The miracle of the Surfing Madonna.

The Surfing Madonna in Encinitas, California. A mosaic by artist Mark Patterson.
The Surfing Madonna in Encinitas, California. A mosaic by artist Mark Patterson.

Have you heard of the miracle of the Surfing Madonna? Many in San Diego have witnessed the miracle. Indeed, the miracle is known around the world.

Next to the Encinitas Boulevard sidewalk, just east of Coast Highway 101, there’s a tiny open courtyard with a beautiful ocean mural and a shrine-like mosaic titled Surfing Madonna. The 10 by 10 feet mosaic depicts the Virgin of Guadalupe on a white surfboard, praying.

When it was first installed anonymously in a public place the artwork was considered illegal. Permission had not been granted by the city of Encinitas. The artist, Mark Patterson, was discovered and fined and the mosaic removed.

But a miracle happened.

After much controversy and legal uncertainty, and after having been moved from place to place, the unusual but beautiful mosaic, beloved by many in the beach community, finally found a home in Surfing Madonna Park, which you can see in my photographs.

To learn more about the miracle of the Surfing Madonna, read the words on the plaque beneath it.

The small Surfing Madonna Park, in a nook beside busy Encinitas Boulevard.
The small Surfing Madonna Park in a nook beside busy Encinitas Boulevard. The park is just a short walk east of Moonlight State Beach.
A plaque details the history of the Surfing Madonna.
A plaque details the history of the Surfing Madonna.

The plaque reads:

On Good Friday, April 22nd, 2011, the community of Encinitas was gifted with the Surfing Madonna mosaic, Our Lady, Star of the Sea.

Local artist, Mark Patterson and his good friend Bob Nichols, dressed up as constructions workers and hung the beautiful Surfing Madonna mosaic with its “Save the Ocean” theme. The mosaic was originally mounted underneath the train bridge, across the street from its current home.

The mosaic received international attention while the artist remained anonymous for months until discovered.

Although beloved by the community, she could not stay there and eventually found her way here, to her permanent home.

Mark Patterson sought to raise awareness of the value of the world’s Oceans. Through his vision he created the Surfing Madonna mosaic to spread a message of environmental awareness of Mother Ocean.

The mosaic gave birth to the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project which has continued to serve the Ocean and community through funding of local arts, environmental awareness, and by introducing special needs youth and their families to the joy of surfing and living with the Ocean.

Join us in celebrating the beauty of our world’s Oceans.

A beautiful environmental mural shows fish and other sea life, by Encinitas artist Kevin Anderson.
A beautiful environmental mural shows Garibaldi fish and other local sea life, by Encinitas artist Kevin Anderson.
Brick pavers in the small courtyard raised money for programs that help the Earth's oceans.
Brick pavers, some with religious themes, in the small courtyard. The pavers have raised money for programs that help the Earth’s oceans.
The Surfing Madonna and a prayerful message. Save the Ocean.
The unique Surfing Madonna and a prayerful message: Save the Ocean.

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Orchid Society adds beauty to Balboa Park.

A beautiful orchid, like a butterfly.
A beautiful orchid, like a butterfly.

Who doesn’t love orchids?

When I noticed the San Diego County Orchid Society was having their Winter Show and Sale in Balboa Park today, I headed directly to the Casa del Prado. That’s where tables overflowing with colorful, jewel-like blooms awaited the public.

I know next to nothing about orchids. All I know is they affect me in a mysterious way. Like any beautiful thing. Their exquisite forms seem to have sprouted from some perfect, generative, magical place.

Of course, you and I also sprout from that same place.

The San Diego County Orchid Society had their Winter Show and Sale in Balboa Park's Casa del Prado this weekend!
The San Diego County Orchid Society had their Winter Show and Sale in Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado this weekend!
Orchid lovers around San Diego submitted their entries in the hopes of winning Best of Show.
Orchid lovers around San Diego submitted their entries in the hopes of winning Best of Show.

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, too? Check out my other website Beautiful Balboa Park!

A rainbow for Christmas in San Diego!

San Diego received a magical Christmas present early this afternoon. A sudden rainbow!

I was at the Maritime Museum of San Diego after some showers ended, and like a Christmas miracle the rainbow appeared!

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!

Sunlight casts magic in the Alcazar Garden.

Another Sunday stroll through Balboa Park.

Another journey filled with magic.

Sunlight was casting its spell on flowers, leaves and webs in the Alcazar Garden.

Stay tuned!

A massive, truly magnificent, 300 year old bronze Kannon statue debuted several days ago in a beautiful corner of the Japanese Friendship Garden, as well as their new sparkling stream . . . and today I took photos!

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!

Hidden life near the Fish Market.

This afternoon, as I walked past the Fish Market restaurant on the Embarcadero, I saw a dead plant in their small garden next to the sidewalk.

When I knelt to look more closely, I discovered seeds ready to take flight.

If a thing appears hopeless, always take another look.

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 enjoy beautiful things? Visit my other photography blog which I call A Small World Full of Beauty.

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!

The miracle of baseball for special needs kids!

These guys with The Miracle League of San Diego help make dreams come true for special needs kids who love baseball!
These guys with The Miracle League of San Diego help make dreams come true for special needs kids who love baseball!

I met some inspirational people today.

During my visit to the 22nd Annual Lemon Festival in Chula Vista, as I walked down Third Avenue past dozens of booths, my eye was caught by a banner with the words Miracle League. When I asked what that meant, four friendly guys explained how their organization, called The Miracle League of San Diego, provides special needs kids around San Diego County with the opportunity to play baseball!

How cool is this?

Special needs players, with the assistance of volunteer buddies, play on special rubberized baseball fields at Engel Family Field in Del Mar and at Bell Middle School. The unique playing fields accommodate wheelchairs, walkers and the sight-impaired. Players and buddies are matched for an entire Spring or Fall season, and every player scores in fun two inning games that end in a tie. Players are ages five and up. Buddies are kind, patient community volunteers!

According to The Miracle League of San Diego website, announcers are provided with index cards about each player so they have ample material to highlight every at bat. Special needs kids become baseball superstars!

Do you know a special needs kid who’d love to play baseball? Would you like to be a volunteer buddy? Do you want to learn more?

Click to visit their website here!

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Streams of sunlight above the bay.

A dark wall of clouds as day ended. The magic before sunset was fleeting. Like a miracle, streams of sunlight touched San Diego Bay.

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!

Wishing you all a beautiful New Year!

The world contains unending beauty. As the years roll on, much comes and goes, but beauty remains.

So now I’d like to close out another blogging year by wishing you all a Beautiful New Year!

Where did I head today to harvest some stunning photos? To the amazing Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park, of course!

Come with me…

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!

Happy New Year!

Beautiful sycamores at Los Peñasquitos Canyon.

Early this morning, while it was still cool outside, I headed up to Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. My intention was to take a brisk hike around some trails near the old Adobe Ranch House. But then my eyes encountered California sycamores along one trail. And my camera came out. And then the sun came out. My hike slowed to a walk. With many long pauses.

Beautiful photos frame and emphasize the infinite beauty that surrounds every one of us. Taking such photographs does make one pause. And love life.

You might also enjoy some photos on one of my other fun blogs, A Small World Full of Beauty.

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!

To read a few small stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.