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The Best Marinade

Green painting with partial circles coming in from the sides that have blue, black, white, and red.
Jules Olitski. In Wikipedia.

Since my father passing away last year, I have been thinking a lot on what I learned growing up in a household where not one, but both, parents were modernist painters. 

Of my parents’ fondest acquaintances was Ukrainian-American painter Jules Olitski. His ideas often wafted through the house like the smell of baking bread. I have quoted my mother quoting him in my favorite marinade recipe here below. (The recipe has been passed down.)

A modernist marinade

Rushing looks like trying to get the darn thing done. The artist is distracted, and the art ends up bland. 

How do we slow down? A marinade recipe made simple

 Olitski said something to effect of:

Keep working on it until there’s nothing more you can do to improve it. 

I wonder if “Is there anything more I can do to improve this?” is one of the only questions we need to ask ourselves in the creative process. 

This question could also help us know when to stop. 

Over marination

It’s important to be careful not to dump in too much. I have overworked watercolor by going back over a spot until the paper frayed, and I (mostly) learned my lesson. We all know when we overwork something. The piece is ruined. 

And there is another way to ruin a piece.

What about about getting feedback at the wrong time or from the wrong person?

Too many chefs in the kitchen

Sharing too early and getting all sorts of feedback and opinions (meant to be helpful) will mess up the whole dish. Random people telling you what THEY would do with YOUR art doesn’t help. Don’t ask for feedback during the marination stage. 

Know when to ask and who to trust for a critique.

Keep marinating, watch out for too many chefs, keep working on that intensity of flavor, don’t forget the butter, and what the hell? So, good, if we make some mistakes!

This is my last Thanksgiving-inspired food-to-art metaphor in the Stained Glass as an Other Language (SGOL) series. If you missed the others:

“With enough butter, anything is good.”

The #1 Cooking Secret for Artists to Improve Productivity

Are you microwaving hot dogs for Thanksgiving dinner?

Bon Appetit!

If interested, here is a fascinating video about Jules Olitski and his process.

My newsletter, Patterned Visions, addresses cross-craft theories in action and how-to guides for stained glass artists. This article is #7 in SGOL, Stained Glass as an Other Language. You can get Patterned Visions delivered to your inbox.

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