Thursday, July 12, 2012

Got Getty? Artful Installations, Plus
Esoteric in Escondido

Got Getty?

One of my favorite places to bring SoCal visitors is to the Getty Center. Both the Getty Villa in Malibu and the Getty Center near the 405 & 10 freeways boast gorgeous works of Art, but only the Center offers magnificent views over such a large part of the LA basin.

Admission is FREE - but parking is $15.00 per vehicle. (Carpool, anyone?) For the Villa in Malibu, a timed-entry ticket is required.

You can walk (steep but good exercise) or take the tram up the hill.

Sculptures, waterfalls, fountains, and garden elements are everywhere.
Inside the Museum Entrance Hall. The architecture is breathtaking - and they offer free docent-led tours
that point out things you might have missed.

Got kids?

The Getty is very family-friendly.  You can bring your own picnic lunch, or get kid favorites like pizza, hot dogs, peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches at the cafe. (There are some restrictions on bringing kid-carrying backpacks and food into the galleries where the priceless art lives. Strollers & wheelchairs available at two locations.)  The South Pavilion restroom offers a private nursing area. Most materials are available in English and Spanish. There are free outdoor kid concerts, and much more.

Check out the little girl walking along the wide, inviting path around the fountain
(with mom holding her hand).

Galleries. Priceless Paintings. If you want to go nose to nose with a Monet or a Van Gogh, you can do so here.
Well, they WILL make you back off a few inches. And flash photography is not permitted.

The Cactus Garden, and a glimpse of the West Side of LA and the 405 freeway.

To the northeast, the San Gabriel mountains. (Yes, that is snow.)
From another viewpoint on the same balcony, you can see the ocean (weather permitting).
The wide, green lawns are perfect for picnics - or rolling down the hill.
An intimate zigzag path that traverses this stream, leads from the top of the hill -
and big rocks, to tiny ones at the bottom, and a waterfall.
Listen to the water - it is actually tuned to give different sounds.
Waterfall into the azalea maze garden.

The gardens are spectacular, and always changing.

Chairs and benches are set under the bougainvillea bowers.

You can see the waterfall emptying into the circle maze feature to the right.
There are no bad views from the Getty.

Sun, sky, stone. The place just inspires you to get artsy, with camera or sketchpad.
No matter how often I go to the Getty, I always find something amazing that takes my breath away. The exhibitions are always changing, and the weather becomes my guide - on sunny days, I explore the gardens and the outside. On cool, foggy days, I spend my time mostly inside the galleries.

Do you know where the name California came from?

Explore and learn from this gem, tucked away inside Kit Carson Park in Escondido (Northern San Diego County). Queen Califia's Magical Circle, an art installation by artist Niki de Saint Phalle.
The garden, like the state itself, takes its name from the legendary black Amazon queen, Califia, who was believed to rule a terrestrial island paradise of gold and riches. The legend was first popularized in the early 16th century romance novel, Las Sergas de Esplandian (The Exploits of Explandian) that received wide circulation in Spain.

Cost - FREE 

Pass through the circular snake wall and the maze entryway...

Queen Califia, an archetype of feminine power and strength, astride her eagle throne.

A golden "egg" is hidden under the body of the eagle, and the inside is a gorgeous, shimmery blue.
From the inside, the mirror section of the maze reflect the multicolored sculptures.

from the outside, looking past the snake wall at one of the totems.

Children seem to love exploring the place - the mazes, the totems, the walls.
It's not only beautiful to look at, but tempts almost all the senses: feeling the textures of the mosaics,
from mirror-shiny to rough or rounded. Smelling the native plants.
Testing the sounds made from inside the snake wall or the maze.
Inside the Queen/Eagle, a section of the inner dome.

The eight totem figures offer all kind of posing inspiration. That's my son, showing his.
On the left, you can see the golden egg under the eagle.
Over the right maze wall, some of the snakes that form the snake wall.

de Saint Phalle personally selected dozens of varieties of glass of different shapes, color,
hue, translucency, and degrees of reflection.

Bullhead totem, with snake wall in the background.
 (All photos copyright Beverly Diehl. You may borrow, with attribution & link, please.)

Native trees and plantings are sited along the garden's perimeter and behind each of the three benches in the interior.  The snakes actually have plantings inset along their backs. Queen Califia Fact Sheet.

I loved going to this place. No food or drink is permitted inside, but you could bring s picnic lunch and find a nice place nearby (Kit Carson Park itself is HUGE, over 100 acres, with youth and adult ball fields, soccer fields, playgrounds, ponds, frisbee golf course, skate parks...)

So, next time I'm near Escondido, I'm definitely making time to revisit the Queen. And the Getty, I haunt a couple times of a year (plus I set a scene in my last novel there).

This post is part of a blog hop with SoCal Lady Bloggers, sharing our favorite SoCal spots.

So, have you been to either/both of these places?
Do you have a favorite SoCal spot that not everybody knows about (yet)?

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