Pattern and Rhythm

Cliffs of Moher
The famous Cliffs of Moher, in County Clare, on the west coast of Ireland. The forms of the cliffs running into the distance create a rhythmic aspect to the composition, and I have attempted to express the richness of the patterns in each area of the picture.

Have you ever thought about how much your life is affected, governed, controlled by patterns and rhythms. Rhythms are intrinsic to our existence. Our bodies have rhythms; the earth has rhythms; seasons are rhythmic. Rhythms are all around us in our environment.  We seem to have a basic need to organise our life and working spaces into rhythms and patterns. Without this organisation we would have chaos.

Rural farming landscape in the hills of Northern Thailand

The furrows in the field, the trees in the distance and the banana trees in the foreground all offer variety and interest to the rhythms and patterns of this composition. I also use fast flowing strokes to further contribute to the rhythms and movement in the picture.

Small wonder that works of art are often designed with the use of clearly defined areas of rhythms and patterns, which are important aspects to the composition.

Rough Sea with Sleeping Giant

Stormy Sea on Clogher Beach with Inis Tuaisceart (also known as the Sleeping Giant) in the background. The sea provides endless possibilities for the expression of rhythms and patterns.

Patterns in nature are free and random, while still maintaining a sense of organisation. Rhythms and patterns are to be found in many art forms.

Fermoyle Beach, on the north side of the dingle peninsula, West Kerry

The rhythm of the waves on the sea,rolling into the beach, an endless rhythm, random, yet repetitive, maintaining an irresistible visual excitement.

It seems our artistic sensibilities and responses are, in many cases, strongly influenced and encouraged by our need for rhythm and patterns. Often, in visual art, it is impossible to clearly define the difference between rhythms and patterns, but you know – it doesn’t really matter.

Wood Shed in the forest, by the River Wye

The wood pile, the corrugated roof, all framed by the rich foliage provided a wonderful opportunity to express the wonder of nature in its fabulous varieties of patterns

Of course there are many other aspects to a work of art, but for this post I am focusing on pattern and rhythm. I have selected some of my paintings and photos that have examples of pattern in the composition.

Villages and Terraces in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco

Mountain terraces and village houses offer fascinating sources of patterns in the landscape, in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco

 

ventry sand patterns 2
The retreating tide leaves patterns in the sand, enhanced by the golden light of the setting sun
Sunset at Slea Head, Dingle Peninsula, with the Blasket Islands in view

Without the pattern in these clouds, there would be limited visual interest

In a pond beside Tralee Ship Canal, two swans negotiate a film of ice around the edge.

There is a hint of rhythm created by the two swans, working with the grasses in the foreground. The pattern on the water in the background contrasts with the smooth surface of the ice around the edge.

Evening clouds on Ventry Beach, Dingle Peninsula

Clouds are a wonderful source of nature’s patterns

The setting sun reflects on the fishing boats in Dingle harbor

The visual rhythm created by the row of boats is enhanced by the strong golden evening sunlight, and their colours are unified. The composition gains further interest by the patterns in the clouds, water and stone wall etc.

Nature has taken root in the walls of this old building

Reduced to black and white, we are encouraged to appreciate the details of the patterns in the wall and nature’s growth from the crevices.

The ruin of the schoolhouse used in the movie 'Ryan's Daughter'

In this old skeleton of a ruin of the schoolhouse used in the movie Ryan’s Daughter, over thirty years ago, the sunlight shining through provides interesting rhythms of light and dark.

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