Cy Twombly on the Experience of Painting

“It’s more like I’m having an experience than making a picture. So I’ve never had anyone around. I never have. People are different, but I have to really be with no interference. And it takes me hours. Painting a picture is a very short thing if it goes well, but the sitting and thinking […] I usually go off on stories that have nothing to do with the painting, and sometimes I sit in the opposite room to where I work. If I can get a good hot story I can paint better, but sometimes I’m not thinking about the painting, I’m thinking about the subject. Lots of times I’ll sit in another room and then I might just go in. It takes a lot of freedom. I’m working for two years on a subject now: ten paintings, and that can carry on for two years. I worked last summer and I started this summer and with just the simplest motif I just can’t seem to do it. And everything slowed down.”

— Cy Twombly

Source: ‘Cy Twombly, 2000’ in Interviews with American Artists by David Sylvester (London: Chatto and Windus, 2001).

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