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!

Wind Up Angel Dressed for Christmas

Guardian Angel, Watermedia, 8x8"

Angel, Watermedia on Arches paper, 8x8"

My sister has great parking karma. She deeply believes there will always be a parking place for her, and there is. She gave me this little wind-up “parking karma angel” that I keep on my dashboard, along with my Boy Scout “Finding My Way” badge (that I bought at a Boy Scout store I happened upon) since I’m notorious for getting lost. The angel has a knob on the back and if you wind it up, her wings flap and she grants you a parking space.

Perhaps she can also grant New Years or Christmas wishes. Send me your wishes and I’ll wind her up for you.  Be sure and let me know if they come true!

About the painting:

I placed a turquoise cloth beneath her and draped a red one to her side, making her silvery gown and wings reflect all that color back.  I wanted to paint her in oils but decided to do watercolor first. Since I still haven’t  gotten around to replacing my masking fluid (which had turned into a solid lump), I tried preserving the whites but didn’t completely succeed. So I tried recapturing them with gouache (came out greyish), then acrylic (too cool, too bright white) and finally used some latex interior house paint that I’d previously had matched to the color of my Arches watercolor paper. It worked well and matched the preserved whites.

I took photos of Angel Baby (what I call her) with different colored cloths and some of them were quite dramatic. I’m going to try painting her again with some of those other colored cloths.

Happy Holidays!

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