Patricia “Patti” Orellana grew up in Jersey City, NJ as the middle of three siblings. Her journey into the art world started early, drawing and coloring whenever and wherever she could—much to her mother’s dismay, that often included the walls in her home and her patent leather shoes.
She attended the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY, minoring in art therapy. After acquiring her BFA in illustration she moved to the Seattle area to join her high school sweetheart, Michael. After they married, they built a home in Clyde Hill, pursued their careers and had their son Evan. Patti continued her education in graphic arts which led to professional opportunities with Eddie Bauer Corporate and Garden Botanika Corporate.
Over the years, Patti and her family often visited Bainbridge Island, which eventually spurred them to purchase a lot in the Rolling Bay neighborhood in 2018 with the intention of building their future dream home after Evan left for college. As they worked out their plans to build on Bainbridge, 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.
While taking classes at Gage Academy of Art near the UW campus, she 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. Like much of the industries around the country, construction was now on hold due to Covid and they soon found out that building their new home had become a far-off dream. When the properties at Roost in the Lynwood Center/Pleasant Beach Village neighborhood came to their attention, they jumped at the opportunity to have a live/work lifestyle on Bainbridge.
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. Like many artists in our area, she’s constantly awed and inspired by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Typically, she works off of photographs she’s taken locally and on vacations, as well as items found in her home, and the occasional photograph taken by a friend.
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.
As a classically trained artist and a graphic artist, Patti finds that she’s often challenged when she begins a piece. In a desire to draw on both aspects of her training, she frequently reworks her art, whether on canvas or computer screen, resolving issues until an “ah ha” moment occurs. When that happens, she steps back and more often than not, realizes the piece is complete.
Patti loves watching and reading about artists and their processes. One of her favorite shows is UK based Portrait Artist of the Year, which has inspired her to revisit portrait painting. She’s currently working on a piece—although not complete—it left me with a sense of happiness and exploration. Upon viewing this piece, the unfinished work felt like it was telling a story, and it was up to me, the observer, to imagine just what that story was.
Patti and Michael chose the location of their townhome/studio at Roost tucked away from the more public areas, because at the time, she had no intention of opening her studio to the general public.
After settling in and meeting her neighbors, she discovered she wasn’t the only artist in residence. Fellow Roost artists and “public” studio owners, Theresa Killgore of Peaceful Spring Designs and Jacopo Vecchiato, Executive Manager of Lino Tagliapietra Inc. (fine glassworks) had spaces there as well. It was then that she decided to open her studio up as a gallery for her works, and hopefully the works of other artists in the future.
Patti is on the board of the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, a position she finds humbling and magical and hopes to continue for many years to come. She is also a participant of the newly created “Roost Art Walk” which has held two events thus far.
Patti’s work can be found at her Roost studio, or via her website at https://www.patriciaorellana.com