ABSTRACT PSYCHOSOCIAL ART

By DICK CRISPO

The Soul and Watercolor

The Story Inside the My Watercolor Paintings

As I lay out my palette, filled with vibrant watercolors, and gaze upon the untouched 300 lb. Arches cold-pressed paper before me, I’m reminded of the profound journey each painting takes me on—a journey into the depths of the human soul.

In my latest series, I have pushed the boundaries of expressionism further, exploring the subtle intricacies of the human condition. These paintings venture beyond mere representation; they are my interpretations of the stories etched in the abstract faces and heads that have emerged through spontaneous brush strokes and the bold hues of watercolor.

Soul and Watercolor by Dick Crispo 01


I believe the soul is much like watercolor. Fluid, elusive, and sometimes unforgiving, it reflects a spectrum of emotions. The choice of cold-pressed watercolor paper is deliberate—it holds the pigments in a way that each layer speaks of a different aspect of human emotions, just like the layers of our soul. The texture itself adds a dimension that is nearly tactile, allowing the viewer to feel the essence of the artwork.


The process of creation is meditative and raw. Each stroke is an outburst of emotion, each blending of colors a narrative of life’s profound stories. My palette is bright, but not without purpose. It navigates through the complexities of life—joy, sorrow, passion, and tranquility. The subtlety is found within the boldness, a philosophy I often apply to my understanding of existence.

“The Soul and Watercolor” is my tribute to the strength and vulnerability we all bear. My artistic expression is not to paint a figure for the viewer to see but to paint a reflection for the viewer to feel. As I interpret forms and colors on paper, I invite the audience to find their own stories within these watercolor faces—a mirror to the soul.

Getting Technical with Watercolor Paper

As a watercolor artist, the quest for the perfect paper is an ongoing journey. Along this path, I’ve come to a fond appreciation for the Arches 300 lb. cold pressed watercolor paper. Its distinct features, particularly the four deckle edges, evoke an artisanal feel that distinguishes it from the more common 140 lb. counterparts.


One of the first things you notice about the 300 lb. paper is its substantial heft and texture. With a weight that promises durability, it handles water remarkably well. Unlike the 140 lb. paper, which can buckle or warp unless stretched before use, the 300 lb. paper remains flat, providing a stable canvas for the watercolor medium.

Arches paper is made in a mold, which is a traditional technique that predates the more modern cylinder or machine-made methods. This mold-made process is largely responsible for the paper’s unique texture and resilient quality. The fibers are evenly distributed, resulting in a grain that invites the watercolor to settle in a harmonious spread.

The four deckle edges are a signature feature of mold-made papers such as the Arches 300 lb. This rough, untrimmed edge not only serves as a hallmark of quality and craftsmanship but also adds an element of visual interest to finished pieces. When framing, these edges offer an additional aesthetic that speaks to the traditional and time-honored methods of papermaking and painting.

When it comes to the way the paper receives watercolor, the Arches 300 lb. paper exhibits a notable difference. Its dense construction allows for washes that sit on the surface, giving the artist more control over blending and movement before the paint is absorbed. This characteristic offers the advantage of reworking areas without the fear of the paper disintegrating. In comparison, the 140 lb. paper tends to suck up the paint more quickly, leaving less room for manipulation and requiring a more deliberate approach.

For those who are curious about the stories behind the paintings, or desire a peek into my world of expression, I welcome you to my website. Sharing my art is sharing a piece of my soul, and I am honored to have you join me on this artistic endeavor.