Heroic Proportions

Larger than life: A studio painting that feels like an epic poem

For this painting, I start off the drawing using heroic proportions, that is what I do in a mural, which is larger than life proportions. If you stretched your fingers out of your hand, you’d get the usual typical proportions of the hand and head. But in this painting, it’s double or triple the proportions. But in this case, I specifically want the impact of a mural. And when I work on this size paper, my drawing seems to go towards the mural size.

Heroic Proportions painting
The painting in my home studio.

In working on this painting, it’s important to understand that the black is the story. The black is the negative space. And it’s defining the shapes. It doesn’t mean that every shape has to have black on it. It means that every shape must be defined in some way that relates to the other side of it, to whatever part of it that is not. The black is part of the whole all the pieces and is a part of the whole in something like this

Heroic Proportions painting - Dick Crispo
Black india ink with acrylic paints. Size: 23" x 35". Artwork by Dick Crispo.

This painting is not something that’s just thrown together. This is really put together very methodically. At the same time, the drawing has to be maintained up to a point. But then I keep playing with it and playing with it. And that’s the part for me that’s the most fun. If you can’t play with it, don’t do it.

One of the things that I’ve also I look at is what is it saying? This is maybe part of the Ukrainian war series, the sadness of the people in Ukraine. But not just totally sad because there is a proudness to it, too. And there’s enlightenment that I feel that’s in there. I’m looking at things in terms of what it tells us about the heroic people. What does it tell us is larger than life, what is not just life, but larger than life.

detail of india ink and acrylic painting - Dick Crispo
"The total story being that it's a mixture of colors just as we are a mixture of people."

And when I’m talking about murals, I’m talking something that for me is larger than life. It is the epic poem. It is the question with a giant answer. But not to say that it’s an answer that everybody will like, but that everybody will feel something from the answer.

In the end, I feel like that the painting is telling the story that I want to tell about the giant pain but strength at the same time. It doesn’t mean that the people are just in pain. They are in pain, but proud.

And I feel the major announcement of the proudness of the people and the sadness of the people. The colors are there not only to represent hope but also to represent colors coming together that may not necessarily be part of the total story. The total story is that it’s a mixture of colors just as we are a mixture of people. dick-crispo-favicon_

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