Victor Ochoa’s Tree of Life in San Ysidro!

Victor Ochoa is a world-famous muralist, activist and pioneer of the Chicano art movement whose work can be found throughout San Diego, particularly in Chicano Park. You can learn more about him here.

Should you stroll through San Ysidro Park, between West and East Park Avenue, just north of the San Ysidro Civic Center, you’ll probably see what appears to be a raised square platform in the middle of the grass. As you move closer this colorful public art, titled Arbol de la Vida (Tree of Life), comes into focus. It’s a tile mosaic planter and bench that surrounds a tree!

I can find almost nothing about this public art when I search the internet. Written on the tiles is the following:

Arbol de la Vida by Victor Ochoa, 1995. Commissioned for the community of San Ysidro and the citizens of San Diego through the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. Tree of Life.

It appears the overall design was created by Victor Ochoa and the tiles were painted by local children.

Do you know more about his wonderful public artwork? If you do, leave a comment!

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!

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Neighbor releases butterflies in San Diego park!

A neighbor in San Diego’s Cortez Hill community has released butterflies in a city park. She accomplished this with a paintbrush and stencils!

Take a look!

I learned from Joe Ciavarella of Friends of Tweet Street Park that the beautiful butterflies–and birds, flowers and dragonflies–you see in my photos were painted on planters and stones recently by Victoria Villavicencio, who periodically visits Cortez Hill.

Tweet Street Linear Park at the top of Cortez Hill becomes ever more inviting over time, thanks not only to the friendly workers of San Diego’s Parks and Recreation Department, but to unselfish community volunteers who devotedly plant, tend and clean the garden-like park.

From one who lives a few steps away: Thank You!

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!

First look at new Town and Country river park!

The beautiful new river park in Mission Valley between the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center and the Fashion Valley Transit Center will soon be completed. Today I noticed the construction fences were down and the park was wide open to the public, so of course I had to walk around and explore.

After checking out the corner of the park next to the trolley station, I walked east following the elevated trolley tracks, turned south, passed an unfinished information kiosk, and crossed the San Diego River via the pedestrian bridge. I then walked along the winding new path on the south side of the river.

You might notice some intriguing, very unique public artwork. What appear to be tree trunks have been wrapped with bands containing words that concern the natural and human history of the San Diego River.

As I walked along the grassy green linear park, I spotted something slender and white down near the water. It was a great egret. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a good photograph.

I think I might use those park benches in the future! Looks like a perfect place to sit and read.

If you want to see a few photos I took a couple weeks ago, when this new river park was less developed, click here.

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A slightly weird walk in Pacific Beach!

Easter Island head in a front yard.
Easter Island head in a front yard.

This afternoon I headed to PB to check out a very cool mural at Pacific Beach Elementary School. (I’ll blog about that shortly!)

After having a good look at the mural, I kept my camera out for what might be considered a slightly weird walk. I headed west toward the Pacific Ocean and eventually found myself approaching the grassy park overlooking Law Street Beach. I then turned south and followed the oceanfront boardwalk down to Crystal Pier.

Exactly how weird was this walk?

Check out this cool old truck. A guy with the welding company talked to me near a sculpture of a bison in his lot near the sidewalk, but I didn't think to snap a photo of it before I had resumed walking. Bummer.r.
A friendly guy with the welding company that owns this cool truck talked to me near a steel sculpture of a bison. It was in a work lot by the sidewalk. I forgot to snap a photo of the sculpture. Bummer.
Who wants to take surf lessons? Make this the best summer ever!
Who wants to take surf lessons? Make this the best summer ever!
Old peeling street art seems to portray Neptune on a seahorse.
As I neared the Pacific Ocean, I found this peeling street art that seems to portray Neptune on a seahorse.
Looking north toward La Jolla across the grassy park at Law Street.
Looking north toward the ocean off La Jolla from the grassy park at Law Street.
After I took this photo, I rested on the bench for several minutes.
After I took this photo, I rested on this bench for a little bit.
Thanks for the sunsets and the dawns.
In honor of our parents Bill and Jean Manion. Thanks for the sunsets and the dawns.
I see Crystal Pier in the distance.
Look at all the beach goers! I see Crystal Pier in the distance.
Tons of surfing action and swimmers today at Pacific Beach.
Tons of surfing action and swimmers today at Pacific Beach.
Another perfect bench overlooking the beach.
As I began south, I found another perfect bench overlooking the beach. A gull must think this guy has some food.
The Pacific Beach boardwalk is part of the California Coastal Trail.
The Pacific Beach boardwalk is part of the California Coastal Trail.
Lots of bicyclists out on a warm Friday afternoon.
Lots of bicyclists out on a warm summer Friday afternoon.
I passed on a Chips Galore this time.
I passed on a Chips Galore! ice cream sandwich this time.
Wooden stairs down to the beach.
Wooden stairs down to the beach.
Sign explains how Marine Protected Areas safeguard our ocean's beauty. (Click this photo and it will enlarge for easier reading.)
Sign explains how marine protected areas stretching north from here–directly off La Jolla–safeguard our ocean’s beauty. (Click this photo and it will enlarge for easier reading.)
I was very tempted to descend.
I was very tempted to descend.
Here come some inline skaters.
Here come some inline skaters.
A cool mural at Kono's Coffee by @HannasMurals.
A cool mural at Kono’s Coffee by @HannasMurals.
La Playa Nudista? Where's that?
La Playa Nudista? Never heard of it. Where’s that?
Gone Surfing.
Gone surfing.
Stay Weird.
Stay weird.

Well, honestly, this particular walk didn’t seem that weird to me. But if sunshine, a beach full of sunbathers, distant surf, passing bicyclists, skaters and walkers, and an ice cream vendor with a tinkling bell on his cart are considered weird, I’ll take it!

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!

Amazing public art in Vista’s Civic Center Park!

I was pleased to discover some truly amazing public art inside Vista’s Civic Center Park last weekend. The small but beautiful park is situated adjacent to the Civic Center complex, and was very quiet on an early Sunday afternoon.

In addition to a fantastically strange and wonderful sculpture titled Wind Beams, I found four very fine bronze sculptures of children reading and at play!

I’ve tried to determine who created the bronze sculptures of children, but I can find nothing on the internet, and I could find no artist’s name on any plaque. If anyone knows the artist, leave a comment! The sculptures depict a small girl reading a book, a child riding a bike with arms outspread, kids and their friendly dog crossing a curved bridge or log, and two small children riding a large tortoise. The plaque that I photographed, which is mounted near the reading girl, explains these four bronze sculptures were dedicated in October 2012 as a tribute to retired Vista City Manager Rita L. Geldert.

The extremely cool Wind Beams sculpture was created by artist Robert Rochin. The year given is 2010. It’s an unbelievable thing made of four 10 feet long I-beams that move about in the slightest breeze. All I can say is these heavy steel beams must be well lubricated and perfectly balanced! Watching the beams move silently about like immense metal arms whirling in the sky is really strange, even surreal!

Wind Beams, by artist Robert Rochin, 2010.
Wind Beams, by artist Robert Rochin, 2010.

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 Memorial Wall at Vista’s Rotary Lane.

A pole at south end of Rotary Lane in Vista expresses May Peace Prevail on Earth in many languages. By the World Peace Prayer Society, 2018.
A pole at south end of Rotary Lane in Vista expresses May Peace Prevail on Earth in many languages. By the World Peace Prayer Society, 2018.

During my adventure in Vista last weekend, I found myself walking down a path through an old linear park. The park is located next to Vista Village Drive, near its intersection with Main Street. A plaque at either end of the park told me I had entered Rotary Lane.

I soon caught sight of two works of art–one honoring peace and the other freedom–and a shining 60 feet long engraved black granite Military Memorial Wall.

I took these photographs. For those who are interested, the images and captions provide a little more information.

Rotary Lane. Established 1966.
Rotary Lane. Established 1966.

Branches of the United States Armed Services on a black marble memorial wall. In honor of all those who serve and protect . . . past, present and future.
Branches of the United States Armed Services on a black marble memorial wall. In honor of all those who serve and protect . . . past, present and future.
Purple Heart City. In honor of U.S. Armed Services men and women killed or wounded in combat.
Purple Heart City. In honor of U.S. Armed Services men and women killed or wounded in combat. Designated by Vista City Council, June 12, 2013.
Partners who made the memorial wall possible.
Partners who made the Military Memorial Wall possible.
Memorial Wall - Dedicated 2015 - Vista Hi Noon Rotary Club.
A small plaque opposite the wall reads: Memorial Wall – Dedicated 2015 – Vista Hi Noon Rotary Club.
Sculpture of a patriotic red, white and blue bald eagle high atop a lamp post at Rotary Lane.
Sculpture of a patriotic red, white and blue bald eagle high atop a lamp post at Rotary Lane.
Freedom's Struggle, by artist Winifred Meiser, 2016.
Freedom’s Struggle, by artist Winifred Meiser, 2016.

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!

Progress at Town and Country’s new river park!

Progress continues to be made in the construction of a new linear river park in Mission Valley. The park will be located at the north edge of the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center.

Lots of workers were out this morning getting the new park ready!

I noticed more foliage has been planted, the pedestrian bridge over the San Diego River has been reinstalled, and that some more concrete pathways have been poured.

Back in June I posted a photograph of this new riverfront park under construction and provided some information concerning the project:

An ugly old parking lot of the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center is being converted into park space. And the north side of the San Diego River, directly adjacent to the Fashion Valley Transit Center, will be part of this new public park, too!

The project, which includes almost 8 acres of restored natural habitat, and beautiful new pathways along the San Diego River, is part of the Town and Country hotel’s extensive property-wide renovation.

This morning I attempted to get photos of construction near the hotel, but trees and distance were insurmountable for my little camera. Perhaps I’ll walk that way in the days ahead to see more. From the trolley I did observe a long new pathway winding along the south side of the river!

UPDATE!

A few days later, I noticed sod and benches have been installed!

IMG_6203z

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!

Progress at Old Town’s new Kumeyaay park.

I walked around Old Town San Diego this afternoon looking for anything interesting or new. As I passed the area that is being developed into a new outdoor park with Kumeyaay interpretive displays, I noticed great progress has been made. I last blogged about this spacious new park in early May, and provided much more information about it here.

Today, as I walked along the west side of this new park, I took some photos over the construction fence. I saw that many native trees have been planted!

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 by the beautiful river in Santee.

Marker beside the San Diego River Trail in Santee.
Marker beside the San Diego River Trail in Santee.

Yesterday I walked along a section of the beautiful San Diego River in Santee.

I started from Cuyamaca Street and headed west down the San Diego River Trail. When I reached the east edge of Mast Park, I turned south onto a dirt path, crossed the river via a footbridge, then turned back west once I reached a trail that follows the south side of the river. I continued west along a wooden fence until it came to an end, then turned back to Cuyamaca Street.

Here are my photos.

Starting west from Cuyamaca Street on the north side of the river.
Starting west from Cuyamaca Street on the north side of the river.

View toward the river broadens from the trail.
View toward the river broadens from the trail. (I continued to walk west and didn’t follow this particular dirt path.)
A bat box near the river.
A bat box near the river.
Sign at Mast Park describes habitat of the San Diego River Ecosystem. Snakes, lizards, turtles and ducks live here.
Sign at Mast Park describes habitat of the San Diego River Ecosystem. Snakes, lizards, turtles and ducks live here, plus many other birds.
Beginning south down a dirt path toward the river.
Beginning south down a dirt path toward the river.
Bright foliage.
Bright river foliage.

A wet, marshy area near the river's edge.
A wet, marshy area at the river’s edge.
Approaching a footbridge that spans the San Diego River.
Approaching a footbridge that spans the San Diego River.
Looking west from the bridge on a summer's day. It hasn't rained for a long time. The river here resembles a series of small lakes.
Looking west from the bridge on a summer’s day. It hasn’t rained for a long time. The river here resembles a series of small lakes.
Looking east from the bridge.
Looking east from the bridge.
Continuing south.
Continuing south.

Light in leaves.
Light in leaves.
Duckweed in pooled river water.
Duckweed in pooled river water.

Another sign south of the river. Except for the largemouth bass, all the creatures shown are native to California and the river.
Another sign south of the river. Except for the largemouth bass, all the creatures shown are native to California and the river.
Looking back north. I now turned west again and continued my walk.
Looking back north. I now turned west again and continued my walk.
A sign tells people to keep away from the endangered Least Bell's Vireo nesting area.
A sign tells people to keep away from the endangered Least Bell’s Vireo nesting area.
Following a wooden fence.
Following a wooden fence.
More light in leaves.
More light in leaves.

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!

Oil painted walks in nature’s beauty.

It’s going to be hot this weekend. So I’m planning on taking it easy–do some reading by the water, perhaps write something.

Meanwhile, I thought it would be fun to create even more digital oil paintings!

My recent walk in San Clemente Canyon has inspired me to select a few past photos of nature’s beauty, and transform them into “paintings” with GIMP’s graphic Oilify filter.

If you think you recognize the ocean at Torrey Pines State Reserve, the San Diego River, Mount Laguna, snow at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, and Mission Trails Regional Park–in no particular order–you’d be correct!

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!