Hopefully, you have checked out all the pages of my website. Thank you! Besides the topics "about the artist", etc., you may have noticed a page devoted strictly to "Patterns". Why a special page devoted to patterns, and what is the importance of this topic?
I first became aware of the concept of pattern in "Carlsons's Guide to Landscape Painting" copyright 1929, which is a book many artists who I admire have used for solid basic information on landscape painting. The book is a bit cumbersome to read due to the somewhat archaic English language, but the information is invaluable.
In Chapter 4 "Design-A Pattern of Differing Values" Mr. Carlson devoted the entire chapter to this concept, indicating to me its value for a successful painting.
Before going further, we should inquire into the meaning of pattern. In that chapter Mr. Carlson states: "variety of shapes and sizes may be said to underline all good decoration or ornamentation." " By decorative composition is meant the arrangement of value-masses into a design, almost as a poster designer would proceed. It means weighting your masses as areas and arranging and balancing them into a pattern that will be interesting and beautiful because of the infinite variety of shapes, lines, and sizes, and the forms of these."
A little confused? One clue is found in the previous chapter "Angles and Consequent Values." " Every good picture is fundamentally an arrangement of three or four large masses-a design of differing masses or large blocks of color-light, dark, and half-light. Any detail or embellishment placed within the big masses is so subordinated that in no way disturbs these masses."
My interpretation is simply this: a good pattern is one that has a variety of sizes and shapes of light, middle and dark values, and within the areas the details or embellishments should stay within the value range of that area.
The importance of a good pattern can't be overstated. Hopefully these examples will make the concept more understandable, and easier for you in the development of your own paintings.
The original pattern on the left and the more simplified pattern on the right.
The original photograph on the left and the adjusted image on the right.
The original pattern on the left has a middle value area that is too large. I adjusted the image, adding a light middle value to the middle ground,
and a smaller area in the lower right foreground.
Here is the finished demonstration painting. In most cases, if you can paint the pattern you will have a successful painting.
In my March blog I mentioned that I would be experimenting with the use of limited color and the use of black in my paintings. Here are some of my findings.
I did several paintings using Gouache, using the Zorn palette–choosing Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson, and black and white pigments.
The one advantage/disadvantage that I noticed was how much easier it was to select colors. If I wanted to make a color warmer I only had to choose the red or yellow. Making it cooler I had the blue. The disadvantage was the lack of control for making the color more intense. I was limited by the intensity of the colors in this palette. Intensity had to be controlled by other means such as edges and adjacent colors.
For this painting, I had to add a more intense yellow to show the intense light on the barn and some of the grasses near the barn.
The choice of a more intense yellow such as Cadmium yellow Light or Medium would be better but limiting in another way. Cadmium Yellow Light is a yellow with some blue in it and the medium has some red in it. Using the warm yellow with another warm color would not be a problem. Mixing the warm yellow with a cool color would make it less intense.
This cooler snow scene worked much better because the colors were less intense overall.
The pine trees presented the same problem with the yellow color. I again had to add a more intense yellow pigment to achieve the intensity that I wanted.
This last painting was the most successful of my experiments. Because the local colors of the subject matter were not intense to begin with, the limited palette was effective. It's great when everything works out.
In conclusion, I will not be adding black to my palette. With some of the new Quinacridone and Dioxazine pigments which are very intense and dark in value I have more options in mixing colors to achieve the values and intensities I'm looking for in my paintings.