Using Pattern in Paintings

 

Lately I’ve been incorporating more patterns into my paintings. I’ve long admired how other artists like Gustav Klimt and Henri Matisse used this tool. What can patterns do for a painting?

  • Add motion, the repetitive component of a pattern takes the viewer’s eye on a visual journey, which can work for you as a tool to lead the eye in a painting.
  • Add interest, backgrounds can get….well…..boring, patterns can liven up an otherwise static background. This is something I learned in Sunny Apinchapong’s workshop. I can hear him behind my shoulder saying “don’t paint it like that, it’s boring, break it up!”
  • Add to your story, instead of putting your subject in a room or landscape that tells more about “their world” , use a pattern that conveys the mood you want to evoke. If the scene is set up from the beginning this way, it’s a great way to get a solid direction going.
  • Keeping harmony, there’s nothing worse than a background that doesn’t share color harmony with the main subject. Patterns are a great way to weave foreground tones into the background and vice a versa.

    Coral and Sage by Diane Eugster
    Coral and Sage by Diane Eugster

 

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