The Drawing Underneath The Images

The Flow of Lines and Rhythmic Drawing


I have always considered myself a maker of images. Yes, I am known as an artist and a painter. I am most definitely creative. But at the end of the day, what I make are images. In my image-making, the most important thing is the drawings underneath these images.

rhythmic pencil drawing by Dick Crispo
Rhythmic pencil drawing by Dick Crispo.


What I enjoy most about the drawing process in my image-making is the flow of lines. When I hold a pencil in my hand, it’s connected to my arm, which is connected to me. In turn, I am creating that flow. It’s a flow I like to see in my art. I first draw it using a pencil, then I repeat that flow when I paint again over the lines. In most cases, I create that flow twice: first, when I draw, and again, when I apply the paint.

mixed media painting, detail - by Dick Crispo
Mixed media painting, detail – by Dick Crispo

The continuous flow is very important. Especially in the larger paintings that I have been working on since late last year.  These larger pieces allow me to engage with my whole arm and body. There are times in my process when the flow could be more continuous. In essence, the flow is just not there. It’s at those times I have to stop myself. In my experience, I know to put down the pencil and resume later.

In the case of these larger 30” x 40” paintings from my “Conversations in the Night” series the paper I’m using is a heavy-duty 100% cotton rag Strathmore 500 Series Bristol Board – 30″ x 40″, 4-ply sheet. This media can withstand a lot of working on it. From the drawing to the painting phase, it suits the type of images I create. As I tend to experiment as well, the paper is perfect for this.


When I’m working in this flow, it is also similar to a rhythm in my drawing. There is a sensitivity I have toward the human complex. The initial drawings are like the inside of these paintings. It’s like it’s more of a feeling coming from within that initial drawing. This informs the final color image, which most people will ultimately see. 

mixed media painting in progress
Mixed media painting in progress by Dick Crispo.


I want to show bright colors and rhythms in the Conversations in the Night series of paintings. The importance of rhythm with these colors is to create a certain life-like feeling. Not necessarily a realism that creates a representational image of nature, but rather, a sense of multiple rhythms existing. As in life, there are multiple things that all contribute to that rhythm in my work. My paintings are similarly constructed images with different rhythms, all working together as a unified piece. 


These aspects of rhythm and layers, a cohesiveness which sits well together, is what I look for. Through it all, I try to maintain spontaneity; this gives it life. If it doesn’t have that life, then I feel like it’s dead. cropped-dick-crispo-favicon_.png

gold face watercolor painting
A watercolor painting using paints.

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