Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Happy September! The year is flying by too fast--way too fast, which doesn't mean "give up" because time is running out; it means: Do all those fun things you've been dreaming about!

With that in mind, I couldn't wait to visit The Sketchbook Challenge to see what the latest theme for the month would be, and I was very excited to see it was "Patterns." I've always loved patterns, and am constantly on the lookout for new ones to include in my drawing and collage work. Even better is the way the topic lends itself so nicely to writing and journaling, starting with one of my favorite poems since childhood, "Patterns," by Amy Lowell.

Other than poetry, which is perhaps at the top of literary pattern-making, I also thought of investigating:
  • Animal fur, hair, hide, and skin.
  • Fabric swatches.
  • Architecture: structure, decorative detailing, even the random plaster and stucco work.
  • Plant material, e.g., seed pods, bark, leaves, fungi.
  • Seashells.
  • NASA photos of star formation.
  • Antique books with their intricate borders and covers.
  • Wallpaper.
  • Gift wrap.
  • Ceramic dinnerware, good China plates, tea sets.
  • Lace, ribbon, and braided sewing trims.
  • Jewelry.
I'm sure there are dozens of other sources you can think of too, but this list seemed to be a good place to begin--at least as far as the physical world is concerned. But what about the other side of "patterns," as in "habits," or dare I say it, "ruts"?

I felt I needed to ask myself some questions about my own patterns, especially those connected to my creativity and daily living. Some of the thoughts I jotted down in my journal were:
  • What patterns do I fall into too easily?
  • How could I create some new patterns for myself?
  • What about the patterns I create for my characters--how can I make them more interesting, lively, and surprising?
  • When I write, draw, or paint, am I focusing enough on the overall pattern of the actual piece? How can I improve or work on this?
  • Is there an artist, writer, or mentor I'd like to pattern my own work/life upon?
  • What would happen if I didn't have any patterns to follow?
I haven't written down my answers yet, but I'm looking forward to whatever comes up for me. I have a feeling this is going to be a good September.

Tip of the Day: What are your favorite natural patterns? How can you bring them into your own work? Over the next few weeks, make a daily practice of observing and recording the patterns you see in the world around you.

1 comment:

Charlotte Fairchild said...

I just read a pattern of a child. He read about Wangari Maathai’s campaign to plant a million trees and he "patterned himself" with this concept! Just like ducks do when they are born! So now people are planting trees! Find great inspiration and PATTERN that! and watch out when something bigger happens! A young tyke patterning over a grandmother he admires!