Color wonderful: The art of Bailey Schmidt

People The Arts

January 29, 2024

Artist Bailey Schmidt sits in her studio surrounded by her artwork

For artist Bailey Schmidt, even a black-and-white crossword puzzle presents a color opportunity.

by Sharon Smith

It’s hard to look at Bailey Schmidt’s paintings and not walk away feeling a little brighter, maybe a little happier. They are vivid and modern, yet there’s a warmth and familiarity that might encourage the viewer to see their own everyday vignettes through a sunnier lens.

I was particularly drawn to her New York Times Crossword painting. Every Sunday, my husband checks the driveway hoping for the latest newspaper drop with the crossword inside. The thin, greige newsprint is nothing to look at.

But on Bailey’s canvas, electric pinks, reds and yellows amplify the sweet simplicity of a lazy morning. “I remember painting ‘Sunday Morning Crossword’ just based off of the idea that I’d like to slow down my Sundays with simple things like finishing a crossword, pouring a tea and eating some freshly-baked scones. I wish I could say that scene is a habit of mine but it’s more of what I aspire to,” Bailey says. 

A bright tablescape painting depicting a crossword puzzle on a table with a cup of tea; Sunday Morning Crossword by Bailey Schmidt.

Sunday Morning Crossword by Bailey Schmidt

Bailey grew up mostly in Charlotte, moved around in her 20s and landed back here two years ago. Her artistic journey started with printmaking and digital art, which led to doing craft markets and getting some of her work licensed. 

“I loved the work that got me here, but once I picked up a paintbrush I knew that was my path. Graphic design and printmaking are a huge influence in the way I paint, and I still begin every piece digitally before it makes its way to canvas.”

A tablescape painting by artist Bailey Schmidt depicting chocolate chip cookies being baked.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
A brightly-colored bar cart painting by artist Bailey Schmidt with pinks, oranges and greens.
Bar Cart
Orange flowers in a green vase by artist Bailey Schmidt, Tea Florals 2.
Tea Florals 2

Her camera roll is full of random snapshots with interesting color combinations — food packaging, gardens, graffiti. “I once did a sushi tablescape just because I wanted to paint a soy sauce bottle,” Bailey says. 

She’s unabashedly obsessed with color, from tablescapes to floral arrangements to bar carts. “Sometimes the subject matter and layout happen quickly, and the thing that takes the most time is manipulating the colors until I land on something that just works.”  SP

Photographs courtesy Bailey Schmidt. See more of her works @baileyschmidtart

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