Tag Archives: exhibition

Four Foxes Frolicking in Gledhow Valley Garden.

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Four foxes appear in Gledhow Valley garden on 6 June 2018.   Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

I have mentioned the local Gledhow Valley foxes several times in my posts, but this is the first time that we have seen four at once in the garden, which backs on to the woods. There appear to be two young ones and two adults (or older siblings).

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Four Gledhow Valley foxes, with a lot of licking going on.   Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

In the above photo the foxes are licking themselves and each other and this seemed to go on for ages.

Joan and I have been provided with all sorts of entertainment by the foxes over the last few years.

Our next door neighbour used to put out spare ribs in their back garden.  One time a magpie was enjoying these when a fox came along and picked one up and went away with it.  The fox returned several times for others and the magpie became more agitated each time, finally bouncing around the fox in circles and squawking loudly, as if to say “Those are my spare ribs, get off them, clear off ! “.

Twice when we have had relatives here for Xmas and eating Xmas lunch in the dining room we have seen a rare event.  Looking out of the French windows there would be a fox helping himself to all the bread scraps we had put out on the low bird table, as if taking part in the festivities.

Foxes are territorial of course and I we have seen one on the garage flat roof marking his territory up there.

Of course, they are also hunters and we have seen one trotting up the garden, spotting a squirrel to one side and shooting off sideways to grab it in its mouth and then continuing on its way.

As hunters, our foxes have an annual run in with the swans on the Gledhow Valley Lake.  Several years ago we were walking past the lake at about 7pm in mid May when we saw a fox standing nose to beak with a swan, on its eggs on the nest in a shallow part of the lake.  A photographer, who was watching, said that the fox would not take on a swan on its own, but suggested that when it was dusk, several foxes could work together to try to get the eggs.  The next day there were no eggs.  Something similar may have also happened this year.

Foxes are wary of cats.  Avril, who lives on Gledhow Valley Road was once at the end our garden asking if we had seen her cat, which she said was quite shy and usually stayed in the garden.  It was a large fluffy cat.  The next day I saw a fox at the top of the garden just to the right of the huge oak in the corner.  It then backed to the right and a big fluffy cat came slowly from behind the tree, nose to nose with the fox.  The fox eventually turned slowly away and left.  When I saw Avril again she said she was not surprised as the cat was in charge of all her dogs, including a large Alsatian.

We have also seen the effects of mange on an adult fox, which we saw for some time a few years ago, and it seemed to survive.

The fox below appeared on 4 July 2018, and may be one of the four we saw in early June.

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Healthy fox in Gledhow Valley garden 4th July 2018. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

This fox was up and down the garden a few times.

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Side view of healthy Gledhow Valley fox. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Shortly afterwards, Joan was at the back of the garage with her watering cans and I walked down to the front and between the garage and the house only to come face to face with this fox.  It veered off and went between our garage and next door’s (a gap of about 8″).  I shouted to Joan “Fox coming through”, which of course meant nothing to her until it burst out at the top end of the garage.

And now for a different view of a young fox.

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Young fox in Gledhow Valley appears 5th July 2018.   Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

The next day, a young fox appeared, which I think may be a younger sibling of yesterday’s fox, and headed for the pond, which we have in a half wooden cask, for a drink.  There were also  five magpies going in and out of the bird bath.

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Poor young fox with scanty fur in Gledhow Valley. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

It was soon obvious that this was not a well fox, certainly compared to the one we saw the previous day.  Lacking in fur and with a red sore patch on its back.

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Unhealthy young fox wants a drink from the bird bath in a Gledhow Valley garden. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

The fox now wants to have a drink from the bird bath, which the magpies have temporally vacated.

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The magpies have not left much water for Gledhow Valley fox.   Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

The fox can’t quite reach for a drink as the magpies have splashed away most of it.

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Young fox in Gledhow Valley showing all the signs of mange, with open wound made worse by scratching.    Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

This close up of the fox shows all the caking and cracking of the skin and the red open wound which are advanced signs of mange.  Of course it is made worse by constant scratching, and the longest period of hot dry weather since 1976 would have contributed.

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Young fox with mange, really struggling, with attentive magpies (there were five of them altogether).   Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

All five magpies were nearby.  They were quiet, seemingly knowing that one of their rivals was really struggling.  Eventually the fox wandered off up the garden and into the woods.

Sadly, the following morning we found the body of this young fox on the lawn near to the pond.  Possibly the adult foxes would not let it into the den if they thought that it may die and would need to be removed, and so it returned to our garden.

I buried the fox in the garden, near to Tufty my cat.

But what about the other young fox?  

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The other young fox later appeared, also with signs of mange in Gledhow Valley garden. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

On 15 July 2018 this young fox appeared and it showed similar signs of having mange just like its sibling.  I is seen here eating some scraps of bread left by the magpies.  There was no sign yet of an open wound and so hopefully the mange was not as bad as with the other fox.

We all hope that this one survives.  

Gledhow Foxes Sunbathing, continuous line. Mick Burton

“Gledhow Foxes Sunbathing”. Association of Animal Artists “British Wildlife” exhibition, February & March 2015.   Mick Burton, Continuous line drawing.

I drew this picture over three years ago and I sold it at St Gemmas Leeds Art & Photography Exhibition & Sale last year.  I was also asked to produce a similar one as a commission. 

This year it is the St Gemma’s 40th Anniversary Arts Festival and I am one of the 40 artists invited to take part.  As I have intended to do a colour version of my foxes single continuous line for some time I will now complete one to include in my exhibits.

Hot Cross Bunny and the psychology of colour

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

 

 

 

 

 

Nessie the cockapoo visits Gledhow Valley

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Nessie the cockapoo arrives with a favourite toy. How did she know my favourite colour range. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Nessie the cockapoo has come to stay for a week whilst Helen and Janet are in California.  She arrived waving one of her favourite toys, which just happens to have a range of colours similar to those in a recent painting of mine.

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“Knight’s Tour Fragments”, acrylic on canvas. Exhibited at Harrogate and Nidderdale Art Club Exhibition in November 2016. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Nessie is two and a half and lives in a village in Worcestershire in a house almost surrounded by common land.  Strangely, there are no cats in the village and no squirrels (although several years ago one appeared in the garden the day we arrived for a visit, and it was suggested that it had been a stowaway in our car).  Hens roam free in the garden – so where are the foxes?  No greater spotted woodpeckers, they are all green.

Nessie’s favourite spot in our house is by the French Windows at the back.  She watches the birds and squirrels endlessly, and it is good to lie down on the job.

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Nessie, the cockapoo, watching birds and squirrels. Why not take it easy?   Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

But Nessie is not used to seeing cats, and we have plenty of those.  Suddenly we hear barking and scraping at the window.

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Nessie spots a cat and all hell breaks loose.  Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Hopefully one of the foxes will turn up whilst Nessie is here.  We often see one or more during the day, and we even had one on the garage roof marking its territory.  Here is a photo of one in the garden in late January 2017.

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A Gledhow Valley fox in the garden in January 2017.  Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Nessie eats sensibly and feels that there my be more nurishment in the cardboard box than in the breakfast cereals themselves.

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Nessie tucking in to a cardboard box which had contained breakfast cereals.  Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Of course the highlight of each day for Nessie is the walk through Gledhow Valley Woods to the lake.

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Nessie, the cockapoo, can’t wait to go to Gledhow Valley Woods, and the lake, with Joan and me.  Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

We are used to seeing the odd rat scamper across the path by the lake, as well as seeing how well they swim.  One rat dashing across suddenly realised that Nessie was passing and took off, missing Nessie’s nose by a whisker.  I am not good at taking photos of flying rats, so here is one nearby wondering what is going on.

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A rat peeping from behind a tree on the banks of Gledhow Valley Lake.  Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Twenty ducks who were sitting on the bank and the path fly off when they see Nessie, and Joan has brought some oats to feed to the Swan.  There is only one swan left at the lake just now and it is still in its first year.

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Young swan, now living alone on Gledhow Valley Lake.  Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

We have been concerned for some months about the swans, particularly since the water level dropped after a digger cleared rubbish from the dam end. Large areas of silt have been on view where the swans nest.  Here are the adults and one youngster in late January 2017.

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Family of swans on Gledhow Valley Lake. Photo taken in late January 2017 before the adults abandoned the lake.  I hope the swans did not have to pull bread slices from this wrapper themselves.   Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

At the time of this photo, showing the two adults and the above young swan in late January 2017, the second youngster had been ostracized and was sitting in a corner of the lake.  When we were litter picking this Sunday on the monthly action day with Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods, they told us that soon after the photo foxes killed this young bird and then the adults left the lake.  One adult was found wandering in the Harehills area and the RSPCA took it to Roundhay Park lake.  A lady told us that the other adult was walking past her house in Oakwood, presumably heading for Roundhay Park lake too.  So we hope that things work out well for the adults at Roundhay and our young  survivor here in Gledhow.

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Nessie spots a cat she has not seen before. Henry adopts defensive mode.  Mick Burton, continuous line artist, Leeds.

On the way home from the lake, Nessie confronted a cat.  This is Henry and he stood sideways and seemed to double in size.  Nessie was on her lead, which was probable just as well for Nessie.

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Henry the marmalade cat from Gledhow Valley.  Dogs beware.   Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Anna and Emma, the children next door, went to the woods with Nessie today and had been looking forward to it for days.  Nessie gets on well with everyone.

She has enjoyed her holiday in Gledhow Valley and we are taking her back to the land of green woodpeckers.

Leeds Olympic Lion, a new single continuous line painting by Mick Burton.

Leeds Olympic Lion.   Mick Burton

Leeds Olympic Lion, coloured in many shades of red, white and blue to commemorate all the Leeds based athletes and swimmers who brought back medals from the Rio Olympics, 2016.  Mick Burton single continuous line drawing with colour sequence.

I did a demonstration at Farsley Art Group on 12 July 2016 and the continuous line drawing I used as an example was the basis for the above painting. The Group showed a lot of interest and produced many fine attempts at continuous line during my workshop. The club kindly featured me on their website, showing some of my drawings as well as work by members.  I gave them a free hand to put their own stamp on their continuous lines so we had some great variations.

Joan, my partner, watched many swimming and diving events on the TV during the Olympics broadcasts.  She worked at the Leeds International Pool and the new John Charles Centre, in various swimming organising roles, before she retired in 2012 and was delighted with the results of the Leeds members of the Great Britain team and their coaches.

As the athletes all had the red, white and blue lion on their track suits I felt I had to colour my Lion in a range of similar colours and call it the Leeds Olympic Lion.  The painting will be exhibited in the Stainbeck Arts Club Annual Exhibition on Saturday 3 September 2016.  The exhibition is part of the Chapel Allerton Arts Festival taking place in north Leeds this week.Stainbeck Arts Club Poster

Joan’s daughter, Helen Frank, represented Great Britain in the 100 metres breast stroke in the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and was one of five swimmers from Leeds.  Adrian Moorhouse won a swimming gold medal, in the 100 metres breastroke, in 1988.  A gold by a British swimmer was not achieved again by a  British swimmer until 2016.

Leeds Olympic Swimmers at Seoul 1988

Helen brought back a commemorative plate from Seoul, which is part of Joan’s collection of Olympic Plates.

Seoul 1988 Olympics plate