Artist Patricia “Patti” Orellana finds inspiration for her paintings everywhere she looks, whether it be our beautiful Pacific Northwest or still objects found around her home. However, her inspiration isn’t limited to her local surroundings, as an avid traveler, Patti draws upon photographs—as she said, “literally hundreds”—taken on each of her travels.
Once back in her studio, she reviews the photos and is often surprised that not all of them would make a strong painting. “They are better left alone and appreciated as captured by the lens of my camera,” she said. However, when she finds potential in a photograph, the “battle” as she refers to it, begins.
“I know battle may sound dramatic,” she explains, “but for me it truly is one. I usually start with questions: Why did I take this photo? What part of the photo is the inspiration? How do I edit the one element, whether it be sky, or the glimmer of light dancing on water, in a cohesive, convincing manner? What is my emotional response to the photo? How do I convey that emotion? How will I remain engaged in the process of creating the painting?”
Sometimes she finds that she’s bored with the false starts and scraps the piece, or puts it away to be revisited later. “It’s a love and hate relationship. I am either thrust to new discoveries or shoved into a room with no windows or exits.” The goal, she said, is to aspire to produce strong honest work.
Patti’s work is unique in that she varies between abstract and representational. That uniqueness is amplified in the mediums she uses to create her art. In addition to her paintings, she also produces fine art prints and digital paintings. She uses her computer to layer and manipulate the images, extracting a portion as the chosen subject for her paintings and digital works.
Much of what Patti creates, be it by paint or digital manipulation is an interpretation of more than one photograph. Her work doesn’t follow any particular theme, if all or a part of a photo—regardless of subject matter—speaks to her, that’s what she paints.
Originally from Jersey City, New Jersey, Patti is a classically trained artist and attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City, minoring in art therapy. After acquiring her BFA in illustration, she moved to the Seattle area to join (and later marry) her high school sweetheart, Michael. Patti continued her education in graphic arts which led to professional opportunities with Eddie Bauer Corporate and Garden Botanika Corporate.
Patti and her family frequently visited Bainbridge Island. When her son Evan was gearing up for college, Patti and Michael decided to sell their home in the Clyde Hill area and purchase a property in Rolling Bay in 2018 to build their dream home. In the interim, they rented a condominium in the Seattle Lake Union neighborhood, hoping to enjoy the “urban” lifestyle for a year or so before heading to the island permanently.
During that time, Patti attended classes at Gage Academy of Art near the UW campus, and soon began to realize that perhaps urban life wasn’t what she really wanted. When Covid hit, those thoughts transformed into a new reality. The lockdown turned their urban dreams into pandemic isolation, and they quickly began to rethink their plans. Unfortunately, construction was also on hold due to Covid, and they soon found out that building their new home had become a far-off dream. Fortunately, they discovered the work/live spaces at Roost in the Lynwood Center/Pleasant Beach neighborhood of Bainbridge, where they now reside and where Patti has her studio.
Since making Bainbridge her permanent home, Patti has immersed herself in the island’s thriving art community. Although she hadn’t originally planned to open her studio to the public, she soon discovered that she wasn’t the only artist in the Roost neighborhood—Theresa Killgore of Peaceful Spring Designs and Jacopo Vecchiato, Executive Manager of Lino Tagliapietra Inc. (fine glassworks) had spaces there as well—inspiring Patti to make the transition from a private space to a working studio and gallery for her artwork, and hopefully the works of other artists in the future.
In addition to having an open studio, Patti is on the Board of Trustees for the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA), where she is currently involved in the Arts and Acquisition Committee as well as the Development Committee.
“The Arts and Acquisitions Committee has helped me expand my knowledge of many local talents and their diverse backgrounds. It has also informed my own creative process and growth. PThe Development Committee is an exciting way to reach current members and invite new members to join the BIMA community,” she explained. “The museum plays a huge role in supporting our residents by offering many programs to reach a vast audience with different interests and needs; such as the Creative Aging Program, School Programs, Summer Camps, and Summer Art Market.”
She was also invited to join a panel conversation on Latin & Hispanic Identities with fellow Board members Paul Castanon, Liliana Grip and Araceli Lesko. “I am so appreciative that BIMA offers opportunities to have difficult conversations in a safe environment. But most importantly, I feel I have gained an extended family who have welcomed me with open arms and appreciate the views of a strong Latina.”
In addition, she was invited to join Arts & Humanities Bainbridge board members Michael Lewars and Claire Hicks as part of the jury process for the Individual Artist Grant 2021. “It was the first time I had been part of a jury, and it was inspiring to see the art works and have heartfelt discussions about them. The greatest perk was knowing you were helping to support emerging artists and their dreams.”
She’s also looking forward to a future opportunity to participate in the process of supporting artistic growth with the Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA) where she’ll join fellow artists in reviewing CoCA members’ portfolios this summer. As she told me: “My artistic journey continues and I look forward to sharing it with my community.”
Patti’s work can be found at her Roost studio, or via her website at https://www.patriciaorellana.com
OTHER ISLAND WANDERINGS
Island Wanderings: Creating A New Calm Through the Lens of Abstract Expressionism – Artist CR Rousseau
The Island Wanderer Blog – A New Look for the New Year
Island Wanderings: The First Three Songs – 50 years of Rock and Roll Photography by Steve Schneider
Island Wanderings: The Fabulous Fenderskirts: How three women became the island’s most iconic musical trio
Island Wanderings: A date with the Fabulous Fenderskirts – Gala Movie Event and Fundraiser
Island Wanderings: Alex Sanso – Creating Memories Through Collectible Art
Island Wanderings: The art of guitar making – Luthier Alan Simcoe
Island Wanderings: “Hunting Bigfoot” – The character behind the character
READ MORE ISLAND WANDERINGS
ABOUT MARGARET MILLMORE. Margaret Millmore is a supernatural fiction author and blogger, living on Bainbridge Island with her husband, Bryan. Her first published works were flash fiction, The Welcome Home and Untitled – Luke N. Goode, which were featured on Bay Area artist, Kenny Mencher’s blog. In 2011 she published her first full length novel, since then she’s published a three book series, another novel and her current series (via Next Chapter Publishing – formerly Creativia Publishing) What Haunts Me (Ghost Killer Book 1); The Edge of the Cemetery (Ghost Killer Book 2), which was awarded the August 2016 Book of the Month award by Long and Short Reviews; and What Hunts Me (Ghost Killer Book 3). The majority of her books are set in San Francisco where she lived—previous to island life—for over 26 years. Her preferred writing genre is supernatural fiction, with the exception of her time-travel novel, The Dragonfly Door. In addition to her novels, Margaret writes a blog, called The Island Wanderer – which focuses on people, events and businesses on Bainbridge Island: https://theislandwanderer.com/blog/. All her books can be found on her website and her Amazon Author page.