Category Archives: Exhibitions

Barn Owl continuous line drawing at Harrogate and Nidderdale Art Exhibition

Continuous line drawing of Barn Owl onto Wet on Wet watercolour. Mick Burton.

Single continuous line drawing of Barn Owl onto Wet on Wet watercolour. Mick Burton continuous line artist, 2015.

This Barn Owl painting will be one of my eight pictures on display at  the Harrogate and Nidderdale Art Club Autumn Exhibition in Ripley Town Hall, near Harrogate, on 21 & 22 November 2015.  I then intend to submit it to the next Association of Animal Artists Exhibition.

Harrogate and Nidderdale Art Club exhibition at Ripley Town Hall, near Harrogate, 21 & 22 November 2015.

Harrogate and Nidderdale Art Club exhibition at Ripley Town Hall, near Harrogate, 21 & 22 November 2015.

Visiting demonstrators at art clubs are amazingly varied and it is usually useful to attempt whatever they ask the club members to do.  I have done some workshops myself and appreciate the efforts of club members who really have a go at continuous line drawings, and associated things I show, even though to is unlikely that any of them will take up my technique as a main style.  Hopefully people can pick up things which can apply to other styles, such as building abstract patterns, using colour sequences, drawing key identifying parts of a subject and trying to manage a picture which sometimes appears to be drawing itself !

Charles Kelly from Bradford, who I have seen doing demonstrations before, came to Stainbeck Arts Club a couple of months ago and said he was doing a workshop this time.  Watercolour tends to be the most popular topic at art clubs, but Charles has a spectacular approach to “wet on wet” and this time we were doing it too.  Here is an example of his work from a demonstration to Alwoodley Art Group in 2013.

A Pair of Geese, painted by Charles Kelly in a demonstration at Alwoodley Art Group in 2013.

A Pair of Geese, painted by Charles Kelly in a demonstration at Alwoodley Art Group in 2013.

My usual style of strong lines and flat colours (acrylic or poster colour) are poles apart from watercolour but I always learn something.  I have to say that using a big brush to coat large proportions of the paper with water in advance (up to selected boundaries of course) and then squeezing brush loads of watercolour in dollops all over is a bit “hairy”.  Then picking up the paper and waving it about so that the colour swishes around, like tides on a beach, reminds me of relatives of mine “panning” for gold in Victoria in the 1850’s.

Charles had brought many reference pictures which we could use and I chose one of a barn owl.  I thought that I could do washes up to the outline of the owl and also within the owl and later put a continuous line on top which more or less matched the washes.  Here is a copy of the wash I did initially, helped by some tips from Charles along the way.

Copy of Wet on Wet watercolour of Barn Owl, before I attempted the continuous line drawing. Mick Burton.

Copy of Wet on Wet watercolour of Barn Owl, before I attempted the continuous line drawing. Mick Burton.

Later, at home, I worked on the continuous line on top of the above copy.  I started by putting key lines along the outline of the owl, feathering and other features – to match the borders of colours as far as I could.  Then I added more connecting pattern and finally joined everything up and made sure I had a continuous line.

Once I was satisfied with this I traced the continuous line down onto my watercolour painting and drew over the lines in acrylic pen making final changes as I saw how the firm line was developing.

I think that the translucent effect of the feathering has worked well, although this view may not be appreciated by a victim mouse in its last moments.

Red Squirrel continuous line and Grey Squirrel photographs

Red Squirrel, continuous line with colour sequence. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Red Squirrel, single continuous line drawing with colour sequence. Mick Burton, Leeds continuous line artist.

This continuous line Red Squirrel, completed with colour sequence, is one of my pictures to be hung at the Leeds Art Exhibition and Sale put on for the 15th year by St Gemma’s Hospice.

St Gemma's Leeds Art Exhibition. 29 - 31 October 2015

St Gemma’s Leeds Art Exhibition. 29 – 31 October 2015

This colour sequence squirrel is the last of a series which began with my attempt to produce a continuous line drawing with a shimmering fur effect for the squirrel.

Continuous line squirrel from 1970, with shimmering effect of fur. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Single continuous line drawing of squirrel from 1970, with shimmering effect of fur. Mick Burton, Leeds continuous line artist.

I have a treasured memory of seeing a Red Squirrel, when I was four, sitting on a wall next to our cottage at Arncliffe Hall, in the North Riding, where my Dad was Head Gardener to Sir Hugh Bell just after the War.  I thought that completing alternate shading with copper paint would best reflect this colour in this picture from 1970.  My daughter Kate said on the phone today that she remembered this picture being in the hall when she was young.

Red Squirrel with copper alternate shading from 1970. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Red Squirrel, single continuous line drawing with copper alternate shading from 1970. Mick Burton, Leeds continuous line artist.

I have many clear memories of living at Ingleby Arncliffe from the age of nearly two, to four and a half when we left.

Falling out of my pram outside the local shop and crawling up the step was the earliest. There was a three legged cat, then at Sunday School one of the stamps I collected was “The Light of the World” by William Holman Hunt (my first taste of the Pre-Raphaelites) and I won the child’s sprint on sports day on the cricket ground.

In the famous terrible winter of 1947, I remember Dad helping to dig a trench in the snow drifts down to the village.  It was amazing to walk along the trench and not be able to see out.

 I once watched a pig being killed in the yard by the cottage and the workman laughed as he squirted me with the pig’s bladder.  This memory came back years later when, as a young police constable, I attended my first post mortem (of a coal miner who had been in an underground tunnel collapse).  My sergeant stood with me and assured me that it would be just like a newly killed pig being cut up, if I had ever seen one.  I said “Yes, I saw one when I was four ! “

I only see grey squirrels now, mainly helping themselves to the bird seed Joan puts out.  With Gledhow Valley Woods at the end of the garden we can have five of them at a time.  Yesterday, a young squirrel was chased by a cat and ended up on the trellis a few feet from our dining room window.  Joan chased the cat away and called to me as the squirrel was too scared to move.

I took some quick photographs whist it was still there, but it became apparent that it was not going to move and was looking at me pleadingly.  So I went out and shepherded it into the bushes.  Here are some photos of a shimmering fur tail.

Young Grey Squirrel from Gledhow Valley Woods. Three feet from my window after being chased by a cat. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Young Grey Squirrel from Gledhow Valley Woods. Three feet from my window after being chased by a cat. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Young Grey Squirrel not daring to move, even though Joan had chased the cat away. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Young Grey Squirrel not daring to move, even though Joan had chased the cat away. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Young Grey Squirrel, imploring me to stop taking photos and do something about the cat. So I went out and shepherded it to the bushes. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Young Grey Squirrel, imploring me to stop taking photos and do something about the cat. So I went out and shepherded it to the bushes. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Stainbeck Arts Club Exhibition at Chapel Allerton Arts Festival

Stainbeck Arts Club Exhibition at Chapel Allerton Arts Festival, Leeds.  on Saturday 5 September 2015.  Paintings by Mick Burton, continuous line artist, are included.

Stainbeck Arts Club Exhibition at Chapel Allerton Arts Festival, Leeds. on Saturday 5 September 2015. Paintings by Mick Burton, continuous line artist, are included.

Stainbeck Arts Club, my local art club which is based in Chapel Allerton in north Leeds next to Gledhow Valley, is holding its Annual Art Exhibition as part of the Chapel Allerton Arts Festival.  The Exhibition held in Chapel Allerton Methodist Church, which is situated at the lower end of the main Festival area, will be open from 10.00 to 16.00 on Saturday 5 September 2015.

There will be many quality pictures on display, so if you are attending the Arts Festival do pop in and have a look.  Admission is free.

Chapel Allerton Arts Festival 2015, front cover of brochure.

Chapel Allerton Arts Festival 2015, front cover of brochure.

The Chapel Allerton Arts Festival was started in 1998 by members of the local community in a small way, with a few stalls and two bands playing from the back of a lorry in the evening.

It now runs from Monday to Sunday and involves many parts of the community at lots of venues during the week, including a Short Film Festival and an Art Trail. At the weekend two streets are closed off and the central parking areas taken over for all the stalls and events, including a main stage for the many quality bands. The festival is still run entirely by volunteers.

This year the Festival starts on Monday 31 August and the main day will be Saturday 5 September when people will arrive from all over the place to attend one of the star attractions in the Leeds calendar.

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”.

Continuous Line Drawings at “British Wildlife” Exhibition, Martin Mere.

"Mouseman Mouse" based upon Robert Thompson carved mouse.  Association of Animal Artists  "British Wildlife" Exhibition, Martin Mere, February & March 2015.  Mick Burton, Continuous Line Drawings.

“Mouseman Mouse” single continuous line drawing based upon Robert Thompson carved mouse. Association of Animal Artists
“British Wildlife” Exhibition, Martin Mere, February & March 2015. Mick Burton, Continuous Line Artist.

This is my second year taking part in the Association of Animal Artists exhibition at Martin Mere Wetlands Centre, Lancashire.  “British Wildlife” runs until 29 March 2015.  My chosen wildlife submissions are “Mouseman Mouse and “Gledhow Foxes Sunbathing”.

My grandad George Burton was born in Kilburn, North Yorkshire, and when I was young my Dad took me to the Church in Kilburn and pointed out the carved mice which appeared on the church furniture.  They were carved by Robert Thompson, who was at school with Grandad, and his family still run the furniture business in Kilburn which is now world famous.

As time went on I found out so many things about Robert “Mouseman” Thompson and his mouse trademark.  It seemed natural that I should do a  mouse in my continuous line drawing style and colour sequence.

Robert "Mouseman" Thompson's trademark carving on the Altar rail in Kilburn Parish Church, North Yorkshire.  Picture by Dave Sumpner at English Wikipedia.

Robert “Mouseman” Thompson’s trademark carving on the Altar rail in Kilburn Parish Church, North Yorkshire. Picture by Dave Sumpner at English Wikipedia.

Dad told me that Grandad and Robert were drinking companions in the late 1890’s and he passed on some stories of those times.

A man went to the pub in Kilburn with his groceries every day before setting off home.  He always went home over the “beck” footbridge, which had vertical rails with strappings through them.  The man habitually stopped half way across, sat on the straps and lit his pipe.  Grandad and others loosened the straps one day and the man later fell into the water.  There was a lot of “fuss” about that.

Another regular at the pub always parked his horse and trap outside and, of course, regardless of how much he had had to drink the horse could find its way home.  One night he came out of the pub and boarded the trap, not realising that the horse had been turned around between the shafts.  He drove off backwards to crash into the church wall.

I attended a talk by one of the Thompson family over 40 years ago in Leeds Central Library and spoke to him later.  He said that each wood carver had his own style of mouse.  Old Robert’s mouse had become very simple, like a wedge of cheese, and they called it “grand prix” mouse.

"Gledhow Foxes Sunbathing".  Association of Animal Artists "British Wildlife" exhibition, February & March 2015.  Mick Burton, Continuous line drawing.

“Gledhow Foxes Sunbathing”. Association of Animal Artists “British Wildlife” exhibition, February & March 2015. Mick Burton, Single Continuous line drawing.

I saw a fox cub at the east end of Gledhow Valley Woods when walking the Airedales over 30 years ago.  Since moving here foxes have regularly been in the garden in the day time.  Last summer they took up sun bathing at the top of the lawn virtually every day for a period.  This usually included a prolonged period of scratching.

When we were completing the patio, with the help of Helen, Janet and Richard, a fox came and sat at the top of the garden and watched.  He had the demeanour of an “overseer” or a General overlooking a battle.  On another day there were two of them sitting up there and they reminded me of the “King and Queen” sculpture by Henry Moore which I saw up on the hill at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 1987.

Poster for Henry Moore exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 1987.

Poster for Henry Moore exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 1987.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuous line blog by Mick Burton.

Winding Number Theory and Continuous Line Drawing

 

Whirlpool in Space, or Petrol Poluted Puddle. Spherical continuous line with repeat colour sequence with Rainbow colours.  Mick Burton, Continuous Line, 1971.

Whirlpool in Space, or Petrol polluted Puddle. Spherical single continuous line drawing with repeat colour sequence with Rainbow colours. Mick Burton, Continuous Line, 1971.

This painting was one of two pictures hung at the Chelsea Painters Open Exhibition, held at the Chenil Galleries, Chelsea,1971.  I walked along the Kings Road looking for the gallery (I had submitted through and agency) and it was great to see the Whirlpool first in a window by the entrance.

The design was triggered by a browse through mathematics books in the library and coming across Winding Number Theory.  This used a continuous line and every time the line was drawn winding in a counter-clockwise direction a level was added and if you wound back in a clockwise direction a level was taken off.

So far, in my colour sequence numbering based upon Alternate Overdraw, I had not had a sequence of colours greater than about nine.  If I used the Winding Number method and continued to wind around counter-clockwise many times I could have a long colour sequence.  I went a bit mad with the Whirlpool, which was done on a spherical basis (allowing drawing out of one side of the paper and back in at the opposite side), and has a sequence of 20.

I did not simply go from light to dark over the whole 20 (the steps in shade between each colour would have been too small), but oscillated up and down with a smaller range of colours similar to a rainbow.  I had seen the rainbow effect produced by sunlight on petrol spilt on a puddle.

Alternate overdraw with colour sequence numbers.  Continuous Line, Mick Burton.

Alternate overdraw with colour sequence numbers. Continuous Line, Mick Burton.

To illustrate the difference between my Alternate Overdraw and the Winding Number, I start with the Alternate Overdraw in Red on the left.  As shown in earlier posts, each channel of areas between overdraws has two numbers alternately.  You move naturally up to a higher channel or down to a lower channel, through the red line and continue the numbering.

As before, you start with “0” on the outside and 0 can also appear within the drawing.

 

 

When we come to Winding Number allocation, we can use the same basic drawing with little arrows showing the direction it has been drawn.  It can be either direction of course, but I have chosen one which will match the result above.

Winding number allocation.  Continuous Line, Mick Burton.

Winding number allocation. Continuous Line, Mick Burton.

Starting at “0” for the outside, if we cross to another area through a counter-clockwise border for that area, it will be a level higher.  If we cross through a clockwise line we reach a lower area.

Here the + areas are of course higher levels and the (-) areas are lower.

The numbering matches the Alternate Overdraw illustration above.

 

 

Now, just to show the initial thrust of the drawing for the Whirlpool, with many levels, the next illustration shows a line spiralling from the centre outwards and I have shown just 13 winds.

Part of initial Winding Number spiral for Whirlpool  painting.  Mick Burton, continuous line.

Part of initial Winding Number spiral for the Whirlpool in Space painting.    Mick Burton, single continuous line drawing.

Then I have drawn a line from the centre of the spiral directly back to the bottom of the picture as the first phase of breaking up the spiral so that lots more areas start to  appear.  The next such phase is a meandering line near the top of the picture. 

As I have said, this is a shorter version than the one usd for the main Whirlpool in Space picture above.

Next I have decided that the direction of  the line will be counter-clockwise starting from the bottom of the spiral, so that the levels go up towards the centre.  The numbers have then been added.

On the original painting, which is 24″ x 20″, I used alternate overdraw to allocate the colours.  This was because I was used to using that method and I think it is better for an artist anyway.  The Winding Number theory was simply the inspiration for producing a sequence of 20 or more.

Now, to go off at a tangent, I am interested in other artists in the family who keep coming to light.  As part of my research into my mother’s family, the Mace’s from Bedale (from 1825) and much earlier from Cambridge, I have come across a book by Thomas Mace called “Musick’s Monument” published originally in 1676.  It was published again about six years ago.  Amongst his own illustrations within the book is this one of a spiral depicting his idea of God’s world.

 

“Mysterious Centre of All Mysterie…” in Musick’s Monument, by Thomas Mace, 1676. Continuous Line, Mick Burton.

 

Thomas was a famous composer of the 17th century, and craftsman who made lutes and viols, whose main job was a chorister at Trinity College, Cambridge.

To add to this “sort of” co-incidence, my Uncle Harry Mace from Bedale, North Yorkshire, was a joiner and builder.  When he retired he started to make old style instruments, such as viols, and sold them to a music shop in Leeds.  I am sure he did not know about Thomas of Cambridge.

Thomas was not too impressed with a relatively new instrument in his time, the violin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuous line drawing at St Gemma’s Leeds Art Exhibition 2014

St Gemma's Leeds Art Exhibition.  Mick Burton continuous line.

St Gemma’s Leeds Art Exhibition. Mick Burton continuous line.

I have entered seven paintings in St Gemma’s Leeds Art Exhibition, which starts on Thursday 23 October 2014 at Leeds Grammar School.  There are over 800 pictures for sale.  I felt I had to put this in my continuous line blog.

I have entered in the previous 2 years since I started painting again and managed to sell work each time.  Its well worth a visit.  And its in aid of St Gemma’s Hospice.

Here are three of my paintings as a taster.  All are in acrylic on canvas.

 

 

Usain Bolt continuous line drawing.  Several colour sequences.  100 metre Olympic final at night.  Mick Burton, 2013.

Usain Bolt single continuous line drawing. Several colour sequences. 100 metre Olympic final at night. Mick Burton, 2013.

I have been a big fan of Usain Bolt and wanted to use my style to try to capture the dynamic speed and flowing movement of this great athlete.

As the race took place under floodlights, I have used a shimmering effect against the dark background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skelldale is totally drawn with one continuous line and various colour sequences have been used. Mick Burton, 2013.

Skelldale is totally drawn with one continuous line and various colour sequences have been used. Mick Burton, single continuous line artist 2013.

I was brought up in Ripon, a North Yorkshire small market town.  There are three rivers which virtually surround the place – the Laver, the Skell and the Ure  in order of increasing size.

I lived near to the Skell, and we sometimes would walk along it upstream to Fountains Abbey.  One of the local myths was that there was an ancient  tunnel from Ripon Cathedral to Fountains Abbey and we would discuss where the route might be.

Red Kites at Harewood, continuous line and colour sequence. Mick Burton, 2013.

Red Kites at Harewood, single continuous line drawing and colour sequence. Mick Burton, 2013.

Yesterday, on the bus back from Harrogate to Leeds, we approached Harewood Bank and saw the herd of deer in the park and above there were six red kites circling.  I have never seen that many at once. 

Since they were re-introduced near Harewood they have spread many miles and sometimes float above our house in Gledhow Valley in Leeds.

I had to try to capture this amazing bird with my continuous line and colour sequence.