Textiles Pattern Watercolor Exercise

watercolor exercise with American Arts and Crafts pattern
A continuation of my posts of watercolor exercises from One Watercolor a Day, here is a watercolor inspired by American Arts and Crafts patterns. Quick summary of the textiles pattern watercolor exercise (the book has more details and suggestions): “Choose a few elements of a textile print. Create small thumbnails, mixing up elements to come up with something new. ”

I enjoyed this exercise, though it did take a fair amount of thinking and time. Copying great art works is always a valuable exercise in general: one sees more carefully when one has to draw, paint or design a copy or similar image. I went to the library and took out some books. The first batch had Tiffany glass, but the exercise said textiles, so I went to the library again. This time I actually did find a book called American Arts and Crafts Textiles (other suggestions were Japanese or Peruvian textile inspirations, for example).

Here is the one of the six above that I liked best, mostly because it made best use of the medium of watercolor (note the background):
American Arts and Crafts textile pattern, done in watercolor
The design is part of a 1911 Richardson Silk Company pillow kit.

When you think of textiles and patterns, what comes to mind? Have you ever seen Arts and Crafts designs and found them inspiring?

17 thoughts on “Textiles Pattern Watercolor Exercise

  • Interesting exercise–i love Arts and Crafts design and I really like he prints you picked. When I think of textiles, I think about Marimekko, Lily Pulitzer, Liberty of London.

    • Thanks for those examples. I remember Marimekko linens in my house as a child. Like the idea of studying these patterns more. Comes in useful for designs.

  • I like the watercolors… I think of textiles and the first thing that came to my mind was something Asian inspired, but I had been looking at some of my Mothers artwork and she had the entire house full of Asian everything….. Not really what you asked, but is what was on my mind….

    • It’s a perfectly fine answer. My questions are just a way to open up discussion, and the fact that you grew up with lots of Asian design is interesting. In general, doing pattern exercises has helped me become more aware of patterns and textiles.

  • What a fun exercise. I like the one you discribed best as well. I agree, when you use a great work to recreate elements from, it truly gives you a concept of what the artist was challenged with and the talent it took to create the piece. 🙂

    • Susan, what’s that expression? So much to learn, so little time? I wish I could delve more into patterns, but today my clients need me … off to Google Analytics to write a report.

      Thanks for your comment about the exercise in general.

  • I really love these! My favorite is the same as yours. The design reminds me somewhat of the center of peacock feathers. I like the one below it, also.

    I love “arts and crafts” designs, whether in textiles, other artwork-such as wood or even architecture.

    The tones and contrasts are really nice, and the designs are quite creative and lovely. I like the left/right designs (as I call them), which would look great in a corner art piece.

    It is funny, my grandie, Emily, has been working on designs in school. Her teacher has taught them to create swirls, lines, geometrics, etc., to make patterns around cards, artwork, etc.

    • That’s great – I am doing good sales pitches for Veronica Lawlor, no? If you join the Facebook group, sometimes Veronica will actually like a painting and a few times will comment.

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