Geometric patterns in a city.

Walking through a city is like navigating through a sea of geometric patterns!

On all sides: circles, lines, triangles, squares, rectangles!

Look up, look down. See the grates, ironwork, bricks, manhole covers. See the windows and reflections. You’ll find yourself surrounded by architecture designed mathematically.

Some of the patterns are simple. Others are complex.

When you walk through a city, what shapes and patterns do you see?

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 walk down Solana Beach’s Coastal Rail Trail.

Sculpted tiles form beautiful mosaics that were created by artist Betsy Schulz. This is a red-tailed hawk.
Sculpted clay tiles form beautiful mosaics that were created by artist Betsy Schulz. This is a red-tailed hawk.

On Sunday I walked the length of Solana Beach’s Coastal Rail Trail, which runs along the east side of Highway 101.

I was delighted to observe all sorts of colorful public art, beautiful flowers and trees, and even some unexpected poetry!

My walk was from south to north: from Via de la Valle up to a spot just beyond Ocean Street, where the trail through Solana Beach ends.

The pathway is extremely easy and flat. I saw many families riding bikes along it, and walkers and joggers, too.

Come along with me and read the photo captions.

Two arches by artist Betsy Schulz welcome walkers and riders to Solana Beach's Coastal Rail Trail at Highway 101 and Via de la Valle.
Two arches by artist Betsy Schulz welcome walkers and riders to Solana Beach’s Coastal Rail Trail at Highway 101 and Via de la Valle.
Wild nature on one amazing arch.
Wild nature on one amazing arch.
Local history depicted on both arches includes the native Kumeyaay, who have lived in the region for thousands of years.
Local history depicted on both arches includes the native Kumeyaay, who have lived in the region for thousands of years.
The arrival of Spanish missionaries is depicted.
The arrival of Spanish missionaries is depicted.
The history of Solana Beach includes great upheavals and transformations, including the coming of the railroad.
The history of Solana Beach includes great upheavals and transformations, including the coming of the railroad.
Scenes of Solana Beach in the early 20th century.
Scenes of Solana Beach in the early 20th century.
More scenes of Solana Beach in the early 20th century.
More scenes of Solana Beach in the early 20th century.
The City of Solana Beach was incorporated in 1986.
The City of Solana Beach was incorporated in 1986.
Surfing on the timeless Pacific Ocean.
Surfing on the timeless Pacific Ocean.

You can see more public art by Betsy Schulz by clicking here and here.

As I continued north on the Coastal Rail Trail, I noticed what appeared to be a crescent moon on the pathway, and a poem by Walter de la Mare.
As I continued north on the Coastal Rail Trail, I noticed what appeared to be a crescent moon on the pathway, with a moon poem by Walter de la Mare.
A bit farther on I found another glistening moon. This one includes a poem by Emily Dickinson.
A bit farther on I found another glistening moon. This one includes a poem by Emily Dickinson.
I then came upon this colorful stained glass sunburst, standing between the pathway and nearby Highway 101!
I then came upon this colorful stained glass sunburst, standing between the pathway and nearby Highway 101!
Sunburst of Color, by artist Amber Irwin, 2005. Amber Irwin is a founding member of the Solana Beach Art Association.
Sunburst of Color, by artist Amber Irwin, 2005. Amber Irwin is a founding member of the Solana Beach Art Association.
A small garden beside the Coastal Rail Trail was bright with flowers.
A small garden beside the Coastal Rail Trail was bright on a late summer day with flowers.
An electrical box with colorfully painted artwork.
An electrical box with painted artwork.
Looking over a fence, I saw a Coaster rumbling up the train tracks that run parallel to the trail.
Looking over a fence, I saw a Coaster rumbling up the train tracks that run parallel to the trail.
Then I stumbled upon a third crescent moon, and a mysterious hat! This poem is also by Emily Dickinson.
Then I stumbled upon a third crescent moon, and a mysterious hat! This poem is also by Emily Dickinson.
A water fountain near steps to the Dahlia Drive pedestrian bridge that spans the train tracks. The fountain stands above colorful mosaics.
A water fountain near steps to the Dahlia Drive pedestrian bridge that spans the train tracks. The fountain stands above colorful mosaics.
This mosaic is a love gift from the Solana Beach Presbyterian Church.
This mosaic is a love gift from the Solana Beach Presbyterian Church.
A local youth group made these many cheerful flowers.
A local youth group made these many cheerful ceramic leaves and flowers.
Across the train track I spotted the huge, eye-catching mural by artist Lindu Prasekti. It's called Myths at Play.
Across the train track I spotted the huge, eye-catching mural by artist Lindu Prasekti. It’s titled Myths at Play.

You can learn more about this very cool mural by clicking here.

I'm passed by bicyclists who are also heading north.
I’m passed by bicyclists who are also heading north.
Sea life mosaics decorate concrete benches at the bus stop across from the Solana Beach train station. By artist Michelle Griffoul.
Sea life mosaics decorate concrete benches at the bus stop across from the Solana Beach train station. By artist Michelle Griffoul.

You can learn more about these eleven benches and see up close images of the sea life tiles by clicking here.

I've come to some steps leading down to the Solana Beach train station platform. Lots of passengers are waiting below.
I’ve come to some steps leading down to the Solana Beach train station platform. Lots of passengers are waiting below.
The visually interesting Solana Beach train station was designed by architect Rob Wellington Quigley, and was built in 1994.
The visually interesting Solana Beach train station was designed by architect Rob Wellington Quigley, and was built in 1994.
Another photo of people on the train platform below the Coastal Rail Trail in Solana Beach.
Another photo of people on a train platform below the Coastal Rail Trail in Solana Beach.
Some more colorful art on another electrical box beside the pathway.
Some more colorful art on another electrical box beside the pathway.
Red bougainvillea and the Cliff Street bridge over train tracks.
Red bougainvillea and the Cliff Street bridge over train tracks.
A City of Solana Beach plaque on the CLIFF STREET BICYCLE/PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE.
A City of Solana Beach plaque on the CLIFF STREET BICYCLE/PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE.
As I approached the northern end of Solana Beach, I saw a sign that reads RAIL TRAIL ENDS 500 FT. (At this time the trail doesn't continue into Cardiff-by-the-Sea.)
As I approached the northern end of Solana Beach, I saw a sign that reads RAIL TRAIL ENDS 500 FT. (At this time the trail doesn’t continue into Cardiff-by-the-Sea.)
In addition to the distant ocean, I see something interesting ahead.
In addition to the distant ocean, I see something interesting ahead.
A monument with a plaque stands in a small grove of Torrey Pine trees.
A monument with a plaque stands near an observation platform beside a small grove of Torrey Pine trees.
Some sculptural Torrey Pine artwork on the side of the monument.
Some sculptural Torrey Pine artwork on the side of the monument.
The plaque explains the history of these transplanted Torrey Pine trees. Figuring in that complicated history are billboards along the highway and train tracks.
The plaque explains the history of these few transplanted Torrey Pine trees. Figuring in that complicated history are billboards along the highway and the installation of train tracks.
More beautiful artwork, at the north end of Solana Beach's Coastal Rail Trail.
More beautiful artwork, at the north end of Solana Beach’s Coastal Rail Trail.

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!

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!

Walking up the Snake Path at UCSD.

If you dare, walk with me up the Snake Path at UCSD. We will proceed from innocence to knowledge.

We’ll begin at a spot near the Jacobs School of Engineering, then head west up a hill toward the amazing Geisel Library. Our path is the winding 560-foot length of a scaly snake.

Snake Path, part of the UC San Diego Stuart Collection, was created by Alexis Smith in 1992. The scales of the snake are hexagonal pieces of colored slate.

We’ll pass a monumental granite book, none other than Milton’s Paradise Lost. On the cover is engraved: “And wilt thou not be loathe to leave this Paradise, but shalt possess a Paradise within thee, happier far.”

We’ll linger at a bench in a small Garden of Eden. Written on the bench are Thomas Gray’s words: “Yet ah why should they know their fate/When sorrow never comes too late/And happiness too swiftly flies/Thought would destroy their Paradise/No more, where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise.”

Toward innocence or knowledge. Which direction is best?

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!

Fun mosaic sculptures at IB’s Peoples Park!

Peoples Park in Imperial Beach is now over two years old.

In 2016, residents of IB volunteered their skills, labor and love, and helped 4 Walls International create this fun, relaxed park on Seacoast Drive.

There are benches, planters and curving pathways, but the highlight of the park is a group of colorful, organic sculptures. Some appear to me like sea snails; others, as you can see, are turtles!

Decorating the surface of these mosaic sculptures are bits of broken tile and other small treasures, like beads and seashells.

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!

Fun art on Grand Avenue in Pacific Beach.

A guy inline skates down the Pacific Beach boardwalk. Live Life SLOW.
A guy inline skates down the Pacific Beach boardwalk. Live Life SLOW.

Here come some fun photos! I took them during a short walk along Grand Avenue in Pacific Beach.

These various works of art, including the funny sign and mosaic sculpture, can be found between Mission Boulevard and Fanuel Street.

Enjoy!

A cool surf monkey in front of a Pacific Beach shop.
A cool surf monkey in front of a Pacific Beach bike shop.
Interwoven geometric design on an electrical box.
Interwoven geometric design on an electrical box.
A painted PB sunset.
A painted PB sunset.
One of three mosaic sculptures on the Grand Avenue median by Kim Emerson, which together are Oceanlife, Sun and Waves.
One of three mosaic sculptures on the Grand Avenue median by Kim Emerson, which together are Oceanlife, Sun and Waves. (The two others are east of Fanuel Street.)
Closer photo of the beautiful mosaic sculpture titled Waves, created by artist Kim Emerson in 2002.
Closer photo of the beautiful mosaic sculpture titled Waves, created by artist Kim Emerson in 2002.
A couple of electrical boxes at Grand and Fanuel feature lots of fun images.
A couple of electrical boxes at Grand and Fanuel feature lots of fun images.
A funny green seahorse and pink clam.
A funny green seahorse and pink clam.
Sea creatures hang out near a sunken treasure chest.
Sea creatures hang out near a sunken treasure chest.
Fun street art on two sides of one box.
Colorful street art on two sides of one box.
An octopus at the bottom of the sea near a wrecked tall ship.
A purple octopus at the bottom of the sea near a wrecked tall ship.
A grinning crab. Love the life! P.B.
A grinning crab! Love the life! P.B.

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 silvery, sparkling tree in Little Italy.

Stand in certain spots on the North Embarcadero, look east toward Little Italy, and your eyes might be dazzled by a sparkling tree on a large wall.

The glittery abstract tree decorates the west side of the Broadstone Little Italy building, near the corner of Grape Street and California Street. The branches of the mirror mosaic rise above train and trolley tracks. As the sun descends toward San Diego Bay, the silvery tree really shimmers and shines.

I’ve learned that the artist’s name is Stephanie Clair and that her piece is called The Shimmer Tree!

The Shimmer Tree, public art in San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood by Stephanie Clair.
The Shimmer Tree, public art in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood by Stephanie Clair.

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!