Pattern Maniacs

Lake Louise From Big Beehive, acrylic, 20x24

As I am working my way through new paintings, I notice how much I love to start a new piece and how rapidly my attention drops during the painting process. The puzzle of a new piece is addictive, and for me it’s all about formation of new patterns, and composing of the scene in a particular way that follows some design idea.

Patterns are one of my obsessions. I find a lot of pleasure from dissecting images, tucking some unruly elements in or out, and omitting others. For the most part, nature fits amazingly well into patterns of dynamic symmetry – you just need to find the right one for the image (I wrote about this in a previous post here). The  rule of thirds and the golden mean are just a beginner’s stuff.  The possibilities are truly endless.

The way I like to look at the new scene is to ask myself – in which way did the nature construct this landscape so that it is pleasing to my eye? Most often the elements of the pattern are very subtle and need intensive observation, and in some cases they have to be imagined (which is fun, but still not as satisfying as discovering the real things). Sometimes a fleeting suggestion of a cloud or a crest of a wave, or an aura of a reflected light is just the thing you need to complete your idea. 

Indulging in untangling of natural patterns to this extent may seem like a sign of an unhealthy obsession, but I am sure that I am not the only one. In fact, books have been written on this subject, for the use of designers, architects and other professionals whose job it to please someone’s eyes.

Another thing I would like to emphasize is a caution about reuse of same designs over and over again. There is no greater thrill for a sensitive viewer than seeing a painting composed in an original way. Sometimes we have a happy accident of stumbling into a new and exciting way and we delight in it, feeling that we have made a breakthrough, but we are not sure how it happened or why the following paintings fall flat.  The key is in the conscious use of fresh patterns.

But, I know that this is not everyone’s cup of tea. Pattern or no pattern, artists find ways to create something new and beautiful every day – our happy “asylum” is full of all sorts of creative characters, and we - the pattern maniacs, are just one bunch in the courtyard under the watchful eye or art lovers and criticizers.

Now, if I could only figure out how to make the rest of the painting process as much fun as this!

Best Wishes!