In 1881, service in the military brought him to Arras where he spent eight years. There he found time to do portraits and rustic scenes which he was able to exhibit for the first time at the Paris Salon of 1882. After his marriage and the birth of his daughter, the artist settled in Hazebrouch.
Although Pattein did paint some history and religious works, he was known for his country scenes where children are enjoying themselves in the fields. The attitudes he represents are wonderfully natural and the quality could be considered close to that of photography.