Updated: Aug 6
Let’s just say the last year has been crazy for everybody.In addition to all the Covid chaos, life has been particularly challenging for me since I also took on the role as caregiver for my elderly parents. After months and months of driving seemingly endless miles back and forth from San Diego to the Bay Area, I packed up and moved home to help take care of Mom. Crazy? Yes. But the middle of a pandemic just wasn’t the time to think about long-term care facilities. Moving meant downsizing from a 4-bedroom, 2-story house with 2 dogs to a 400 square foot pool house in the back of my childhood home in Los Altos, CA.
Most of my life is now boxed up and packed into a POD storage unit and the rest edited down to essentials. My Pool House life feels like a liminal space between my old life in San Diego and a not yet defined next life or place. While this in-betweenness can be uncomfortable, especially for someone that thrives on planning a bit of control, I have managed to put together a studio space for creating art. I’m calling it Mon Petit Atelier, invoking the spirit of beautiful studios I’ve visited here and abroad. In reality, my small studio is simply an area tucked to the side of our garage. While not my glamorous dream atelier, it has decent light, a window that opens and enough elbow-room for me to spread out a bit with no worries about splashing paint around.
1) Pens/Brushes, 2) Reference Books/Magazines, 3) Travel Kit, 4) Bins for Washi Tape, 5) Epson Ecotank Printer, 6) Adjustable Chair, 7) Task Light w/USB Charger
Since my move and this studio space are not forever, I’m re-using and re-purposing as much as possible. My main workspace is a large aluminum folding table from the ‘70’s that we used to drag out for backyard potlucks. There is plenty of room to see all my assorted brushes, pens and colored pencils displayed in a collection of Murano glass, leftover from Lafko candles, and colorful ceramic vases from a favorite Santa Barbara potter. A stack of reference books and magazines are at arm’s length when inspiration calls, as is a basket holding my plein air travel kit necessities.
Mon Petit Atelier works for me. Someday I will have my dream studio with huge windows overlooking the ocean. But for now, I have tapped into my creativity to help me adapt to new situations by designing a usable area out of essentially nothing and giving me the space to be inspired while still helping my family.
P.S. Here’s a list of my favorite artist studios.
Favorite Places: 7 Artist Studios 1. Georgia O’Keeffe, Home and Studio, Abiquiu, New Mexico 2. Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera, Casa Azul, Mexico City, Mexico 3. Claude Monet, Monet House, Studio and Gardens, Giverny, France 4. Constantin Brancusi, Atelier Brancusi, Paris, France 5. Auguste Renoir, Musee Renoir, Cagne Sur Mer, France 6. Salvador Dali, Salvador Dali House, Girona, Spain 7. Henri Matisse, Hotel Villa de France, Room 35, Tangier, Morocco