Tag Archives: British Wildlife

Hot Cross Bunny and the psychology of colour

IMG_3425 Hot Cross Bunny

“Hot Cross Bunny”, single continuous line drawing painted in psychological colours. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

In my posts I have said a lot about colour sequence and, along the way, talked about selecting appropriate ranges of colours for my drawings.  Here are some more colour comments, leading to the one about the bunny above.

I might consider that a yellow, red and brown range would be good for my horse. These have a similarity to its actual colours and give a warm and friendly feel which reflect the horse’s nature and temperament.

Fig 1.  Copy of IMG_5869 Horse complete, furst sequ

Colour Sequence on Single Continuous Line Drawing of horse. Mick Burton, Continuous Line Blog.

A strong harsh colour seemed to be best for my roaring lion and simple black and white achieved this.  In the mid 1960’s when I drew the lion, Bridget Riley had been doing many black and white hard edge pictures, and I did several of my animals in this colouring.  I feel that this worked best for the lion amongst my drawings.

016. 1967-9. Lion. Alternate shading, black.

Lion, single continuous line drawing with alternate shading in black and white. Mick Burton, continuous line Artist.

With my “Flame on the Sun” painting, the sort of anti magnetism represented by complementary red and green hopefully reflect the explosive violence required.

Flame on the Sun. Spherical continuous line. Mick Burton, 1972

Flame on the Sun. Spherical single continuous line drawing, with complementary reds and greens expressing explosive violence.  Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

For a more subtle result – my still life of a radish, apple, mushroom and flower heads – I used water colours to help to show the floppy translucent nature of the radish leaves.


Radish, apple, mushroom and flower heads still life. Water colour used to show floppy, translucent nature of radish leaves. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Sometimes I find that I can use almost actual colours.  Here is a commission drawing, with the continuous line running through both robins and the branch.  I  was asked to do only a hint of pink on the Robins’ chests.  This is fine.  However, I had to have a go at a full colour result for myself.  The perky nature of robins is reflected pretty well, I think, by these “near” natural colours.

IMG_3417 (1) Best. Pair of Robins.

Pair of Robins, single continuous line drawing. Full near natural colour. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

My yellow, green and blue sequence of colours fits well for “Nibbles”, a friendly rabbit who likes nothing more than eating her greens.

IMG_3498 Nibbles

“Nibbles”, single continuous line drawing.  The rabbit has a suitable range of colours to reflect contentment just eating her greens. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

However, for a rabbit drawn with exactly the same single continuous line as for Nibbles, but who has a completely different temperament  –  RED, BLACK and WHITE fits the bill.

This is, of course, “Hot Cross Bunny” who lurks at the top of this post.  A real, full on, “Psycho”.

The two Rabbit paintings and the Pair of Robins accompanied several other of my pictures at the Harrogate and Nidderdale Art Club exhibition a week ago at Ripley Town Hall.

At the Preview Evening various prizes are awarded.  One was the annual prize presented at the Spring Exhibition by Sir Thomas Ingleby, the club’s patron, for his own personal choice for the best picture on show.  This was won by Julie Buckley for her “Black Labrador”.  

Sir Thomas also mentioned other pictures which caught his eye.  He said that he liked all the paintings by Mick Burton, but never thought that he would ever consider buying one called “Hot Cross Bunny”.

Here is a bit of background to the Rabbit paintings.  Nibbles and Hot Cross Bunny are based upon my daughter Kate’s rabbits, Harriet and Clover.

Harriet was friendly and cuddly and Clover might have been better named “Cleaver”.  We kept them both in the garage – in separate cages.

When we bought Clover, a lop eared rabbit, the breeder was saying how friendly and harmless the baby rabbit was.  I asked if it was related to an adult lop eared which had just tried to bite my finger off and the answer was “Yes, it’s the granny”.  We still bought Clover!

She was alright at first but later became very aggressive.  Every time we opened her cage for any reason, she would bite viciously.  We also realised that some one else would have to take care of the rabbits when we were on holiday.

Strangely, I found that if I put a hand on Clover’s head as soon as I opened the door she would stay still and relaxed as long as I kept the hand there.  With the other hand I could top up food and water or clean out the cage.  This worked for all of us.  Fortunately, our neighbour was delighted to be able to do this too and things were fine when we were away.

After Clover died and I had buried her in the garden, Kate prepared a wooden plaque and nailed it to the fence “Here lies Clover Burton the rabbit”.

An interesting consequence of keeping the rabbits was that straw from the bale became piled on the floor of the garage.  One day the straw was seen to be moving and we feared that we had rats and so I was deputed to check it out.  I found a nest of baby hedgehogs.






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.