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Paintbrushes v Toothbrushes: A Peek Inside My Artist’s Home
productivity, small business

Paintbrushes v Toothbrushes: A Peek Inside My Artist’s Home

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live with an artist? Maybe you already live with one, and are thinking up a few choice expletives to write in the comments section below? You have my sympathies, really.

My family love what I do, and my kids are proud of having an artist mom. They point out all the artwork leaning against walls in my house to their friends and get lots of “wow“in return. Also, they have a mom who doesn’t freak out when they want to break out the paint for school projects (but not glitter – NEVER glitter).
My husband also likes the bohemian aspect of the house, and gets excited about my work every day….but maybe not so excited with the mess that it ‘sometimes’ involves.
Disclaimer here: this is not a post about a dream house. In my dreams, an artist’s house is an exotic outlet for their passions, a reflection of their aesthetic tastes, like Frida Kahlo’s exquisite home in Mexico. My house is more like a giant, ever changing storeroom for my many unfinished projects, and sometimes it can be an infuriating place to be, because…

I don’t have a studio, I work at home.

At first, this meant that I took over the spare bedroom upstairs, depriving my husband of his workspace, he took that graciously, but it wasn’t enough. My work got bigger, and more messy, I started screen printing on the dining table, washing screens in the bathtub, painting against the far wall in my bedroom, storing paints in kitchen drawers, heck I even painted on my family room wall one rainy day. Walking around my house yesterday, I noticed just how much my work and it’s tools have encroached onto our home spaces. It seems so normal to us, but I’ve noticed guests’ amused chuckles when they discover paintbrushes next to toothbrushes in the bathroom. So I started documenting this gradual spreading out with some photos, nothing fancy, just my trusty iphone.  If you are an artist/designer, this may all look very familiar to you.

Here are some things you will find in my home:

  1. Printing screens stacked alongside towels and sheets in the linen closetimg_4923

2. Paintings (both mine and the kids’) lined up against my bedroom wall (aka my painting studio)img_4932


3.Brayers drying in the guest bathroom, next to kids’ clay projects that have no home, and paint drips on the wall, because my students need to touch every surface on their way to the sink.img_4922


4.Paintbrushes drying alongside toothbrushesimg_4943


5.Eye wateringly bright colors everywhere, courtesy of the kids and I.img_4934


6.Postcards from art galleries stuck all over the kitchen, some in a terrible state.img_4935


7.More paintbrushes, this time next to fresh produce!img_4936


8.That elegant console in the living room? It’s actually crammed with printing tools.img_4940



9.Stacks of paper and sketchbooks all over the place. I think they are breeding.img_4937

10. An impulsive mural in the family room, created on a rainy day.img_4945

11. Bookshelves mostly filled with kids’ Art books

12. Finally, a defunct work room that is really more of a storage room!img_4924

I could go on, there is a huge ‘Thank you’ banner hanging in our basement from last year’s summer camp students, and our windows are covered in glass marker drawings…. etc, etc.

Working from home is a messy business when you are an artist, even more so when you are an artist and a parent. All my quotidian tasks cannot be ignored, and all too often the business of making art gives way to the bigger role of being a parent. But there can be real beauty in the moments where the two intersect. Our house may be messy, but it is a monument to my many loves, and the very , VERY fuzzy line that separates them.


About Author

Artist, Educator, Parent, Small Business Owner, Big kid from a big city, in a small town.

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