DRAWING LIFE by fred hatt


Reclining, Not Boring

Body Helix (Beu), 2010, by Fred Hatt

Some artists denigrate the reclining pose as the choice of the lazy model getting paid to nap.  But reclining poses can embody tension or emotion rather than just relaxation, and the open-minded artist will revel in the chance to see parts of the body foreshortened and juxtaposed in unusual and even complex ways they would never see in a vertically composed pose.  This post is a collection of my recent reclining pose sketches, twenty-minute or ten-minute poses, mostly from the Saturday morning life drawing sessions at Figureworks Gallery in Brooklyn.

The above sketch is as far as possible from the familiar gently-curved sideways reclining nude painted by many artists from Giorgione to Modigliani.  Note particularly the twisted torso, showing both front and back of the body, the balanced angled supports of left arm and leg, and the lower leg folded up the wall.

The posing area at Figureworks is in an archway between two rooms, with artists drawing from both rooms.  Models are not posing in the round, but to two sides, with a sort of frame providing supports for leaning.  The model in the drawing below raised his left leg with his foot up on the wall of the arch:

Dreams (Saeed), 2010, by Fred Hatt

Here are some other uses of the wall as a leg support.  Here the body is held in a state of tension between the hands pressing against the floor and the foot pressing against the wall:

Angle Tension (Theresa), 2010, by Fred Hatt

This pose conveys an unusual bold power in the contrast between the closed upper limbs and the open lower limbs propped against the wall:

Arms Crossed Legs Open (Beu), 2010, by Fred Hatt

Another pose by the same model, also using the wall as a support for the legs:

Right Angle (Beu), 2010, by Fred Hatt

Reclining poses can provide interesting challenges in foreshortening.  I try to see the body as though it were a landscape, with the shapes as hills and mountains arranged at different distances.

Hands Clasped Behind (Jiri), 2010, by Fred Hatt

The face is a particular challenge when seen from an angle at which the features are not in standard frontal relationship.  Studying faces from these unusual perspectives can give you a much stronger sense of their three-dimensional structure.

Lying Back (Danielle), 2009, by Fred Hatt

Ribcage (Jiri), 2009, by Fred Hatt

I often approach the foreshortened forms of the body using cross-contours and studying light that strikes the body from opposite my viewing angle, as in these two studies of the model Corey’s unusually well-defined musculature:

Hammock Style (Corey), 2009, by Fred Hatt

Hugging the Blanket (Corey), 2009, by Fred Hatt

Similar techniques are used to convey the form of this beautiful female back:

Callipygia (Lilli), 2009, by Fred Hatt

Various twists and crossings can add interest to reclining poses:

Ankle Knee Cross (Jiri), 2007, by Fred Hatt

The quick sketch below is interesting because you can see my first approach to analyzing the figure, building it out of ovals, in beige, and then a second stage, going for more precision, in black and white, with significant corrections to proportion and relative positions:

L with Twist (Claudia), 2008, by Fred Hatt

That’s Claudia, the Museworthy blogger.  Here’s another of her great poses.  This is dynamism in a horizontal orientation:

Arm Overhead (Claudia), 2010, by Fred Hatt

Here are three wonderfully sinuous poses from the model Madelyn:

Complex Repose (Madelyn), 2010, by Fred Hatt

Tight Coil (Madelyn), 2010, by Fred Hatt

Supine Arched (Madelyn), 2010, by Fred Hatt

This model created an evocative pose simply by posing with a flashlight, giving a feeling of lying awake at night in a lonely tent:

Flashlight (Taylor), 2010, by Fred Hatt

Contrasting that waking stillness, the final pose in this post gives me the impression of active dreaming:

Dreaming Puppeteer (Theresa), 2010, by Fred Hatt

In previous posts I haven’t always credited all the models by name, but in this case it seemed appropriate, because these poses are all so creative and expressive.  You’ll notice some of the same names appearing several times.  These are magnificent models, and I would never have been able to make these images without them.

All drawings are aquarelle crayon on paper, sizes ranging from 18″ x 24″ to 20″ x 28″.  All are 10-minute or 20-minute sketches, mostly drawn at Figureworks Gallery.


End-On: Extreme Foreshortening – Part 2

Filed under: Figure Drawing: Poses — Tags: , , , , , , — fred @ 00:25
Rotation, 2006, by Fred Hatt

Rotation, 2006, by Fred Hatt

One of my all-time most popular Drawing Life posts is “End-On: Extreme Foreshortening“, from 2010, which featured my sketches of models in mostly reclining poses, seen at angles from near head or foot, a view which radically alters the perceived contours and juxtapositions of parts of the body. Many life drawing practitioners find extreme foreshortening very challenging, but if you can learn to analyze what’s in your visual field for this kind of drawing, everything else will be relatively easy. The original post has lots of observations that you may find helpful if you’re trying to learn how to see the figure in perspective. Here is a new set of drawings, all done directly from life without the use of photographs or any optical aids (with the exception of “Linear Man” later in this post, which was drawn while experimenting with a camera lucida).

Laced Fingers, 2014, by Fred Hatt

Laced Fingers, 2014, by Fred Hatt

The body in perspective can be looked at like a landscape, with rises and hollows receding from immediately in front of you to a distant horizon. To render this landscape, let your drawing hand roam over it, feeling the heart quicken as you scale each mound, trying not to lose your footing as you skitter downhill. At the same time, keep the eyes fixed like a surveyor’s transit, noting how each prominence aligns with each other prominence in the conical geometry of the seen scene.

Boulder, 2004, by Fred Hatt

Boulder, 2004, by Fred Hatt

The head-end view of the body is close to what we see if we look down at ourselves, and can express a kind of subjective sense of the body as the physical situation of the mind.

Absence, 2011, by Fred Hatt

Absence, 2011, by Fred Hatt

Organic forms are composed of three-dimensional curves, swellings and veerings in space. End-on views of parts of the body give a powerful experience of the swooping flow of such forms. I think of these forms as motions that happen in time. Organic shapes are not defined and constructed, they grow. To grow is to unfold. Unfolding is a motion in time, and every unfolding has its particular arc or waveform.

If we look at the leg, for instance, in a standard standing anatomical position, we see this time-based phenomenon translated into space, like a “timeline of history” chart. This growth that has taken place over time is manifest in the present moment as a particular shape in space. To experience it energetically, we need to translate space back into time. When we see the leg end-on, we can observe this spatial form in cascading cross-sections, experiencing the development of the form as it evolves from moment to moment, in flowing motion.

Hypotenuse, 2009, by Fred Hatt

Hypotenuse, 2009, by Fred Hatt

Hillocks and hollows, nipples and dimples, curves and straightaways, compose the Corpus Humanum.

Headward, 2014, by Fred Hatt

Headward, 2014, by Fred Hatt

Dive, and surface. Scale the Alps/Rockies/Andes/Himalayas. Plumb the Marianas Trench.

Resting Power 2, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Resting Power 2, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Resting Power 1, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Resting Power 1, 2013, by Fred Hatt

In the foreshortened world, the knee is a projection of the face, the thighs radiate from the shoulder, and the breast echoes the foot, as shapes related in space, and as parts of the body that contain pulsing hearts.

Angularities, 2014, by Fred Hatt

Angularities, 2014, by Fred Hatt

Slap the feet, gather the pelvis, stoke the gut, radiate the heart, open the throat, illuminate the dome.

Youth, 2006, by Fred Hatt

Youth, 2006, by Fred Hatt

Moving up the body from the feet is moving through a springy helix that curls around the ball and arch of the foot and swells out and eddies inward, the lines crossing and crossing again, a mighty and euphonious chord made of living matter.

Foot Root, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Foot Root, 2013, by Fred Hatt

The vessels of blood and the nerves of impulse are the highways and subways of the body. In observing the body, I try to simplify all that traffic, to intuit from it the arteries of spirit and the veins of mortality.

Meridians, 2008, by Fred Hatt

Meridians, 2008, by Fred Hatt

The centerline of the body is the trunk line. The limbs are byways, regional roads to the dirt farms and bordellos of the outer empire. Peripheral, yet vital. The way the limbs move in relation to the trunk defines the character of the living body.

Naga Sadhu, 2011, by Fred Hatt

Naga Sadhu, 2011, by Fred Hatt

Oxygen . Carbon . Hydrogen . Nitrogen . Calcium . Phosphorus . Potassium . Sulfur . Sodium . Chlorine . Magnesium .

Linear Man, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Linear Man, 2013, by Fred Hatt

The spark of life vivifies the carcass. The animal enjoys and suffers the experience of the world. By this experience it is honed and culled, and its wisdom is reproduced.

Check Mark, 2014, by Fred Hatt

Check Mark, 2014, by Fred Hatt

The form of the body is sacred geometry, but unlike abstract geometry, it is not best rendered with straightedge and compass. It is better apprehended through intuitive senses: rhythm and flow.

Rectangles, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Rectangles, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Moving down through the body from the head end, one passes through the dome of the cranium, the barrel of the chest, and the vectors of the jointed limbs.

Points of Contact, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Points of Contact, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Here’s a foreshortened pose that is not a reclining pose. This is a view of the standing figure from beneath, as observed, upside-down, in a mirror placed on the floor.

Cat's Eye View, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Cat’s Eye View, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Below, a magnetic vortex of foreshortened figures. The void attracts you. Go deep. There are three spatial dimensions, plus time, which is light.

Vanishing Point, 2014, by Fred Hatt

Vanishing Point, 2014, by Fred Hatt

Besides “End-On Part 1“, other posts that include my drawings of the foreshortened body include “A Torso Even More So“, “Reclinging, Not Boring“, and “The Body Contemplated“.

Most of the drawings pictured here are drawn with aquarelle crayons on paper, in the size range of 18″ x 24” (46 x 61 cm). “Vanishing Point” and “Check Mark” are 38″ x 50″ (97 x 127 cm).  “Rotation” is 36″ x 36″ (91 x 91 cm), and “Linear Man” is 9″ x 12″ (23 x 30 cm). All are drawn directly from life without the use of photographs.



Givens and Options

Shoulderblade Contact, 2012, by Fred Hatt

In an open life drawing session, the givens are simple:  There is a live nude model, who will take a pose and hold still for a designated period of time.  Using the materials of visual art, we must draw what we can from the model during the interval allowed.  Over a series of sessions, we can expect to see a great variety of models, and if we want to, we can try out many different materials and techniques, but for a given class, we take the model we get and use the materials we’ve brought.  If it’s a big class, we will probably have little or no say about the poses, and may not be able to move from the viewing position we have taken up in advance.  But in the moment the model takes the pose and the timer begins counting down, we still have many options, and must make choices instinctively or deliberately.

How shall we scale the figure?  Do we want to include the whole figure, or just part?  Do we focus our energies on trying to capture a likeness, or a feeling of structure, or what?  Do we isolate the figure, or include background elements?  What details should we include, and what can we omit?  Do we start with light and shadows, or with contours?  Shall we try to keep our hand as loose as possible, or as precise as possible?  These choices face us, in a way limited by our skill, even in a one- or two-minute pose.  If the pose is twenty minutes, or three hours, the options proliferate!  In an instructed class, the teacher may make many of these choices for us, but in an open practice session they are up to us, and the richness of the practice is greatly enhanced by not always making the same choices.

That’s a general observation, the sort of thing I’m always harping on, and would perhaps be best illustrated by work from over the years, specifically selected to highlight the various choices involved.  But what I have to share with you now is a few of my recent watercolor paintings and crayon drawings of the figure.  I’ve arranged them to bring out similarities and differences, and the theme of choices will perhaps provide a lens with which to view them.

Slim, 2012, by Fred Hatt

The first three illustrations are all 10- or 20-minute watercolor sketches of figures with crossed arms.  All of these have a loose, casual feel, but the scribbly strokes are anchored by contour lines that are carefully drawn.  The first two are standing poses, with the faces roughly indicated, and framed to include most of the body but not the feet.  The one below is a seated pose, framed closer, with more attention to the facial expression and the hands.

Arms Folded, 2012, by Fred Hatt

Lines of color on the face give a sense of color and shading, but also convey some quality of emotion or energy.  Below I’ve used a similar approach in a longer drawing – I think this one was about an hour.  I had started out sketching a full figure, but as I went on with it I found that what really interested me about this model was her face, and I couldn’t get the details of the face in a full-figure painting.

Thinking Back, 2012, by Fred Hatt

Including the chest as well as the face allows me to get plenty of expressive detail but also show something of how the head is carried upon the body.  In the watercolor sketches above and below, I’m using two of my favorite pigments, cadmium red and ultramarine blue.  The red shows where the blood flows near the surface, and the blue shows where the light is absorbed.

Relief, 2012, by Fred Hatt

In the long-pose watercolor portrait below, I tried optical color mixing to give a sense of flesh tones.  By cross-hatching using fan brushes with cadmium red and green oxide, with some lamp black and phthalocyanine turquoise, I’m trying to get the glow of life.  Adding bluer tones to the background also emphasizes the warmth of the figure.

Chuck, 2012, by Fred Hatt

The portrait below is drawn with white and reddish-brown aquarelle crayon on warm gray paper, with the darks filled in with black watercolor.  A wet brush was used to blend some of the white aquarelle crayon.

A.Z., 2012, by Fred Hatt

The model below, Julie,  has an inner happiness and confidence that I can’t help but express in my drawings of her.  Plump females may get no respect in the media culture, but they’re very popular as figure drawing models, because their rounded forms are beautiful on paper, and they’re a lot easier to draw than wiry, angular models.  Something about this pose just makes me want to dance, and I had to get the whole figure on the paper, from head to feet, in this 20-minute watercolor sketch.

Coquette, 2012, by Fred Hatt

The body leans to one side, and that violation of balance makes a still pose seem active.  In the long pose watercolor below, I chose to develop rectangular elements in the background to contrast the inclined body.

Piet, 2012, by Fred Hatt

Every Monday morning at Spring Studio I am the monitor for the 3-hour long pose session.  We do a set of 2-minute warm-up poses and then, subtracting the breaks, we have about two hours to study a single pose.  Once in a while, we have two models at once.  Two models isn’t just twice the work, it multiplies the geometrical relationships of elements and reveals every feature of the face and body by contrast to a very different face and body.  The intensity of observation required usually sends me into a more realist mode than I might otherwise pursue.

Two Women, 2012, by Fred Hatt

The realist mode of painting is obsessive, and when I really get into it, every detail of texture or color becomes achingly beautiful – even the way cellulite refracts light.

Center of Power, 2012, by Fred Hatt

Sometimes in a session you get an angle on a pose that, on first glance, doesn’t seem to offer much.  A back view, flat lighting, not much visible anatomical detail – not much to work with, right?  No, this is an opportunity to notice subtleties, and to find how simple details – the arrangement of the fingers, the way a scarf is tied around the head – can make the boring pose dynamic.

Back with Headscarf, 2012, by Fred Hatt

Here’s another example of a pose that at first seemed a bad viewpoint.  But look at how the angular joints stack up!  Look at how the light pulls everything up and to the right, while the shadows and the black hair give the figure gravity.

Listening, 2012, by Fred Hatt

Contrast the skinny body above with the corpulent body below.  The range of variation of the human form is a wondrous thing to contemplate.

An artist working with a model in his or her own studio would be unlikely to choose either of these sideways/backwards views of a pose, but in a class or an open session you get what you get, and what do you know, this is a great angle to reveal the energy of the body!

Column, 2012, by Fred Hatt

When I work with a model in my own studio, I can do experiments with angles and lighting that wouldn’t work in a class or open session.  The next two figures were drawn (in aquarelle crayon) by looking through a mirror set on the floor with the model standing above.  This gives a foreshortened view with a standing pose.  In this way, I’m looking up by looking down, while drawing on the floor.  The figure in the mirror is seen upside-down, and these drawings were made that way, with the head at the bottom of the page.  One of the pleasures of the foreshortened view of the figure is unusual juxtapositions of body parts.  Notice below how one elbow aligns with the head, and another with the cleft between buttock and thigh.  That’s something you will never see with the normal straight-on view of a standing pose.

Atlas 2, 2012, by Fred Hatt

My inspiration for these figures was ceiling frescoes, which often show cherubs and mythological characters as though one is looking up at bodies floating in the sky.  The figure towering above has a godlike quality.  This is how adults are seen by babies!

Atlas 1, 2012, by Fred Hatt

This pose was done lying face down on the floor, but it naturally conveys the feel of flying.  I was sorry to lose that left hand, but just couldn’t shrink the figure down enough to fit the entire thing on the page!

Soar, 2012, by Fred Hatt

Here’s a reclining foreshortened view from the head end of the body, with the light coming from behind.  This is a sketch painted with white gouache on black paper.  I love unusual, foreshortened views of the body.  In drawing them, I find it very helpful to think of the eyes as organs of touch from a distance.  The fingertips that are touching this body are rays of light, and it is that touch that the eyes receive and translate into drawing.

Morning Light, 2012, by Fred Hatt

All the pieces in this post are around 18″ x 24″, in watercolor, sometimes with white gouache, and/or in aquarelle crayon on paper.


On Saturday, at Soundance Studio in Brooklyn, I’m showing an experimental video I made last year with dancer Kristin Hatleberg.  Kristin improvised movement at Ringing Rocks Park in Eastern Pennsylvania, a unique landscape with boulders that ring like steel when struck.  Filmmaker Yuko Takebe and I both shot video of Kristin in this environment, and then each of us made our own edits of the combined footage.  It’s fascinating to see how two different sensibilities transform the same raw material.  We’ll be showing both versions of the Ringing Rocks video at an event also featuring other video and live dance work at Soundance Studio in Williamsburg, Broooklyn, this Saturday.  Here are details:

    • Saturday
    • 8:00pm
  • 281 N. 7th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
  • Free Admission! Reservation required!
    2 Excerpts From Generations: A Dance and Film Collaboration Conceived and Directed by Janet Aisawa with choreography by Emily Winkler-Morey and Judith Grodowitz
    Ringing Rocks Remember: Companion Films by Yuko Takebe and Fred Hatt, with dancer Kristin Hatleberg
    Additional Videos by Vanessa Paige & Dalienne Majors’ Video of Sarah Skaggs’ 9/11



Filed under: Figure Drawing: Practice — Tags: , , , , , — fred @ 11:08

Opposite Sides, 2011, by Fred Hatt

Life drawing as a practice involves a tension between habit and novelty.  Everyone I know who attends open figure drawing sessions has their favorite places to set up, their usual distance and scale, their familiar materials and techniques.  Anything unfamiliar, even a model you aren’t used to, is likely to make the quality of your work suffer.  Naturally, most artists are happy when they’re drawing or painting fluently, and unhappy when they’re struggling and stumbling, and they find that cleaving to habitual ways helps a lot.  This is as true for me as it is for any artist.

On the other hand, constantly working a well-worn rut will never get you anywhere new.  It’s exercise, but not the kind of exercise that builds strength or expands capacity.  It’s boring, and often the artwork that comes out of it is well-controlled but boring.  I believe most artists are far too sensitive to doing bad or awkward work, and far too insensitive to the hazards of the rut.

Boredom is a regular aspect of life drawing sessions.  Even when you love drawing and love looking at naked bodies, and often feel excitement and flow in your work, there are times when you’re looking at the same model in the same pose you’ve seen a hundred times, when your angle of view obscures the most dynamic part of the pose, or when your energy level flags.

My strategy is to introduce controlled variations, to break one part of the set of habits at a time.  I might try changing my scale of drawing, moving away from my habitual spot, or focusing on a particular aspect of the pose or scene that’s different from my usual approach.  When the model takes the pose, I’ll often make a choice at that moment:  Which element of my work should depart from the norm?

The drawing at the top of the post is from the Monday morning long pose class I supervise at Spring Studio.  After a set of quick poses for warm-up, the model takes a single pose for the rest of the session.  Subtracting the breaks, we have about two hours of drawing time for the long pose.  I’m quick, so my greatest hazard is to overwork drawings, a mistake I still find myself making sometimes.

Kuan, the model for the above drawing, has a beautifully toned and well-defined body.  She took a sideways seated pose, looking towards the center of the room.  I took the opportunity to go to the left side of the room and study her back.  But I thought I’d be likely to overwork just the back, so I used half the sheet of paper, saving the other half for a study of the same pose from the opposite side of the room.  Besides going beyond the one-sided view to which two-dimensional artists usually confine themselves, this turned out to be a fascinating study in proportional and structural relationships.

Absence, 2011, by Fred Hatt

The 20-minute drawing above was done at Figureworks, where the models pose in an archway between two rooms.  I was at an angle where this reclining pose was highly foreshortened and partially blocked by the edge of the arch on the left.  I could have moved to a different spot, to see an unobstructed view, or a more straight-on angle.  Instead, I chose to let the left edge of the paper be the edge of the arch, centering the composition on the empty part of the blanket on which the model was lying.

Floor Cloth, 2010, by Fred Hatt

In this reclining pose, I also focused on the floor and the blanket, leaving the body as a silhouette with some cross-contour shading.  Here the shape formed by the body is defined by its negative space.  The folds of the fabric even help give a sense of the weight and solidity of the body.

Framing, 2010, by Fred Hatt

Here’s another pose defined largely by coloring in the negative spaces.  The colors used for walls, floor and fabric have nothing to do with the actual hues of the scene.  They’re chosen to enhance the form of the pose.  I particularly like the diamond-shaped space between the arms, chest and thigh, that takes on the appearance of a tetrahedron with yellow and green faces.

Contour, 2010, by Fred Hatt

Here’s another archway pose, with the model turned away from me and the edge on the right blocked.  I started drawing in red, just the front contour of the body from shoulder to knee, but then I decided I wanted to include the foot and the hair, so I flipped the paper upside down and drew again, at a smaller scale, on the opposite side of the page.  I left the upside-down red contour, making an interesting river of negative space between the two views of the pose.

Right Triangles, 2011, by Fred Hatt

Side views of the body are particularly challenging, especially when none of the landmark features are visible.  Here my attention was captured by the squareness of the seated pose and the angularity of the model’s face.  The colored areas in the background are pure invention, to emphasize this contrast between right angles and diagonals.

Cluster of Fingers, 2011, by Fred Hatt

Here is yet another seated pose, viewed from the side.  I could find no dynamism in the pose or composition, and couldn’t see the model’s face, but the hands were clasped together in a way that was highly complex, and I was close enough to see them pretty well, so I took the opportunity to practice hands, widely considered the most difficult part of the body to capture in drawing.

Nazarene, 2011, by Fred Hatt

Like complicated hand positions, the face at an unusual angle is very challenging to draw, so I try to practice it when the opportunity arises.  These attempts often turn out with distortions, and this drawing does have certain distortions, but I think it succeeds in capturing a sense of aliveness, not only through the facial expression, but also through the angles and composition.

Sketcher and Poser, 2011, by Fred Hatt

This portrait from a Figureworks life drawing session needed one more element, so I included a sketch of Randall, Firgureworks’ proprietor, with his sketchbook on the other side of the room.  I made him much smaller in relation to the main figure than he actually appeared from my angle of view, which makes the main figure appear to be seen from very close.  This is the same effect you get with a photo taken from close to the subject with a wide-angle lens, with the perspective differences between foreground and background exaggerated.

Facing Light, 2011, by Fred Hatt

Here’s a back view with the shape of the figure highlighted by the window she’s facing and the light from the window reflecting off the polished hardwood floor.  Sometimes a very simple treatment of the background greatly enhances the sense of real presence of a figure by creating a space for it to occupy.

In a Room, 2011, by Fred Hatt

Here’s a more complex variation on the same idea.  The space is simplified into areas of differing value and color, just enough to make the figure a solid reality in a world of air and light.

Many of these poses could have been boring drawings had I not made choices to do something different from my habitual approach.  These experiments aren’t always successful – in fact they increase my chances of making terrible, embarrassing drawings.  But without the unusual choices, the results might have been competent but rather dull.

All the drawings in this post are aquarelle crayon on paper, approximately 18″ x 24″.


Blog Birthday

Filed under: Blogaversary Posts — Tags: , , , , , — fred @ 13:50

Two Candles, 1982, painting by Gerhard Richter

Today, March 15, 2011, marks the second anniversary of the launching of Drawing Life.  I’ll celebrate the occasion with the above image from the German painter Gerhard Richter, a fearless artist who sees no contradiction in pursuing both pure abstraction and photorealism, as well as some of the territory in between.

More fresh content is coming to this blog soon, I promise, but for today we’ll take a look back.

On the first anniversary a year ago I posted a Top Ten Countdown, featuring sample images and quotes from the most-read (or at least most-clicked-on – you can’t tell if people actually read them!) posts of the first year of Drawing Life.  This year’s countdown list, starting at #10 and ascending to first place, is as follows:

10: Body Electric:  Walt Whitman

Old man, seven photographs, c. 1885, photo by Thomas Eakins

9:  Textural Bodypaint

Marbled Belly, 1991, bodypaint and photo by Fred Hatt

8:  Personal Painting

Green Moth, 2009, bodypaint and photo by Fred Hatt

7:  Fire in the Belly

Bright Seed, 2000, bodypaint and photo by Fred Hatt

6:  Reclining, Not Boring

Supine Arched (Madelyn), 2010, by Fred Hatt

5:  Pregnant Pose

SG and child pencil sketch 03, 2008, by Fred Hatt

4:  End-On:  Extreme Foreshortening

Strata, 2002, by Fred Hatt

3:  Womb of Art:  Paleolithic Masterpieces

Small paleolithic figurines, from left to right, vitreous rock from the Riviera, hematite from Moravia, mammoth ivory from Ukraine, and mammoth bone from Russia, figs. 121 thru 124 from The Way of the Animal Powers, by Joseph Campbell

2:  Drawing as Theater / Presence as Provocation:  Kentridge and Abramovic at MoMA

Drawing for II Sole 24 Ore (World Walking), 2007; Charcoal, gouache, pastel, and colored pencil on paper, Marian Goodman Gallery

William Kentridge, Drawing for II Sole 24 Ore (World Walking), 2007; Charcoal, gouache, pastel, and colored pencil on paper, Marian Goodman Gallery

1:  Rhythmic Line

Lounging Ryan, 2008, by Fred Hatt

(You’ll notice that two posts, “Pregnant Pose” and “Fire in the Belly” appear in both this year’s and last year’s lists.)

It’s clear that the main determinants of high placement are 1) links from external sites, and 2) correspondence with popular search terms.  Perhaps re-promoting the posts that already get lots of hits is kind of pointless, like policies that help make the rich richer, but I’ve already done it, so I’ll just supplement it with a little affirmative action – a list of neglected posts, way down near the bottom of the rankings, that I still think might be worthy of your attention.

13 Ways:  Wallace Stevens

My suite of paintings illustrating Wallace Stevens’ classic poem, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”.  I painted this series in 1982, as a young artist just beginning to try to find an adult style.

Blackbird XII, 1982, by Fred Hatt

Light and Stone

Experiments in lighting, using as a model a stone sculpture by Thomas W. Brown.  I learned about lighting as a film student, but an understanding of how light behaves and interacts with objects is a deep subject of study for any kind of visual artist.  This post doesn’t go into all the complexities of light, but it seeks to show how changing the angle of light transforms how we see an object.

Thomas W. Brown, Alabaster, 2004, photo by Fred Hatt, 2009, merge channels version

New Heads and Empathic Portraits

Two posts featuring my portrait work, including some of my favorite drawings.

Esteban, 2009, by Fred Hatt

Shadows and 3D or Not 3D

Two posts featuring my shadow-screen performance videos.  The key to my drawing and painting is its focus on energy and movement.  Here you’ll find me working directly with movement.

Still from "Convergence", 2010, video by Fred Hatt

I hope maybe these examples will persuade a few of my readers to go spelunking in the archives!  Happy birthday, Drawing Life – and readers, stay tuned for more images and ideas to come!  Thanks for reading, commenting, linking, sharing, “liking”, tweeting, and/or subscribing to the email feed.

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