My Pool House Life

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 seemingly endless miles driving back and forth, 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 in San Diego 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

So here is the nickel tour. Since my move and studio space are not forever, I’m re-using and re-purposing as much as possible. I’ll highlight some my supplies and organizational tips, in case anyone is interested following along or setting up a home studio. (Disclaimer: I am primarily a watercolor and mixed media artist so obviously these suggestions need to be modified for other media.) 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 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, to design a usable area out of essentially nothing and to give me the space to be inspired while still helping my family.

Stay tuned for more studio inspiration on my favorite watercolor paints and brushes.


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

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