Ink and watercolor wash Landscape Places Sketchbook Pages

Urban Angel & Exciting News!!!

Urban Angel, ink & watercolor, 8x5"
Urban Angel, ink & watercolor, 8×5″

I sketched this scene at the Sundar Shadi holiday display on Moeser Lane in El Cerrito. More about that in a minute but first the…

Exciting News

Katherine Tyrell of my favorite art-related blog, Making a Mark, has selected my painting, UPS Delivers at Night, as one of four portraits up for “Best Picture on an Art Blog 2012: The Making a Mark Prize for Best Artwork – Person.”

Katherine invited nominations and then selected 4 paintings in 4 categories (still life, people, places, nature). Now the public has 4 days to vote for their favorites. Click here to visit Making a Mark, see the beautiful work in each of the categories and vote for the ones you like best. The deadline for voting is Sunday, December 30 at 6:00 a.m. London time (10:00 p.m. in California).

Sundar Shadi

Now back to Sundar Shadi’s holiday display. Mr. Shadi was born in India but moved to the Bay Area to attend college in 1921. In 1949 he put up a holiday display on the large empty lot next door to the home he built in El Cerrito.

Sundar Shadi Holiday Display
Sundar Shadi Holiday Display (at sunset between rainstorms)

Every year until he was 96 he added to the display, building figures, animals and a whole village. He passed away but his family and volunteers continue to assemble the display each year. Sundar Shadi was a Sikh not a Christian, but created the display as a gift for the community.

View looking down the hill, Moeser Lane, El Cerrito
View looking down the hill, Moeser Lane, El Cerrito

The view looking down the hill from the display is pretty nice too!

10 replies on “Urban Angel & Exciting News!!!”

CONGRATULATIONS! That’s wonderful news and I’m running over to that blog as soon as I finish this. I really like your angle with the animals and the power lines behind her. That makes the picture for me! Well done!


Thanks Carol, I agree re the power lines. The first time I drew it standing in the freezing cold mist between rainstorms I left them out and wasn’t at all happy with my sketch. I gave it some more thought and realized the whole point was the setting and so went back and tried again. The context is so important in sketching and yet I sometimes forget and go for pretty instead of gritty (which there is a lot more of where I live). Jana


Congratulations and thanks for introducing me to a new blog. You’ve got my vote. And what an inspiring story of Sundar Shadi. I think it shows the true message of all religions — be nice to each other. I love the electricity of your drawing — lots of movement and golden energy.


Thanks Joy, I wish all religions would focus more on that–our commonalities instead of differences. Thanks for noticing the energy and golden light. It was quite lovely up there just before sunset, made even more special after the constant rain we’ve been having. Jana


Congratulations. I have only just seen your post (I am so behind on people’s blogs) and it’s too late to vote 😦 sorry.

What a lovely thing to do for the community and a great drawing from you of it.


No problem. I was 2nd place runner-up which was such an honor. But you, my dear, win first place honors because according to the lovely annual report WordPress sent me, you were the “#1 most active commenter” on my blog. So thank you so much for taking the time to say something. I really appreciate your kind, perceptive and smart comments. Best wishes for a great new year! Jana


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