Pacita moved to Washington after living in Paris for the previous six months. Needless to say, it was a bit of an adjustment. D.C. was still recovering from the racial riots triggered by Martin Luther King's assassination a few years earlier, and most of 14th Street was still burned out. Pacita's studio/home on 15th Street wasn't large enough for her to have a studio, so she just took over the dining room and when guests came she just moved her easel and paints to the side.
While she was taking classes at the Corcoran School of Art, she was also painting at home. The first canvas that she did was a big painting her native island of Batanes. One of the next paintings was a view out her front window, and she transformed a gray February day into a bright beach scene in southern France. Such is the benefit of being an artist.
Pacita's landlord, Carl Hundley, introduced her to his old art teacher, the noted painter Alma Thomas, who lived two blocks down the street. Alma invited Pacita to visit her a number of times and encouraged her to keep painting. When money was difficult Carl sympathetically accepted a few of Pacita's paintings to pay for the rent. It was also in this studio/home where Pacita launched her painting career with her first one-woman exhibition that was well-supported by her friends.