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.
and a smaller area in the lower right foreground.