2016 Balboa Park Explorer Pass

After seeing my paintings in the Conservancy offices, the manager of ticketing and sales for the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership asked me to recreate the Tower, Globe, and Fountain picture with dimensions that would fit the Balboa Park Explorer Pass, which gives park-goers access to 17 museums and attractions. Though I’d never attempted to copy one of my own works, it worked out pretty well!

Tower, Globe & Fountain
2016 • 20 x 30

Balboa Park Explorer Pass

Leigh Cohn poses with painting and its inspiration.


Balboa Park 1916

In February 2016, I had lunch with with Tomas Herrera-Mishler, President and CEO of the Balboa Park Conservancy, in whose office many of the Centennial pictures hang. One of his main projects is fundraising for the restoration of the Botanical Building, and he showed me colorized post card images of what the building and grounds looked like a hundred years ago, during the Panama-California Exposition. He said that the images weren’t sufficient for marketing purposes and asked if I could repaint them.

I searched for more old photos on the web, and I made some changes to the original images. Here I am with the final 3 paintings in my studio:

Tomas was enthusiastic about the paintings and they joined the others in the Conservancy’s offices

This is my favorite of the three. The Botanical Building's "missing" arches are shown, as well as the Food & Manufacturer's Building, which is no longer in the park. I especially like the reflection in the mid-right foreground.

Botanical Reflection 1916
2016 • 40 x 30
Detail #1 Detail #2

Arbor & Pergola 1916
2016 • 40 x 30
Detail #1 Detail #2 Detail #3 Detail #4

Botanical Grounds 1916
2016 • 40 x 30
Detail #1 Detail #2 Detail #3 Detail #4

I wanted these three pictures to look like I had been there and painted them in 1916, which is ridiculous. Nonetheless, I added a “19” to the 16 in my signature!

Paintings on display for a lecture at the S.D. Museum of Photographic Arts

Leigh & Lindsey were acknowledged at the lecture.


Before & After

These two “portraits” of the Botanical Building present what it looked like in 1916 (with arches across the entire front) and in 2016 (with only the center arches). The restoration will add back the arches—so, which is the Before and which is the After? I don’t know and am presenting them as a pair.

Before & After (a pair)
2016 • 16 x 20


More Balboa Park

Casa Del Prado
Steve Vargo
Vista, CA
2016 • 20 x 30