PAUL KLEE (1879-1940)
Dream City, 1921 (warercolor and oil)
Pattern is made by repeating or echoing the elements of an artwork to communicate a sense of balance, harmony, contrast, rhythm or movement.
There are two basic types of pattern in art: Natural Pattern and Man-Made Pattern. Both natural and man-made patterns can be regular or irregular, organic or geometric, structural or decorative, positive or negative and repeating or random.
Natural Pattern: Pattern in art is often based on the inspiration we get from observing the natural patterns that occur in nature. We can see these in the shape of a leaf and the branches of a tree, the structure of a crystal, the spiral of a shell, the symmetry of a snowflake and the camouflage and signalling patterns on animals, fish and insects.
Man-Made Pattern: Pattern in art is used for both structural and decorative purposes. For example, an artist may plan the basic structure of an artwork by creating a compositional pattern of lines and shapes. Within that composition he/she may develop its visual elements to create a more decorative pattern of color, tone and texture across the work.
Click here for our selection of great artworks that have been chosen because they all use pattern in an inspirational manner. We have analyzed each of these to demonstrate how great artists use pattern as a creative force in their work.