Journey through dreams at the San Diego Art Institute.

Visitor to the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park journeys through a dream.
Visitor to the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park journeys through a dream.

Stepping into the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park is like entering a world of dreams. Weird, unexpected dreams hover around corners, dangle overhead, emerge mysteriously from the floor and walls.

A journey through this dreamworld opens one’s eyes to the possibilities of human creativity. During my recent visit I felt as though I were floating through some sort of Twilight Zone. The unearthly sounds, the psychedelic whirls of video, the explosions of imagination, the seemingly sublime and inexplicable visions.

If you’re in San Diego and love provocative art, head over to Balboa Park! The San Diego Art Institute is more gallery than museum, with exhibits that change every couple of months.

One can wander through a maze of rampant human creativity.
One can wander through a maze of rampant human creativity  The current exhibit focuses on mixed media.
Upside down, strange and sudden.
Upside down, strange and sudden.
Through alleys of dazzling images.
Through alleys of dazzling images.
Aaron Garretson, Sunday Morning Cocktails. Threat, yarn, cloth, found materials. 2016.
Aaron Garretson, Sunday Morning Cocktails. Threat, yarn, cloth, found materials. 2016.
Weird visions on a wall include spinning blobs of video.
Weird visions on a wall include spinning blobs of video.
Elise Amour, Untitled. Mixed media with vintage photo. 2017.
Elise Amour, Untitled. Mixed media with vintage photo. 2017.
Surrounded by art. Slow feet meander from dream to dream.
Surrounded by art. Slow feet meander from dream to dream.
Eight pieces by Jodi Hays. Gouache, ink and collage on paper. 2015.
Eight pieces by Jodi Hays. Gouache, ink and collage on paper. 2015.

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Do you like to read original, thought-provoking fiction? To read a few stories I’ve written (and something that resembles a poem), click Short Stories by Richard.

Students create fun artwork, reinvent Loteria!

A wall inside the San Diego Art Institute features artwork by 3rd and 4th grade students at San Miguel Elementary School.
A wall inside the San Diego Art Institute features artwork by 3rd and 4th grade students at San Miguel Elementary School.

Check out some fun artwork at the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park!

Inside the museum-like gallery you’ll find a wall splashed with a large grid of images created by 3rd and 4th grade students at San Miguel Elementary School. The project is called Loteria Reinvented.

Loteria is a Mexican game of chance similar to bingo. Loteria utilizes a tabla–a random grid of pictures–and matching images that are drawn from a deck of cards. The students were introduced to the game’s history, then made versions of the game unique to San Miguel Elementary School. Each student reinterpreted an original Loteria card, drawing their version on a 17 by 23 inch panel!

The colorful wall can be seen at the San Diego Art Institute until late May. The student artwork will then be displayed at Museo El Trompo in Tijuana.

Each panel is a student's reinterpretation of a Loteria card. Loteria is a Mexican game of chance similar to bingo.
Each panel is a student’s reinterpretation of a Loteria card. Loteria is a Mexican game of chance similar to bingo.
Cupcake. Dragon. Face. Glasses. Tree.
Cupcake. Dragon. Face. Glasses. Tree.
Kitten. Fish. Teacup. Boat. Bull.
Kitten. Fish. Teacup. Boat. Bull.
Flag. Bridge. Dream Soccer. Lion. Shooting Star.
Flag. Bridge. Dream Soccer. Lion. Shooting Star.
Flower. Flying Girl.
Flower. Flying Girl.
Visitor at San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park checks out Loteria Reinvented!
Visitor at San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park checks out Loteria Reinvented!

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San Diego Harbor and Backcountry: Reiffel paintings.

A small part of a large, dynamic painting of San Diego's working waterfront.
A small part of a large, dynamic painting of San Diego’s working waterfront.

Yesterday I enjoyed a visit to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park. In addition to checking out various fascinating exhibits, I paused for a moment to gaze upon two large murals on display that were painted in 1936 by Charles Reiffel.

Charles Reiffel was a renowned Post-Impressionist landscape painter who was sometimes referred to as the American Van Gogh. Looking at these truly impressive paintings, one can understand why! The viewer enters his color-splashed, dreamy world and simply wants to linger.

Two more wonderful Reiffel paintings can be seen in Balboa Park inside the Casa de Balboa. I have photos of them here!

Charles Reiffel, San Diego Harbor, 1936. Oil on canvas. WPA mural inside the San Diego History Center that was originally commissioned for San Diego High School.
Charles Reiffel, San Diego Harbor, 1936. Oil on canvas. WPA mural inside the San Diego History Center that was originally commissioned for San Diego High School.
This part of the fantastic oil painting depicts a pier and activity on San Diego Bay.
This part of the fantastic oil painting depicts a pier and activity on San Diego Bay.
Boats and buildings along San Diego's colorful harbor.
Boats and buildings along San Diego’s colorful harbor.
Charles Reiffel, San Diego Backcountry, 1936. Oil on canvas. WPA mural inside the San Diego History Center that was originally commissioned for San Diego High School.
Charles Reiffel, San Diego Backcountry, 1936. Oil on canvas. WPA mural inside the San Diego History Center that was originally commissioned for San Diego High School.
This part of the oil painting shows homes in the hills of San Diego.
This part of the oil painting shows homes in the hills of San Diego.
First introduced by Spanish explorers and missionaries, horse riding has become a popular activity in the country surrounding San Diego.
First introduced by Spanish explorers and missionaries, horse riding has become a popular activity in the country surrounding San Diego.
A farmer plows a field somewhere in beautiful San Diego.
A farmer plows a field somewhere in beautiful San Diego.

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!

Art in breezeway by Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Art on a wall in the breezeway between the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Santa Fe Depot.
Art on a wall in the breezeway between the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Santa Fe Depot.

This morning I walked past the downtown location of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. In a hurry to catch the trolley for work, I passed through the breezeway between the museum and the Santa Fe Depot. And look what I discovered! I was pleased to encounter some new art on a wall that I hadn’t seen before!

I didn’t see any plaques, signs or explanations. I assume this artwork originated at MCASD.

Take a look and interpret as you wish!

Someone was walking the opposite direction through the breezeway, toward Kettner Boulevard.
Someone was walking the opposite direction through the breezeway, toward Kettner Boulevard.
Creatively drawn map includes parts of San Diego County and the Mexican border. A variety of messages can be read.
Creatively drawn map includes parts of San Diego County and the Mexican border. A variety of messages can be seen and read.
This panel of artwork contains bold swaths of color.
This panel of artwork contains bold strokes of color.
Inside all of that color is a complex, detailed collage including abstract faces.
Inside all of that color is a complex, detailed collage including abstract faces.

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 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.

First San Diego Courthouse Museum in Old Town.

Likeness of Agoston Haraszthy, first Sheriff of the County of San Diego. He was elected in 1850 and served one term. He was a pioneer when it came to growing grapes and became known as the Father of California Wine.
Likeness of Agoston Haraszthy, first Sheriff of the County of San Diego. He was elected in 1850 and served one term. He was a pioneer when it came to growing grapes and became known as the Father of California Wine.

Visitors to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park can get a taste of the city’s early history when they step into the First San Diego Courthouse Museum.

One of many free attractions that can be found around Old Town’s central Plaza de Las Armas, the First San Diego Courthouse Museum is a recreation of our city’s first fired-brick structure, built in 1847 by members of the Mormon Battalion.

From 1847 to 1850 the original building served as the office of el Alcalde (Mexican mayor) of San Diego. Beginning in 1850 it contained the office of San Diego Mayor and City Clerk, and was used for meetings of the San Diego Common Council. The building was also used as a city and county courthouse and First District Court beginning in 1850.

Other uses for the building would include a meeting place for Masonic Lodge No. 35, headquarters of the U.S. Boundary Commission, office of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, and a place of worship for San Diego’s first Protestant church.

Come with me inside the museum. Let’s have a peek at a few very small rooms and their fascinating exhibits.

Photo of the modest brick First San Diego Courthouse Museum in Old Town, a recreation of the city's first courthouse.
Photo of the modest brick First San Diego Courthouse Museum in Old Town, a recreation of San Diego’s first courthouse and city hall.
In 1847, the Mormon Battalion built the first fired-brick structure in San Diego. For a couple decades it would serve as courthouse.
In 1847, the Mormon Battalion built the first fired-brick structure in San Diego. For over two decades it would serve as courthouse.
Visitor to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park enters a fascinating recreation of the city's first courthouse and city hall.
Visitor to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park enters a fascinating recreation of the city’s first courthouse and city hall.
The portrait is of Oliver S. Witherby, He was appointed First District Judge in 1850. He served for 3 years. He is considered the Father of San Diego Jurisprudence.
The portrait is of Oliver S. Witherby, He was appointed First District Judge in 1850. He served for 3 years. He is considered the Father of San Diego Jurisprudence.
A time capsule lies in a corner of the first San Diego courthouse. It is scheduled to be opened in 2050.
A time capsule lies under this cornerstone of the first San Diego courthouse. It is scheduled to be opened in 2050.
A display case in San Diego's first courthouse contains artifacts from the 19th century, including old pipe bowls and an antique lawyer's briefcase.
A display case in San Diego’s first courthouse contains artifacts from the 19th century, including old pipe bowls and an antique lawyer’s briefcase.
In 1872 a fire destroyed the San Diego courthouse. The fire burned a large part of Old Town's business section.
In 1872 a fire destroyed the San Diego courthouse. The fire burned a large part of Old Town’s business section.
Sign explains the first California courts. The district court convened here, and acted as the highest court in the state.
Sign explains the first California courts. The district court convened here, and acted as the highest court in the state.
This room in the small building was the mayor's office. Portraits of some early San Diego mayors are on the wall. Joshua H. Bean was San Diego's first mayor, elected in 1850.
This room in the small building was the mayor’s office. Portraits of some early San Diego mayors are on the wall. Joshua H. Bean was San Diego’s first mayor, elected in 1850.
A peek into the adjacent sheriff's office. I see rifles, handcuffs and keys to the outdoor jail cell.
A peek into the adjacent sheriff’s office. I see rifles, handcuffs and keys to the outdoor jail cell.
This iron jail cell was the size and construction of the original courthouse jail from 1850.
This iron jail cell was the size and construction of the original courthouse jail from 1850.
Break the law, and you might end up in here!
Break the law, and you might end up in here!
the San Diego Courthouse and City Hall museum in Old Town is open free to the public every day.
A small museum depicting the first San Diego Courthouse and City Hall in Old Town is open free to the public every day.

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!

Photos inside the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum.

The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is a cultural gem in downtown's small Chinatown.
The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is a cultural gem in downtown’s small Chinatown.

I recently enjoyed a visit to the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum. It’s located downtown in San Diego’s Asian Pacific Historic District. I was graciously allowed to take some photos of the indoor exhibits and the peaceful outdoor garden.

The museum might be small, but it overflows with an important slice of San Diego history. Its many colorful artifacts representing Chinese culture will fascinate your eyes at every turn! I recommend a visit!

Visitors enter the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum during the San Diego Architectural Foundation's OPEN HOUSE 2017.
Visitors enter the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017.
Many colorful sights await inside the historical and cultural museum.
Many colorful sights await inside the small historical and cultural museum.
Someone looks at old photos of San Diego and Chinese residents who helped to build and grow our city.
Someone looks at old photos of San Diego and Chinese residents who helped to build and grow our city.
The museum building was originally a mission, which was moved to its present location in San Diego’s Asian Pacific Historic District.
The museum building was originally a mission, which was moved to its present location in San Diego’s Asian Pacific Historic District.
Extensive archaeological work has been performed in this area, including the block south of the museum. Many artifacts from old Chinatown have been recovered.
Extensive archaeological work has been performed in this area, including the block south of the museum. Many artifacts from old Chinatown have been recovered.
Old photos show archaeological digs in the neighborhood.
Old photos show archaeological digs in the neighborhood.
Some of many artifacts recovered include glass bottles, ceramic bowls, utensils.
Some of many artifacts recovered include glass bottles, ceramic bowls, utensils.
Objects used in everyday life include a rubber ball, marbles, mahjong tile, Chinese dice and go pieces.
Objects used in everyday life include a rubber ball, marbles, mahjong tile, Chinese dice and go pieces.
Historical photograph of Chinese fishing junks anchored in San Diego Harbor around 1887.
Historical photograph of Chinese fishing junks anchored in San Diego Harbor around 1887.
Portrait of the Ah Quin family, one of the most prominent, influential early San Diego Chinese families.
Portrait of the Ah Quin family, one of the most prominent, influential early San Diego Chinese families.
Chinese laundries in San Diego utilized irons, counter bells, an abacus, and other useful objects.
Chinese laundries in San Diego utilized irons, counter bells, an abacus, and other useful objects.
A bridal carriage from the late 1800s made of rosewood, found in Yun Cheng.
A bridal carriage from the late 1800s made of rosewood, found in Yun Cheng.
The limestone Buddha head of the Northern Qi Dynasty, was originally carved into a cave in Shanxi Province.
The limestone Buddha head of the Northern Qi Dynasty, was originally carved into a cave in Shanxi Province.
A temple guardian, from Ming Dynasty. The carved wooden idol has a dragon headdress, robes, glass eyes and a real hear beard and mustache.
A temple guardian, from Ming Dynasty. The carved wooden idol has a dragon headdress, robes, glass eyes and a real hair beard and mustache.
A palm raincoat, called so yee, worn by fishermen and farmers for centuries in China.
A palm raincoat, called so yee, worn by fishermen and farmers for centuries in China.
Colorful woven art, and Chinese shoes and slippers for bound feet.
Colorful woven art, and Chinese shoes and slippers for bound feet.
Looking past the Buddha head at a fantastic, ornate alcove bed.
Looking past the Buddha head at a fantastic, ornate alcove bed.
The gilt red-lacquered alcove bed, or babu chuang, was made of southern elm in the Sichuan province in the late 19th century.
The gilt red-lacquered alcove bed, or babu chuang, was made of southern elm in the Sichuan province in the late 19th century.
Clay Chinese opera figurines represent different scenes. The characters are from local theatrical traditions, and utilize a complicated set of symbolic gestures.
Clay Chinese opera figurines represent different scenes. The characters are from local theatrical traditions, and utilize a complicated set of symbolic gestures.
Display case contains memories of military service.
Display case contains memories of military service.
Punching devices used for the Chinese Lottery of San Diego, which was popular in the Stingaree District and Chinatown. Technically illegal, the lottery was tolerated by the authorities.
Punching devices used for the Chinese Lottery of San Diego, which was popular in the red-light Stingaree District and Chinatown. Technically illegal, the lottery was tolerated by the authorities.
A scene from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The elaborate wood carving depicts the battle that Zhao Yun fought to save the sun of Liu Bei.
A scene from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The elaborate wood carving depicts the battle that Zhao Yun fought to save the sun of Liu Bei.
Manjusri altar table, from the late 19th century. Manjusri is the Bodhisattva of wisdom--he holds a sward that cuts through ignorance and illusion.
Manjusri altar table, from the late 19th century. Manjusri is the Bodhisattva of wisdom–he holds a sword that cuts through ignorance and illusion.
Terracotta horse and general are replicas from the Terracotta Army unearthed at Xian, China. They occupy a corner of the museum's outdoor Chuang Garden.
Terracotta horse and general are replicas from the Terracotta Army unearthed at Xian, China. They occupy a corner of the museum’s outdoor Chuang Garden.
Statue of Confucius, donated by the generosity of the Ministry of Education, Taiwan, Republic of China.
Statue of Confucius, donated by the generosity of the Ministry of Education, Taiwan, Republic of China.
A granite courtyard scene, 1800-1840. In this wall panel, three children representing prosperity, peer out at the street.
A granite courtyard scene, 1800-1840. In this wall panel, three children representing prosperity, peer out at the street.
A tranquil path runs beside water along the north side of the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum.
A tranquil path runs beside water along the north side of the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum.
Ornamental carving along the peaceful path.
Ornamental carving along the peaceful path.
Another warrior statue in the cool shade.
Another warrior statue in the cool shade.
Behind the horse is a tombstone made in 1796, the inaugural year of the Jia Qing Emperor. It lacks in inscription, perhaps expressing a power that no words can describe.
Behind the horse is a tombstone made in 1796, the inaugural year of the Jia Qing Emperor. It lacks in inscription, perhaps expressing a power that no words can describe.

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 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.

Print Culture exhibit at San Diego Central Library.

A special exhibit at the public library in downtown San Diego showcases modern graphic design from the mid-twentieth century.
A special exhibit at the public library in downtown San Diego showcases modern graphic design from the mid-twentieth century.

A fascinating exhibition at the San Diego Central Library will be running through May 7, 2017. You can find it on the 9th floor in the library’s Art Gallery. The exhibition, titled Print Culture: Midcentury Modern Graphic Design in San Diego, concerns artistic expression and the evolution of printing technology during the mid-20th century. Emphasis is placed on San Diego-based independent artists and local businesses, particularly defense contractors.

Artists, graphic designers, printers and those who enjoy learning about San Diego’s history and culture really should pay a visit to the gallery. Here are some photos which provide a taste of what you’ll see.

Print Culture: Midcentury Modern Graphic Design in San Diego is an exhibition now showing through May 7, 2017. The work of local designers, illustrators and artists is on display.
Print Culture: Midcentury Modern Graphic Design in San Diego is an exhibition now showing through May 7, 2017. The work of local designers, illustrators and artists is on display.
Many images created locally for various purposes are shown in the gallery. A uniquely bold style of graphic design emerged in the 1950s and evolved over the ensuing decades.
Many images created locally for various purposes are shown in the gallery. A uniquely bold style of graphic design emerged in the 1950’s and evolved over the ensuing decades.
I was interested to see an image of Donal Hord's sculpture Aztec. A few days ago I posted photographs that I took of the iconic work of art.
I was interested to see an image of Donal Hord’s sculpture Aztec. A few days ago I posted several photographs that I took of this iconic work of art.
More examples of graphic design from this sometimes overlooked period. Many artists produced their own printed material.
More examples of graphic design from this sometimes overlooked period. Many creative artists produced their own printed material.
The defense industry in San Diego created many posters, drawings, charts, presentations and signs in the mid-20th century. Printing machines evolved which facilitated their production.
The defense industry in San Diego produced many posters, drawings, charts, presentations and signs in the mid-20th century. Printing machines evolved which facilitated their production.
More interesting examples of printed artwork and ephemera.
More interesting examples of printed artwork and ephemera.
Small-scale press operations created many types of colorful printed material, including greeting cards.
Small-scale press operations created many types of colorful printed material, including greeting cards.
A display case in the Central Library's gallery contains more unique examples of printed art.
A display case in the Central Library’s gallery contains more unique examples of printed art from the mid-twentieth century.
The special exhibition contains many graphic pieces that one can study and admire.
This special exhibition contains many pieces that one can study and admire.
Colorful posters, invitations and cards were popular in the mid-1900s.
Colorful posters, invitations and cards were popular in the mid-1900’s.
Graphics designed specifically for art galleries are also on display.
Graphics designed specifically for fine art galleries are also on display.
Some graphics produced by San Diego-based companies for the military.
Some graphics produced by San Diego-based companies for the military.
The U.S. Navy's large presence in San Diego required the production of many pamphlets, charts and other printed documents.
The U.S. Navy’s large presence in San Diego required the production of many pamphlets, charts and other printed documents.
One display explains how physical art was first conceptualized and created before appearing on a magazine cover.
One display explains how physical art was first conceptualized and created before finally being printed on a magazine cover.
A fascinating look at another era's artistic expression through graphic design. Our culture has been greatly influenced by the evolution of printing technology.
A fascinating look at another era’s artistic expression through graphic design. It’s apparent that our culture has been greatly influenced by the evolution of printing technology.

Writing is a struggle.  After revising my latest short story over and over again, I believe that I finally have it right. This story is so short you’ll be able to read it in less than one minute! It’s called The Piano Player Sat Down.

Thanks for visiting my blog!