Tag Archives: Association of Animal Artists

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.

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.

Continuous Line Zebra

I visited Yorkshire Wildlife Park in June 2014, along with fellow members of the Association of Animal Artists.  It was an introduction viewing of the animals to be followed up by an Exhibition of our paintings which took place at the Park on Saturday 26 July.  Tigers, Lions, a Leopard and the Zebras were particularly impressive in their large enclosures. 

I have aways been keen to draw a Zebra in my style but the stripes are such a strong feature that I could not work out a way of doing the animal justice with my crossover continuous lines.  Of course I had seen prints of Victor Vasarely intertwined Zebras, done before the war, which helped kick start Optical Art.

Zeus, 5 year old stallion Zebra at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Zeus, 5 year old stallion Zebra at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Here is my photo of Zeus, a 5 year old stallion Zebra (with a brown nose). 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided that I could use a continuous line, without any crossovers, to follow the pattern of the stripes as far as possible.  As the background of my picture is white, the gaps in the lines around black stripes allow the white to flow through and become white stripes.

 

 

Zeus, Zebra at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Zeus, single continuous line drawing of Zebra at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

 

Of course I like to have a separate picture of the continuous line drawing without any shading  or colour and I considered calling this version “Albino Zebra”.  However, on searching this phrase on Google it turns out that there is only one albino Zebra in captivity in the world and that is in Hawaii (and this is not really an albino but a White Golden Zebra with a lack of pigment in its stripes).  In the wild the stripes are pretty essential for camouflage and “albinos” do not survive for long.  The Hawaii Zebra is a female called Zoe and so is smaller (and a bit scruffier) than Zeus.  I therefore had to do a specific continuous line drawing of Zoe with a faint slate colouring.

Zoe, albino Zebra, Three Ring Ranch, Hawaii

Zoe, albino Zebra, Three Ring Ranch, Hawaii.  Mick Burton single continuous line drawing.

Association of Animal Artists Annual Competition Winner !

Mick Burton.  PANTHER (continuous line drawing).

I joined the Association of Animal Artists in November 2013 and have entered two of their exhibitions so far – at Martin Mere Wetland Centre, Lancashire from December to February, which was for British animals and birds, and now their Annual Exhibition at Castle Park Arts Centre in Frodsham, Cheshire which runs from 11 April to 18 May 2014, for world wide species.

Julie Cross, the AAA Secretary and Exhibitions Co-ordinator has just informed me that my ‘Panther’ drawing has been awarded winner of the ‘Creative Creatures’ category in the annual competition.  She said that the judge, Andrew Beckett, liked all my work, particularly ‘Mayer’ the lion, but plumped for ‘Panther’ because of the apparent simplicity and pared-down nature of the image.

Joan and myself are delighted with the news.  Also my daughter Kate Burton, who is a professional artist and short film maker, has said that the ‘Panther’ is her favourite of my pictures. 

Here is ‘Mayer’ the Lion which I coloured in reds and browns 18 months ago, plus the poster for the current exhibition.

Lion in Continuous Line and Colour Sequence.  Mick Burton, 2012

Lion in Continuous Line and Colour Sequence. Mick Burton, 2012

AAA annual exhib Apr to May 2014.