I'm like a slipping glimpser

Abstract painter Willem de Kooning, talking about his practice  (Thanks to Jo V. who brought me this quote):

Each new glimpse is determined by many,

Many glimpses before.

It's this glimpse which inspires you -- like an occurrence.

And I notice those are always my moment of having an idea

That maybe I could start a painting.


Y'know the real world, this so-called the real world,

Is just something you put up with, like everybody else.

I'm in my element when I am a little bit out of this world:

then I'm in the real world -- I'm on the beam.

Because when I'm falling, I'm doing all right;

When I'm slipping, I say, hey, this is interesting!

It's when I'm standing upright that bothers me:

I'm not doing so good; I'm stiff.

As a matter of fact, I'm really slipping, most of the time,

into that glimpse. I'm like a slipping glimpser.


(Sketchbook 1: Three Americans, 1960)