Tag Archives: Continuous Line

Four Colour Theorem continuous line overdraw.

Continuous lines overdrawn on Skydiver formation design, using Four Colour Theory method. Mick Burton

Continuous lines overdrawn on Skydiver formation design, using Four Colour Theory method. Mick Burton

My recent post about the formation design used by the record breaking skydivers included a continuous line overdraw of their design (modified slightly be me to complete links which would have been present with more skydivers).  I said that I would explain how the overdraw (above) was completed.

The structure is made up of circles which have 3 way junctions throughout (3 handed in the case of skydivers ! ).  This can be regarded a map and so I will apply my Four Colour Theorem continuous line overdraw which I devised in the early 1970’s.

I was trying to prove the Four Colour Theorem, which states that no more than four colours are required to colour all the regions of a map.  My basic idea was that drawing a single continuous overdraw throughout a map would split it into two chains of alternate regions, which would demonstrate that only 4 colours were required.  If more than one continuous overdraw resulted then there were still only two types of chains of alternate regions.

As you will probably know, this theorem has many complexities which I will not attempt to cover here.  In the mid 1970’s I corresponded with two mathematicians at the Open University about my approach, Robin Wilson and Fred Holroyd, who were both very helpful and encouraging.  The theorem was proven in 1976 by Kenneth Appel and Wolfgang Haken, running one of the biggest computers for over 1000 hours.  I soon decided that it was time to go onto other things!  However, my journey had been fascinating with numerous amazing findings which have been so useful in my art.

I can keep to relatively simple methods for my pictures.

 Here is the design, used above, with my initial overdraws shown in red.

Assumed formation design used by Skydivers, with initial overdraws. Mick Burton four colour overdraw.

Assumed formation design used by Skydivers, with initial overdraws. Mick Burton four colour overdraw.

On final completion of the overdraws, every junction should have two of its three legs overdrawn and so the start decision (1) above overdraws two legs and this means that the third leg, which I call a “spar”, links to another junction where the other two legs must be overdrawn.

We then carry on making decisions which trigger other overdrawn lines across spars.  Usually there is a “knock on” effect where new overdraws connect with already overdrawn lines which then trigger more overdraws.

If we go wrong and a junction is triggered which has all three legs overdrawn, or none, we have to go back and change earlier decisions in a controlled process.  I usually photocopy the overdraws completed, every two or three stages, so that going back is not too time consuming.

Here is the situation after decision (3).  Decision (2) in blue had only triggered two overdraw sections but decision (3), in green, has triggered ten sections to be overdrawn in green.

Four Colour Overdraw decision 3 triggers 10 further overdraws, in green. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Four Colour Overdraw decision 3 triggers 10 further overdraws, in green. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Here is the completed overdraw.  It can be seen that some decisions still only trigger one or two overdraws, but decisions 5 and 7 triggered 13 and 12 overdraws respectively.  There are 80 junctions in the design and it took 11 decisions to complete the overdraws.

completed Four Colour Theorem overdraw, on design based upon Skydivers formation design. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

completed Four Colour Theorem overdraw, on design based upon Skydivers formation design. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

The completed overdraw has several continuous overdraws.  I tried other variations but had to accept that this design cannot be overdrawn with a Single Continuous overdraw.  This is due to the design having basically only two full rings of circles, which means that some tips of petals cannot be included in a continuous overdraw.

Continuous lines overdrawn on Skydiver formation design, using Four Colour Theory method. Mick Burton

Continuous lines overdrawn on Skydiver formation design, using Four Colour Theory method. Mick Burton

This situation can be overcome by adding links between the tips of the petals to produce that extra ring of areas.  Here is the expanded design and the stages of overdraw.  I managed to complete the Single Continuous overdraw in one sequence without having to go back to change any decisions.

Increased size design with successful Single Line Overdraw using Four Colour Theorem method. Overdraw decisions shown. Mick Burton.

Increased size design with successful Single Line Overdraw using Four Colour Theorem method. Overdraw decisions shown. Mick Burton.

Of course it looks better with one solid colour overdraw and no decision numbers.

Skydiver formation design with links between out petals completed, overdrawn with a Single Continuous Line using Four Colour Theorem method. Mick Burton.

Skydiver formation design with links between out petals completed, overdrawn with a Single Continuous Line using Four Colour Theorem method. Mick Burton.

I have said that the method of overdraw was developed with Four Colours in mind, and so you could use one pair of colours alternately within the above overdraw and another pair of colours on the outside of the overdraw (which can include the background).

I have found another interesting result in that if you use strong colours inside the overdraw, as it is the main image, and neutral colours outside (or even leave the outside blank) then the gaps between the “petals” show good use of space.  Here is the design simply coloured in strong red inside the overdraw, which creates a good contrast as the background seeps in. 

Solid colour within single continuous overdraw, with Four Colour method, showing good use of space. Mick Burton.

Solid colour within single continuous overdraw, with Four Colour method, showing good use of space. Mick Burton.

The chains of areas produced by the continuous overdraws can be coloured, not just in two pairs of colours to demonstrate Four Colours, but with a colour sequence or a mixture of sequence, alternate colours or even one colour.  In the last picture I have used colour sequence on main chains of areas related to the central space and, as a contrast,  light grey on the chains connected to the outside of the design.

Star Burst. Four Colour Theorem applied to a map of shell shapes wound round from the centre. Rainbow sequence of colours. Mick Burton, 1971

Star Burst. Four Colour Theorem applied to a map of shell shapes wound round from the centre. Rainbow sequence of colours. Mick Burton, 1971

This is one of the first paintings that I produced after discovering my Four Colour Theorem overdraw in 1971. I called the picture “Star Burst”, one of my first planetary pictures.

 

 

 

 

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.

Skydivers in Ten Petal Flower Formation, link to Four Colour Theory continuous line.

164 Skydivers head down record in Illinois, 31 July 2015.

164 Skydivers head down record in Illinois, 31 July 2015.

Two weeks ago 164 skydivers, flying at 20,000 feet and falling at 240 miles an hour, set the “head-down” world record in Illinois. The international jump team joined hands for a few seconds, in a pre-designed formation resembling a giant flower, before they broke away and deployed their parachutes.

I was intrigued by the design of the formation. I have found many qualities in ten petal (or star) designs and, of course, I look for continuous lines in all sorts of designs that I find and in particular the possibility of a Single Continuous Line.

Here is my sketch of the skydivers formation.  It is made up of many linked circles, starting with a central ring of ten circles which radiate out to ten “petals”.  The plan seemed to involve six skydivers forming each circle by holding hands.  Some extra skydivers started links between petals.  I checked to see if I had included all the skydivers, which made my sketch look like a prickly cactus.

Cactus Count, 164 Skydivers all Present and Correct. Mick Burton, continuous line artist, August 2015

Cactus Count, 164 Skydivers all Present and Correct. Mick Burton, continuous line artist, August 2015

This was such a tremendous achievement by very brave men and women.  My only experience of heights is abseiling 150 feet down a cliff in the Lake District.  I realise that the jump would have been very carefully planned using the latest science and involved a lot of training, etc. but I am particularly interested in the part that the formation design played.

The hexagon appears to be an essential element so that hands can be joined at 3 way junctions.  A core circle of hexagons would naturally be 6, but more would be required for this jump.  The next highest near fit would be 10, which is fine given the variations in human proportions.  This also naturally allows linking between middle circles in the petals to complete a second ring of circles, which was partly done in this jump.

Every participant would need to know exactly where their place would be in the design and yet it is so symmetrical that I struggle to get my sketch the right way up.  Also with the short time involved co-ordination of planned stages would be difficult.  This made me think of a flock (or murmuration) of starlings performing their remarkable patterns in the sky and how they manage to co-ordinate. Apparently each bird relates and reacts to the nearest birds around it.  Absolute simplicity and ruthless efficiency with no critical path.

If the skydivers have adopted a similar approach then the design is ideal. The design is basically 30 circles in sets of 3 in a row making up 10 petals. The process is fluid and adaptable, building outwards from the centre. Think 10 individuals linking hands to start off with, which then recognisably evolves into 10 petals, and think 6 individuals in each of the 30 circles.  Everyone is dropped (there were 7 aircraft I think) in an order which anticipates being able to take up a place a certain distance from the centre of the structure and within a specific circle. As they approach they can recognise the progress and assess whether they can link in as expected or whether a modified position may need to be taken up (and being guided by the people already in place). The last individuals to be dropped will not have  a planned position in any circle but will form the start of the links between the central of the 3 circles in the petals. They need to be prepared to become part of an outer circle which has not been completed.

I have done a sketch of how this may work, with the numbers indicating my thoughts on the expected order of arrival in the building of the formation.

Skydiver formation with possible roles and order of arrival of individuals. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Skydiver formation with possible roles and order of arrival of individuals. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

I hope this was a useful exercise, in trying to work out how the formation worked, and not total tosh (if so my apologies to all concerned).

To help my attempt to apply my continuous lines to the design I have completed the links between middle circles, which was partially done this time and I suppose will be considered for the next larger attempt at the record (say 180 skydivers).  The Continuous Lines are intended to pass through every three handed junction once only (I normally would say three legged ! ).

The method I use to complete the overdraw was developed in the early 1970’s when I was working on trying to prove the Four Colour Theorem.   A single continuous overdraw throughout a map would split it into two chains of alternate colours which would demonstrate that only four colours were needed.  I will explain how this is done in a future post.

Continuous lines overdrawn on Skydiver formation design, using Four Colour Theory method. Mick Burton

Continuous lines overdrawn on Skydiver formation design, using Four Colour Theory method. Mick Burton

This overdraw has resulted in several continuous lines and no alternative would produce a Single Continuous Line. This is due to the lack of width going around the structure.

Consequently, I have extended the design further by adding linking lines between all outer petals and succeeded in drawing a Single Continuous Line on that. A future Skydiver jump completely assembling this design would require about 220 participants (I am not suggesting that this be attempted) !

Skydiver formation design with links between out petals completed, overdrawn with a Single Continuous Line using Four Colour Theorem method. Mick Burton.

Skydiver formation design with links between out petals completed, overdrawn with a Single Continuous Line using Four Colour Theorem method. Mick Burton.

How do you construct Haken’s Gordian Knot?

After completing my drawings of Haken’s Gordian Knot, which I covered in my previous continuous line blog post, I decided that I needed to find out more about how this unknot was created.  It is one thing me portraying the route of the two strands running through a completed structure, but possible something very different if I to construct it from scratch.

A Google search for Haken’s Gordian Knot took me to a page of MathOverflow website, where a question that appeared “Are there any very hard unknots?” posed by mathematician Timothy Gowers, in January 2011.  In an update after many answers he said that he had arrived at Haken’s “Gordian Knot”.

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.

Timothy said that, after studying the knot for some time, “It is clear that Haken started by taking a loop, pulling it until it formed something close to two parallel strands, twisting those strands several times, and then threading the ends in and out of the resulting twists”. This approach is something like the suggestions I made in my last post on the basis of my Twisting, Overlapping, Envelope painting of the Haken Knot.

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

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

Timothy then added that “The thing that is slightly mysterious is that both ends are “locked” “.  When I started to build the structure from scratch I began to realise what “locked” may mean.

Constructing Haken's Gordian Knot.  Stages 1 & 2.  Mick Burton.

Constructing Haken’s Gordian Knot. Stages 1 & 2. Mick Burton.

After leaving the looped end at the start, the ongoing route first meets its earlier self at Stage 2.  However instead of the ongoing route going through the earlier one, the initial loop goes back through the later one. This must be what is meant by the first “lock”.

Constructing Haken's Gordian Knot.  Stages 3 to 7.  Mick Burton

Constructing Haken’s Gordian Knot. Stages 3 to 7. Mick Burton

Continuing, things were as expected up to Stage 7.  I now realised that the route could be simplified to one line, as the Twists were not affecting progress but the feed through points were crucial.  I switched to drawing the route by using a simple line and showed Feed Through points as Red Arrows.

Haken's Gordian Knot, Simplified Route showing Feed Points.  Mick Burton.

Haken’s Gordian Knot, Simplified Route showing Feed Points. Mick Burton.

You can see that after point “C”, where the reverse Feed occurs, there are 12 expected Feed Through points until you arrive at point “E”.  Here instead of Feeding through an earlier part of the route, Haken indicates that you are expected to Feed through the End Loop at “E” which is too soon. This must be the other “Lock”.

At this stage, of course, I had no idea what to do.  Timothy did not seem to be using a lot of paper like me, but a “twisted bunch of string” and a small unknot diagram.  So I found some string, but was at a loss to make much sense of anything using that.  Timothy, however, was disappointed that it was so easy with his string initially, but delighted when it became more difficult !

What I did realise about the sections of route lying beyond point “E”, which I have coloured Green, is that they all lie beneath the rest of the structure.

This would allow the Green Area to be constructed separately before you sort of sweep it underneath as a final phase.  When I say “separately” I can only assume that you would need to do all this first, feed the result through the final loop and encapsulate the result.  You would then take this bundle to the start and use it to spearhead the building of the structure, leaving the loop at the other end of the two stranded string back at the start.

Haken's Gordian Knot, Prior action for the Green Route, before starting main structure.  Mick Burton.

Haken’s Gordian Knot, Prior action for the Green Route, before starting main structure. Mick Burton.

Timothy said that he would love to put a picture of the process on the website and asked for suggestions.

Even though I am an artist and not a mathematition, I had already done two pictures of Haken’s knot before I found the MathOverflow website and was fascinated by the production process of the knot and so did some extra diagrams of my own.

I will ask if my drawings match Timothy’s thoughts in any way.

Twisting, Overlapping, Envelope Elephant. Continuous Line Drawing colouring.

“Fluorescephant”, the original version of “Elephant Grass” which is at the top of this continuous line blog, was my first successful Colour Sequence painting.  The sequence ran from yellow through greens to blues in steps of colour and tones which gave a natural three dimensional effect and dynamism.  Part of this was the overlapping nature of continuous lines which was reflected by the successive darker colouring.

The painting was accepted for the International Amateur Artist exhibition, in Warwick Square London, in February 1973 and then a month later in the National Society annual open exhibition in the Mall Galleries.

Fluorescephant.  Continuous line drawing with colour sequence.  National Society Open Exhibition, Mall Gallery, London, 1973.  Mick Burton.

Fluorescephant. Continuous line drawing with colour sequence. National Society Open Exhibition, Mall Gallery, London, 1973. Mick Burton.

I was never totally happy with the colouring.  I thought that there was an extra natural effect, on top of the overlapping, which I was missing.  When I started my art again in 2012, after a gap of nearly 40 years, I once more tried to sort this out.  I realised that I could enhance the twisting of the design and highlight gaps where the outside would show through.

Here is the result, “Twisting, Overlapping, Envelope Elephant”.  Imagine that the continuous lines are describing a sheet of plastic, which is coloured Blue on the front and Red on the back.  Each time a twist occurs, against the outside background, then I colour it Red.  When the overlaps build up, the shades of the blue front go darker blue, and the shades of the twisted areas become darker red.  Where the blue front and the red back occasionally overlap, then I use violet to reflect the mix.

This continuous line drawing is coloured to represent a

This continuous line drawing is coloured to represent a “Twisting, Overlapping, Envelope Elephant”, which is Blue on one side and Red on the other. Mick Burton, 2013.

You can see considerable areas of background colour within the animal showing through. This looks natural within the form of the elephant.

The blue areas, including darker blue overlaps, are the same as the blue areas in the “Fluorescephant”, so it is good to keep a large part of the original colour sequence in this change of style.

One Line Drawing cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947, by Doug Anderson

The New Season on Broadway, a one line drawing cover for Theatre Arts magazine, October 1947, by Doug Anderson.

The New Season on Broadway, a one line drawing cover for Theatre Arts magazine, October 1947, by Doug Anderson.

Here is a terrific example of one line drawing by Doug Anderson, on the cover of Theatre Arts magazine in October 1947, which he entitles “The New Season on Broadway”.

Doug illustrates six plays on Broadway and includes the title in each whilst connecting them all up with his one line.  I know I go on about a Continuous Line Drawing starting and finishing at the same point and that it is only one line if it does not, but he starts under the last “e” in Theatre and ends on the left side towards the top, so he could easily have connected them up.

I like his use of small loops throughout, which helps the simplification of most male figures, the snake and the tramcar.  Lady’s dresses have lines stroked back and forth and their hats and hair have more detailed wiggling.  I love the progressive pattern of the window and heads in the tramcar.

Here are some detailed sections.

Street Car Named Desire, detail of The New Season on Broadway, cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947, by Doug Anderson.  One Line Drawing.

Street Car Named Desire, detail of The New Season on Broadway, cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947, by Doug Anderson. One Line Drawing.

High Button Shoes, detail of The New Season on Broadway cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947, by Doug Anderson.  One Line Drawing.

High Button Shoes, detail of The New Season on Broadway cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947, by Doug Anderson. One Line Drawing.

Man and Superman, detail of The New Season on Broadway, cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947 by Doug Anderson.  One Line Drawing.

Man and Superman, detail of The New Season on Broadway, cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947 by Doug Anderson. One Line Drawing.

Antony and Cleopatra, detail of The New Season on Broadway, cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947,  by Doug Anderson.  One Line Drawing.

Antony and Cleopatra, detail of The New Season on Broadway, cover for Theatre Arts, October 1947, by Doug Anderson. One Line Drawing.

How about the cat at the bottom !

Another difference compared to my approach to this style is that I usually think of the possibility of applying colours later. If you look at the lower foot of Antony, the outside space flows in through the foot which would confuse thoughts of colour. Similarly, the lady marked “Medea” to the left of Antony, has the outside flowing in through the bottom left of her dress.

It is interesting that this one line drawing dates from late 1947 and the pen and ink sketch that I have, in the style of Salvador Dali (covered in my post in August 2014), dates from 1948 when Dali was doing similar drawings.  So here it is again, “Guitar Player on a Horse”.

Dali continuous line drawing in pen and ink, guitar player on horse, dated 1948.

Dali continuous line drawing in pen and ink, guitar player on horse, dated 1948.

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.

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”.

Escher Islamic Mosaic Continuous Lines, Create and Change Border. STAGE 4.

A key part of the Mural Mosaic tile painting by Escher in 1922, is that he has included the Border in detail. The Border gives an indication of what happens to the lines when they hit the sides and where they feed back into the design. In the quarter section detail of the mural below you can see marks on the Border.

A line leaving the design either joins the border (so that you can follow where it goes) or goes under the border (and you can deduce where it re-emerges).  It is not easy to work all these paths out at first, but there is a logic to it.  If in doubt between two choices, one of them usually has a clear answer leaving only one option for the other.  Another aid to us is that each side of the Border is identical in the same direction around the design, so if the marks are not clear on one side you can check at a corresponding point on another side.

Detail to show Border.  Escher mural mosaic in the Alhambra.  WikiArt.  Mick Burton study.

Detail to show Border. Escher mural mosaic in the Alhambra. WikiArt. Mick Burton study.

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When I first started this research I did a basic hand copy showing all the lines hitting the sides and then showed each one as a loose end outside the square.  I then studied the border on the Mosaic to work out how all the loose ends should be joined up and charted them – this initial chart was in STAGE 1, and I show it again at the end of this post.

That was relatively easy, observing the result of what artist had done.  The hard bit is working out  from scratch which loose ends to tie up to produce continuous lines in a way which would still enable the colours to be allocated by the Alternate Overdraw (or equivalent process used by the artist).

According to Eric Broug in his demonstration video’s, the tile rectangle containing the design would be selected out of a larger pattern area.  In my own art, when I have drawn a large continuous line pattern and completed the Alternate Overdraw (so that I know the colour sequence everywhere) I can pick out a small section to display which of course already has the Alternate Overdraws.  Similarly, the Islamic artist producing the Mosaic would know the full colouring etc for the tile section.

I show below the design with all the loose ends and Alternate Overdraws in Red.  At this stage the artist would not know how many continuous lines would occur in the tile section on its own.  He will have also needed to produce a straight edge on the corners and other parts of the perimeter to block unwanted lines which encroached from the outside pattern.

Section of larger pattern with Alternate Overdraws and loose ends showing whether overdrawn.  Mick Burton study.

Section of larger pattern with Alternate Overdraws and loose ends showing whether overdrawn. Mick Burton study.

You will see from the loose ends that half of them are overdrawn in Red and half not. If you connect up pairs of the overdrawn, and pairs of the not overdrawn, loose ends then there will be continuous lines throughout the design and the Alternate Overdraw Template will be unaffected. If I connect up the not overdrawn pairs around each corner of the design, then working along the sides both overdrawn pairs and not overdrawn pairs work out consecutively. This matches the line direction message in the Border on the Mosaic design.  Here is a chart (previously in STAGE 1) showing all the loose end connections.  We know from STAGE 1 that there are two continuous lines, which makes the case strong regarding the artist using Alternate Overdraw, but it would not have mattered if there were more than two.

Escher Islamic Tile.  Basic line structure, with border connections. Mick Burton continuous line study.

Escher Islamic Tile. Basic line structure, with border connections. Mick Burton continuous line study.

Having looked at Borders in detail, that prepares us for the final STAGE 5 where I show how we can turn this into a Single Continuous Line design.  

I will also give you my opinion on what the original Artist thought about a Single Continuous Line and why I think he is definitely an Artist and not just a craftsman.

Mick Burton Continuous Line Blog.

Colour Sequence Allocation on Escher Islamic Mosaic Continuous Lines, STAGE 3.

Now that we have applied my Alternate Overdraw to the Continuous Lines in the Escher Islamic design, I can show how I allocate colours.  We can then compare the result with the colours on the original Islamic design painted by Escher in 1922.

My basic method of allocating colours is covered in my Post on 27 September 2014 entitled “Colour Sequence on Continuous Line Drawing”.

I will start with that same basic process where colour “0” is the outside of the drawing and this is alternated with “1” in its channel or channels.  When we cross through an overdraw from a “1” area we allocate “2” to this adjacent area on the other side and then alternate this with “3” (if there are any) in that channel.  In the negative direction, if we go from a “0” area through an overdraw we will allocate “(-)1” and alternate with “(-)2” in that channel.

Five colour number allocation on continuous lines for Escher Mosaic.  Mick Burton study.

Five colour number allocation on continuous lines for Escher Mosaic. Mick Burton study.

There are no areas coloured “3” and so we have 5 colours allocated, compared to only 4 colours used in the original Mosaic.

At this stage things did not look promising.  Trying to equate the 4 original colours in the Mosaic to my 5 numbers produced a best set of matches of 156 out of 313 (I won’t go into much detail here) which is just under 50%.

One thing that I did observe was that YELLOW matched “1” on 76 occasions and “(-)1” on 88 occasions.  This reminded me that I occasionally allocate colours positively by ignoring (-) signs.  When switched to simply using “0”, “1” and “2” I had 3 numbers to compare with the 4 original colours on the mosaic.  This now produced a best match of 241 colours out of 313 which gives 77% and was much more respectable.  Here is the 3 colour allocation.

Colour sequence allocation of 3 colours to continuous lines on Escher Mosaic.  Mick Burton study.

Colour sequence allocation of 3 colours to continuous lines on Escher Mosaic. Mick Burton study.

Of course the fourth colour GREEN used in the mosaic does not appear at all in mine.

As with a lot of art, including craft, there may be processes (or even rules) which get you a long way in a design but you have to know when, and how, to break away from them.  I may be a bit rigid with my Continuous Lines but my studies of Picasso and Dali doing them demonstrates that nothing is certain.

This Islamic artist, who I regard as very special, probably used a method equivalent to mine to allocate most of his colours but probably made the following over riding decisions to finish the colouring off –

a.   GREEN was allocated to the 8 areas surrounding each of the 8 planets, and nowhere else.

b.  Each of the 8 planets was coloured PURPLE, instead of black, to mirror its use for the centres of the Suns.

c.  Each Purple junction block at the middle of each side has three directional areas surrounding it which are coloured PURPLE instead of black.  I originally considered these to be decorative.

Allocation of all green colours and changes of black to purple on Escher Mosaic.  Mick Burton study.

Allocation of all green colours and changes of black to purple on Escher Mosaic. Mick Burton study.

If the above decisions were made first, then the remaining allocations would be made totally on my 3 colour allocation.  That is 229 areas remaining where my allocation matches 100% with the original Escher Mosaic colours.

229 colour sequence areas matching original Escher Mosaic colouring.  Mick Burton study.

229 colour sequence areas matching original Escher Mosaic colouring. Mick Burton study.

So there we are. I hope you have found my attempt to explain how this Escher Islamic Mosaic contains two continuous lines, which I believe was deliberate by the artist, and how most colours matched a colour sequence directly linked to the continuous lines.

The basic elements in the design largely match the template produced by my Alternate Overdraw method and, after specific allocation decisions were made by the artist, there was a total match of all other colours allocated by my method using the template.  Whether of not the artist used a similar method to myself, there is a direct link between the colour sequence and the two continuous lines.

In my searches through other forms of art, on the look out for continuous lines, I have not found any other example of art which contained both continuous lines and a related colour sequence, or signs of possible use of Alternate Overdraw with its Template.

There is a modern mathematical theory called “The Winding Number Theory” which could allocate colours in an equivalent way to my initial 5 colours, but it is not as much fun.

I will do a FURTHER POST (STAGE 4) on how the artist could have used Alternate Overdraw to help him to connect up the loose ends on the borders when actually constructing his continuous lines.

Mick Burton Continuous Line Blog.