My painting class was all about pattern today. I brought a variety of cloths and papers with me - stripes, floral, paisley, calico, along with a few solids for visual rest. We discussed:
- how to sublimate pattern so that it plays the role you intend. Do you want it to dominate? Do you want it to play a less significant role?
- how to use pattern to move the viewer's eye.
- how to use the pattern for reference while you design the shapes that work for the painting - much like trees in a landscape (or clouds, grass, structures, etc).
- how to avoid tangents, and unintended geometry - the potential of an undesired tangent increases exponentially when dealing with pattern in the subject.
One of my students chose the striped cloth just below the green vase in the photo to the left. I love that cloth! Initially, he had the cloth arranged with the stripes parallel to the direction of his light, so the cast shadow ran along one of the stripes. He was missing the opportunity to express the light as it crossed the boundaries of the pattern, much less static. If you painted a cityscape, and the cast shadow from one building aligned exactly with the contour of an adjacent building, it might not be as dynamic as a light and shadow pattern on the second building.. same situation here. I made a slight shift in the cloth and his subject came to life.
Another student chose the bright, sunny floral below the wine bottle. She chose a vase which replicated some of the curves in the flowers, added a couple of plums and created a sensitive painting which lead the eye through repeated, subtle curves. Lovely.
I painted next to my student who arranged this vibrant still life. I am blessed to work with a group of hard workers who listen and jump in each time we meet. Very rewarding. Thanks for looking.