In the early months of 1965 Olitski began to use a spray-gun to apply paint to his canvases. He had previously been using sponges and paint rollers to put down broad areas of colour, but found that overlapping layers of colour tended to neutralise each other. By spraying the paint Olitski preserved the richness and purity of colour and gained an expansive and seamless surface. In these paintings he continued and developed his compositional practice of confining incident to the periphery of the canvas, usually by defining an edge, or edges, with a stripe of paint or a line of pastel in a different colour.
During the winter of 1965-66 Olitski began to mask out areas of the painting along two or sometimes there sides during the painting process, thus creating borders like internal frames within the painting. He would also cut more than one work from the same role of sprayed canvas, using the process of stretching as a kind of editing to achieve the desired effect. Prince Patutsky’s Command, painted in the winter of 1965-66, is typical of this group of paintings, with its ghost-like border across the lower and left sides of the canvas. It was cut from the same stretch of sprayed canvas as the painting Unlocked.