What I’m Up to in My Studio JK I Don’t Have One

Dear Artist Diary,

As I’ve already blabbed about here, I made a New Years resolution to have an art show this year, so I’ve been playing around with what kind of paintings I’d like to make for it. A little background: I studied art in both undergrad and graduate school (I wanted to be an art professor but then realized academia wasn’t for me because all my grad school professors hated their lives and wanted to die). I have an MFA in painting, but I haven’t been consistently making art for years. In doing some post-break-up soul searching over the holidays, trying to remember things I liked about myself, one thing that kept coming to mind is my creativity. I may not be the most organized, logical person on the planet, but what I lack in businesslady prowess I definitely make up for in my ability to recognize and create beautiful things. This year I’m all about admitting to the things I suck at (staying on task, not getting distracted every two seconds, knowing how to do my taxes) and concentrating on the things I am good at (big picture conceptualizing, visual/spatial composition, attention to detail).

I came up with the above doodle at my parents house during the holidays. It was a time where I wasn’t really eating anything and I was just drinking my feelings. But making these made me excited about the future. Like excited there were still things to create and that I have the ability/privilege to create them. The concept for this series is pretty simple. Each painting is made up of 2-3 canvases, where one shape gets bisected/trisected over both/all three canvases.

These paintings definitely blur the line between art object and interior design item. The distinction between those two isn’t all that important to me, but some people will probably see them mostly as design pieces, which is fine. I think the distinction comes in that a design object is just that, an object while an art piece is something with a stronger conceptual backing. For me, these pieces do have a concept behind them in that they are about formerly unified shapes being cut/separated. These pieces are about division. It’s a pretty simple conceit and a trite thing to make art about post-break-up, but I liked the simplicity of it and it’s something that’s at the front of my mind. There’s also something about the unification/separation theme that feels in keeping with what’s going on in our world right now. A whole culture of people inherently connected yet somehow cut off from each other.

I’ve made works like this before, like the one above for my La Habra clients’ house, which I still love. The new paintings will have a bit more movement and color variation, but the sense of them being one piece spread over multiple canvases is the same.

While most of the pieces will be triangular or rectangular, I am also interested in doing some circular ones. The only issue there is that getting custom-made circular canvases can be super expensive. I want these to be large, so I might have to table the circular ones until I can find a builder who can make these for less than a million dollars.

The color palette is very Orlando. Which means it’s a lot of aqua, pink, and indigo. The hope is that they’ll be washy/watercolory and warm. I’d like to keep them pretty monochromatic and simple.

This would be a more 3-dimensional piece. Not sure how I would make it but I liked the way it related to the other ones.

I can’t get enough of triangles and circles fighting each other. So basic yet so attractive. LIKE YOUR MOM.

I became obsessed with this ramp shape a few years ago and have been making paintings of it since. A ramp can be either ominous or hopeful depending on which direction it’s facing.

Pale pink is my color this year. I’m using it in my bedroom, I’m wearing it more, I’m pretty much incorporating it into every aspect of my life.

I’m shooting my new apartment in a few weeks and I want to include some of these paintings in my design. So I’ve been working on ideas for a large painting in my living room. I want it to be dramatic and graphic to contrast with the deco/organic modern/80z vibe that’s going on in here. The sofa is a disgustingly luscious peacock blue color (which was hard to capture in this photo) so I want something that plays off that as well. Below are my ideas for paintings, which would be made on triangular/rectangular canvases.

Which one is your favorite? (Vote in the comments):

OPTION 1: Indigo Moon

Option 2: Aqua Ramp

Option 3: Turquoise Triangles

Living Room Resources: Sofa is vintage/reupholstered from Wertz Brothers, Sconces from Park Studio, Round Mirror from CB2, Table Lamps from West Elm (discontinued), Dresser from Wertz Brothers, Smile Pillow from Urban Outfitters, Textile Pillow from Loloi, Throw from Happy Habitat

Tell me which one you like! And stay tuned to see what these look like as actual paintings IN REAL LIFE.

Love,
Orlando

Images: Zeke RuelasBethany Nauert for Homepolish.

94 thoughts on “What I’m Up to in My Studio JK I Don’t Have One

  1. Aqua Ramp! I like how cleanly it fills the space while still being dynamic. I also like how comic-style graphic it is, specifically how it offsets the accessories in the room (mostly the black & white of the pillows/throw and the repeating circles in the mirror/tray).

  2. Hmmmm, hard to choos cuz they are all great! I think the aqua ramp for the colors, but just a smidge smaller than shown.

  3. You know, I thought I would like the triangles/circle but I am LOVING #2 Aqua Ramp! Not sure if it’s the scale or color but I think it goes so well. Holds its own and doesn’t compete too much with the other pieces in the room. #3 is my second choice but something about it feels imbalanced. Like, instead of two lamps I want one bigger one on the left maybe to help balance out the negative space??

  4. My favorite I think is #1, but I also sort of dig the tension in #3. I definitely think having the round shape to complement the mirror is an amazing idea.

  5. Hi Orlando, I love your art! My vote is for #2, the ramp. It just speaks to me. I found your blog a few weeks ago and have been reading through your entries. You have a delightful, entertaining, yet real and grounded writing style. I’ll be following from now on.

  6. Option 3! The colors feel the most balanced with the rest of the space, and I love the triangles vs. circle too.

  7. Ugh choices are so difficult when they are all so good.

    Just by itself, I love Option 1, Indigo Moon. It draws my eyes the most and packs a punch despite how deceptively simple it seems. However, because it’s so much more moody/dramatic, it distracts from the beautiful sofa.

    In context of sofa-flattering, I like Option 3, Turquoise Triangles since it plays well with the cheeky/quirky tone of the sofa and the winking pillow. And the color doesn’t detract from the gorgeous color of the sofa either (you can tell I’m kind of obsessed with your sofa, can’t you? sofa-king good)

    Option 2 pales (hur hur) next to the other two because it almost gives me…vertigo because it’s too light up top and my eyes skitter around before I look at the dark frame of the mirror or the sofa by default.

  8. Love 1&3! I know they are supposed to be geometric but probably the blue with the white round reminds me of the moon, the triangles mountains and water reflection. Seeing stories in open ended abstract pieces makes them so much more interesting to me.

  9. I’m going with Aqua Ramp. And I really love the 3D concept in your article, hope you find a way to bring that to life. I’m very active in the Modern Quilt Guild movement, so your art is in sync with what I love!

  10. Is the lighting fixture in the first photo from park studio? Do you have more photos of it? Love it!

    All the art is lovely and fun. I like #1.

  11. I love them all. In the room, I like option 3, but painted with 2’s color. Love this post and how you are finding yourself again.

  12. Option 3 the turqouise triangles… I can’t stop looking at it! Balanced and unbalanced, calming and eye-catching… I really can’t stop looking at it.

  13. I vote for #2! I truly don’t think you can go wrong with any of them because they’re all amazing. I love your honesty and how you are taking your readers along on your journey in real time. Thank you for that.

  14. Absolutely #2 Aqua Ramp. But go ahead and make #3 because it’s great, just for a different place in your home.

  15. My vote is Indigo Moon for that space. I like how the ‘moon’ is central to the piece and the wall (plus all the other circular objects in the room it ties into). It’s large scale but leaves enough wall behind to balance it. The Aqua Ramp seems a bit too big, and doesn’t hold my attention as much with its conventional, rectangular shape. I love Turquoise Triangles but not on that wall. I would place that piece as the focal point of a room. *Side note: My favorite sketch is the pink triangles with white rectangle! LOVE that one!!

  16. Option 3, followed very closely with Option 2. So close that I would be happy to see either of them on your wall.

  17. Option 1, if you’re keeping the pair of lamps. Option 3 is great too but the lamps look like they’re different heights.

  18. I like #1, but maybe in a color that is more of a contrast with the sofa? Something about the blue sofa and the indigo are fighting each other to me. Love to see you exploring your artistic side.

  19. Number 1 and 3 command attention! These would even look great on a wall space all their own. I think somehow because of the large scale of the pieces they need nothing else( like the console below)

    Number 2 is more subtle and doesn’t compete as much with the other elements in the room… although I’m unsettled with the color of number 2. The brown round mirror over the firplace doesnt seem to jive with this piece either.

    They are all great! Thanks for letting us play too!
    Cate

  20. Love the painting on the home page( is it yours?) and the round dining wood table. Any ideas on where i might purchase that table?

  21. #3 Turquoise Triangles. I like the missing segment of the circle, and the asymmetry of the triangles creates an interesting dimension on the wall (as opposed to the standard rectangular canvas). This piece has the biggest ‘wow’ factor for me. I like that, rather than simply hanging pretty on the wall, it draws me in and forces me to ask some questions.

  22. I love all of these! But I feel like I would really like option 1 if it were just rotated 90° counter clockwise, so that it would better fit the space but still have lots of movement. You’re so talented!

  23. 1 or 2 get my vote and I absolutely can’t decide which I like more. 1 is stunning to me, I love the deep color and how the circle is centered and echoes the roundness of the sofa and the mirror, but it definitely dominates the room. 2 is a great support piece. Just the right size and amount of color and visual interest. Can’t wait to see what you choose!

  24. #3 Turquoise Triangles. Love them in that space.

    Maybe you can bring them together when you meet your true love…if they look good that is, can’t have symbolism trumping aesthetics 😉

  25. I was going to vote for 2, but then I read Laura’s comment about the missing segment of the circle in 3 and thought that was interesting, especially given the original inspiration for the works. So now I’m not sure! But it seems that option 3 most reflects the inspiration. So 3.

  26. My favorite is option 2. It’s big so it definitely catches your eye, yet its lighter shade doesn’t compete with the sofa so it leaves room for both it and the sofa to shine individually.

  27. Aqua ramp, but different color than dark blue. However, you are the artist and your creative decisions shouldn’t be influenced by crowd appeal.

  28. I love them all. So simple, yet dynamic and a pleasure to look at. 3 is my favorite! Really love those triangles.

  29. Wow they all look amazing, as does the appartment. I can’t wait to see it all! I’m in love with #3!!!

  30. Love the design of #3, because it provides a nice break in all the long rectangular lines you’ve got going on, while offering an anchor point for your eye in the circle. You need a circle amidst all those lines! The color palette of #2 is dreamy, and would be a smart juxtaposition against the daring edge. Kind of like you 😉

  31. These are all awesome but I love Indigo Moon the most for this particular room in terms of color, scale and form.

    I think Aqua Ramp is more fine art than decorative object, the colors in that piece have a happy tension that’s very powerful and makes me want to keep looking at it. I really, really love this piece. But I think it’s too big for this room/placement and may be throwing off the scale of the other furnishings, it needs it’s own wall!

    Turquoise Triangles are a delight but might compete with the credenza and objects below. I’m loving your concept for this collection and can’t wait to see more.

  32. I love turquoise triangles! It is so visually dynamic while remaining grounded and relates perfectly to the circle mirror. All are fantastic! As a former art student who hasn’t made anything in years this post was very inspiring to me. You are awesome!

  33. I freaking love three, but I think for the colors in this space I prefer two. Can’t wait to see more art from you!

  34. All of them are so cool and beautiful at the same time! I can’t wait for your art show 🙂 The one I loved the most is Indigo Moon 🙂

  35. These are gorgeous. Even the small sketches/paintings. Are you considering selling prints of them? They’d look really beautiful grouped together on a wall.

  36. Love the colors of Indigo Moon but the shape of Turquoise Triangles is just so striking. I think triangles gets my vote!

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