I love painting multi-layered patterns with no plan other than to mix some colors and be loose. No overthinking allowed. No worries about how ruined or unattractive my expression might become. Every brush stroke will take me exactly where I need to go, so I just lay down the colors and shapes and enjoy the surprises that emerge.
I've been designing patterns my whole life, so by this point I know how to engineer a pleasing result. But that's not what interests me per se, so a lot of this exercise is about finding ways to move beyond the predictable and into whatever exists beyond the prettiness.
Above is an example of a pattern that went somewhere new for me, away from the Marimekko/tropical/floral aesthetic that is my first language. It started out looking like a giant abacus, then got some florals and geometry, then got way too messy with too much going on, so I wiped all over the entire surface with a big, dry brush. Finally I drew a vine/chain pattern over the plaid with a light hand.
This blurry, pink plaid is exciting to me because it represents a new strategy to explore: make a pattern, then blend everything together. Lose the details. Throw a layer of fog over what once was clear. The results will be softer and quieter than my usual frequência operacional, I imagine.