When he worked, de Kooning scraped and smeared the paint, and used his hand and his arm to make different brushstrokes and marks.
Look for parts of a bicycle in the lower half of the painting. Those circles and swirls could be wheels. Can you see the handlebars or the saddle?
Wait a minute, look at the woman’s face. She has two different color eyes, and two smiling mouths! Guess what? De Kooning often changed his mind about where things should go in his paintings. But instead of painting over it, he kept the first mouth (which is the lower one) because it reminded him of a necklace.
Can you tell what is moving and what is still? If the woman has stepped off her bicycle, what could she be standing on? If she’s on a wild bike ride, think about what you see whizzing by when you ride a bicycle, and imagine what she sees and where she might be going…
“I’m not interested in ‘abstracting’ or taking things out or reducing painting to design, form, line, and color. I paint this way because I can keep putting more things in it–drama, anger, pain, love, a figure, a horse, my ideas about space. Through your eyes it again becomes an emotion or idea.”
—Willem de Kooning