I’ve been in La Jolla for the last few days; a mix of business and pleasure.  Gallery visits, beach walks and museums have filled my warm days.  All lovely and an enjoyable contrast to the cold and rain I left behind in the Bay Area.

Before heading South, a friend of mine suggested I visit the Niki de Saint Phalle exhibits in the area.  With the help of Google I saw that one of her installations, Queen Califia’s Magical Circle,  was located in Escondido, not far from where I was staying.

I knew a bit about her work but was not prepared for what I experienced in Escondido!  Fanciful creatures and totems filled her magical environment.

To enter her world you pass through a maze of black, white and mirrored walls.  The light constantly reflects a changing scene; as if the walls were alive and shifting in front of you.

The main creature is a griffin of sorts.  A griffin has the body of a lion and a head and wings of an eagle.  Niki’s griffin is patterned with quilted colors of contrasting mosaics.  Queen Califia is seated high up on its neck and her posture and strength remind me of the sculpture of Yemanja in Salvador, Brazil.

My photos can’t begin to show the brilliance of her work.  There are many better photos taken by others.  You may get an idea of the work by watching this short video of Niki’s Queen Califia’s Magical Circle HERE.

I sat in her circle for more than an hour absorbing her world of great imagination, scale, color and materials.  She held nothing back.

It was a fortunate stroke of Serendipity.

Sometimes you don’t know you’ve been in need of a push until you bump into it.  As the saying goes, “if it were a snake it would bite you in the face”

In Queen Califia’s magical circle I found a force to pull me forward on my journey and guide me home.