Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A different metamorphosis

with 37 comments

This morning I received a message from Judy Baumann saying she’d finished a quilt based on a monarch butterfly photograph that appeared here last fall and that you see repeated above. My reaction to Judy’s quilt was: Geometry meets lepidoptery. To see that happy geometric metamorphosis, click here and then on the picture of the quilt to enlarge it. Nice going, Judy.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 8, 2018 at 10:15 AM

37 Responses

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  1. BOTH depictions of this gorgeous creature are superb (i.e. yours and hers–so creative)


    April 8, 2018 at 10:42 AM

  2. That is a lovely quilt, and of course the images of the monarchs are always a treat! if a butterfly can be considered majestic, then by all means, this one is worthy of that description!

  3. Your Monarchs are so lovely and elegant. And so is the quilt. We do however get the Painted Ladies 🙂
    which I see are a very similar colour combination.


    April 8, 2018 at 12:19 PM

    • Thanks for your link. According to the documentary we watched, your painted lady is the same one that we have here. It’s a species with an unusually broad global presence, covering parts of all continents except Antarctica and S. America. That said, I haven’t seen any speculation about where painted lady butterflies originated.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2018 at 12:34 PM

  4. Aren’t they a lovely species? I’ve been trying for years to attract more of the monarchs here by planting monarch-friendly plants. Oddly though, when they migrate through this area I see them alighting on the trees in the woodlands and not on the flowers! That quilt is a masterpiece… just like your photography!


    April 8, 2018 at 12:43 PM

    • From what I’ve read, many people have joined with you in replanting milkweeds. I say “replanting” because development has eradicated so many milkweed plants and prevented new ones from growing.

      Perhaps the monarchs you’ve seen alighting on trees might be doing so after they’ve had their fill on flowers.

      Thanks for your double vote of confidence on the photograph and the quilt.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2018 at 1:40 PM

  5. I can’t believe I remember that butterfly. It’s the obvious ‘splotch’ on the wing that distinguishes it. It’s just as beautiful now as when you first posted it, and the quilt is a remarkable abstraction: well designed and beautifully executed. I so admire today’s quilters, and what they can accomplish with today’s fabrics and design tools. Sometimes I wonder what my grandmother and great-aunts would think of today’s quilts. I’m sure they’d be astonished. On the other hand, when I look at their quilts, I can find bits of my mother’s dresses, my dad’s shirts, and my playsuits — but no world-class butterfly!


    April 8, 2018 at 2:22 PM

    • You have a good memory for such things, so I believe it. I know essentially nothing about quilts, but I certainly like the one that Judy Baumann made from this photograph; how could I not like that geometry? I wonder whether your grandmother and great aunts would have done a butterfly if they’d had the chance. Or maybe they did have the chance, given that monarchs pass through Iowa, but chose not to take it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 8, 2018 at 8:56 PM

      • One of the differences between quilt making now and quilt making then seems to be that today’s more artistic quilts tend to be individual projects. In my grandmother’s day, women gathered together to quilt, and used historic patterns that everyone knew: patterns with names like Log Cabin, Grandmother’s Flower Garden, Irish Chain, and so on. They didn’t so much design their quilts as execute existing patterns. As my mother once said, “The point was to get a few done, because winter was coming.”


        April 8, 2018 at 9:14 PM

  6. I like her rendition and passed it on to Melanie.

    Jim R

    April 8, 2018 at 3:18 PM

  7. Very nicely done (both)!


    April 8, 2018 at 4:55 PM

  8. Nature inspires! What a crafty metamorphosis. I’ll also be looking at Painted Ladies with new respect.

    Nature on the Edge

    April 9, 2018 at 12:14 AM

    • I like your clever phrase: “a crafty metamorphosis.”

      Isn’t that something about the painted ladies?

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 9, 2018 at 6:04 AM

  9. Very nice going, indeed.


    April 9, 2018 at 7:24 AM

    • People have sometimes talked about making something from one of my photographs—earrings come to mind—so I’m pleased that Judy followed through.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 9, 2018 at 7:52 AM

  10. Nice! It is always nice to have one of your images inspire someone artistically in another medium.

    Reed Andariese

    April 9, 2018 at 8:15 AM

  11. A beautiful butterfly photo and a cool artistic expression on the quilt!!


    April 9, 2018 at 8:04 PM

  12. It’s really interesting to see that very modern quilt design, she’s clearly got a great eye and is an accomplished artist. Let’s hope the Monarchs that return this year find more milkweed than last year…that’s maybe the best we can ask.


    April 10, 2018 at 1:10 PM

    • Yes, I was pleased with her rendition of a monarch butterfly. The geometric abstraction makes it unique.

      As I’ve driven around in the last week I’ve seen typical amounts of our most common local milkweed—at least where the land has been left alone. The problem is that with farming, ranching, and now especially the continuing spread of suburbs, less and less land remains in a natural state. To counteract that, some people are planting milkweeds in their yards.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 10, 2018 at 8:29 PM

  13. Steve – thank you for your kind words. It was good to meet you and your wife at the quilt show in Georgetown. I hope to display this work again at the Austin Area Quilt Guild show in September. http://www.captxquiltfest.org/ This show is held at the Palmer Event Center and is a judged show, with at least 300 quilts competing for ribbons and recognition. I don’t know whether Monarch will be entered in the Art category or the Modern category.

    Judy Baumann

    April 21, 2018 at 9:38 AM

    • You’re welcome, Judy. It was good to meet you and see your fine work. Good luck with Monarch in the September show. I’d be hard-pressed to decide between the categories “art” and “modern.” They’re not mutually exclusive, so both make sense.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 21, 2018 at 9:44 AM

    • Thank you both for sharing your designs on nature! They are both quite visually pleasing, though I’m sure Judy’s capture of the Monarch required just a bit more work than did yours, Steve.


      April 24, 2018 at 7:09 AM

      • I’ll say it did. Whatever photo editing I do is almost nothing compared to making a quilt. On the other hand, a quilter has it easy sitting home in an air-conditioned room rather than tramping through the often inhospitable wilds of Texas in the heat to find photo-worthy subjects.

        Steve Schwartzman

        April 24, 2018 at 7:18 AM

    • … and good luck to you and your handsome Monarch in September, Judy.


      April 24, 2018 at 7:10 AM

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