Category Archives: People Portraits

Another Stainbeck Artist, single continuous line drawing.

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Another Stainbeck Artist, single continuous line drawing portrait.  Mick Burton continuous line blog, 2018.

For this latest single continuous line drawing, I have used my gap technique to emphasise the crossovers of the lines and thickened certain key crossovers to try and further increase the three dimensional effect.

You can compare the result with the gaps only technique that I used with my blue horse in 2012.

Horse, in Celtic style.

Horse in Celtic style, single continuous Line drawing. Mick Burton, 2012.

You can also compare the portrait (above), based upon a 10 minute sketch of Zina done at Stainbeck Arts Club in late 2017, with my first single continuous line portrait (below) based upon a sketch of Barrie done at Stainbeck in 2012.

Stainbeck Artist, Continuous  Line Drawing.

Stainbeck Artist, a Single Continuous Line Drawing from a 10 minute sketch. Mick Burton, 2012.

I have also used the combined gapping and selected thicker lines on the single continuous line drawing of the Iguana, originally created in 1971.  The colour sequence version of the Iguana being featured on my previous post in July 2018.

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Iguana, single continuous line drawing. I have used gaps and selected thicker lines to enhance 3D effect. Mick Burton, continuous line blog.

“Another Stainbeck Artist” and “Iguana” continuous line drawings will both be on show, along with several other drawings and paintings of mine, at the Stainbeck Arts Club annual exhibition on Saturday 1 September 2018.  See Pamela Cundall’s poster below.

Stainbeck Art Club poster. 20180806_113931(1)

Stainbeck Arts Club annual exhibition, 1 September 2018 in Chapel Allerton Methodist Church, Leeds.  Part of the Chapel Allerton Arts Festival 2018.  Pamela Cundall poster.

Once more the club’s exhibition is part of the The Chapel Allerton Arts Festival.   The festival lasts from 27 August to 2 September 2018.

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Chapel Allerton Arts Festival 2018 – BannerGraphic18.  Mick Burton continuous line artist blog.

 

 

Leeds Carnival 2015 with photos by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Red Indian head dress costume, Leeds Carnival 2015. Photo by Mick Burton continuous line artist.

Red Indian head dress costume, Leeds Carnival 2015. Photo by Mick Burton continuous line artist.

This was the first costume in the parade, preceded by one of several mobile steel drum bands. We stood on the first bend, near Gledhow Valley, after the parade’s initial stretch from Potternewton Park.

Cockapoo with wet paws waits for the Leeds Carnival parade to approach. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Cockapoo with wet paws waits for the Leeds Carnival parade to approach. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

It was a dull afternoon and drizzling. The Cockapoo loved the fuss from the crowd and waited for some action.

Red and blue costume in the Leeds Carnival matched the drizzle. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Red and blue costume in the Leeds Carnival matched the drizzle. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Yellow and orange costume which lit up the parade at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Yellow and orange costume which lit up the parade at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

The drizzle had stopped and this costume, really lit up the parade.

Violet and yellow costume at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Violet and yellow costume at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Razzle and Dazzle at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Razzle and Dazzle at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Gold costume at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Gold costume at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Lion King at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Lion King at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Catherine wheel costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Catherine wheel costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Flamingo costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Flamingo costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Bolivian costumes, back view, at the Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Bolivian costumes, back view, at the Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Jamaican costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Jamaican costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Blue and Green costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Blue and Green costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Pink costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Pink costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Child with balloon in Leeds Carnival parade. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Child with balloon in Leeds Carnival parade. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Multi petal costume at Leeds Carnival parade. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Multi petal costume at Leeds Carnival parade. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

So there we are. Another very entertaining Leeds Carnival parade. The colours lit up a dull afternoon until the sun came out.

 

Haken’s Gordian Knot and the Twisting, Overlapping, Envelope Elephant.

I constantly look for Continuous Lines in many fields of art, history, mathematics – anywhere, as I just do not know where they are going to crop up.  Currently I am casting an eye on Islamic Art and Celtic art and am developing ideas on those.

Recently I glanced through a book called “Professor Stewart’s Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities” and came across Haken’s Gordian Knot, a really complicated looking knot which is really an unknot in disguise – a simple circle of string (ends glued together) making a closed line. Here it is.

Haken's Gordian Knot, from Ian Agol.  A simple circle of string (an Unknot) formed into a complicated continuous line.

Haken’s Gordian Knot, from Ian Agol. A simple circle of string (an Unknot) formed into a complicated continuous line.

When I looked at the Knot, it reminded me of my “Twisting, Overlapping, Envelope Elephant” continuous line in that it has a lot of twists. I realised straight away that a narrow loop on the outside (left lower) seemed to lead into the structure with its two strands twisting as it went, each time in a clockwise direction.  I followed the two twisting lines throughout the drawing until they ended in a loop on the outside (left higher).

I wanted to draw and paint this knot. My first drawing was of the line on its own. The depth of some of the lines reminded me of one of my earliest paintings “Leeds Inner Ring Road Starts Here”, which was based upon a sign board which appeared near Miles Bookshop in 1967 informing us of the route the new road would carve through the City. This was several years before Spagetti Junction was built near Birmingham. My picture had lines swirling all over at various heights in one continuous line.

Leeds Inner Ring Road Starts Here. Use of varying thickness of continuous line, overs and unders.  Pre dates Spagetty Junction near Birmingham. Mick Burton, 1967.

Leeds Inner Ring Road Starts Here. Use of varying thickness of single continuous line drawing, overs and unders. Pre dates Spagetty Junction near Birmingham. Mick Burton, 1967.

My first picture of the Gordian Knot, in black and white, concentrated on the heights of the lines following the overs and unders shown by Haken.

Depth of lines in black and white, in Haken's Gordian Knot.  Mick Burton, continuous line drawing.

Depth of lines in black and white, in Haken’s Gordian Knot. Mick Burton, single continuous line drawing.

But my main aim now was to use blue and red to show the twisting nature of the pair of lines running between the starting loop and the end loop.  This was intended to allow the viewer to more easily follow the loop and the twists throughout the structure.

Twisting, overlapping colouring of Haken's Gordian Knot.  Mick Burton continuous line.

Twisting, overlapping colouring of Haken’s Gordian Knot. Mick Burton single continuous line drawing.

Just like viewing my “Twisting, Overlapping, Envelope Elephant”, from my previous post, imagine that you have a strip of plastic which is blue on the front and when you twist it over it is painted red on the back.  Where blues cross each other you have darker blues, and correspondingly with reds.  Where blue crosses red you have violet.  I show the strips feeding through each other, like ghosts through a wall.  There are some darks and lights in there as well.  Most usefully, the background shines through to help make the strips stand out.

You can now get more of a feel for what is going on.  I counted 36 clockwise twists and one anti-clockwise (number 26).  Continued twists in the same direction tie in the ongoing loop, when it feeds through the two strands of its earlier route at least 12 times.  Twist  number 26 probably cancels out the effect of number 25.

This is a preparatory painting, in acrylic but on two sheets of copy paper sellotaped together.  When I exhibit these pictures they will be hung as portrait, rather than the landscape shown here for comparison with Haken (as you will note from where my signature is).  I think they look a bit like the head of the Queen in portrait mode !

Having got this far, I realised that I should find out more about the Haken knot (or unknot), beyond Professor Stewart’s brief introduction.  How did Haken construct the knot and why?

Please see my next post, on this continuous line blog, to see how I got on.

Identikit and Key Features for Continuous Line Drawing

 

Identikit image of suspect for the murder of Elsie Batten, London, March 1961.

Identikit image of suspect for the murder of Elsie Batten, London, March 1961.

Edwin Bush, recognised and arrested as a result of the Identikit image for the murder of Elsie Batten.

Edwin Bush, recognised and arrested as a result of the Identikit image for the murder of Elsie Batten.

I use Key Features as part of my Continuous Line Drawing of Animals and People. Faces have always been of interest to me and when young I loved to do caricatures of people. I was in the police for a time and of course identification in its many forms was also fascinating.
In 1960 I left Harrogate Secondary Technical School and became a Police Cadet with the West Riding Police at the Wakefield Headquarters. My first post was in the Prosecutions Department, opening the mail (which required signing the Official Secrets Act) and making the tea. One of the officers preparing cases for Quarter Sessions and the Assizes was Inspector George Oldfield, who nearly 20 years later was Assistant Chief Constable Crime and in charge of the Yorkshire Ripper investigation.
My next posting in early 1971 was in “Modus Operandi” the Criminal Records Office for the North of England. Each criminal’s record sheet had at least one photograph of him attached, and in one case there were eight or nine photos ranging from a man’s early teens up to his seventies. Of course he had changed vastly over this time, but I noticed that his ears were identical in all the photos.
One day there was a bit of commotion in the large office with detectives collected in a corner arguing and laughing. I went to see what it was all about and they were looking a two images of suspects for a robbery. They explained to me that the images were produced by selecting parts of a face printed on cellophane sheets and placing them on top of each other to build up a face based on witness descriptions. It was called an Identikit set and was new in this country after being started in the USA. There were accompanying descriptions of a large man and a small man. The joke was that it was Laurel and Hardy. It was not given much chance of being successful by some of the crowd. A detective walking past peeped at what we were looking at and said, “Oh, I know them, but I think they are in prison”. Everyone laughed. Five minutes later he returned and said that he had looked up the two records and they had come out of prison a week before. They were not out for long!
I then found out about a recent case of murder in London which had been solved by the use of the Identikit. It was following the murder of Elsie Batten, an antique shop owner in London in March 1961. The detective investigating had two witness descriptions and produced two images on his new Identikit set. A constable saw a man resembling one of the images and arrested him. It was Edwin Bush, who admitted to the murder. He was executed at Pentonville Prison in July 1961. The image and a photo of Bush are shown above.
A few months later I was working at Horsforth Police station, near Leeds, when a detective I had worked with in the Records Office came in and said that he was going round all the police stations handing out Identikit sets and explaining how they should be used. So I had a go and it was great fun. Then the Inspector came in and he chatted to the detective for 20 minutes and said that he was not convinced that the Identikit would be much good. I had been watching as the detective had surreptitiously created an image of the Inspector whilst they were talking, and it was spot on, to everyone’s amusement!

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Of course Identikit was not directly successful in all cases. In the late 1970’s The Yorkshire Ripper committed at least 13 murders and there were several Identikit images available to assist George Oldfield as he tried to solve them with his large team of officers. There were many complications and George was side tracked by the tape recordings from a man with a Geordie accent who said that he was the killer (most of my Geordie friends were interviewed). When Peter Sutcliffe was captured in Sheffield it was realised that several of the Identikit images were good likenesses to him.

My sort of Continuous Line Drawing

Welcome to my Website and Blog.

My style has generated all sorts of reactions, often surprise and delight, and there have been many questions as to how I do my pictures.

There are many definitions of Continuous Line Drawing, and I will look at several of these in future blogs, but I will start with my own basic style.  I developed this style between 1965 and 1974 and then had a break for nearly 40 years.

Here is a sketch I did in 2012 when first attending Stainbeck Arts Club in Leeds.  It was one of several 10 minute sketches that we did, taking it in turn to be the “model”.  This sitter, Barrie, did all the composition for me and I was fortunate with the viewpoint.  I did very little shading and no shadow, but was not considering a continuous line follow up at the time. 

Stainbeck Artist. One of several 10 minute sketches from one afternoon. Mick Burton, 2012.

Stainbeck Artist. One of several 10 minute sketches from one afternoon. Mick Burton, 2012.

At home later, Joan particularly liked this sketch out of the several I had done. She suggested that I do a Continuous Line of it as she had not seen a new one since we had met. In fact I had not done a Continuous line portrait of a person since 1966 when I drew Harold Wilson.

So, on a copy of the sketch, I have penned in Red the marks which I used as a start point for developing the key features and overall structure.

Marks for single line on Artist sketch.

Then the key identifying features were done with groups of continuous lines.

Connecting up the initial feature areas was by using lines matching the structure and texture of the subject where possible. Some changes had to be made to make it work.

A general “tuning up” completed the whole Continuous Line Drawing effect.

Stainbeck Artist, a Continuous Line Drawing from a 10 minute sketch. Mick Burton, 2012.

Stainbeck Artist, a Continuous Line Drawing from a 10 minute sketch. Mick Burton, 2012.

I have always enjoyed the final stage, which includes the flowing decorative effect of the line, which has entranced me since I first saw Art Nouveau pictures when I was 9 years old.

I also show the picture after I have applied colours. My style of colours will be explained later, but this picture helps to demonstrate why I prefer to do a complete continuous line rather than starting at one place and finishing at another. The colours only work naturally if there is a complete continuous line where each crossing of lines is a clear junction.

Stainbeck Artist in continuous line and colour sequence. Mick Burton, 2012.

Stainbeck Artist, single continuous line drawing and colour sequence. Mick Burton, 2012.

This is my basic style. I have many related styles which have grown out of this, mostly related to my observations of how nature operates.

I hope that you found this first post to be useful and are looking forward to more from me.  Any comments, observations, questions or requests will be very welcome.