The iconic Guardian of Water sculpture.

Guardian of Water sculpture faces San Diego Bay.
Guardian of Water sculpture faces San Diego Bay.

Two of San Diego’s most iconic sights can be found in close proximity. The Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship, attracts tourists just a few steps down the Embarcadero from Donal Hord’s classic Guardian of Water sculpture.

Postcards and brochures promoting San Diego are often graced with this elegant granite sculpture. Since 1939 it has stood facing San Diego Bay at the foot of the County Administration Building.

In part funded by the Works Progress Administration, the famous sculpture depicts a simple pioneer woman holding a jug of water. Pictured in the mosaic tiles and basin are cloudlike water-bearing nudes, a dam, an orchard of citrus fruit trees, dolphins, fish and sea snails!

Donal Hord sculpture debuted in 1939.
Donal Hord’s sculpture debuted in 1939.
Side view of the iconic Guardian of Water.
Side view of the iconic Guardian of Water.
County Administration Building in background.
County Administration Building stands in background.
Sea snail on basin of the Guardian of Water.
Sea snail on basin of the Guardian of Water.

To enjoy future posts, you can “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.

A fanciful bit of public art on Shelter Island.

Pacific Portal on Shelter Island by James T. Hubbell.
Pacific Portal on Shelter Island by James T. Hubbell.

Should you ever drive to Shelter Island, you’ll probably see a large, very unusual gazebo between the central traffic circle and San Diego Bay. It’s just one part of the large collection of public art lining the narrow island.

The Pacific Portal is a sculptural gazebo made of sprayed, reinforced concrete. It was erected eight years ago, replacing an old, more traditional Rotary Club pavilion. Nearby you’ll also find a small trellis structure and an interesting sculpture made of wrought iron.

The artist, James T. Hubbell, also designed the Pearl of the Pacific, the colorful public artwork featured in Pacific Rim Park at the southern end of Shelter Island.

While Pacific Portal is officially said to be a community gathering place, it’s located off the beaten track where few people walk, and offers few places to sit and relax. It seems to be more ostentatious than functional. Which strikes me as rather unfortunate.

Fanciful gazebo by the water is made of concrete.
Fanciful gazebo by the water is made of concrete.
Mosaic adds color to the curved interior of Pacific Portal.
Mosaic adds color to the curved interior of Pacific Portal.

To enjoy future posts, you can “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.

The Spirit of Imperial Beach surfer sculpture.

Bronze surfer holds surfboard in Imperial Beach.
Bronze surfer holds surfboard in Imperial Beach.

A short walk north of the Imperial Beach pier takes you to this delightful sculpture. The Spirit of Imperial Beach is 18 feet high and incorporates many fun elements. The sandcastle at its base and the child with a pail recall the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition, which used to be held yearly in Imperial Beach. (Several years ago the competition was replaced by the Sun and Sea Festival.)

Child rides a fish near the beach.
Child rides a fish near the beach.
Spirit of Imperial Beach by James A. Wasil.
Spirit of Imperial Beach by James A. Wasil.
Crabs, shells, fish, sandcastle and girl with a pail.
Crabs, shells, fish, sandcastle and girl with a pail.
Closer look at amazing detail.
Closer look at amazing detail.
Spirit of Imperial Beach sculpture is north of the pier.
Spirit of Imperial Beach sculpture is just north of the pier.

To enjoy future posts, you can “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.

Joy and creativity thrive in Spanish Village.

Main entrance to Balboa Park's Spanish Village.
Main entrance to Balboa Park’s Spanish Village.

One of the most popular attractions in San Diego’s Balboa Park is Spanish Village. Here are a few pics of the colorful courtyard and the quaint studios of local artists that surround it…

Studio 29 in Balboa Park's Spanish Village.
Studio 29 in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village.
Peering at artwork in a studio window.
Peering at artwork in a studio window.
Lots of art can be bought from local San Diego artists.
Lots of art can be bought from local San Diego artists.
Live demonstrations by artists can be enjoyed by the public.
Live demonstrations by artists can be enjoyed by the public.
Artist at work outside one studio in Balboa Park's Spanish Village.
Artist at work outside one studio in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village.
Sculpture of dancers in central courtyard.
Sculpture of dancers in central courtyard.
Dogs from one artist's point of view.
Dogs from one artist’s point of view.
Couple explores folksy studios of Spanish Village.
Couple explores folksy studios of Spanish Village.
Art Glass Guild's room of shining color.
Art Glass Guild’s room of shining color.
People converge to see glassblowing in progress.
People converge to see glassblowing in progress.
Workshop inside San Diego Mineral and Gem Society building.
Workshop inside San Diego Mineral and Gem Society building.

The San Diego Mineral and Gem Society has a building in Spanish Village which showcases amazing rock and mineral collections. The lapidary workshop can only be glimpsed when one inside door is open.

Joyful works of art can be found everywhere.
Joyful works of art can be found everywhere.
Funny face greets those exiting toward San Diego Zoo.
Funny face greets those exiting toward San Diego Zoo.

San Diego Museum of Art’s Sculpture Garden.

IMG_3092z

An opening in a fence near Balboa Park’s theatre complex leads back south into the San Diego Museum of Art’s grassy Sculpture Garden. Step through with me!

After slowly crossing the outdoor space, gazing at interesting, often organic abstract artwork, we pause in the shade of the Sculpture Court and turn back for a photo. Here it is!

In the background, you can see the Museum of Man’s colorful dome and the California Tower. Behind us is an open air cafe.

UPDATE! Here are more photos that I took during various future visits!

California Tower high in the blue sky behind colorful, unique artwork.
California Tower high in the blue sky behind unusual, thought-provoking art.
Aim I, Alexander Liberman, 1980. Biased sliced aluminum tubes.
Aim I, Alexander Liberman, 1980. Biased sliced aluminum tubes.
Cubi XV, David Smith, 1964-64. Stainless steel.
Cubi XV, David Smith, 1964-64. Stainless steel.
Two Lines Oblique: San Diego, George Rickey, 1993. Stainless steel.
Two Lines Oblique: San Diego, George Rickey, 1993. Stainless steel.
Modern abstract sculptures are free to view in Balboa Park.
These interesting abstract sculptures are free to view in Balboa Park.
Figure for Landscape, Barbara Hepworth, 1960. Bronze.
Figure for Landscape, Barbara Hepworth, 1960. Bronze.
Reclining Figure: Arch Leg, Henry Moore, 1969. Bronze.
Reclining Figure: Arch Leg, Henry Moore, 1969. Bronze.
Peeking through one sculpture back across the lawn.
Peeking through one sculpture back across the lawn.
Another view of sculpture garden with lots of people about.
Another view of the Sculpture Garden on a day with lots of people about. In this shallow pool is Accelerated Point, made of copper, by artist Claire Falkenstein.
Turning to the north, we see more art to explore.
Turning to the north, we see more artwork in the Sculpture Court.
Sonata Primitive, Saul L. Baizerman, 1940-48. Copper.
Sonata Primitive, Saul L. Baizerman, 1940-48. Copper.
May S. Marcy Sculpture Court was dedicated in 1968.
The May S. Marcy Sculpture Court was dedicated in 1968.
Man cleans pool of water in San Diego Museum of Art's Sculpture Court.
Man cleans small pool containing fascinating art.
This sculpture is titled Night Presence II, 1976, by artist Louise Nevelson.
This sculpture is titled Night Presence II, 1976, by artist Louise Nevelson.
Cafe in building by San Diego Museum of Art's sculpture garden.
The cafe in San Diego Museum of Art’s unique Sculpture Court.

Here come two bonus pics taken in early 2015! A cool new eatery, Panama 66, has been operating now for many months in the Sculpture Court…

Sign directs people to Panama 66 in Balboa Park.
Sign directs people to Panama 66 in Balboa Park.
Diners enjoy Panama 66 food and refreshment in the cool Sculpture Court of the San Diego Museum of Art.
Diners enjoy Panama 66 food and refreshment in the Sculpture Court of the San Diego Museum of Art.

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!

To eyes that see, these words give life.

shakespeare sonnet by old globe theatre

This small monument to William Shakespeare is located just across from the outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, not far from the Old Globe Theatre. The San Diego Museum of Art’s Sculpture Garden can be glimpsed in the background, beyond a fence.

The words beneath the Bard’s sculpted head and pen compose the memorable conclusion to his Sonnet 18:

“So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”

reading in plaza by old globe theatre

These nearby tables in Balboa Parks’s theatre complex are a fine place to find life in the written word.

Homecoming statue on Greatest Generation Walk.

homecoming statue on greatest generation walk

I love this statue. It’s located on the Embarcadero a little south of the USS Midway, just off a bike and pedestrian path, in an area called the Greatest Generation Walk. Other statues, plaques and memorials can be found in the vicinity, but this bronze sculpture expresses such genuine feeling and humanity, it’s hard to take one’s eyes from it.

It’s called Homecoming. It depicts a sailor newly returned from deployment, reunited with his wife and small child. It’s a scene often televised by local news stations. San Diego is home to several large Navy bases, and is the homeport of many naval ships.

The artist who created this is named Stanley Bleifeld. According to the Port of San Diego website, this sculpture is identical to the artist’s original work, which is featured at the entrance to the Naval Heritage Center next to the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.

View of touching public art from different direction.
View of touching public art from different direction.
Love and thankfulness depicted on face of a Navy wife.
Love and thankfulness depicted on face of a Navy wife.
Sailor's expression of love.
Sailor’s expression of love.
Child is happy that Dad is home from deployment.
Child is happy that Dad is home from deployment.
Woman photographs Homecoming sculpture.
Woman photographs Homecoming sculpture.

Sexy silver mermaid in Spanish Village!

sexy silver mermaid in spanish village

This morning I took a stroll through Spanish Village on the north end of Balboa Park.  Spanish Village is a wonderful, colorful place where many local artists have small studios. Not many people were about yet, just one older gentleman setting up some impressionist paintings in the courtyard. I snapped a number of pics of the motley, surprising studios, and this photograph is pretty striking.

The silvery, sexy mermaid sports a naval cap atop her long hair and stands ready to defend Studio 18!

A wider view of one corner of Spanish Village.
A wider view of one corner of Spanish Village.

Taming a wild horse: Sculpture in Balboa Park.

taming a wild horse sculpture in balboa park

I love this small bronze sculpture just in front of the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Because it stands inconspicuously in the seldom-visited northwest corner of the Plaza de Panama, few people ever wander over to look at it. Which is a shame.

This piece of art is titled Youth Taming the Wild (Horse Trainer) and was created by Anna Hyatt Huntington in 1927. She is also responsible for the huge, iconic El Cid statue near the center of the plaza, between the fountain and the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

I love the expressed energy in this work of art and the careful natural detail. One can see why this fine artist is considered one of the top equestrian sculptors.

Horse sculpture in northwest corner of Balboa Park central plaza.
Horse sculpture in northwest corner of Balboa Park central plaza.