Naoko creates a flower.

I met artist Naoko Ozaki today at the Art Club of San Diego show in Balboa Park. She was very nice and demonstrated Japanese brush painting for my camera.

Together let’s watch her gather brush, black ink and paper, and magically create a flower!

Naoko Ozaki can be found at this website.

Her art is both subtle and powerful.

Like a memory.

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 Queen Califia’s Magical Circle!

Come with me. We’re about to enter Queen Califia’s Magical Circle.

We will step from our day-to-day routine into a mysterious maze of fractured white and black, turns and mirrors. We will suddenly emerge into a strange spiritual realm. A dreamlike surreal somewhere beneath our ordinary experience. A secret cosmos.

We will move through a fertile landscape teeming with faces and essential forms and wildly dancing colors and true symbols. Alive with infinitely circling snakes and joyfully soaring birds. We will find ourselves in Queen Califia’s Magical Circle, where our eyes will perceive our own existence more clearly.

Where life is triumphant.

These are the hands of those who assembled the magic.

That is the hand of sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle, who envisioned this magical circle and breathed into it her life.

(Click the photos of signs and they will enlarge for easier reading.)

You will learn:

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle is the only American sculpture garden and the last major international project created by the renowned French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle.

Inspired by California’s mythic, historic and cultural roots, the garden consists of nine large-scale sculptures, a circular “snake wall” and maze entry way. The symbols and forms are freely drawn from Native American, Pre-Columbian and Mexican art as well as the artist’s own fantastic imagery.

Queen Califia and the Eagle Throne measures 24 x 22 x 20 feet. It is built of polystyrene encased in urethane skin with applied fiberglass coating over a steel armature.

Working from original clay maquettes, the eight totems were made in similar fashion. They are: Cathead Totem, Birdhead Totem, Yelling Man Totem, Bullhead Totem, Untitled Totem (Bird on a Square), Kingfisher Totem, Step Totem and Snake Totem.

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle uses a greater diversity of mosaic materials than seen in any of Niki de Saint Phalle’s other large-scale projects. For the first time she used polished and tumbled stones such as agates, quartzes and turquoise. The results are magical and ever changing.

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle is nestled in a natural landscape within Escondido’s Kit Carson Park.

Niki’s original inspiration for the garden came while she was reading Assembling California by geologist John McPhee. There he discusses the legend of Queen Califia, a beautiful and powerful black Amazon queen who ruled over the island of California, a paradise of gold and riches.

The information sign includes an article concerning the opening of Queen Califia’s Magical Circle in 2003. “The garden promises to become an instantaneous cultural landmark for the San Diego region–a place where visitors can roam at will, play, touch, dream…”

…a shimmering, virtuoso display of mosaic art…

A short biography of Niki de Saint Phalle. She was born in France in 1930 and raised in New York. She first came to international prominence in 1961 as part of the influential “New Realists,” a group that also included Christo, Yves Klein and Jean Tinguely (whom she married in 1971). In 1994 she moved to La Jolla, where she lived until her death in 2002.

Queen Califia’s Magical Circle was completed one year after her death.

Other works of Niki de Saint Phalle can be enjoyed around San Diego. (You can find photos of them by searching this blog.)

Life raises new 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 photos for you to enjoy!

Manifest Your Future in amazing Balboa Park.

Young members of the De La Motte Strings have a bright musical future.
Young members of the De La Motte Strings have a bright musical future.

Please enjoy these photographs of life in Balboa Park. I took them today.

Is Balboa Park in your future?

Manifest Your Future in Balboa Park!
Manifest Your Future in Balboa Park!
Beautiful music beckons.
Beautiful music beckons.
Art students from Canyon Crest Academy show their art in Spanish Village. Each student has an amazing future.
Art students from Canyon Crest Academy show their art in Spanish Village. Each student has an amazing future.
Savera Soin's future will be filled with color.
Savera Soin’s future will be filled with color.
Moving ahead to find new wonders.
Moving ahead to find new wonders.
Perhaps a cactus is also in your future.
Perhaps a cactus from a San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society show and sale is in your future.
A couple moves forward down a winding path through the Japanese Friendship Garden.
A couple moves forward down a winding path through the Japanese Friendship Garden.
For the foreseeable future (until July 21, 2019) visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden can enjoy an exhibition of art by Kathleen Kane-Murrell.
For the foreseeable future (until July 21, 2019) visitors to the Japanese Friendship Garden can enjoy an exhibition of art by Kathleen Kane-Murrell.
Magic might suddenly appear in your future.
Magic might suddenly appear in your future.
Yummy samples of Cheez-It Snap'd treats were in my future. At present they are in my stomach.
Yummy samples of Cheez-It Snap’d treats were in my future. I couldn’t avoid them! At present they are in my stomach.
Mysterious eyes peer from the future of some. It all depends where feet turn.
These mysterious eyes peer from the future of a few. It all depends where feet turn.
Enjoy every day. That future is now.
Enjoy every day. That future is now.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

A few short stories about light in one’s life.

To an ancient person, light is a life-sustaining gift from a distant bright god. To a modern person, light is electromagnetic radiation that can be detected by the eye’s retina. To an artist, light might be some of both . . . and much more.

When I write, I’m never certain what precise thing light represents. In many stories it seems to symbolize a life-sustaining hope, or a radiation of the spirit detected by the heart. It might signal a burning love, living with eyes wide open, or intangible rays from beyond that define life’s shape. A glimpse of ultimate truth. A bright gift that is magical, momentary, precious.

I don’t know. What is light to you?

Following are seven short works of fiction where light is an integral part of the story:

Light at the Edges

The Firefly

One Lone Candle

One Strange, Shimmering Dream

How to Paint Angels

A Dance in the Lightning

Walking on Light

Light and shadow, above and below.

A long walk after work yesterday.

As I came to the pedestrian bridge over Harbor Drive, the late sunlight produced magic. The space through which I walked and the train tracks below appeared dreamlike.

My eyes were fascinated by light and shadow.

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!

Images from Witches’ Night in San Diego!

It’s April 30. Tonight is Witches’ Night!

Certain witches in San Diego haven’t gathered on a dark mountaintop or in a deep forest to work their magic, however. I know this because I spotted them this evening in Balboa Park’s Federal Building, future home of the Comic-Con Museum!

For an enjoyable hour and a half I listened to San Diego State University history professor Elizabeth Pollard and Beth Accomando of KPBS discuss the ancient belief in witchcraft, what distinguishes it from superstition, religion and science, and how witches have been characterized and dealt with by the people of different eras.

Fictional witches discussed ranged from Erichtho and Meroe of ancient Roman literature, to the three witches of Macbeth, to Circe as envisioned by the Pre-Raphaelites, right up to the Wicked Witch of the West, Maleficent, and others we readily recognize today in our popular culture.

Before sitting down in the Comic-Con Museum’s auditorium, those in attendance were able to look at some cultural artifacts, a chilling video loop of Häxan from 1922, and several rare books in the collection of the San Diego State University Library. The main attraction under glass was a scarce early edition of Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches) printed in 1494–only fifty years after the Gutenberg press!

Here are a few images from tonight. But please excuse me–I have to go make sure my door is locked, because it’s getting close to midnight!

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!

Magical light transforms Old Town backyards.

After work I got off the trolley at Old Town, crossed Congress Street, and headed into the State Historic Park. With the recent return to Daylight Saving Time, there’s an extra hour of light for a leisurely walk.

At first I wasn’t sure what I would photograph. Then, minutes before the sun might disappear behind the horizon, I found myself lingering near the backyards of several very early San Diego houses.

It was the golden, almost dreamlike light that caught my eyes.

I walked along a quiet pathway that passes behind a row of historic structures, including Colorado House, La Casa de Machado y Silvas, U.S. House and San Diego House.

These backyards, back porches and gardens always appear a bit timeworn and scraggly, but the late light magically turned them into something wholly new.

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!