Category Archives: Gledhow Valley Woods

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.

Gledhow Valley amazing cobwebs.

I must apologise for a silly thing that I did yesterday.  I photographed a spider using the sun to obtain glistening images of the spiders web.  Only when I had set it all up and published it did I remember that one of my main supporters does not like looking at spiders and may never, ever, look at my web site again if I left them up.

So I have removed them all and I hope that I have not upset search engines too much.  It should be alright to leave images of cobwebs only so here are some images from 2009.

Previously I have had the assistance of red brick dust when our kitchen was extended in 2009.  A total of eight cobwebs on three separate dining room window panes. 

Four cobwebs on dining room windows covered in red brick during work on kitchen extension in 2009. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Four cobwebs on dining room windows covered in red brick during work on kitchen extension in 2009. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Three cobwebs, on another dining room window, covered in red brick dust in 2009. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Three cobwebs, on another dining room window, covered in red brick dust in 2009. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Large cobweb, on third dining room window, covered in red brick dust after work on kitchen extension in 2009. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Large cobweb, on third dining room window, covered in red brick dust after work on kitchen extension in 2009. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Eventually the window cleaner came and sorted all the cobwebs out.

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.

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.

Herons on Gledhow Valley Lake

Young heron on Gledhow Valley Lake, Leeds, September 2014. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Young heron on Gledhow Valley Lake, Leeds, September 2014. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

I am an artist who draws and paints quite a lot of animals and birds and it is great to live in a wooded valley which has a stream and a large lake and plenty of wildlife.

Our house is at the East end of the woods, which stretch for about  a mile.  There is a road running the length of the valley, which goes near to the edge of the lake.  Gledhow Beck feeds the lake from  the west  and a road from Chapel Allerton crosses the valley and stream and then winds up a steep south facing slope known locally as “Little Switzerland”.

I have lived in Gledhow Valley, at two different addresses, for nearly 40 years.

There have been swans on the lake for many years and of course ducks , moorhens and coots.  In recent years we have seen a heron, mainly on the other side well away from the main viewing stage.

Older Heron, Gledhow Valley Woods, Leeds, September 2014.  Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Older Heron, Gledhow Valley Woods, Leeds, September 2014. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

In the last couple of months there have been two herons and I took the attached photos a month ago.  The older heron (see left) was still quite a distance away but the young one (see above) was more accommodating and I took quite a lot of photos from the dam on the East end of the lake.  My bird watcher friend Bernard says that the young heron will be about a year old.  It seemed to be catching small fish in its beak.

About a week previously Joan had spotted a Heron sitting up in a tree in the next garden to ours.  I was too slow to get the camera before the bird flew off, but it seemed to be looking down into the beck which runs past a neighbour’s garden.  This would probably have been the young heron.

I then remembered an incident  earlier in the year, in January, when Joan found a fish on the back lawn.  It was 9″ long and I photographed it (see below).  We could not understand how it got there and our friend Jerry, who is a keen fisherman, said that it was either a Rudd or a Perch and it looked slightly damaged on its side.  Possibly a heron was passing by with the fish and dropped it !

Rudd or Perch fish, 9

Rudd or Perch fish, 9″ long, found on lawn. Maybe dropped by heron. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

The photo shows a largish animal dropping above the tail, which could be from a Fox (we see one most days in the garden – even two at once last week) maybe claiming title to the fish.  We left the fish there and it disappeared.

Our enjoyment of the valley is greatly helped by the Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods who once a month organise volunteers (including Joan, and occasionally me) to collect litter and do all sorts of development work and repairs on paths, seats, signs, etc.  They hold an Annual Fair and an Open Day of the Well House, or Gipton Spar Bath House, which was built in 1671.