Here's a marine scene from Leslie Frontz, and a farm from George Post, below. Both pantings make use of simple patterns that rely on the context to help the viewer recognize the subject.
By themselves, the dark, squiggly shapes behind Frontz's rowboat have no meaning, but in the presence of the edge of the water we have all the information we need to make a pretty good guess where we are.
Post's patterns in the Farm scene are even simpler to "read". With its pointy green strokes we can tell what kind of tree that is on the right, and those simple curves in the surface of the ground plane are unmistakeable.
The message here is that we don't have to paint everything. It is not your job to make sure the viewer recognizes exactly what everything is.
Meanwhile ...It is part of your job to make the patterns you devise engaging to look at completely apart from what they represent. After all, paint on paper is all there is. If it's not fun to observe then we have missed our mark.
For homework, please select one or more of these images and use patterns to simplify your interpretation. Karen, this might be a good time to let everyone know when the images should be submitted