These are excerpts from an essay written by Heidel Vietze upon her final portfolio presentation at the Parsons School of Design in 2000. (full text)
On Painting
"These works symbolically unite ... separations which are perceived to be different.  Yet are not.  I have put them in the same frame because they exist within my physical/mental frame this way, turn the frame upside down and a new reality emerges.  This is not an attempt to be clever, but a representation that both are true, dependent on the receiver.  In one instance this is a landscape and in the next a portrait; geographic and then a figure is more liable.  However these two are hardly different and rely on the scope of one's own "lens".  Is the image a cross section or an aerial view?  It is both.  Are you looking at an image from the outside or are you inside the image looking out?  Where am I?  I am in both places and will not commit to a singular position in the painting.  The content should naturally reference more than one thing and be open to many interpretations.  … This is only with the final image, for there are many stories underneath and have in turn made that final image.

Essentially this work spawns from the desire to reconnect the mind, body and soul and give them a place to exist as one or a forum for them to communicate with each other.  A place where I can meet myself without the intense defense systems and operations of self-sabotage working their miracles.  A place to be boldly vulnerable.  From painting I receive clarity, I recognize myself better than a mirror.  I recognize my thoughts and vision.  I do not have immediate access to much of the knowledge I store.  This is a frustrated existence.  A frustration which is temporarily alleviated by a finished work.  When the work is right, I feel at peace with my internal war - with language and conveying what I know and understand.

...I like a painting to be physically heavy: fat stretchers (though I would like them to be even fatter) the thickest canvas I can afford or buy.  Even so, the image and surface are fragile; the surface should have intrigue of its own.  This is part of the visual information you should consider as content.

I want my work to have physical and psychic weight.  It feels appropriate because they are bound to the earth sphere, bound by gravity, bound to their content, bound to my psyche and bound to my experience, which is not unique.  Something is being responded to.  These images/objects are not coming from my imagination, but from my experience translated through language that creates its own aesthetic.  This response cannot be easy.  It must test my essence each time.  There must be a struggle.  For me the struggle is the beauty, whether it be emotional, physical, financial, eternal.  Maybe it is not beautiful, but it must have a presence of its own and be able to stand gracefully.  I see the works as attractive and this relies heavily on color.  Recognizing my own attraction to these pieces on one level satisfies me and on other level scares me:  do I want to create beauty queens?  Am I trying to seduce the viewer?  These are unresolved issues for me.

This surface has never come first, there are several paintings underneath.  Usually there is a part of the painting that is not negotiating well with the other parts, in an attempt to save the painting I use joint compound to erase and start over.  Sometimes that troublesome part takes over the whole surface.  It can then be sanded or dissolved or dug into and painted or not.  (My use of joint compound) …started as a type of erasure and then as a surface that can be dug into and excavated.  The stories and colors under the surface were dug out, using the past to create the present image.  I am using oil paint in combination with joint compound … giving a wink and a nod to fresco.  I like that it is not plastic and doesn't reflect light, I like that it takes time, that it paces itself.  There is a commitment made to seeing it through.  Its expense is its own threat.  "You better mean it."  Then aside from this color and texture etc., I suppose I am making a statement about my own seriousness of either the content of the work or myself or both.

I am not engaged in inventing a new and improved painting.  I am engaged in my painting.  I value the space that is created between an artist and their work - I like that space, I need that space.  This is where I am most unconscious, and this is where I am most clear.  Nothing can replace that for me; at least I am not trying to replace it yet.  Painting takes time and uses time much like life does - speeding up, slowing down, stalling, only to speed up again."
On Drawing

"Several years ago, in a meeting, bored, I started tearing up loose tape and making people out of it.  This was fun and painless and it wasn't drawing so I did not have to worry whether I was being judged or not.  It was its own mark, I was just arranging it.  Tape is another medium for covering a separation, for attaching separations, for all purpose fixing, and acts like a band aid for healing.  Some of my very first paintings were inspired with tape, taping over painted images.  In the same way joint compound works for me today is where the tape began.

I bought a stack of color aid sheets, inspired from a drawing of a Belgian fashion designer, a simple black line drawing of a girl in a scarf with little detail almost a silhouette on a solid color rectangle.  The color of the paper is not arbitrary it has orchestrated the colors that lay upon it.  These freestyle drawings have little commitment and could be considered studies.  Again the tape is its own line and color.  It is a bit clumsy as it finds its way around.  This clumsiness is its animation.  They are able to show a greater range of movement and they are not plastic.  They reference the collages I have been collecting in a book which was arrangements of things I liked to look at from fashion, interior design, and culture magazines.

I like the way nature feels        - grass, stones, leaves, wood, bark, branches, air and dirt - somehow dirt in the country isn't dirty.  These elements each have their own weight, texture and color.  Most importantly I am symbolizing ideas about roots which read in several ways; turn the painting over and the roots are trees in an orange sky.  These marks also act like wrinkles, varicose veins, claws, sewage plans, family trees, sentence diagramming, geography, maps, time lines, and infinite regression.

Color is essential, its location and placement define most of our visual reality, defines boundaries and contains form in every way.  I find colors and color combinations to collect.  These come from various sources and add to my inventory of things.  I don't necessarily try to match these colors but will use the object, paint, or thing as color.  Sometimes I don't use a color I love just to save it or just to look at.

By the time I had seen the work of Keith Haring he was dead.  The appeal of his work is its life and vitality.   Seeing this work was like having CPR and I was so relieved to discover that the whole world was not the tombstone I assumed it to be.  I am thankful.  In this way I feel he has influenced my use of line.

This line I consider to be gracefully crude.  For a while I was very concerned about this crudeness, as I felt that it must mean that I am making juvenile presentations.  With time I have come to accept this crudeness as part of my language and have moved on with growing concern of making sure the viewer doesn't think they see a smiley face.  As far as the viewer goes, I'd like to communicate with whoever wants to look at the work."