top of page

Summer challenge: modern landscape

Whimsy, Joy, Beauty and Hope — a mural on the Renfrew Community Centre by Billie Rae Busby. Claire Young

Hard edge painting is a technique in which solid colours sit next to one another with a defined edge. That crisp edge can be achieved using a blocking method such as painter's tape when applying a layer of colour.

The term 'hard edge' is attributed to art critic Jules Langsner when describing a 1959 art show in California featuring four artists. The works of Karl Benjamin, one of the members of this show, are fine examples of this method.

Closer to home and contemporary times, Calgary artist Billie Rae Busby uses the hard edge technique to create her signature landscape style. You may have also seen her art around town, as some of her public art projects are murals on buildings, benches and traffic barriers. Her latest commission, Through These Places in Time, is a four-panel in the renovated BMO Centre as part of the new Calgary Stampede art collection. Her website showcases many of her works.

Through These Places in Time (2 of 4 panels), by Billie Rae Busby. Courtesy, Gavin Young

The hard edge painting technique lends itself to the modern quilt esthetic, which is where our summer challenge comes in. Using solids, create a modern landscape. Edges can be straight or curved — the fabric itself, with colours up against each other, provides the "hard edges."

Here are some examples of Billie Rae's landscapes.

The challenge:

Design a landscape in the hard edge style. You can draw inspiration from the works in the links above, your own research and your own inspiration. Please do not replicate another's work — we want to see your own creativity!

Longest side: 24 inches (can be vertical or horizontal)

Attach a sleeve: We are inquiring around for a place to display.

Deadline: Bring to the September meeting for presentation and voting.

Awards: There will be awards!

Things to think about:

Technical: When designing, many triangles coming to the same point is a lot of bulk — you might want to keep multiple intersections to a minimum. (When painting, this isn't so much of a problem!)

Design: Use light and dark to create contrast, mood, time of day and horizon or other natural feature such as a mountain, a chinook arch or water. Work from a photograph you like to inspire colours or composition. A starting point may be a horizon line, from which you can then work up and down.


This style lends itself to many quilting styles: paper piecing (of any kind) if you like to be precise in your design. If you want to be more freeform, try quilt as you go or improv techniques.

125 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page