Apr 30, 2010
When I was learning how to do decorative painting, I would see patterns in the books and I would be in a bit of a dilemma. My paintings are most always small, the largest being 11”x14”. Since I don’t own any type of tool that would allow me to scale down larger patterns, I would simply not use them. Then, I decided that, for me, it was more to my liking not to use patterns at all and simply paint what I call “free hand painting.”
Some people wouldn’t even consider not using a pattern. That is what they prefer and how they do their best work. I know painters who would be lost without a pattern for a specific project. Some feel as though they’re just not talented enough to paint free hand and depend solely on the patterns inside books and single pattern hang-ups.
I’m not at all against using patterns. It’s just a matter of preference. There are no patterns in Asian art. The books offered for teaching will have instruction without any patterns. Many people will turn away from the different art forms that do not offer any patterns inside their books. Are they intimidated by the thought of painting free hand? Do they lack the confidence to “go it alone?”
There may be some who feel one of those possibilities or even both. They started out using patterns and continued on and feel they’d be less of a decorative painter if they didn’t use them. Most, I feel, use them or don’t use them because they’re more comfortable.
There’s also some very well known decorative painters who seldom or never use patterns, but will have them in their books because so many painters prefer using them. I’m pretty sure that if I did larger sized paintings for decorative art, I would have started out using the patterns inside the books.
One of the biggest benefits, for me, in not using the patterns is that I’ve learned to look at a photograph or study nature and can paint it free hand. Being able to Bing.com or google.com photos of something specific that I want to paint has been a blessing. Simply study what you want to paint in the project books and go for it. Learn the strokes and paint colors, and practice……a lot. If that’s not for you than the patterns would be perfect.
Whether you prefer patterns or free style, just paint what your heart tells you to paint. You can’t go wrong if you’re painting something out of love. If you can feel it, you can paint it. There’s nothing worse than painting something you don’t like or just don’t want to paint. Right? It’s not fun!!
If you’ve never painted free hand, give it a good try. If you’ve never used patterns, try it. You may be surprised at which one you prefer. It’s like the old saying “Variety is the spice of life.” Isn’t that the truth?
Now, choose a project. Gather the correct supplies necessary for painting the project and experiment with or without a pattern. Let me know how it all goes. I’d love to hear from you. Send me some photos of your work, too, and let me know if you went from pattern to free hand or free hand to patterns. This will be a fun project/study for you. And don’t forget to paint from your spirit. It will show in your work. Shoshanna53@kc.rr.com
By Sue Hulen