Making spheres and cabochons in Balboa Park!

If you ever visit Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park, make sure to step into the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society building. Inside you’ll discover walls lined with displays. Arranged in glass cases are crystals, fossils, jade carvings, handmade jewelry and a whole lot more.

You might not view, however, what goes on behind the scenes.

During this weekend’s December Nights event, the public was invited into several rooms where students were transforming minerals and gems into works of art!

I confess that as a boy I had a rock tumbler. Promising stones found on the beach would be rounded and polished in the simple tumbler until they seemed like bright bits of treasure. I also had an uncle who enjoyed lapidary as a hobby–he gave me a tiny fire opal cabochon as a present one year.

Have you considered working with metals, gems and minerals? I’m sure it would be a lot of fun!

I see the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society offers many very affordable classes. You can learn faceting, metal fabrication, casting, carving…

During my behind-the-scenes look yesterday, I spoke to one friendly teacher and watched students grinding and polishing minerals using specialized machines. And I took these photographs in the “cab room” where spheres and cabochons are created!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag. There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Colors of December Nights in Spanish Village!

Enjoy these photos taken in Spanish Village Art Center during December Nights!

Balboa Park’s colorful Spanish Village is one of my favorite spots in San Diego at any time of year, but during the Holiday Season, it really shines!

Without further ado, here are photographs that I captured today, the first day of 2022 December Nights. I wandered through Spanish Village before dark–before the crowds really grew!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag. There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

December Nights returns to Balboa Park!

After a two year hiatus, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, December Nights has returned to Balboa Park! San Diego’s epic holiday event appears to be back in a big way, with large crowds filtering into the park this evening.

I walked around before it became too dark for my old camera, taking in the festive scene. I saw Christmas decorations, lights, food, and many smiling faces. I saw Santa, too! My photos were taken before sundown, when I turned my feet for home and Balboa Park became really crowded!

Please enjoy these photos. If you’ve never been to December Nights, you can get an idea of what it’s like. The big event will continue tomorrow, Saturday, 11 am to 11 pm!

Holiday entertainment is featured throughout December Nights on the stage of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

Cookies, cocoa and coffee at the Gingerbread House, at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

Viewing the Nativity Display at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

Fun holiday inflatables at the Japanese Friendship Garden.

Write Out Loud tells a story at the Japanese Friendship Garden using a storybox, or kamishibai.

Making ornaments at the Japanese Friendship Garden! Hello!

Santa and his reindeer visit Balboa Park once again.

Cool outfit!

The colors of Christmas fill Spanish Village.

I sampled Chider, a mix of hot chocolate and apple cider. It was really good!

I’ve never seen so many food trucks in one place.

Lots of Christmas sweaters spotted on El Prado. Whether they’re ugly or not, you decide.

Those Seals sunglasses I won with your prize wheel are awesome! Thank you!

Some cloggers take the stage near the Bea Evenson Fountain.

A vendor had these fun Santa Claus gifts.

The International Cottages serve up all sorts of holiday food from around the world.

Heading down toward Balboa Park’s Palisades.

Nice smile! (Took a little coaxing!)

Gloved thumbs up. I guess I’m on the “nice” list.

Yummy smells everywhere you walk.

These smiling nutcrackers would be performing on stage later.

These mimes would perform later, too!

December Nights has returned to San Diego in 2022.

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag. There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Treasures discovered in Balboa Park!

Many incredible treasures could be found by visitors to Balboa Park today.

All anyone had to do is look about.

Treasure could be discovered all weekend in Spanish Village Art Center. The Art Glass Guild’s Fall Patio Show filled tables with glittering riches.

A golden work of art glass by artist Tom Marosz.

Colorful art glass robots stand ready, created by Chris Stell.

Paella was a tasty treasure served up by the House of Spain during their lawn program at the International Cottages.

And here are two fancy Catrinas with sweet sugar skulls at the House of Mexico!

Kids in Balboa Park will bag lots of treasure this October 30th. The Trick or Treat Trail is mapped at the International Cottages!

Here’s a unique treasure that I hadn’t seen in Balboa Park for years, it seems!

It’s Brandon with his rare old-fashioned penny-farthing. He does riding demonstrations, bringing smiles to one and all. Good to see you again!

That precious bell is so rare it had to be brought in for the Sunday organ concert. A young musician rings it during a performance of The Typewriter.

(The actual bell, up behind the organ pipes, was activated with a key on the Spreckels Organ console. It sounded like an old manual typewriter’s carriage return–ding.)

Oh, wow! If there’s a pile of hidden treasure to be found in Balboa Park, it would probably be inside Draco’s Lair!

Draco the dragon is out of his lair!

Now’s our chance at the treasure!

Uh, oh! Mitchell sees what I’m up to!

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!

Artists exhibit Explorations in Urban Sketching.

Are you intrigued by the process of human creativity?

Answer yes, and you need to check out an exhibition in Gallery 21 in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center.

Explorations in Urban Sketching brings together the work of the San Diego Urban Sketchers.

Quick renderings of scenes provide a sense of how very talented artists might glimpse this beautiful and complex world during a walk through life. Many of the images are of familiar San Diego locations.

Some of the works in different media appear like very brief sketches, while others works seem a bit more detailed.

Your eyes will move from piece to piece as if you are viewing ephemeral dreams– each canvas providing a unique moment of wonder.

Like a fast sketch this exhibition also ends soon–it runs through October 9th, 2022. So you better go check it out before, like a dream, Explorations in Urban Sketching vanishes.

Explorations in Urban Sketching is in memory of Dominique Eichi, an artist who shared a studio in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village.

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 art glass show in Balboa Park!

If you love art–glass art in particular–you must absolutely head over to Balboa Park this weekend to check out a spectacular show and sale in Spanish Village Art Center!

The big Art Glass Guild’s Spring Patio Show features numerous skilled glass artists and their amazingly creative and beautiful pieces. Some of the glass is functional, other works are purely decorative. All are for sale!

You can see in my photos how extraordinary this annual show is. Even if you have no plans to purchase art, you’ll pause repeatedly to admire all the glasswork, and wonder how some of the more unusual or exquisite pieces were made!

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!

Signs of Valentine’s Day in San Diego!

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day!

During the past week or two, I’ve noticed signs around San Diego that the big day for lovers is almost here.

I took these photographs while walking in several San Diego neighborhoods.

(By the way, if you’re visiting Balboa Park today and would like to order a custom card created by a local artist, the next photo was taken in front of Gallery 23 in Spanish Village Art Center.)

Enjoy!

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!

One more smile from a Spanish Village artist!

For some reason, I’ve always paused when passing Studio 13 in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center.

Perhaps it’s the word Ebullience above the front door. More likely it was the organic, seemingly infinite art that blossomed all around the place.

Over the years, I had spoken a few times to ceramic artist Sylvia Mejia, who worked in Studio 13. The first time she showed me the labyrinth she’d painted on the patio in front. The next time she showed me inside. What I found was indescribably powerful. If you’d like to see those photographs, click here.

Well, lately I’d noticed the door is shut, nobody home. And today I saw Studio 13 had been vacated. She’s moved on, I was told.

But I got one more smile. Because in the parking lot to the side of her old studio, next the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad’s fence, like an ancient living guard, one of her wonderful, whimsical sculptures still stands.

UPDATE!

Days later, I noticed the sculpture had been moved to another spot across the parking lot. It fits right in with that tree and surrounding greenery!

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!

Between Heaven and Earth in Balboa Park.

Today I stepped through a door and found myself somewhere between Heaven and Earth.

The fine art exhibition, titled Between Heaven and Earth, filled Gallery 21 in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center. Canvases on the gallery walls flowed with shadows, mists and dimly seen forms. The San Diego artist who ushered these visions into existence is Catherine Carlton.

Her more mysterious pieces seem to blend earthly scenes with a sense of their spiritual essence. Her creations evoke a subtle emotional response–a feeling that there is more to this world than what meets the eye. Some of her pieces include sacred symbols or bits of verse.

I particularly loved her art made with layered wax containing pigment. Images of rain, lightning, and natural landscapes are ethereal, fluid, and alive. You can see an example in my next photograph.

Catherine Carlton creates this sublime beauty in her art studio at Liberty Station. She particularly loves to produce commercial art, and has painted murals for various local restaurants..

If you’d like to see more of her work, visit her website here!

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!

Glass artists exhibition in Spanish Village!

Many pieces of amazing glass art can be enjoyed this weekend in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center. The public is invited to view the Art Glass Association of Southern California’s 40th Annual Members’ Exhibition in Gallery 21. Unfortunately it ends much too soon on Monday.

I’ve always had a love for lustrous, luminous glass art. Pieces often appear like liquified light, caught for an instant in time. Like carefully hand-crafted jewels, their appearance changes depending on one’s angle of view. One extraordinary piece, as you’ll see, cleverly uses prism refraction to produce many different bright colors.

I noticed that most of the exhibited pieces are for sale. If I had a million dollars, I’d grab them all.

To me every one is magic.

Sunburst, Diana Griffin.
Abundance, Kathleen Mitchell.
Bellora, Michelle Bohannan Sherer.
Gen Z Redhead, Marti Blair.
Drop Vessel, Krista Heron.
Baby Blue Monk, Tom Marosz.

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!