Courbet looked very hard and had a method. Bierstadt did not

look very hard and had a method, and de Kooning makes it up as he

goes along. I think I relate much more to de Kooning because I look

very hard and then I make it up as I go along

    Look at the 19th-century American luminous painters, as they

are now called - Church, in particular, or Bierstadt. If you look at

the construction of the larger pictures, there is a very careful over-

lapping construction which takes you "in" to this thing, in, in, in,

in, to the painting. It still relates hack to the Renaissance idea of

denying the surface, divine perspective etc. Between the late 19th

century and now comes this, what is for me one of the greatest

ideas of 20th century painting, and that is the fact of the painting

again. The surface of the picture is a fact on which you paint. The

maintenance of that is very exciting to me, but I also want the other

thing, so you have that conflicted image. what you hope for is

something that virtually oscillates, where you go in and there's a

surface and you go in and there's the surface. And that, I think, is

difficult to look at.

    The way I paint is totally focused and intense and Complete -

every mark is a form that's not going to be covered up later. I don't

go over it. I go down the canvas to the bottom and out, and that's it.

Neil Welliver      


© 2001 Neil Welliver