Oil painted beauty in the Botanical Building.

I had some creative fun today!

After taking a bunch of photographs in Balboa Park’s wonderful Botanical Building, I applied GIMP’s Oilify filter to selected images. Photos of natural beauty now suddenly appear like oil paintings!

I framed leaves, flowers, color and light. My computer did the rest!

I love to walk.

I love to take photos.

I love to discover new things.

But more than anything, I love creative writing!

To read a few short pieces of fiction that I’ve written, you can visit my website Short Stories by Richard.

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Creativity and joy thrive in Spanish Village!

A happy orange face dangles by a studio doorway in Balboa Park's welcoming Spanish Village Art Center.
A happy orange face dangles by a studio doorway in Balboa Park’s welcoming Spanish Village Art Center.

I can’t get enough of Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park. I love to meander through its colorful courtyard patio.

The place is magical. Dreamlike. A refuge. The cares of the world drop instantly away in Spanish Village.

It’s a place where creativity and joy thrive!

A sign tells visitors they've entered a magical world where creativity thrives.
A sign tells visitors they’ve entered a joyful world where creativity thrives.
Walking through Spanish Village, with fanciful architecture inspired by southern Spain, created for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.
Walking through Spanish Village, with fanciful architecture inspired by southern Spain, created for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.
A bright face peeks out from behind flowers near Studio 13.
A bright face peeks out from behind flowers near Studio 13.
A fun work of art hangs near the entrance to Studio 15, home of Doug Snider Ceramics.
A fun work of art hangs near the entrance to Studio 15, home of Doug Snider Ceramics.
Friendly local artist paints a surfboard on the table outside Studio 10.
Friendly local artist paints a surfboard on the table outside Studio 10.
Forest creatures look up from one of several painted benches in Spanish Village. You can find this fun art in front of the Southwestern Artists Association's Studio 23.
Forest creatures look up from one of several painted benches in Spanish Village. You can find this fun art in front of the Southwestern Artists Association’s Studio 23.
Some amazing art glass displayed outside Studio 19, where glassblowers work as visitors watch.
Some amazing art glass displayed outside Studio 19, where glassblowers create beauty as visitors watch.
More beautiful glass.
More fantastic glass.
Carefree people ride bikes through Spanish Village Art Center.
Carefree people ride bikes through sunny Spanish Village Art Center.
Some artwork on the patio pays tribute to beautiful Balboa Park.
Some artwork on the patio pays tribute to beautiful Balboa Park.
A sunflower painted on door to Studio 28.
A cheerful sunflower painted on door to Studio 28.
Come to Spanish Village and your eyes will be filled with creativity, joy and life wherever they turn.
Come to Spanish Village and your eyes will be filled with surprising creativity, joy and life wherever they turn.
I was graciously allowed to take a photo of the art glass inside Studio 25. A skylight turns many pieces into shining jewels.
I was graciously allowed to take a photo of the art glass inside Studio 25. A skylight transforms many pieces into shining jewels.
Back outside, where I took a photo of a colorful door through glassware.
Back outside, where I took a photo of a colorful door through glassware.
One table on the patio is like an enormous, cheerful yellow flower.
One table on the patio is like an enormous, cheerful yellow flower.
Visitors to Spanish Village Art Center are invited to build a spirit totem.
Visitors to Spanish Village Art Center are invited to build a spirit totem.
A friendly artist of the Studio 36 Sculptors Guild interacts with a potential buyer. Their courtyard is overflowing with imaginative sculptures.
A friendly artist of the Studio 36 Sculptors Guild interacts with a potential buyer. Their courtyard is overflowing with imaginative sculptures.
Amusing sculpted creatures greet visitors to the Studio 36 outdoor courtyard.
Amusing sculpted creatures greet visitors to the Studio 36 outdoor courtyard.
A shining jester.
A shining jester.
A simian in a space rocket.
A simian in a space rocket.
Like a joyful dream world where fantasy and imagination have come to life.
Like a joyful dream world where fantasy and imagination have come to life.
Dreamers...
Dreamers…
Come again. Bring friends.
Come again. Bring friends.

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!

Fine art at the San Diego History Center.

The San Diego History Center in Balboa Park has a fine art collection of more than 1700 works. They represent the visual culture of our region.
The San Diego History Center in Balboa Park has a fine art collection of more than 1700 works. They represent the visual culture of our region.

The San Diego History Center, originally the San Diego Historical Society, has been an important custodian of our region’s history since the organization’s founding in 1928 by civic leader George W. Marston. Their preserved documents, photographs and artifacts trace the development of San Diego from a small town in the desert-like wilderness to a modern, thriving Southern California metropolis.

Visitors to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park might be surprised when they enter one of the museum galleries to discover pieces from their Fine Art Collection. The current exhibition is titled Exquisite Views. Amazing canvases on three walls represent over 1700 pieces of fine art, many of which were donated by San Diego residents. Notable artists in the large collection include James Hubbell, Maurice Braun, Alfred Mitchell, Charles Fries, Belle Baranceanu, Charles Reiffel, Alice Klauber and Donal Hord.

There are two gigantic, amazing murals by Charles Reiffel on the walls of the museum nearby. And two more above stairs inside the Casa de Balboa. I posted photos of them here and here.

Like many cultural institutions who need support from the public, the San Diego History Center welcomes any contributions. Admission to their museum in the Casa de Balboa is free, but I’m always careful to leave a donation when I visit. Many of their fine art pieces are also up for “adoption” by art lovers. Contact them if you are interested.

The Family of Joseph W. Sefton, Sr., ca. 1890, oil on canvas, by artist Alden Finney Brooks.
The Family of Joseph W. Sefton, Sr., ca. 1890, oil on canvas, by artist Alden Finney Brooks.
By the Sea, 1940, oil on board, by artist Dan Dickey.
By the Sea, 1940, oil on board, by artist Dan Dickey.
La Cumbre Peak, Santa Barbara 1918-1920, oil on canvas, by artist Charles A. Fries.
La Cumbre Peak, Santa Barbara 1918-1920, oil on canvas, by artist Charles A. Fries.
Torrey Pines - Spring, 1997, watercolor on paper, by artist James Hubbell.
Torrey Pines – Spring, 1997, watercolor on paper, by artist James Hubbell.
Untitled Landscape (Mission Bay Causeway Bridge), ca. 1930, oil on canvas, by artist Alice Klauber.
Untitled Landscape (Mission Bay Causeway Bridge), ca. 1930, oil on canvas, by artist Alice Klauber.
Eileen, ca. 1939, oil on canvas, by artist Margaret (Margot) King Rocle.
Eileen, ca. 1939, oil on canvas, by artist Margaret (Margot) King Rocle.
Girl with a Fawn, 1935, charcoal and colored chalk, by artist Belle Baranceanu.
Girl with a Fawn, 1935, charcoal and colored chalk, by artist Belle Baranceanu.
1935 photograph from the Union-Tribune Collection shows Belle Baranceanu painting the mural Girl with a Fawn on the east side of the Fine Arts Gallery, today's San Diego Museum of Art.
This 1935 photograph from the Union-Tribune Collection shows Belle Baranceanu painting the mural Girl with a Fawn on the east side of the Fine Arts Gallery, today’s San Diego Museum of Art.
Ramona Morning, 2013, oil on linen, by artist Carol Lindemulder.
Ramona Morning, 2013, oil on linen, by artist Carol Lindemulder.
The San Diego History Center seeks to acquire new works. Their Art for the Next Century Initiative will expand their collection of historical artwork.
The San Diego History Center seeks to acquire new works. Their Art for the Next Century Initiative will expand their collection of historical artwork.
Sycamores at Springtime, 1937, oil on board, by artist Charles A. Reiffel.
Sycamores at Springtime, 1937, oil on board, by artist Charles A. Reiffel.

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!

Murals by young artivist on United Nations Building.

One of four murals by young artist Caymin Ellspermann on the United Nations Building in Balboa Park.
One of four murals by young “artivist” Caymin Ellspermann on the United Nations Building in Balboa Park.

Four new murals were hung on the exterior of the United Nations Building in Balboa Park a couple days ago. I spotted them yesterday as I walked through the International Cottages.

The murals were all painted by Caymin Ellspermann, who is a talented sixteen-year-old Peace Paint Ambassador with the global UNA USA San Diego’s Art Miles Mural Project. Themes expressed in these artivist murals range from feeding the hungry to protecting wildlife.

Caymin is available for art commissions. To reach him, read the information on the sign containing his biography. (You can click the following photo to enlarge it.)

Caymin Ellspermann is a Peace Paint Ambassador with the global UNA USA San Diego's Art Miles Mural Project. He is an artivist interested in social and environmental issues.
Caymin Ellspermann is a Peace Paint Ambassador with the global UNA USA San Diego’s Art Miles Mural Project. He is an artivist interested in social and environmental issues.
A new mural near the front entrance of the United Nations Building among the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
A new mural near the front entrance of the United Nations Building among the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
A beautiful mural shows a Native American and wildlife.
A beautiful mural shows a Native American and wildlife.
A colorful mural shows people holding hands, with abundant life and food.
A fantastic, colorful mural shows people holding hands, with abundant life and food.
A mural speaks out against hunting protected wild animals in Africa.
A mural speaks out against hunting protected wild animals in Africa.

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Beautiful hearts appear before Valentine’s Day!

A lustrous red ceramic heart, created by Pierre Bounaud of Studio 40 at Spanish Village Art Center.
A lustrous red ceramic heart, created by Pierre Bounaud of Studio 40 at Spanish Village Art Center.

Look at all the beautiful hearts I spotted while walking about Balboa Park this afternoon . . . and scenes containing heart!

Valentine’s Day is only three days away!

Amber and larimar earring hearts for sale at the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society and Village Silversmith's store.
Amber and larimar heart-shaped earrings for sale at the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society and Village Silversmith’s store.
A fun heart dangles in front of Spanish Village's Studio 13.
A fun heart dangles in front of Spanish Village’s Studio 13.
Old-fashioned lovers sit together in a graphic on the historic Balboa Park Carousel.
Old-fashioned lovers sit together in a graphic on the historic Balboa Park Carousel.
A wrapped heart treat in a display case inside the House of Czech and Slovak Republics.
A wrapped heart treat in a display case inside the House of Czech and Slovak Republics, at the International Cottages.
More hearts on glassware (and a cannon!) inside the House of Sweden.
More hearts on glassware inside the House of Sweden.
A beautiful fabric heart inside the House of Hungry's exhibit inside Balboa Park's Hall of Nations building.
A beautiful fabric heart, part of the House of Hungry’s exhibit inside the Hall of Nations.
Two lovers tango on a book cover in the Helen Edison Gift Shop at the Old Globe Theatre.
A couple tangos on a wall calendar in the Helen Edison Gift Shop at the Old Globe Theatre.
International Dance Festival participants twirl on the sidewalk in front of the Balboa Park Club.
International Dance Festival participants twirl on the sidewalk in front of the Balboa Park Club.
Jewelry boxes shaped like hearts on sale inside the Balboa Park Club during the International Dance Festival.
Jewelry boxes shaped like hearts for sale inside the Balboa Park Club during the International Dance Festival.
I also spotted these red heart-patterned fabrics for sale at the festival.
I also spotted some heart-patterned fabrics for sale at the festival.
Local artist Jean Pierre Marques had these colorful hearts for sale near the International Cottages. Valentine's Day is almost here!
Local artist Jean Pierre Marques had these colorful painted hearts for sale near the International Cottages. Valentine’s Day is almost here!

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!

Paintings in Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room.

Botanical Building, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Botanical Building, Leigh Cohn, 2014.

Last year I went on a behind-the-scenes tour of the House of Hospitality that included a look inside the Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room. There was a whole lot to see, and only a few minutes to snap photos.

I did manage to frame with my camera several paintings in the boardroom. They were painted by Leigh Cohn in 2014 for the Balboa Park Centennial. My quick photos provide an imperfect glimpse of the colorful artwork.

I’m not sure what the decorative object is on the small wooden table. I can find nothing about it on the internet. My hunch is it was used atop the old Balboa Park Community Christmas Tree, before the tree became too old and fragile to support ornaments. Just my guess–probably wrong! Please leave a comment if you know something!

If you ever have the opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes tour through the House of Hospitality, I definitely recommend it! There are a variety of beautiful rooms in the building that are usually inaccessible to the public. For those interested in Balboa Park’s history, the tour is a must!

Visitors to Balboa Park enjoy a tour of the Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room in the House of Hospitality.
Visitors to Balboa Park enjoy a tour of the Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room in the House of Hospitality.
David Kinney, a Balboa Park Conservancy Board Member, provides a special tour of the board room, in the House of Hospitality.
David Kinney, a Balboa Park Conservancy Board Member, provides a special tour of their boardroom in the House of Hospitality.
Artwork in the Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room includes the fascinating piece on a small wooden table. Topped by a cross, rays of colored glass extend outward.
Artwork in the Balboa Park Conservancy Board Room includes a fascinating piece on a small wooden table.
Topped by a cross, rays of colored glass extend outward from what appears to be brasswork.
Topped by a cross, rays of colored glass extend outward from what appears to be weathered brasswork.
Before the Park Opens, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Before the Park Opens, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Tower, Globe and Fountain, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Tower, Globe and Fountain, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Lily Pond Facing South, Leigh Cohn, 2014.
Lily Pond Facing South, Leigh Cohn, 2014.

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!

Two colorful Frida portraits at Spanish Village!

Artist Frida Kahlo, by San Diego painter RD Riccoboni, outside Studio 18 in Balboa Park's Spanish Village.
Artist Frida Kahlo, by San Diego painter RD Riccoboni, on the patio outside Studio 18 in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village.

Look what I spied on Christmas Eve while I moseyed around Balboa Park waiting to take a special tour at the nearby San Diego Museum of Art!

As I wandered through Spanish Village Art Center, I was greeted by two amazing, colorful Frida Kahlo portraits painted by San Diego’s own RD Riccoboni. Both works of art stood just outside the entrance to Studio 18, which RD Riccoboni shares with other talented Spanish Village artists.

After enjoying these two paintings, I was treated to a special tour of Modern Masters from Latin America: The Pérez Simón Collection at the San Diego Museum of Art. The exhibition contains nearly a hundred amazing works of art, including two original Frida Kahlo pieces. It also features a fun Frida and Me activity station for children.

This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition runs at the San Diego Museum of Art for a limited time. To see the blog concerning my amazing tour, as well as many photos from inside the Modern Masters from Latin America, click here.

A vibrant, butterfly-filled Purple Frida With The Orange Flower.
A vibrant, butterfly-filled Purple Frida With The Orange Flower, by San Diego artist RD Riccoboni.

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!