Judith Drew Schubert, Variations on a Moth, gold leaf on board, 14.5 x 26 inches.


Piece of Work: Judith Drew Schubert

Although I’m a landscape painter now, I still love patterns. And this moth I found – the Io moth – just spoke to me.

Judith Drew Schubert has always been fascinated with patterns. As a child, she spent hours deciphering the repeating antique wallpaper designs in her uncle’s Vermont farmhouse. “Reflecting back…I have countless examples that predicted my life’s work,” she said.

After earning a degree in textile design from Syracuse University, she took a job in New York City as a surface-pattern designer. In the mid-1980s the New Jersey native settled on the Island and launched her own hand-block-print clothing line. But when the economic downturn in the early 2000s hit the textile industry, she decided it was time to explore a new medium.     

Today, Schubert creates landscape paintings, which isn’t to say that her love of patterns is omitted from her current work. In fact, when she stumbled upon a dead Io moth on her porch in West Tisbury, she thought to herself, “Wow, this is amazing. I’m going to do something with this.”

The moth sat in her Oak Bluffs studio for a year while she pondered how to use it. It wasn’t until she saw that Featherstone Center for the Arts was having a Silver and Gold show that inspiration struck. “I could do the moth in gold,” she said.

The piece at left, titled Variations on a Moth, came together organically. “I was experimenting with doing the moth all different ways,” Schubert said. “I had [the moth treatments] separate, and I put them together...on the table and I thought, ‘This looks really good.’”

To create the triptych, Schubert painted the board’s base a rust color and used transfer paper with the drawing of the moth to determine where to add the gold leaf. “You put the glue down, and you let it dry, and then you apply the thin [gold] sheets carefully,” she explained. “Then, where you have put [the glue], the metal sticks.”

For the top and bottom segments, Schubert applied gold leaf around the  outline of the moths to make them stand out and to give texture to the overall  piece. As a finishing touch she applied gold leaf to the edges of the frame and added a clear sealer for protection.

To view more of Schubert’s work, visit Juniper in Edgartown or go to