the library’s iconic rotunda, designed by William Lumpkins.
Bronze artwork near the Athenaeum's rotunda. Young Girl Holding Book by Merrell Gage, 1925.
Bronze artwork near the Athenaeum’s rotunda. Young Girl Holding Book by Merrell Gage, 1925.
Approaching the entrance to the Athenaeum.
Approaching the entrance to the Athenaeum.
A library cart full of books entices passersby.
A library cart full of books entices passersby.
By the front door is a plaque. This library built and furnished through the generosity of Ellen Browning Scripps.
By the front door is a plaque. This library built and furnished through the generosity of Ellen Browning Scripps.
Inside the beautiful, welcoming Athenaeum. Gazing east at shelves and windows.
Inside the beautiful, welcoming Athenaeum. Gazing east at shelves and windows.
Gazing west toward the the Joseph Clayes III Gallery.
Gazing west toward the the Joseph Clayes III Gallery.
When I visited the Athenaeum, I enjoyed an art exhibition in the Joseph Clayes III Gallery titled Music in the Key of Blue.
When I visited the Athenaeum, I enjoyed an art exhibition in the Joseph Clayes III Gallery titled Music in the Key of Blue.
As I walked about the library, I spotted many works in the Athenaeum's permanent art collection.
As I walked about the library, I spotted many works in the Athenaeum’s permanent art collection.
10 Items or Less, 1974, Kim MacConnel. Gouache on paper.
10 Items or Less, 1974, Kim MacConnel. Gouache on paper.
Sheet music collage by Alexis Smith, 1997, used for Athenaeum music program covers 2015/2016.
Sheet music collage by Alexis Smith, 1997, used for Athenaeum music program covers 2015/2016.
The Athenaeum, 2004, Derek Boshier. Hand-colored silkscreen print. Patron Gift.
The Athenaeum, 2004, Derek Boshier. Hand-colored silkscreen print. Patron Gift.
Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 2002, Raul Guerrero. Ink and collage on paper. Patron Gift.
Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 2002, Raul Guerrero. Ink and collage on paper. Patron Gift.
Gazing into the North Reading Room, which features Athenaeum’s Erika and Fred Torri Arists’ Books Collection.
Gazing into the North Reading Room, which features Athenaeum’s Erika and Fred Torri Arists’ Books Collection.
An exquisite bouquet of flowers by one bright window.
An exquisite bouquet of flowers by one bright window.
In Loving Memory - Ernest (Ernie) Silva 1948-2014. Trumpet Player and Light House, 2004. Ink on paper.
In Loving Memory – Ernest (Ernie) Silva 1948-2014. Trumpet Player and Light House, 2004. Ink on paper.
Untitled (Baby, It's cold Outside), 1999, Italo Scanga. Mixed media.
Untitled (Baby, It’s cold Outside), 1999, Italo Scanga. Mixed media.
Artwork on wall near the School of the Arts entrance.
Artwork on wall near the School of the Arts entrance.
I was told these pieces were all painted by teachers at the Athenaeum School of the Arts.
I was told these pieces were all painted by teachers at the Athenaeum School of the Arts.
Walking beside the Children's section of the Athenaeum.
Walking beside the Children’s section of the Athenaeum.
Linnea doll on shelf by the book Linnea in Monet's Garden.
Linnea doll on shelf by the book Linnea in Monet’s Garden.
Erika on the Portico of the Athenaeum, 2010, Grace Matthews. Tempera on paper.
Erika on the Portico of the Athenaeum, 2010, Grace Matthews. Tempera on paper.
Houseplant, Monstera Deliciosa, by artist Jean Lowe. Alkyd and acrylic on papier mache.
Houseplant, Monstera Deliciosa, by artist Jean Lowe. Alkyd and acrylic on papier mache.
Devil With a Blue Dress On, by currently exhibiting artist Jim Machacek.
Devil With a Blue Dress On, by currently exhibiting artist Jim Machacek.
Oh Grid, 2019, Sibyl Rubottom. Etching on linen with sashiko. One of many textile pieces by the artist currently on exhibit in the Rotunda Gallery.
Oh Grid, 2019, Sibyl Rubottom. Etching on linen with sashiko. One of many textile pieces by the artist currently on exhibit in the Rotunda Gallery.
Gazing toward the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room.
Gazing toward the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room.
Library of Music small plaque on drawer.
Library of Music small plaque on drawer.
More beauty on display inside the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room.
More beauty on display inside the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Music Room.
A perfect place to read and think inside the sunlight-filled rotunda.
A perfect place to read and think inside the sunlight-filled rotunda.
Shelves with newspapers and magazines.
Shelves with newspapers and magazines.
Tantra Indigo, 2019, Sibyl Rubottom. Accordion book.
Tantra Indigo, 2019, Sibyl Rubottom. Accordion book.
Music breathes what Poet cannot write.
Music breathes what Poet cannot write.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Art exhibition interprets Music in the Key of Blue.

Jim Machacek: Music in the Key of Blue, inside the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library's Joseph Clayes III Gallery
Jim Machacek: Music in the Key of Blue, inside the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library’s beautiful Joseph Clayes III Gallery.

A fantastic exhibition of work by San Diego artist Jim Machacek has recently opened at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library. Yesterday I headed to La Jolla to have a “listen” with my eyes.

The abstract pieces of Jim Machacek: Music in the Key of Blue are arranged inside the library’s Joseph Clayes III Gallery.

According to the Athenaeum’s description, the exhibition “reflects Jim’s recurring interest in the concept of making music visual. Using his favorite media of printmaking, drawing, collage, and watercolor, he hopes to make YOU see what HE sees when listening to music. He chose favorite musical selections that have the word blue in the titles from a wide variety of musical genres, including classical, jazz, blues, country, rock, folk, and standards.”

Among these emotionally evocative pieces you’ll find a unique visual interpretation of George Gershwin’s timeless Rhapsody in Blue. Seventy mixed-media prints cascade like living notes of music across the north and east walls of the sunlit gallery. Walk along these walls and you’ll feel like you’re moving in rhythm with a beloved American classic.

After you absorb this great art, take a leisurely stroll through the unique and historic Athenaeum. You’ll discover even more art in unexpected corners, and rooms overflowing with beauty wherever you turn.

Jim Machacek: Music in the Key of Blue can be enjoyed at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library through May 4, 2019.

The architecturally handsome Athenaeum Music & Arts Library is freely open to the public in La Jolla. It's a popular venue for art exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events.
The architecturally handsome Athenaeum Music & Arts Library is freely open to the public in La Jolla. It’s a popular venue for art exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events.
Sunlight filters through windows and shines on wood inside the Athenaeum's spacious Joseph Clayes III Gallery.
Sunlight filters through windows and shines on wood inside the Athenaeum’s spacious Joseph Clayes III Gallery.
Blue Wave, 2018, Jim Machacek. Blue Wave was a 1984 song by Eddy Grant, best known for his hit Electric Avenue.
Blue Wave, 2018, Jim Machacek. Blue Wave was a 1984 song by Eddy Grant, best known for his hit Electric Avenue.

Blueberry Hill, 2018, Jim Machacek. The popular hit song by Fats Domino, recorded in 1956, became a rock and roll standard.
Blueberry Hill, 2018, Jim Machacek. The popular hit song by Fats Domino, recorded in 1956, became a rock and roll standard.

Blue Cathedral, 2018, Jim Machacek. Blue Cathedral is a 1999 orchestral piece by American composer Jennifer Higdon, written in memory of her younger brother.
Blue Cathedral, 2018, Jim Machacek. Blue Cathedral is a 1999 orchestral piece by American composer Jennifer Higdon, written in memory of her deceased younger brother.
Lavender Blue, 2019, Jim Machacek. Lavender Blue is an English folk song and nursery rhyme dating from the 17th century.
Lavender Blue, 2019, Jim Machacek. Lavender Blue is an English folk song and nursery rhyme dating from the 17th century.
These mysterious, moody pieces interpreting Rhapsody in Blue are like notes of sheet music flowing across a wall.
These complex, moody pieces interpreting Rhapsody in Blue are like notes of sheet music flowing across a wall.
Fill your eyes with music.
Fill your eyes with music.

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!

Amazing vistas atop Mount Soledad.

This morning I drove to Mount Soledad. A new winter storm is on the way, and the clouds are more dramatic than usual.

Breathtaking vistas open up at the summit of Mount Soledad. Standing beside the cross of Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, I turned slowly about and took it all in.

To the north: La Jolla, Del Mar and the Pacific Ocean. To the northeast: University City. To the east and southeast: the distant foothills and mountains of East County. To the hazy south: tiny downtown, Mission Bay and Point Loma.

In every direction: amazing beauty!

IMG_2771z

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!

Photos of elevated trolley line construction.

If you’ve driven up Interstate 5 through La Jolla and University City, you’ve probably seen some impressive construction right next to the freeway. The extension of the San Diego Trolley’s Blue Line is now being built, and much of what is called the Mid-Coast Trolley will be elevated.

The new trolley line will turn from the freeway down Genesee Avenue and finally end at an elevated station at the recently renovated University Towne Centre shopping mall (now called Westfield UTC), adjacent to bus stops at the UTC Transit Center.

On Sunday, as I waited for a bus at the UTC Transit Center, I walked up Genesee Avenue to check out a short stretch of the trolley extension. My photos show what will be the north terminus of the Mid-Coast Trolley.

The project is impressive. Simulations of the UTC Transit Center station and other Mid-Coast Corridor stations can be found here. The trolley extension is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

As I took photos, I was fascinated by the strangely beautiful complexity. Layers of geometric shapes can be observed in the wood, concrete and steel supporting construction of the elevated tracks and station.

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!

La Jolla Library and the Voyage of Discovery.

Visually stunning public art dominates the interior of the La Jolla Library.
Visually stunning public art dominates the interior of the La Jolla Library.

Enter the La Jolla Library, take a few steps into the central atrium, then look up.

In this public library, curious minds become part of an amazing Voyage of Discovery!

Voyage of Discovery, an abstract catamaran hull by artist Christopher Lee, reminds visitors to the La Jolla Library that they are on a journey of exploration.
Voyage of Discovery, an abstract catamaran hull by artist Christopher Lee, reminds visitors to the La Jolla Library that they are on a journey of exploration.
A sculpture of an abstract catamaran is suspended beneath a large skylight at the La Jolla Library.
A sculpture of an abstract catamaran is suspended beneath a large skylight at the La Jolla Library.
Photo from the ground floor atrium of the La Jolla Library of Voyage of Discovery.
Photo from the ground floor atrium in the La Jolla Library of Voyage of Discovery.
Looking up at the stunning skylight.
Looking up at the stunning skylight.
Someone reads near the sail-like cast glass panels of the north window inside the La Jolla Library.
Someone reads near the sail-like cast glass panels of the north window inside the La Jolla Library.
A wood and muslin chandelier is the keel of the abstract catamaran.
A wood and muslin chandelier is the keel of the abstract catamaran.
The inner face of each half of the hull is lined in gold leaf.
The inner face of each half of the hull is lined in gold leaf.

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!