Viewing life from a Balboa Park bench.

Late this afternoon I headed into Balboa Park.

I walked down El Prado, found a quiet bench across from the San Diego Natural History Museum, and sat down to write.

Every so often I felt compelled to look up.

My eyes were drawn to magic.

If you’d like to read a few thoughtful words about life, visit my website Short Stories by Richard.

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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.

San Diego Iris Society blooms in Balboa Park!

I’m no expert when it comes to flowers, but I definitely enjoy drinking in their beauty.

I spent several minutes yesterday inside the Casa del Prado, walking slowly past tables full of exquisite irises. The San Diego Iris Society is having their Annual Spring Show and Iris Sale this weekend in Balboa Park. The event continues today.

The people I met in the society were all very nice. If you grow irises in San Diego, it would be fun to become a member!

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!

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!

A visit inside the House of Scotland’s cottage.

People visit the House of Scotland's cottage in Balboa Park.
People visit the House of Scotland’s picturesque cottage in Balboa Park.

When I walk in Balboa Park, I usually pass through the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. Inside these quaint cottages, the cultures of diverse nations are proudly on display, and world history comes to life. There is much for visitors to learn and discover.

At the International Cottages, “Houses” representing different nations all coexist peacefully. If only the world could be that way.

Recently I poked my nose into the cottage operated by the House of Scotland. Scottish culture and history have always fascinated me.

I took a few photos…

A plaque by the cottage's flagpole reads: In Memory of L/CPL Kenneth J. Haywood U.S.M.C. 1943 - 1965 Member of The House of Scotland House of Pacific Relations
A plaque by the cottage’s flagpole reads: In Memory of L/CPL Kenneth J. Haywood U.S.M.C. 1943 – 1965 Member of The House of Scotland House of Pacific Relations.
Inside the House of Scotland cottage there are fascinating photographs, artifacts and cultural displays.
Inside the House of Scotland’s small cottage there are fascinating photographs, artifacts and cultural displays.
A doll wearing a Scottish kilt, and a certificate that commemorates the 2010 San Diego Scottish Highland Games and Gathering of the Clans. The annual event takes place in Vista.
A doll wearing a Scottish kilt, and a certificate that commemorates the 2010 San Diego Scottish Highland Games and Gathering of the Clans. The annual event takes place in Brengle Terrace Park in Vista.
Bagpipes and a badge worn by a drummer of the House of Scotland Junior Pipe Band.
Bagpipes and a badge worn by a drummer of the House of Scotland Junior Pipe Band. The House of Scotland Pipe Band is well known in San Diego and performs many rousing concerts.
Diagram shows the costume of the widely recognized Dewar’s Scotch Highlander, including bonnet, gold sash, kilt, plaid, drum major’s baton and sword.
Diagram shows the costume of the widely recognized Dewar’s Scotch Highlander, including bonnet, gold sash, kilt, plaid, drum major’s baton and sword.
All sorts of interesting items on display in the cottage provide a small taste of Scotland in San Diego.
All sorts of interesting items on display inside the cottage provide a small taste of Scotland.
Many famous verses by the national poet of Scotland Robert Burns.
Famous verses by the national poet of Scotland Robert Burns.
An article describes tossing the caber at Highland Games. The origins of this unusual event is unknown. A heavy pole is flipped, with the aim that it lands straight.
An article describes tossing the caber at Highland Games. The exact origin of this unusual event is uncertain. A heavy pole is flipped, with the aim that it lands straight.
The coat of arms of two different clans. Scotland comes to life inside one of the International Cottages in Balboa Park.
The coat of arms of two different clans. Scotland comes to life inside one of the International Cottages in Balboa Park.

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!

A colorful Frida Kahlo sculpture at Spanish Village!

The colorful, unmistakable likeness of Frida Kahlo now stands at the main entrance to Spanish Village in Balboa Park!
A colorful sculpture of Frida Kahlo now stands at the entrance to Spanish Village in Balboa Park!

Look what recently appeared at the main entrance to Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park! An amazing glass mosaic sculpture of Frida Kahlo!

The eye-catching piece is titled Frida. It’s a collaboration between two talented artists who show their work in Spanish Village: Yuriy Akopov and Ilya Idelchik.

According to a nearby sign, Frida is available for purchase at the San Diego Sculptors Guild in Spanish Village’s Gallery 36.

If you think this shiny, very colorful piece closely resembles the world-famous sculptures of Niki de Saint Phalle, you’re correct! Years ago, while he worked with the company Art Mosaic, Yuriy’s own hands helped to create Niki’s fantastic artwork!

A sleek glass mosaic sculpture of Frida Kahlo greets visitors to Spanish Village Art Center!
A sleek glass mosaic sculpture of Frida Kahlo greets visitors to Spanish Village Art Center!

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!

A most wonderful place.

Smiling dancers perform at the International Cottages during the House of India lawn program.
Smiling dancers perform at the International Cottages during the House of India lawn program.

The older I get, the more in love I become with Balboa Park. It’s a most wonderful place.

I took a long, random walk around the park today.

Here are a few photos…

A lone gentlemen sits at a cafe table outside the House of Italy in Balboa Park.
A lone gentlemen sits at a cafe table outside the House of Italy in Balboa Park.
Many enjoy sitting in sunshine at the San Diego Museum of Art's May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden.
Many enjoy sitting in sunshine at the San Diego Museum of Art’s May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden.
Elegantly dressed visitors to Balboa Park pose for a photo by a fountain.
Elegantly dressed visitors to Balboa Park pose for a photo by a fountain.
A street performer on El Prado wraps a gentle snake over the shoulders of a delighted man.
A street performer on El Prado wraps a snake over the shoulders of a delighted man.
A friendly psychic is ready to assist anyone passing by.
A friendly psychic is ready to assist anyone passing by.
Another beautiful San Diego day along El Prado.
Another beautiful San Diego day along El Prado.
Ranger Kim provides a Sunday tour. A large group has paused to learn about the history of nearby buildings.
Ranger Kim provides a Sunday tour. A large group has paused to learn about the history of nearby buildings.
People have collected near the south end of the picturesque Lily Pond.
People have collected near the south end of the picturesque reflecting pool, or Lily Pond.
There are always lots of treats to choose from in Balboa Park!
There are always lots of treats to choose from in Balboa Park!
A most wonderful place.
A most wonderful place.
Two bicyclists pass each other in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden. It's winter, not yet spring.
Two bicyclists pass each other in the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden. It’s winter, not yet spring.
Looking from the Desert Garden across Florida Canyon toward Morley Field.
Looking from the Desert Garden across Florida Canyon toward Morley Field.
Kids play near Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park.
Kids play near Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park.
A Bob Marley banner has been hung on the colorful side of the WorldBeat Cultural Center.
A Bob Marley banner has been hung on the colorful side of the WorldBeat Cultural Center.
The flag atop the Balboa Park Administration Building is at half staff. The world is troubled. Balboa Park is a refuge, filled with peace and happiness.
The flag atop the Balboa Park Administration Building is at half staff. The world is troubled. Balboa Park is a refuge, filled with peace and happiness.
Beauty and sunshine are abundant in Balboa Park.
Beauty and sunshine are abundant in Balboa Park.

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!