Making a Stew Notes
Making a Stew is a lot like the process of painting. First I assemble cut vegetables,(carrots,fresh tomatoes,potatoes diced,onion diced, green peas, corn, celery, mushrooms) then use a nice sirloin roast to cut into large pieces of stew meat. I always use a whole roast rather than buying stew meat. A roast will be tender and not have gristle. I fry the meat in EVOO after dredging it in flour mixed with garlic, thyme, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper. As I carefully turn the meat and brown it, I take a 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce and mix it with a half cup of wine to pour over the meat and deglaze the pan. All of this goes into the crock pot with the vegetables and a couple of cans of beef stock. Then the pot is turned on to do it’s magic for the day, filling the house with an aroma to salivate over. During the last half hour, a sprig of fresh rosemary is added to the pot and it is indescribable in the end.
I was a chef for 13 years, ran a couple of small restaurants, had a small catering business, and worked as a private chef, all the while painting and drawing on the side. Making food is important to me. It is part of my heritage as a Southern person and my culture. Lots of the stories told about the South are told around the table at meals.
Linda’s Etsy Shop
I cook with great care and attention to detail. I want it to taste wonderful and making many meals with care has been important to me. It occurred to me while I assembled the stew that painting and making art should be done in the same way. Are we using excellent materials to craft our paintings? Brushes, paint quality, supports? Are they well made?
Are we doing research and study to prepare our “recipe” for a good painting? Doing compositional studies. value studies? Color charts? Then comes the cooking time. Are we working in a methodical deliberate way on important paintings? Giving them cooking time in between construction stages?
Then there is the plate presentation, Is the food beautifully presented to our dinner guests? Is our painting refined and well executed, whatever our style might be? If we frame, is it well made and fitting for our painting?
Are we charming hosts to our guests? Do we treat our collectors and friends with the utmost respect, welcoming them into our world as valued guests; made to feel as important as they really are?
I’ll give you an example. I recently sold a painting to a new collector. She wrote to tell me that she loved the painting but that it had been slightly damaged in the finish during the shipping. She said the painting was fine and did not need an exchange, but just wanted to let me know. I wrote to her and insisted that she keep that painting and choose another one on me. She hesitated, but I insisted and so the second painting is on the way to her. I could have ignored it and I’m sure she would have been ok, but my reputation and full guarantee of my work was at stake in my mind. I want my collectors to be completely satisfied and thrilled with the paintings they buy from me. I stand behind my work. She sweetly wrote back to me and said “No wonder your collectors are so loyal to you.”
Many artists think of collectors in negative ways, as if they are a pain. I have always valued my collectors more than I can say. They put food on my table and pay my bills. They allow me to have a wonderful life, full of adventure and fun. Whatever I can do making their life good, I am happy to do. Many of them become my treasured personal friends.
How do we get the word out about our delicious stew?
Do we care whether our web sites are updated, our blogs are updated and useful to others?
Do we treat museum directors, gallery directors, other artists with courtesy?
Do we bother to answer emails?
Take the time to encourage other artists and answer their questions?
Do we follow up on information that might help us in the future, thanking those who send it to us?
Do we send out newsletters and announcements which have interest to others, including great stories,recipes, or useful treats for our collectors?
Are we thinking about them and their interests or just trying to shove our work down their throats with endless announcements about shows ?
Do we send out the best photos possible of our work?
Do we encourage dialogue from collectors, asking them to share their lives with us?
It is really about them, not us.
Well, That’s my stew. What are your ingredients?