Carousel Panel Artwork

City of Irvine employee and artist Sandra Cisneros found inspiration for the updated Carousel panels by creating new original artwork based on three themes: the roots and history of Great Park’s military past; the transformation of the park to recreation and sports grounds; and Irvine’s majestic hillsides and landscapes. Great Park employees provided images and ideas that served as a foundation for the artist to base the final paintings on. Produced from home during the 2020 Stay at Home order, each 4-foot by 2.5-foot panel was painted on flat canvas. The panels were then scanned by an outside manufacturer and transferred to a metal panel able to sustain Southern California’s various weather changes, allowing Irvine’s residents and guests to enjoy the artwork year after year.

Great Park Balloon and Carousel

The iconic image of the Great Park Balloon in flight, lit by the night sky next to the Carousel, served as inspiration for the first painting created in the series of panels. Wanting to capture the glisten of the attractions against a clear, crisp, night sky, the artist used dark blue and purple hues contrasted by vivid glows of yellow, white, and orange. These artistic choices set the tone for the rest of the paintings, with the hopes of capturing the light in action along with its subject.

EC Jet

Featuring a jet fighter positioned in front of a Great Park hangar with the sun at its highest point of the day, this image captures its subjects at the prime of their time in duty. The light, brightening the hangar and jet, show all of the details the make the structure of the subjects as prominent as they are.

Basketball at Dusk

Inspired by the recreational motivation of adults being active after the hustle and bustle of a busy day, this painting shows two men immersed in a game of basketball. A glowing sunset peaking over the hills of the Irvine backdrop provide the best light in the sky for the late night game. The forced perspective and depiction of a game at play helps unify the four sport themed paintings in the series.

Nature Hike at Quail Hill

A family on a hike with a tour guide silhouetted buy the bright blue sky at Quail Hill Trailhead sets the tone for this painting. The vast yellow hills cascading off to each side of the trail in bloom creates a warmth that compliments the soft blue skies behind them. The family on the hike plays tribute to the diverse outdoor activities and trails Irvine has to offer for families and recreational enthusiasts alike.

Jets Soaring the Coast

Two El Toro jets flying in action are reimagined in all of their heyday glory, soaring over the Southern California coast. The hilly backdrop of the coast show the jet’s ocean path access when they were once stationed on base at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. Capturing the vibrant colors of the blue coast while incorporating the jets soaring proudly in the sky was the focus of this painting.

Batter Up on Base

The forced perspective of the pitcher and batter at play during a softball game continues the sports theme of “game at play.” The rich colors of the field shows how the Great Park has transformed to a prime location for recreation that drives community participation.

Irvine Spectrum Ferris Wheel

The Irvine Spectrum Ferris Wheel set against a sunset glow plays tribute to Irvine’s diverse shopping atmosphere. A small glimpse of the building below show the significance of community, while a memorable view of the scenic hills show the outdoor beauty surrounding the Spectrum.

El Toro Air Station

Positioned in front of the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, a jet provides a glimpse of the station at its elite time. By capturing the buildings structure and the jets sleek lines, the artist is able to draw the eye to follow the paintings format. Soft hues of greys and the use of light focuses the eye on the concrete feel of the environment and the Air Stations design.

Soccer Player

A young girl aiming for her goal on the soccer field on a clear blue sky brings the viewer into the painting, as if they are on the field with the subject. The lush green of the grass and blue hue of the blue sky along with the line of the young girl’s leg pulls the perspective of the viewer and invites them to fees as if they are part of the game.

Bommer Canyon Preserve

An early sunrise shining its light on the blooming flowers of the hillsides captures Bommer Canyon Preserve in bloom in this landscape painting. The tranquility of the painting with the lush green hills, vibrant flowers, and blue skies helps the viewer enjoy a quiet peaceful moment of nature in Irvine.

El Toro

In 1943, Walt Disney designed the El Toro “Flying Bull” logo for Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. This fitting tribute captures the animated cartoon character of “El Toro” by using brilliant and dynamic colors, giving the painting the same cartoon qualities of its originator.


An intense view of a player about to spike one in for the point alongside a player on the other side of the net ready to defend its position set the scene for this action packed game of volleyball. The final piece in the series captures the heightened play of two players as they enjoy their outdoor game of volleyball, just one of the many recreational activities tied to the sports of Great Park. Lines of lush trees in the background help push the players forward, allowing for the viewers to be part of the play and movement.


About the Artist

Sandra Cisneros is contemporary realist artist who lives and works in Southern California. Throughout her life, Sandy has always been fascinated by capturing the world as it is represented in its natural state. Her passion and areas of expertise in painting pet portraits, paying tribute to the importance and significance pets have in their owner’s lives. 

As a child, Sandra was recognized for her artistic talents receiving prizes and awards for her innate talent. She earned her Bachelors degree in Drama, with emphasis in Scenic Design, from the University of California, Irvine. Her training has led her to create works in a range of sizes and mediums, from miniature models to larger than life paintings and sculptures.

Sandra’s artwork has been recognized by the Los Angeles Angels Baseball organization, with works paying tribute to the stadium's iconic baseball landmarks. Her training and talent has led her to teach as a youth instructor at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, helping students foster the same enthusiasm she has for arts in all mediums. Sandra also instructs painting for adults and youth at the Pinot’s Palette Studio in Tustin. where she can share her expertise and talents with the community. Her passion of creating pet portraits has led her to create her Little Archer Creations Shop, allowing clients to select various options for a painted pet portrait and other unique crafts.