• Kaaren Poole

Playing with Repeating a Pattern

For several years now I've known the basics about creating a pattern that could repeat across a surface, but I'd never tried it until just this past weekend after finishing a video from Laly Mille on painting simple watercolor roses. I was inspired to capture two birds (can't stand that killing two birds thing) at once by creating a repeat pattern based on a watercolor rose, and now that I'm finished, I'm inspired to share the process with you. Maybe you'd like to try it.


Here's the starting point, my little watercolor of a cluster of pink roses and a few imaginary flowers. Actually, it's not quite the starting point because I've cut it in fourths, which is actually the second step.


In addition to the watercolor, I did a bit of pencil work. Oh, and a few spatters. Anyway, after cutting the design in quarters, I rearranged the pieces by sliding each one to its diagonal corner, effectively turning the design "inside out." I slid

the lower right piece to the upper left place,

the lower left piece to the upper right place,

the upper left piece to the lower right place,

and the upper right piece to the lower left place.

Be sure to just slide the pieces. Don't flip them over.


In their new arrangement, I glued the pieces another piece of paper then added the rest of the design in the empty areas. Here's what it looked like:


I could have covered the whole center with designs, but I wanted open windows in my final piece.


The seams where the glued pieces touched showed, so I scanned the design into the computer and used Photoshop Elements to remove those seams.


After that, still in Photoshop Elements, I created an 8 1/2" x 11" canvas at 300 dpi resolution, then tiled it with the image. It was amazing to see how nicely it all fit together. The flower clusters came back together and the ink work designs joined them.


It's not very precise work. You can still see the seams, and the corners don't fit perfectly. I'm sure there are ways to either avoid or resolve these problems. But I'm OK with it as is since my plan was to use the papers for backgrounds in art journal spreads.


(By the way, when you cut the original design into four pieces, you don't have to cut across on straight lines. You just need to have your cuts begin and end at the centers of the sides. I'll do a different one and show you in a later blog post. I can think of a few more improvements also, so stay tuned.)



Here's my finished art journal spread. My first step was to cover the entire page with my very own custom rose wallpapers. My original plan was to have a page of rose-framed windows and do something different in each one. But my wallpaper turned out too regimented looking. But that original plan is still in my mind to try later.


This project really was a lot of fun, and I'm planning much more exploration with the technique!

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