DRAWING LIFE by fred hatt



Filed under: Figure Drawing: Anatomy — Tags: , , , , — fred @ 20:14

Robust, 1998, by Fred Hatt

The front of the body has most of the major focal points, so we tend to think of the back as secondary and less interesting.  We tend to want to face others, so the back of the body is unseen, like the far side of the moon.  Here’s a selection of my drawings of nude backs from over the years, making the case for the beauty and power of the human back.

Compact, 2004, by Fred Hatt

Triangular, 2008, by Fred Hatt

Violon d'Ingres, 1997, by Fred Hatt

Look at the variety in these backs.  They convey personality even without a face or an action pose.  The anatomy of the back is a complex structure of curved and triangular bones and muscles, but it’s hidden underneath the skin, so the landmarks can be elusive.

Most of these more finished drawings have been done at the three-hour long pose session at Spring Studio.  I’ve been the monitor (supervisor) at one of these weekly sessions for at least thirteen years.  There are always artists that want to draw portraits at these sessions, so nearly all the poses are more or less frontal.  The studio is set up with drawing stations on three sides of the stand, so sometimes it’s possible to get a back view by going all the way to the side.  The light is usually coming from in front of the model, so the back is often in shadow, illuminated by light reflecting back from the colored fabric backdrops, as in these examples:

Prism, 1998, by Fred Hatt

La Reina, 2009, by Fred Hatt

The back of the body can convey the mood, attitude, and style of a person:

Afar, 2000, by Fred Hatt

Fan, 2004, by Fred Hatt

Burlyman, 2004, by Fred Hatt

As the great majority of the body’s nerves branch out from the spinal cord, the energy impulses that travel through the body are close to the surface of the back.  I sometimes draw to help me visualize the energy I can sense in someone’s body:

Energy Fields, 2002, by Fred Hatt

Backlines, 2001, by Fred Hatt

Back with Projections, 2006, by Fred Hatt

The back is also the center of movement in the body.  Mana Hashimoto, the blind dancer I’ve worked with on several performance projects, leads classes in “Dance Without Sight”.  When I took the class, Mana showed us how to follow another person’s movement by lightly touching them.  A hand on the middle of the back can detect every major movement of the body, including those of the extremities.  There is no other place to put the hand that works as well.

Crawling, 2002, by Fred Hatt

Leaning Back, 2009, by Fred Hatt

Blades and Curves, 2007, by Fred Hatt

Ankle Grasp, 2003, by Fred Hatt

Five more pictures fill out the post – explorations of the beautiful possibilities of the second side of the body:

Chair Back, 2001, by Fred Hatt

Curvaceous, 2004, by Fred Hatt

Dorsal Contours, 2009, by Fred Hatt

Press, 2009, by Fred Hatt

Squat, 2009, by Fred Hatt

These drawings are all aquarelle crayon on paper, 50 cm x 70 cm or 18″ x 24″ or close to those sizes.  Most of them were made during life drawing sessions at Spring Studio, Project of Living Artists, or Figureworks Gallery.

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