In Search of Pattern

Posted by on Aug 19, 2014 in Plein Air Painting
Bridge-300dpi for AA

The Bridge, Good Harbor Beach, 28 x 22 oil painting by Melody Phaneuf


Selecting and arranging pattern is an essential skill of the artist. The process requires a sensitive eye, trained for the ability to see abstraction. An understanding of dividing a picture plane into a pleasing distribution of shapes of differing value is the motivating force. Seeking and implementing pattern is the quest of  the landscape painter who works from observation of Nature.

Pattern Sketch 2Gathering small pencil studies in 3-5 values are a good way of practicing what my teacher called, “spotting.” To me, his expression evoked the idea of butterfly wings with their riveting markings. As time went on I better understood pattern to be interlocking puzzle pieces that hold a picture together.
Pattern Sketch 4

There is something visually satisfying about sensitively orchestrated pattern.  Pictures built on this kind of design seem to resonate deeply. Whatever effect that a particular arrangement calls forth, competent patterning always furnishes a sense of wholeness.