The faces of the Panama-California Sculpture Court.

Anglo-Saxon Queen, 1914. Staff plaster original statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Anglo-Saxon Queen, 1914. Staff plaster original statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.

Visitors walking through the Panama-California Sculpture Court in the Casa del Prado are greeted by many unexpected faces–faces that peer out of San Diego’s past.

The sculptures in the building’s courtyard were used in various ways to decorate the facades of buildings in Balboa Park during its colorful history. Most of the pieces are made of staff, which is a type of plaster reinforced with fibers. The artwork in the Panama-California Sculpture Court was rescued in 1975, found abandoned in a corner of the Casa de Balboa.

Please read the photo captions for information about each piece.

One of several fantastic pieces of rescued art in the Panama-California Sculpture Court at the Casa del Prado.
One of several fantastic pieces of rescued art in the Panama-California Sculpture Court at the Casa del Prado.
Religion, 1914. Original staff plaster statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Religion, 1914. Original staff plaster statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Mission Indian Head Pilaster, 1914. Staff plaster original from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Mission Indian Head Pilaster, 1914. Staff plaster original from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Spanish Conquistador, 1914. Staff plaster original vignette from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Spanish Conquistador, 1914. Staff plaster original vignette from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Grotesque Mask, 1914. Original staff plaster statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Grotesque Mask, 1914. Original staff plaster statue from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Angel Head Pilaster, 1914. Staff plaster original ornamentation from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Angel Head Pilaster, 1914. Staff plaster original ornamentation from the Varied Industries Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Junipero Serra Memorial, 1914. Staff plaster original ornamentation from the Food Products Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Junipero Serra Memorial, 1914. Staff plaster original ornamentation from the Food Products Building. Henry R. Schmohl, modeler.
Angel Head Finial, 1971. Unused cast concrete replica of 1914 original, for the reconstruction of the building now known as the Casa del Prado. Christian Mueller, Jr., modeler.
Angel Head Finial, 1971. Unused cast concrete replica of 1914 original, for the reconstruction of the building now known as the Casa del Prado. Christian Mueller, Jr., modeler.
Velazquez, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Velazquez, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Murillo, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Murillo, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Zurbaran, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.
Zurbaran, 1925. Original reinforced plaster-of-Paris casting model for the portrait sculptures above the entrance of what now called the San Diego Museum of Art. Designed by William Templeton Johnson.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

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Late sunlight on Balboa Park’s trees and towers.

The House of Charm's tower rises like a bright dream.
The House of Charm’s tower rises like a bright dream.

I took these photos yesterday shortly before sunset. I strolled from Balboa Park’s grassy West Mesa to the Cabrillo Bridge, then down El Prado to the reflecting pool. Late sunlight touched trees and dreamlike towers.

Late afternoon light brings out the curvaceous shape of a tree near Sixth Avenue.
Late afternoon light brings out the curvaceous shape of a tree near Sixth Avenue.
Slanting light touches trees at Sefton Plaza.
Slanting light touches trees at Sefton Plaza.
The California Tower even more beautiful in late sunlight.
The California Tower even more beautiful in late sunlight.
Light on the tiled dome of the California Building.
Light on the tiled dome of the California Building.
People in growing shadow near the beautiful House of Hospitality.
People in growing shadow near the beautiful House of Hospitality.
Tower of Casa del Prado in San Diego sunshine, shortly before sunset.
Tower of Casa del Prado in San Diego sunshine, shortly before sunset.

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Mirror dreams in the reflecting pool.

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I took these photos late in the day at the edge of Balboa Park’s beautiful reflecting pool.

One can see the reflected shapes of people, trees, flowers and the Casa del Prado, like dreams mirrored in the rippled water. Lily pads and ducks make the mysterious place their home.

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I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

How seniors can display their art in Balboa Park!

A magical painting of trees and flowers exhibited in the Senior Lounge in Balboa Park.
A magical painting of trees and flowers exhibited in the Senior Lounge in Balboa Park.

Yesterday I stepped into the Senior Lounge in Balboa Park and was immediately drawn to a wall covered with colorful art!

I learned that the City of San Diego has a special Art Program for Seniors right here in the park! And that participants can have their artwork publicly displayed in the Senior Lounge! That’s pretty cool!

The Senior Lounge, located in the Case del Prado, is open to anyone age 55 or over. I’m not quite there yet, but the friendly folks welcomed me in anyway! The lounge looks like a great place to kick back, get a cup of coffee, read, have a bite to eat and just relax. And perhaps even meet some new or old friends!

Would you like to have your art exhibited in Balboa Park? I took a photo of the flyer that provides details about the art program. Check it out if this interests you! And if you know someone who might be interested, feel free to share!

Fun artwork depicts people enjoying the Balboa Park Senior Lounge.
Fun artwork depicts people enjoying the Balboa Park Senior Lounge.
The City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department has a notice in the Balboa Park Senior Lounge. Join the Senior Art Program on Tuesdays from 1 pm to 3:30 pm.
The City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department has a notice in the Balboa Park Senior Lounge. Join the Senior Art Program on Tuesdays from 1 pm to 3:30 pm. Bring your own supplies!
A fiery sunset over water. It appears to me Ray painted this just north of the old Anthony's Fish Grotto on San Diego Bay.
A fiery sunset over the water. It appears to me Ray painted this just north of the old Anthony’s Fish Grotto on San Diego Bay.
Participants in the Senior Art Program have the opportunity to display their art in Balboa Park, right here in the Senior Lounge!
Participants in the Senior Art Program have the opportunity to display their art in Balboa Park, right here in the Senior Lounge!
A tall ship sails under clouds, over the sea.
A tall ship sails under clouds, proudly crossing the sea.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Magic dahlias explode in Balboa Park!

Blooms like fireworks inside the Casa del Prado. People enjoy a special flower show in Balboa Park, arranged by the San Diego County Dahlia Society.
Blooms like fireworks inside the Casa del Prado. People enjoy a magical flower show in Balboa Park, organized by the San Diego County Dahlia Society.

If you’d like to see something beautiful, take a look at these photographs. I was fortunate to capture some magic this afternoon inside the Casa del Prado. That’s where the San Diego County Dahlia Society was having a flower show.

Someone peers into an open door at the Casa del Prado in Balboa Park. Magic awaits inside.
A visitor to Balboa Park peers through an open door. Magic awaits inside.
A burst of exquisite beauty.
An explosion of exquisite beauty.

Delicate white petals.
Delicate white petals.

My camera by sheer accident took the artistic photograph that you see here!
My camera by accident took the photograph that you see here! Must be magic!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Do you love beautiful things? Visit my magical photography blog which I’ve titledĀ A Small World Full of Beauty.

Thousands of tiny stars in a beautiful park!

So many flowers are abloom right now in Balboa Park! Many appear like tiny yellow suns, or stars exploding in a fiery supernova. Walking through the park yesterday felt like a journey through galaxies. I discovered clusters of stars in every direction!

This beautiful sunburst was discovered in the Casa del Prado, at the San Diego Bromeliad Society's weekend plant show.
This beautiful sunburst was discovered in the Casa del Prado, at the San Diego Bromeliad Society’s weekend plant show.

These beautiful yellow flowers seem like a sky full of shining suns. You can find this fantastic blown glass at Spanish Village Art Center in Studio 41.
These beautiful yellow flowers seem like a sky full of shining suns. You can find this fantastic blown glass at Spanish Village Art Center in Studio 41.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Do you love beautiful things? Visit my photography blog which I call A Small World Full of Beauty.

Beautiful Japanese brush art by Friends of Taka Sumi-e.

A talented gentleman demonstrates Japanese brush painting in Balboa Park. The traditional Asian art form is called Sumi-e.
A talented gentleman demonstrates Japanese brush painting in Balboa Park. The traditional Asian art form is called sumi-e.

You might enjoy these colorful photos.

Yesterday I strolled into the Casa del Prado to view an exhibition put on by the Friends of Taka Sumi-e, a society in San Diego whose members produce beautiful works of Japanese brush art. The room was filled with abundant life.

A couple of friendly people explained a little about the traditional Asian art form of sumi-e, or brush drawing. I learned that the “four treasures” are ink, stone, paper and brush. I learned a hard inkstick is rubbed in water against a rough, mortar-like inkstone to produce the ink. I learned that in Japan both calligraphy and painting often use ink produced this way.

I also observed how amazing the finished works can be. Take a look!

A fantastic Japanese Brush Painting Art Exhibition was held inside the Casa del Prado. The free event was put on by the Friends of Taka Sumi-e of San Diego.
A fantastic Japanese Brush Painting Art Exhibition was held inside the Casa del Prado. The free event was put on by the Friends of Taka Sumi-e of San Diego.
Many beautiful works of Japanese brush art could be admired by the public in the Casa del Prado.
Many beautiful works of Japanese brush art could be admired by the public in the Casa del Prado.
An ink stick was ground into the ink stone. The artist prepares her brush for another drawing.
An inkstick was ground into the inkstone. The artist prepares her brush for another drawing.
It's the year of the Rooster.
It’s the year of the Rooster.
A few careful strokes of the brush expresses eternity.
A few careful strokes of the brush expresses eternity.
Colorful butterflies have gathered atop this table.
Colorful butterflies have gathered atop this table.
A dragon.
A dragon.
A human figure.
A human figure.
Amazing finished artwork filled many tables. By artist Ileane Tatar.
Amazing finished artwork filled many tables. By artist Ileane Tatar.
A jumping green frog. By Ileane Tatar.
A jumping green frog. By Ileane Tatar.
A hen with chicks looks up at a rooster banner--a banner portrayed on a banner! Art by Louise Rendich.
A hen with chicks looks up at a rooster banner–a banner portrayed on a banner! Art by Louise Rendich.
Two fish and cherry blossoms, by Pat Wolfe.
Two koi and cherry blossoms, by Pat Wolfe.
I believe these might be storks. By artist Kazuko (Kay) Mese.
I believe these might be storks. By artist Kazuko (Kay) Mese.
A rugged landscape with ancient trees. By artist Debra Hirschy.
A rugged mountain landscape with ancient trees. By artist Debra Hirschy.
A humorous cat, by artist Karen Straus.
A humorous cat, by artist Karen Straus.
A trotting horse, by Louise Rendich.
A trotting horse, by Louise Rendich.
One could spend hours in this room.
One could spend hours in this room.
Superb flowers, very fine art by Takashi Ijichi.
Superb flowers, very fine art by Takashi Ijichi.
Another unique rooster with generous daubs of color.
Another unique rooster with generous daubs of color.
Delicate flowers and leaves, by artist Soon Chu.
Delicate flowers and leaves, by artist Soon Chu.
Pink blossoms above a volcano, by Marlene Leet.
Pink blossoms above a volcano, by Marlene Leet.
I would love to live here. Dreamy Japanese brush art by Marlene Leet.
I would love to live here. Dreamy Japanese brush art by Marlene Leet.
A furry feline. Rebecca Leet-Homung.
A furry feline. Rebecca Leet-Homung.
So much beauty to absorb. One's life is uplifted.
So much beauty to absorb. One’s life is uplifted.
A hummingbird, by artist Iris Lowe-Reiss.
A hummingbird, by artist Iris Lowe-Reiss.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Read my short story The Child and the Koi by clicking here!