Lessons on scrappy quilting from Marc Chagall

Okay, so Chagall may not have been a quilter. But on a recent trip to Chicago I realized that the way he combined colored tiles to create images is completely applicable to the way a quilter might use scraps of fabric to do the same. While waiting to serve as the studio audience for NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, we stopped to admire Chagall's rectangular mural, The Four Seasons.

If you're a trained artist, you might just want to skip this post, because it's probably pretty obvious to you. But I (NOT a trained artist, thank you very much) sometimes forget what subtlety can be obtained by sneaking up on a color. By that I mean, rather than painting something RED, combining multiple colors in the red family (pinks, oranges, tomato reds, rust reds, etc.) creates a much richer and more believable color and shape.
The principle holds true even when you're not creating an image, but say, a scrappy star or maple leaf: using multiple shades of the red family makes that block more interesting than using a single fabric. And it works for the background, as well as for the images (or colored portions of the block)—check out the depth and motion created by the myriad background tiles. Personally, I think Chagall would have been an exceptional quiltmaker .