Make Your Wedding a Highlight

Make Your Wedding Abstract!

March 31, 2021 Season 2 Episode 9
Make Your Wedding a Highlight
Make Your Wedding Abstract!
Show Notes Transcript

DJ Josh is all about adding unique touches to your wedding. What would be more unique than having a live painter capture your day invoking the emotions and the vibes from it as it is unfolding. Well, his guest today, Maxine Orange, from Abstract Bridal Portraits, does just that! If you've never been at an event with a live painter, it's something that just elevates the experience. Plus, getting a portrait done on the first day of the rest of your life seems pretty cool right?

As they talked, Maxine shared her journey from Alabama to New York City to Huntington Beach to where she currently resides in Destin, how her style is influenced by painting live at your event, and what she loves about this area. In addition to her Instagram, which acts as her portfolio, you can also find her at You can also email her directly at

Make sure to click that subscribe button, so you don't miss an episode. And if you haven't left a review, DJ Josh would appreciate it! He might even read it on a future podcast! To reach DJ Josh, email him at

The intro and outro for this Highlight Weddings & Events Podcast were both edited and produced by DropHouse Voiceover Production Studio and Tony Tee Neto, Voiceover Artist & Audio Producer. For more info on branding elements, editing, and post-production services, visit

The song used for the intro and outro for this episode is Crush by License: CC BY (

DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:00:00] This is Season 2, Episode 9 of Make Your Wedding a Highlight. My name is DJ Josh from Highlight Weddings and Events. My guest today is Maxine Orange from Abstract Bridal Portraits. 

[00:00:11] Tony Tee Neto: [00:00:11] If you're getting ready to or already in the process of planning your wedding, you've come to the right place. DJ Josh, owner of Highlight Weddings and Events, interviews other local 30A wedding pros to offer insight about how to make your wedding a highlight.

[00:00:30] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:00:30] Well, hello everyone. Thanks again for checking out the podcast. My name is DJ Josh from Highlight Weddings and Events, and I have an awesome guest today. Her name is Maxine Orange from Abstract Bridal Portraits. How you doing today, Maxine? 

[00:00:42] Maxine Orange: [00:00:42] I'm great. Thanks for having me, Josh. 

[00:00:44] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:00:44] Oh, my pleasure. My pleasure. So, how's your 2021 been so far? 

[00:00:50] Maxine Orange: [00:00:50] So far so good. It's going by really fast, but I am staying busy and. Got a lot of exciting things coming up. 

[00:00:57] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:00:57] That's awesome. It's a good feeling when you always have things that you need to take care of, that you actually enjoy. My 2021 is shaping up to be a pretty full year as well.

[00:01:08]and it just feels good to be able to 

[00:01:10] Maxine Orange: [00:01:10] It's always better to be busy than to be bored. 

[00:01:12] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:01:12] Yes, absolutely. Yeah, because if you're bored then that's just not fun. It's a rewarding feeling to be able to do what you love. 

[00:01:19] Maxine Orange: [00:01:19] Absolutely. 

[00:01:20] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:01:20] If you don't mind, would you share a little bit with the listeners about how you got to this point in your career?

[00:01:26] Maxine Orange: [00:01:26] Okay. Well, I have always been an artist and I grew up in Alabama and have explored many different avenues in what I like to call my creative journey. Being an artist has taken me many different places. When I was in college, I told my mom I was going to switch to being an art major.

[00:01:48] She was like, "Oh, well you can do that, but just make sure you're going to do something where you're going to be able to get a job. And I always remember that because it was a very valuable piece of advice. So I took that art major and focused on graphic design and had a minor in painting. That really has kind of defined who I am, surprisingly enough.  After college,  I moved to New York City and I worked at a magazine and I worked at a PR firm and their design department. And then, I met my husband in New York, who also, coincidentally is from Alabama. We just had a lot of mutual friends and crossover, but then ever since I met him, he wanted to move to California.

[00:02:32] And also the same year that I moved to New York was 2001. So I moved to New York just a few months, right before 9-11 happened. So that was an interesting time to live there. When he was talking about moving away, I was like, "Yeah, I've done my two years in New York. I think that's good. I would love to go live at the beach."

[00:02:55] So we moved to Huntington Beach, California. Then I got an awesome,  job as a graphic designer at Quicksilver clothing brand and did a lot of really cool stuff there and worked with a lot of amazing people.

[00:03:10]If I didn't ever have to leave there, I wouldn't have, but we had an opportunity to buy a business here in Florida. Being that we both grew up in Alabama, this is kind of like moving back to the South where we're both from, and it feels like home. So we were happy to move back this way.

[00:03:27]And as soon as I got back here, I've just made a lot of connections with all the creative community. There's so many awesome people in this area and so much inspiration with all the nature around.  Over the past few years, I got more into the bridal stuff. Which I've always had a love for fashion. And so it's kind of tied together with that. When I do the bridal portraits a lot of them I do on commission, from photos after the wedding. But this past year, I've started doing more live painting at weddings and I love both, but the dress, that's the magic. Something about the way that I paint the clothes on the people. And it's just a magical thing. So that's how I got here. 

[00:04:12]DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:04:12] What excites you about being a part of the wedding event team? 

[00:04:17] Maxine Orange: [00:04:17] I really love getting to know the couple and like I said, I've really just started doing the live painting at weddings this past year a lot more. It's just something so special about being a part of the event and seeing it all happen and that I'm making this piece of art that they're going to have forever while the event is going on and all of the synergies that's happening. And then all the guests stopping in to see how the painting is going throughout the event, the couple popping in every once in a while to see how it's going. Every single time at the very end, usually both, but always the groom is like, "Do you really have to take it with you at the end? You can be finished right now. Like, I love it so much. This is like my favorite thing that's happened in this whole event. 

[00:05:04] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:05:04] That's cool. 

[00:05:05] Maxine Orange: [00:05:05] It's kind of funny that the groom always says that they're like, "I'm happy with it just like that." But I always take it home with me and finish up the final touches to just be in the proper lighting in the studio and stuff. I just want to make sure that I capture all the extra details that I might not have gotten while I was there. 

[00:05:23] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:05:23] Okay. How do you find live painting impacts your style, versus if you were doing it just in a studio setting?  

[00:05:30]Maxine Orange: [00:05:30] It's a little bit more loose, which I love. Because when I create it in the studio, sometimes I keep going too long. I overdo it. And there's always this one point where it's perfect just like this with the lack of details. And I wish there was like a little fairy on my shoulder while I'm in the studio that says "Stop right now." And I got to find that. 

[00:05:54] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:05:54] Gotcha. So being in that it's almost like you're, under somewhat of a time crunch, so it makes you be more comfortable with what you've put in for the different elements of the painting, so you can move on to the next part kind of thing. Right? 

[00:06:10] Maxine Orange: [00:06:10] Yeah, and I just kind of get in the zone. It's kinda crazy how I tune out. Even though people are coming and talking to me the whole time, I just get in there and get it done. And I love being under the pressure.  I don't know why I can't do it that way while I'm in the studio. I'm like, "Oh. Huh. I always tell people that it's going to take four to six weeks. But then when I'm at a wedding, it takes about four hours.

[00:06:31]DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:06:31] Yeah. It's one of those things where each wedding has its own personality and 

[00:06:38] Maxine Orange: [00:06:38] absolutely 

[00:06:39] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:06:39] I'd imagine you can't really recreate that in a studio setting because it's more of like a controlled environment. Whereas when a wedding is going on, you don't know what's going to happen really. So it's very much more vibrant. 

[00:06:50]Maxine Orange: [00:06:50] Right. And I love that I show up with a blank canvas and I have no idea what is going to look like at the end of the night. It's scary, but it's awesome. 

[00:07:01] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:07:01] No, I think that's really cool. Like you kind of become the conduit for the event in a way. 

[00:07:06]Maxine Orange: [00:07:06] Like the last one that I did. They were like, "We're going to get this painting instead of a video. And I'm like, "Ooh, no pressure.

[00:07:17] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:07:17] That's awesome. 

[00:07:19] Maxine Orange: [00:07:19] And I have one coming up this weekend, the Saturday, and this one, is the first time that it's a surprise for the bride. 

[00:07:27] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:07:27] Oh, that's so cool. I really like it when you can infuse surprises in different things. Like a lot of times what I'll do if I have a surprise for my wife is I will either  give her, her surprise before her birthday because she's not necessarily expecting it or I will act like what I'm giving her on her birthday is really what I'm giving her when it's like something much, much, much cooler and much, much more extravagant anyway. 

[00:07:53] Maxine Orange: [00:07:53] That's good. 

[00:07:54] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:07:54] I love it when the proposal happens and the groom was able to get all of the family members that he wants to be a part of the proposal and they can pull off the surprise. Because in that case, you have so many more elements or different people that know what's going on and keeping a surprise with that many people involved is even more challenging. I always think that's really, really cool. 

[00:08:19] Maxine Orange: [00:08:19] That takes a lot of planning. 

[00:08:21] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:08:21] Yeah. So other than obviously the painting itself, how do you help make a couple's wedding a highlight? 

[00:08:28]Maxine Orange: [00:08:28] Just the magical synergistic feelings of me being there and capturing all of the elements of the wedding. And I might not capture every single element of the wedding. Obviously, that's hard to get everything into, into the one painting. But, it's really special to me that this is going to be something that hangs on their wall forever. And, they'll remember that day through seeing my painting in their home.

[00:08:57] And one special thing that I always like to do is when I deliver the painting to them, I give them a little letter that has some fun pointers about marriage from my point of view. Because one of the things that I've always had, about my art, is that the imperfections create perfection. And I feel like that has an alignment to marriage. 

[00:09:27] So I always like to tell them, I hope that this painting hanging in your home is a blessing and that it's a reminder to love each other for all the imperfections because the imperfections add up to perfection. 

[00:09:42]DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:09:42] That actually reminds me of, and I can't remember what it's called, but there's like this, Japanese philosophy where 

[00:09:48] Maxine Orange: [00:09:48] Wabi-sabi.

[00:09:49] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:09:49] Where they take a broken pot and they, lay it with gold and put it back together, right? 

[00:09:54] Maxine Orange: [00:09:54] Uh, well, I don't know if that's specifically what it's called, but it's a Japanese word. Wabi-sabi is finding value in the imperfections. 

[00:10:02] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:10:02] Okay. Yeah. And we'll basically what they do is if, some kind of pottery piece or a jar gets broken. What they'll do is they'll put it back together and they'll use gold. 

[00:10:12] Maxine Orange: [00:10:12] Oh, cool. 

[00:10:12] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:10:12] because I think it's either they value it or it's a way to enhance the imperfection with something that is extremely valuable. So  I know that I am not the perfect husband but 

[00:10:24] Maxine Orange: [00:10:24] There's no such thing. 

[00:10:25]DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:10:25] No, there's no such thing, but I think the way myself and my wife blend together, our imperfections mesh and we are much better as a unit versus how we would be by ourselves. 

[00:10:39] Maxine Orange: [00:10:39] Yes, exactly. 

[00:10:41] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:10:41] What's something else that you've created that you're particularly proud of?

[00:10:45] Maxine Orange: [00:10:45] Well, there's a lot of things. But, one thing that I did a couple of years ago was here on the Emerald Coast, in Grayton Beach, about a mile out in the Gulf of Mexico, 60 feet down under the water, there's a place called the Underwater Museum of Art that was created by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County and the South Walton Artificial Reef Association. And I was honored to be one of the artists that created a sculpture that now lives on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. 

[00:11:20] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:11:20] Oh, that's cool. 

[00:11:22] Maxine Orange: [00:11:22] Yeah, it was a massive labor of love. And my sculpture does kind of have a connection to my artwork. I had a team of people that I worked with.

[00:11:34]Another guy came to me. His name was Maurice Hunter. He has this whole thing that's all about self-love. And so he came to me with the concept and we came up with an idea.  We created a sculpture of a woman she's in a big dress that kind of looks like a wedding dress.

[00:11:52] Because I love to paint wedding dresses and I like poofy dresses, she's standing in front of a mirror standing confidently. And it's not really actually a mirror, but It looks like a mirror frame, like a full-length mirror. And across the top, it says, "Love thyself." So being that I myself am a confident woman.

[00:12:13] And I love myself. It's something that I've, I'm proud of as well. And I love that that was the concept that he brought to me and we came up with something together and I'll have to send you a picture of it or you can look it up. But the top part of her body is made of concrete and it was cast from my body, from the waist up. And there's another artist in the area named Velia Lala. She helped me with that part. And then I collaborated with some other metal worker guys, and they helped me to construct the skirt out of stainless steel. And so it's all like swirls of metal around the bottom. Now I got to get scuba certified to go visit her because I haven't seen her since we dropped her down there.

[00:13:02]DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:13:02] I like the contrast of the concrete and metal together. That's a really cool idea.  

[00:13:07] Maxine Orange: [00:13:07] Yeah. Well, we had requirements of what materials we could use because it has to live in the water. It couldn't be anything that would disturb the environment. And it's actually to inspire growth in the underwater environment because the floor of the Gulf of Mexico is basically like sand flat.

[00:13:26] So now there's a lot more Sea life down there. 

[00:13:29] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:13:29] Nice. That's awesome. 

[00:13:30] Maxine Orange: [00:13:30] And the little fish can swim in and out of her skirt.  There's a lot of other awesome sculptures down there too. So if you scuba dive check it out. 

[00:13:38] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:13:38] I don't scuba dive. my wife did. Think she has to get her recertification, but, that sounds like fun.

[00:13:45]I actually did meet Maurice. It was at the beginning of last year actually, because, the rising tide society had a, it was like a. special meetup where it was basically everyone from Pensacola and even maybe mobile all the way to Tallahassee was invited to a Pensacola meeting and he shared about the concept of self-love.

[00:14:04]And I think that's, so important because Maya Angelou had said something to the effect of you can't give something that you don't have. So if you can't love yourself, then you're not in the position to be able to love somebody else. So that's definitely important for just growing as a person.

[00:14:22] Absolutely. Okay. Now, even though COVID-19 is kind of waning away I hope. People are starting to get the vaccines. And I did see, I think yesterday that France and Germany are, restricting again because they're dealing with outbreaks or something like that. But, how has the pandemic impacted you personally and professionally?

[00:14:45] Maxine Orange: [00:14:45] Well, interestingly enough in 2020, I painted at more weddings than I ever have before. And it wasn't, a ton. I think there was three or four, but at the beginning of the year before the pandemic, I stated that that was one of my goals for the year. And so I had prepared myself for getting more jobs. And it actually came to fruition. Now some of them, the dates were changed and a lot of them were smaller weddings than they originally would have been. But, , it was still an interesting experience. And, being that I was there working, I would always wear a mask and I did it. This is Florida, so it's different than it is everywhere else for whatever reason.

[00:15:36] And I just,  feel like, I'm grateful that that happened. I mean, I'm not grateful for COVID, but like there has been good things that have come out of it for sure. But I'm grateful that I had all those jobs last year and I hope that the growth will continue. 

[00:15:50] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:15:50] I hope so too. I've never been a part of a wedding where there was a live painter, but I have been to a few events where, one of them was a  poetry open mic at the Hidden Lantern, the bookstore in Rosemary beach. I was also at Palate & Palette one year and they have a live painter as well. And it's just really cool to just kind of see the process and what the artist comes up with. And the cool thing about the poetry open mic is there were actually two different painters. So it was very cool to see how they applied their style and created something completely unique, but it still had the same kind of vibe or energy that the night did. 

[00:16:32] Maxine Orange: [00:16:32] Oh, well, I'm sure it won't be too long before we're at one together. 

[00:16:36] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:16:36] Yeah, I hope so. That'd be awesome. Maxine. Thank you for sharing about yourself as an artist and a wedding professional. Would you mind answering a few personal questions?

[00:16:48]Maxine Orange: [00:16:48] Sure. 

[00:16:49] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:16:49] Okay. 

[00:16:50] Maxine Orange: [00:16:50] Love to 

[00:16:51] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:16:51] First question, in regards to art, do you have any advice for young and aspiring artists? 

[00:16:57]Maxine Orange: [00:16:57] That's a great question. Just start is my biggest piece of advice. If you're scared, just start.  If you have a feeling that you want to explore something creative, just start doing it whether you're good at it or not.

[00:17:15] If it's something that you have a passion for, you're going to create your own way of doing it and continue practicing doing it in your own way. And that will define who you are as an artist. 

[00:17:29]DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:17:29] Yeah, I'm a firm believer that you're not ready until you think you're ready in anything. For instance, this podcast, if I went back and listened to my earlier episodes, I would probably cringe because I'd never done it before. 

[00:17:43] Maxine Orange: [00:17:43] Yeah, and nobody else knows that, right? Like nobody's keeping tabs usually. 

[00:17:49]DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:17:49] And it really helps you appreciate the process of how you got to where you are versus where you started from. You can look back and really track your progression in whatever medium or element you're working in.  

[00:18:04] Maxine Orange: [00:18:04] And then you can be proud of it later.

[00:18:06] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:18:06] Yeah, the body of the work that you've created is an art in and of itself if that makes sense. 

[00:18:14] Maxine Orange: [00:18:14] Absolutely. 

[00:18:14]DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:18:14] So what did you want to be when you grew up? 

[00:18:17] Maxine Orange: [00:18:17] Probably a lot of different things. One that I recall was an architect. 

[00:18:23] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:18:23] Oh, nice. 

[00:18:24] Maxine Orange: [00:18:24] My parents used to own a furniture store in Montgomery, Alabama, and in the summertime, I would go there with them and take all their business cards and build little houses out of them.

[00:18:35] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:18:35] Cool. How many business cards would you put into a house? 

[00:18:40] Maxine Orange: [00:18:40] A lot. I probably wasted a lot of them. 

[00:18:44]DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:18:44] Did you take pictures of them when you were done? 

[00:18:46] Maxine Orange: [00:18:46] Probably, but I have no idea where they are now. 

[00:18:49] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:18:49] Okay. But the cool thing is, is architecture is not that far off from being an artist. 

[00:18:56] Maxine Orange: [00:18:56] It's the creative thing for sure.

[00:18:58] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:18:58] What would you consider your happy place? 

[00:19:01] Maxine Orange: [00:19:01] My happy place? Definitely in my art studio and also my backyard. I have a beautiful backyard here in Destin that is just full of oak trees. They're like 50 years old are probably older and they're just sprawling and everything's green. And right now all the flowers are blooming and it's just really bright colors. So I love my backyard. 

[00:19:25] And I live in Destin. So, you know,  basically like across the street from crab Island. 

[00:19:30] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:19:30] Nice. 

[00:19:31] Maxine Orange: [00:19:31] So I can drive down the street and see turquoise water. These are all things that keep me inspired   I do a lot of different things, but, I just go into my little art studio at my house and turn off the rest of the world.

[00:19:47] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:19:47] Okay. So when you're taking a break from the art studio, what do you like to do in your free time? 

[00:19:52]Maxine Orange: [00:19:52] My husband and I like to go out on our boat quite a bit. We are probably getting ready to start doing that again now that it's getting a little bit warmer and yeah, just exploring around Destin. It's such a beautiful place to live. So exercising outside, just doing things out in nature. And we just recently went on a snowboarding trip, so that was fun. To Jackson hole. I don't like really being in cold weather unless I'm prepared for it. So when I go on a trip like that, I'm like, "Yes, I love this." When it's cold here, I hate it. I want sunshine. 

[00:20:30] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:20:30] I'm sure people that aren't from here would be surprised to find out that it is cold. But we're like 13 hours away from Miami. And we actually, yeah, 

[00:20:39] Maxine Orange: [00:20:39] I mean, it is nice that we have seasons, 

[00:20:41] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:20:41] I mean we have seasons to a degree, but we don't have like snow. It's basically you have summer, obviously, you have summer then fall and a little bit of winter and that's maybe like a month, month and a half-ish. And once winter starts, it sometimes goes back into spring, and then it goes back to two, three days, right back into winter.

[00:21:00]Our seasons, 

[00:21:01] Maxine Orange: [00:21:01] We just had that. 

[00:21:02] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:21:02] Our weather is, very odd. the middle of February, it got really, really, really, really cold, really quick. And then it warmed back up like nothing had ever happened. 

[00:21:11]Maxine Orange: [00:21:11] Yeah, I'm ready to be in the water. 

[00:21:13] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:21:13] Oh yeah. 

[00:21:13] Maxine Orange: [00:21:13] I'm craving saltwater. 

[00:21:15]DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:21:15] And almost to the point where getting back in the water is not going to be too chilly 

[00:21:20] Maxine Orange: [00:21:20] Yeah. Usually, like the beginning of May is when I will officially get in the water. 

[00:21:26] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:21:26] Okay.  Maxine. Well, do you have any last, final thoughts that you'd like to leave the listeners with before we close out the podcast? 

[00:21:34] Maxine Orange: [00:21:34] Not that I can think of, but I feel like we've hit some really good points. 

[00:21:38] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:21:38] I agree. This is an awesome conversation. I'm really glad that I was able to have you on the podcast today. 

[00:21:44] Maxine Orange: [00:21:44] Yeah. Thank you so much. And maybe we can do it again from that I'm 

[00:21:47] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:21:47] Sure.  But before we go, would you mind sharing with listeners the best way to get in touch with you if they're interested in possibly incorporating you into their wedding event team?

[00:21:59] Maxine Orange: [00:21:59] Absolutely. So my website is On Instagram, I have two pages. One is just @maxineorange, and the other one is @abstractbridalportraits. And if you go to the abstract bridal portraits page, that is a portfolio of most of my work. That has been all my abstract bridal portrait stuff from both commissioned pieces and live painting. That's a great place to start and check everything out. And you can email me at 

[00:22:34] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:22:34] All right. Well, once again, Maxine, thanks so much for coming on the podcast. I'm glad you had a great time. I did too. Thank you for sharing your love for your work with the listeners. 

[00:22:46] Maxine Orange: [00:22:46] Thanks again, Josh.

[00:22:47] DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:22:47] My pleasure. And as always here's to the couples that are planning their weddings and here's to making those weddings a highlight. 

[00:22:57] Tony Tee Neto: [00:22:57] Thanks for stopping by and checking out the podcast. If you like what you've heard, please subscribe and leave a review. It'll help other couples just like you find it. For more resources, including our helpful blog check  ( And make your wedding a highlight!