Four Ruth B. McDowell Landscape Studies Complete


My set of four Ruth B. McDowell landscapes are now complete. My goal was to work fast, limit self-editing and procrastination and just do it, as Nike says. I’m sure I could have hemmed and hawed for days on fabric selection and placement until I quit in frustration and/or fear of failure. I’m glad that I approached the study the way I did. While my landscapes aren’t perfect, they actually got done (see yesterday’s post).

I think it takes at least three tries to really become comfortable with a new concept in design or a new quilt making technique. My next task will be to create my own design and apply what I have learned.

Analysis. In the two top landscapes, the lines behind the trees are continuous. In other words, if you removed the trees, the lines of each element would flow smoothly into each other. In the bottom two landscapes, the image is “fractured,” so if you removed the trees, the lines of each element would not meet – they are jagged. The theory is that with the “fractured” elements behind the trees your eyes focus the trees and in the “continuous line” landscape, your eyes travel deeper into the picture.

In two of the landscapes (one top and one bottom) I varied the fabrics behind the trees, and in the opposite two landscapes I kept the fabrics behind the trees consistent. This allowed me to experiment with a great variety of fabrics to learn how they would “read” as part of the overall design. I also hoped to find that the landscapes with the most variety of fabrics would create the most interesting view – but I’m not sure if that’s actually true.

What do you think? What would you have done differently? What surprises you? What do you not like? What excites you? (You may click the picture for a larger view.)


~ by Kimberly Mason on January 2, 2009.

2 Responses to “Four Ruth B. McDowell Landscape Studies Complete”

  1. My two favorites are upper left and lower right. I like the lower right with the continuity of fabric, however, the upper left kind of grabs me for some reason. I think it is the play of light across the sky and in the water. I have a photo of Mt. Rainier taken from Kautz Creek that I have wanted to interpret as a landscape quilt for about 2 years. I think this may be the year I actually do something about it.

    • I think I like the continuity better too, though I think now I wouldn’t have a problem putting in a different fabric as a highlight or shadow (whereas before the “wild” landscapes I would have been hesitant).

      Landscapes are the very BEST place to start for pictorial quilts because they can turn out any way you want to – unlike portraits of cows, for instance, since they have requirements such as 4 legs, 2 ears and a tail…and they have to be in the right place! LOL

      I would love to see the pic you have of Mt. Rainier, I love that mountain and miss it so much! I used to live in Enumclaw and we have a beautiful view of the mountain (when it was “out,” as we say here). This half-blowed-up Mt. St. Helens just doesn’t compare (though I must admit I am growing fonder of it all the time).

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