Mt Lebanon Magazine

710 Washington Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15228

Mt Lebanon Magazine

The official magazine of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania

At home with color: inside the studio of Patrick Schmidt

Patrick Schmidt is an artist from Michigan who has called Pittsburgh his home for over 15 years. During this time, Schmidt developed an array of works in painting, sculpture and tape, primarily using color to drive the art. His work uses “hard edge color fields,” a style of painting using colors and geometric shapes to create an abstract composition. In this style, color is the subject matter; he intentionally mixes each color for each shape. Seeking harmony within the composition. Patrick works from his home studio near Beverly Road, where you will find him listening to music with his dog Moneypenny, deciding on color but also artwork titles inspired by what he is listening to that day, like “Rite of Spring” and “What You See is What You Get.”

Portrait of artist

It is essential to his practice to think of color as more than just a painted area; it’s more influenced by color theory (how colors work together) and color politics (the concept attributed to specific colors.) Schmidt considers how colors have associated feelings, with darker tones like red and black carrying more aggression and brighter colors such as yellow and turquoise bringing joy through the literal lightness of the hue. Social and political attributes of color can also influence his decision-making. He starts by mixing a color he feels best suits a particular shape and then intuitively fills in the other areas, all in response to the first color. One aspect of the painting may have all pastels and another area may have darker tones to balance the composition. He tapes areas to prevent paint from bleeding over to another area. Even after many hours of mixing individual colors for a single painting, Schmidt is still thrilled with pairing colors side by side.

Cosmic Thing, acrylic on canvas, 2023

Thinking about drawing and painting in an expanded way, Patrick has turned his paintings into an immersive experience, as he began recreating those shapes found in his canvases onto a gallery space. Using multiple rolls of colorful tape, the shapes are outlined on the floor, leading up to the wall, then on the window pane, and lastly, found on the ceiling. He arrives with drawings and digital ideations, but ultimately, the architecture drives the decisions. The use of negative space and colorful linework imbue a sense of controlled chaos as viewers are encouraged to walk onto the shapes and be part of the composition.

No Parallel Lines, tape installation, Cosenza, Italy 2019

As a practicing artist for many years, Schmidt is sensitive to color and shape. This innate ability to make creative decisions or troubleshoot artistic problems comes from experience and the habit of filling his creative cup. Through travel, artist residencies and music, there is a continual well of energy to reach when starting a new project or staying consistent with one. On a recent trip to Berlin, Patrick noticed all the street art (graffiti) and saw the typography as shapes placed together, similar to how he arranges shapes within his paper works. From this trip and his research on street art, he began working on an abstract alphabet that was considerate of color and form. Alongside travel, Patrick values artist residencies, which provide time and space to develop newer works. Removed from the busyness of life and typically tucked away in a lush landscape, these residencies are an incubator for all types of artists (musicians, writers, dancers and visual artists) to invigorate them in their pursuit of creativity.

Returning home after a residency can feel exciting, as momentum craves to be maintained. Patrick’s art studio is steps away from the kitchen. He makes the most of having a home art studio by beginning the day there with a coffee, contemplating last night’s creative marks, and deciding what is working and what’s not. Jumping around from one painting to another, then starting a small work on paper while changing the music, initially blaring Phillip Glass to now playing The Clash, the state of flow an artist finds himself in can be addicting as there is always an idea to tinker with. As for Patrick Schmidt, when he finally finds a moment to pause and reaches for that coffee, he finds it cold. Which, for any artist, is a good sign of productivity.

The artworks of Patrick Schmidt can be found on his website, patrickschmidtstudio.com, and Instagram @pschmidt61

Patrick’s home art studio

Comments

  1. Author’s gravatar

    Great article and artist, I particularly love bright color paintings, they help create the feeling of sunnier days.

  2. Author’s gravatar

    What a delightful article!

  3. Author’s gravatar

    Great read! Very interesting art and well writren!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.