Montavlo Art Center

Does this ever happen to you: You live someplace for years, think you know the place you live in pretty well, then you end up somewhere, not far from home, just by chance, and you wonder: how could I NOT have been here all these years?
That was me last week at Montalvo Art Center. I was there to drop my kids off for their Comic Book camp ( which was awesome).

I stopped and did a little sketch everytime I was there. Montalvo Art Center is the Mediterranean-style villa built by James Phelan in 1914 and then donated as a park and art center. They have an awesome Artists-in-Residency program that I would love to apply for one day! But until then, here’s some sketches from my visits:

This is the main villa, seen from the Great Lawn. That fabulous large tree has an even more fabulous name: The False Monkey Puzzle Tree. (I couldn’t figure what it was, so I posted my sketch on Montalvo’s Facebook page and asked and got an answer real quick.)

I often get asked what comes first in my work: the line or the color, so I posted the piece below. It’s line first. Line to me is almost blind contour, windy, swirly and zigzagging across the page. Color come next. It helps clarify the drawing, and separate the linework into recognizable masses, But both the line and color do their own little dance on the page.


The villa from the side, with sculpture and trees to frame the view.montalvo_side

And a scene I can never resist. Constructions workers, hard at work building a path.
montalvo_constructionSo much to sketch at Montalvo, and so little sketched so far. Luckily the kids go back for another week of camp soon, so I get to explore some more.

You can see all my Montalvo sketches, and more sketches form the summer as I upload them in to this flickr set.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in california, Close to home, Silicon Valley and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Montavlo Art Center

  1. Anjali Kambe says:

    I love to see your paintings. You are a super spontaneous artist. Anjali Kambe


  2. Sonali says:



  3. Steph says:

    So beautiful! I want to see a sketch of you sketching!! 🙂


  4. Lee Kline says:

    My dear, the people at the camp should see your stuff and ask you to offer sketchbook lessons.


  5. Carol Meese says:

    I love your dancing lines. And vibrating spots of color. Thank you for sharing your process


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