Monthly Archives: May 2015

Twisting, Overlapping, Envelope Elephant. Continuous Line Drawing colouring.

“Fluorescephant”, the original version of “Elephant Grass” which is at the top of this continuous line blog, was my first successful Colour Sequence painting.  The sequence ran from yellow through greens to blues in steps of colour and tones which gave a natural three dimensional effect and dynamism.  Part of this was the overlapping nature of continuous lines which was reflected by the successive darker colouring.

The painting was accepted for the International Amateur Artist exhibition, in Warwick Square London, in February 1973 and then a month later in the National Society annual open exhibition in the Mall Galleries.

Fluorescephant.  Continuous line drawing with colour sequence.  National Society Open Exhibition, Mall Gallery, London, 1973.  Mick Burton.

Fluorescephant. Continuous line drawing with colour sequence. National Society Open Exhibition, Mall Gallery, London, 1973. Mick Burton.

I was never totally happy with the colouring.  I thought that there was an extra natural effect, on top of the overlapping, which I was missing.  When I started my art again in 2012, after a gap of nearly 40 years, I once more tried to sort this out.  I realised that I could enhance the twisting of the design and highlight gaps where the outside would show through.

Here is the result, “Twisting, Overlapping, Envelope Elephant”.  Imagine that the continuous lines are describing a sheet of plastic, which is coloured Blue on the front and Red on the back.  Each time a twist occurs, against the outside background, then I colour it Red.  When the overlaps build up, the shades of the blue front go darker blue, and the shades of the twisted areas become darker red.  Where the blue front and the red back occasionally overlap, then I use violet to reflect the mix.

This continuous line drawing is coloured to represent a

This continuous line drawing is coloured to represent a “Twisting, Overlapping, Envelope Elephant”, which is Blue on one side and Red on the other. Mick Burton, 2013.

You can see considerable areas of background colour within the animal showing through. This looks natural within the form of the elephant.

The blue areas, including darker blue overlaps, are the same as the blue areas in the “Fluorescephant”, so it is good to keep a large part of the original colour sequence in this change of style.

One Line Drawing cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947, by Doug Anderson

The New Season on Broadway, a one line drawing cover for Theatre Arts magazine, October 1947, by Doug Anderson.

The New Season on Broadway, a one line drawing cover for Theatre Arts magazine, October 1947, by Doug Anderson.

Here is a terrific example of one line drawing by Doug Anderson, on the cover of Theatre Arts magazine in October 1947, which he entitles “The New Season on Broadway”.

Doug illustrates six plays on Broadway and includes the title in each whilst connecting them all up with his one line.  I know I go on about a Continuous Line Drawing starting and finishing at the same point and that it is only one line if it does not, but he starts under the last “e” in Theatre and ends on the left side towards the top, so he could easily have connected them up.

I like his use of small loops throughout, which helps the simplification of most male figures, the snake and the tramcar.  Lady’s dresses have lines stroked back and forth and their hats and hair have more detailed wiggling.  I love the progressive pattern of the window and heads in the tramcar.

Here are some detailed sections.

Street Car Named Desire, detail of The New Season on Broadway, cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947, by Doug Anderson.  One Line Drawing.

Street Car Named Desire, detail of The New Season on Broadway, cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947, by Doug Anderson. One Line Drawing.

High Button Shoes, detail of The New Season on Broadway cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947, by Doug Anderson.  One Line Drawing.

High Button Shoes, detail of The New Season on Broadway cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947, by Doug Anderson. One Line Drawing.

Man and Superman, detail of The New Season on Broadway, cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947 by Doug Anderson.  One Line Drawing.

Man and Superman, detail of The New Season on Broadway, cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947 by Doug Anderson. One Line Drawing.

Antony and Cleopatra, detail of The New Season on Broadway, cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947,  by Doug Anderson.  One Line Drawing.

Antony and Cleopatra, detail of The New Season on Broadway, cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947, by Doug Anderson. One Line Drawing.

How about the cat at the bottom !

Another difference compared to my approach to this style is that I usually think of the possibility of applying colours later. If you look at the lower foot of Antony, the outside space flows in through the foot which would confuse thoughts of colour. Similarly, the lady marked “Medea” to the left of Antony, has the outside flowing in through the bottom left of her dress.

It is interesting that this one line drawing dates from late 1947 and the pen and ink sketch that I have, in the style of Salvador Dali (covered in my post in August 2014), dates from 1948 when Dali was doing similar drawings.  So here it is again, “Guitar Player on a Horse”.

Dali continuous line drawing in pen and ink, guitar player on horse, dated 1948.

Dali continuous line drawing in pen and ink, guitar player on horse, dated 1948.

Sod’s Law tempered by Nature in Action

I have been improving the lawn.  A bit of filling a deeper area with soil and re-seeding.  It took a few weeks and the green grass had appeared and it looked good.

At this point, the roofer came to re-cover the top of the back bedroom bay window.  We first asked a builder friend of ours to do the job last autumn and he said that his business partner was a roofer and he would do it.  We had to get rid of the wasps first.  Then there were delays due to the frost – the resin reacts badly to frost.  We kept chasing and then a third person was now going to do the job.  Finally I rang my friend, who was upset at his associates for letting us down.  Later that day the third person rang and he would do the job in two days, and actually arrived (I found out later the gist of the conversation that had taken place, builder to builder ! ).

He brought two young blokes who actually did the job.  They had not been up on the roof long when I noticed a white plastic lid spinning down from the roof.  It landed slap bang in the middle of my newly seeded grass, which was about 10 yards from the house, inside downwards.  I told the lads and one dashed down the ladder to grab the lid back, saying that “everything would be ok”.  They completed the job and went.

Three days later we looked out of the bedroom window and saw a round white patch in the middle of the newly seeded area of lawn.  The grass blades had all turned white.

White patch on newly seeded area of lawn, caused by resin from roof.  Mick Burton photo.

White patch on newly seeded area of lawn, caused by resin from roof. Mick Burton photo.

We realised that although the resin may be vulnerable to frost it could be lethal to grass.  At the time I was reading a book entitled “Sod’s Law”, sub-titled “Why life always lands butter side down”.  I was also reading a book I had borrowed called “Time” by the nature and landscape sculptor Andy Goldsworthy.  He sets up sculptures in natural surroundings and watches how they cope with the elements.  In his early days it might be a “frost shadow” or a continuous line drawn with a stick on the beach.  I wondered whether Sod’s Law or nature would win in the battle for my new grass.

“Sod’s Law” by Sam Leith, Atlantic Books.

Two days later, Joan called me to the window.  Standing in the middle of the white patch on the lawn was our local blackbird.  It had brought a piece of bread and had dropped it.  He spent 10 minutes on the patch pecking away.  Had the resin lured all sorts of bugs and worms to the surface?  Could I class this as another of my Black and White creations?

Blackbird standing in white patch for 10 minutes, finding all sorts of treats.  Mick Burton photo.

Blackbird standing in white patch for 10 minutes, finding all sorts of treats. Mick Burton photo.

The blackbirds have been busy recently. They built a nest behind the small willow under the eves of the garage 10 feet from the kitchen window.  We were looking forward to the view of the chicks, but next door’s cat kept sitting on the garage roof just above the nest.  So they built another nest in the holly bush higher up the garden.

The blackbirds always provide much entertainment.   Last year we saw one fill its mouth full of worms in the front garden.

Blackbird last summer with a mouth full of worms.  Mick Burton photo.

Blackbird last summer with a mouth full of worms. Mick Burton photo.

Rhinoceros and Ostrich continuous line drawings

Rhinoceros, continuous line drawing with colour sequence.  Based on Mick Burton demonstration.

Rhinoceros, single continuous line drawing with colour sequence. Based on Mick Burton demonstration.

I did a demonstration and workshop at Horsforth Arts Society, in Leeds, in January 2015.  It was a freezing evening and I parked outside in a narrow back street.  This club is an end terrace house, extended into the next house I think, and they have sole use.  No one had arrived, but I was encouraged by a notice in the window “Demonstration of Continuous Line Drawing by Mick Burton at 7.30pm”.  Shirley, who arranged demonstrations, arrived but could not unlock the door.  I managed to open it.

So we were in and I could cart all my kit and pictures up the stairs and decide on my set up.  Joan came with me to help and the room soon filled up with friendly, expectant, members.  Shirley had seen me demonstrate at another club and gave an encouraging introduction.

After showing several pictures of my animals, mentioning a bit about my past and going through the basics of how to do a continuous line animal, it was time to do my first drawing before the members had a go themselves.

Firstly I put my key marks on a sketched Rhinoceros, showed how to join up the marks in the main areas such as the head and legs and asked the members to start on their own subjects whilst I connected up more lines.  I completed a rough and ready version of the Rhino, which a few weeks later I spruced up and added colours as above.  It is in the Harrogate and Nidderdale Art Club spring exhibition this weekend.

The members of the club completed pictures of animals or people with lines, but with a great variety of styles.  I did not insist on complete continuous lines, as the main idea was that their drawings could flow, and many good results emerged.  Several coloured in their creations.

Whilst they continued with their pictures, or started new ones, in the second half I started an Ostrich.  I did the head and neck and put some key marks elsewhere and invited members to come up and have a go at parts of the ostrich with my thick marker pen.  Several did and we arrived at the result below.  It has about three different lines going and a few dead ends.  This is fine at an early stage of my continuous line drawings, before loose ends are then connected up and one continuous line arrived at along with modifications to pattern and smoothing.

Ostrich continuous line, demonstration drawing by Mick Burton, with the assistance of members of Horsforth Arts Society.  January 2015.

Ostrich single continuous line drawing, demonstration by Mick Burton, with the assistance of members of Horsforth Arts Society. January 2015.

I thanked them for their help and in later weeks produced the picture “Ostrich Egg” below.  It has two continuous lines, one of which is the coloured Egg.

Ostrich Egg, continuous lines.  Based on Mick Burton demonstration.

Ostrich Egg, single continuous line drawing. Based on Mick Burton demonstration at Horsforth Arts Society.

A black pen version of the Ostrich is currently in the Association of Animal Artists annual exhibition.

I quite like including eggs in pictures.  “Harriet’s Busy Day”, which now resides in Worcestershire, was a finalist in Britain’s Got Artists in July 2012.

Harriet's Busy day.  Continuous line with colour sequence.  Background based on eggs.  Mick Burton, 2012.

Harriet’s Busy day. Single continuous line drawing with colour sequence. Background based on eggs. Mick Burton, continuous line artist 2012.

 When I showed the Hen picture to my sister Wendy she said  “Why have you stuck all those eggs to the ceiling”.