From Microbes to Masterpieces: The Artistic Evolution of Sarah Mills Bailey

How Science, Personal Struggles, and a Love for Color Shaped a Unique Abstract Artist


Sarah Mills Bailey was once a scientist, peering down microscopes and studying the intricacies of microbiology at renowned institutions like LSU in Baton Rouge and Tulane University. Born and raised in New Orleans, Bailey was immersed in an environment defined by meticulous detail, predictability, and the continuous quest for discovery. However, life had a different path in store for her, a path painted in vibrant hues and abstract patterns.

When her older daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 2, the stability and rigidity of Bailey’s scientific work could no longer harmonize with her family’s needs. Medical research, with its demanding schedules and critical precision, was incompatible with the unpredictable nature of her daughter’s condition.

In the midst of this life-altering change, Bailey found solace in creativity. Together with her daughter, they began exploring the world of arts and crafts, transforming ordinary cast-offs into beautiful creations adorned with paint and fabric. Home décor was the starting point, an initial venture that unveiled Bailey’s innate talent for design and color.

As time passed, Bailey’s artistic expression evolved. She began working with fabric as her primary medium, engaging her school-age daughter in selecting colors and textile patterns. This process became an exploration of color and texture, as Bailey skillfully juxtaposed elements in her designs.

The transition to abstract art seemed a natural progression, a refining of her focus to the core elements of her creative expression – color and texture. Bailey’s work, most often layers of acrylic and pastel on canvas, communicates her interpretations of the world around her. She integrates her observations of the external world, with its abundant patterns, and the internal world, filled with waves of emotion, integration, and realignment. Her paintings are a reflection of her life experiences, a visceral response to the ever-changing world around her.

Today, Bailey lives in San Antonio with her husband and daughters. Her daughter is now epilepsy-free, and their lives are brimming with celebration and joy. As for Bailey’s artistic journey, it continues to evolve, moving from the microscopic world of cells to the boundless universe of abstract art.

Discover more of Sarah Mills Bailey’s art by visiting her Instagram profile, @smbaileyart. Here, you can explore her unique artistic style that has been shaped by a combination of scientific precision, personal adversity, and a love for color and texture.

Ethan Chan

Ethan Chan is a talented senior correspondent for Los Angeles Magazine, known for his incisive reporting and in-depth analysis of local and national issues. With over 15 years of experience in the field of journalism, Ethanm has established himself as a respected voice in the industry.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Ethan's passion for writing and storytelling was evident from a young age. After completing his education, he began his career as a reporter for a local newspaper before joining the team at Los Angeles Magazine.

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