Tag Archives: Mallard steam engine

The Secret Art Project in St Gemma’s 2018 Art Festival

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“Loch Knares Monster” submitted to St Gemma’s 2018 Secret Art Project by Mick Burton, Continuous Line Artist.

As the open session for bidding on e-bay for the A5 size card paintings and drawings submitted to the St Gemma’s Secret Art Project has now closed, I am free to say which two pictures were submitted by me.  Of course, they are not single continuous lines.

The first one, above, is called “Loch Knares Monster”.  I used coloured pencils to produce delicate shades in the water and sky in contrast to the acrylic pen outline on the Serpent.

I have always been interested in the Loch Ness Monster, so what is wrong with turning the famous railway bridge in Knaresborough into a giant serpent.  My first attempt at the monster, years ago, was to add one to a mural of Venice which had been painted all over the bathroom wall of a house I shared with several others in Leeds in the late 1960’s.

Also an artist friend of mine, Bryn Glover, constructed a sculpture of “Nessie” from a motor cycle chain in 1969.  He worked at Leeds General Infirmary and once used a huge pair of forceps in a sculpture of a pelican.

There had to be a train in it, particularly a steam train, but I did not feel that my favourite engine “Mallard” would be appropriate.  See photograph below of Mallard crossing the Knaresborough bridge.

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“Mallard on Knaresborough Viaduct” in 1987. Photograph by Jo Turner (https://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/14389).

One day in the mid 1950’s, when I was on holiday staying with relatives, my cousin John Simmister and myself wandered into the railway sidings in Peterborough.  We saw Mallard, all be itself and so dirty that you could hardly tell that it was green. We climbed into the cab and talked about what it would be like to travel at 126 miles an hour and break the world steam record.

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“Mange 2 – Rail Root North” submitted to St Gemma’s 2018 Secret Art Project by Mick Burton, Continuous Line Artist.

“Mange 2 – Rail Root North” was coloured in acrylic and in a style which I hoped would be very different to my Knaresborough picture.

The HS2 railway project from London to Leeds and Manchester has been dragging on for years and I thought that I would compare that train to a streamlined pea pod.  My wife Joan comes from Wakefield, which is Rhubarb Triangle country, and as she is a vegetarian I thought she may appreciate the “jokes”.

Here is a clipping from this month’s Yorkshire Reporter, showing that HS2 is still big news.

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Yorkshire Reporter, November 2018, showing plans for Leeds Railway Station as part of the HS2 project.

Therasa May is one of the celebrities (including John Bishop and Kaiser Chiefs) who have agreed to submit a picture to the Secret Art Project, but there is probably no danger that people will think that she painted Mange 2.

 

Mallard steams by towing eight ducklings in a continuous line.

Mallard steams by towing eight ducklings in a continuous line. Photo Mick Burton, 7.8.2016, Well House Drive, Gledhow Valley, Leeds.

Mallard steams by towing eight ducklings in a continuous line. Photo Mick Burton, 7.5.2016, Well House Drive, Gledhow Valley, Leeds.

After a couple of hours digging rocks and roots in the back garden, I emptied the roots into the brown bin and glanced towards the road at the front. There was a gap between the car and the gate post and I glimpsed a line of ducklings going by on the other side of the road.  What were the chances of that happening?

View across the road where a line of ducklings went by. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist,7.5.16.

View across the road where a line of ducklings went by. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist,7.5.16.

I rushed inside the house for my camera and ran to catch up with the female Mallard mother marching down the road with her brood in tow.  There were some kids in gardens not yet aware and cars going up and down the road.  I took the photo which appears at the top of this post.

But what was this Mallard mother doing coming down our road with her ducklings, when I knew of no streams or ponds in the streets higher up?

Anyway, I knew where she was likely to be going.  If she turned right at the bottom of the road she was on Gledhow Valley Road and the houses along there all had the Gledhow Beck flowing through their gardens.  She started to move out towards the curb to assess when to cross the road.

Mallard mum starting to move out towards the curb. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Mallard mum starting to move out towards the curb. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

I took another closer view of the bird as she headed along parallel to the curb.  There is an eighth duckling just out of shot at the back.

Closer view of female Mallard with seven ducklings in the picture. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist, 7.5.16, Gledhow Valley.

Closer view of female Mallard with seven ducklings in the picture. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist, 7.5.16, Gledhow Valley.

Looking at these photos reminds me of my  train spotting days as a youth when I saw the  A4 pacific steam engine “Mallard” at speed pulling many carriages.  No wonder they decided to name the fastest ever steam locomotive after such a sleek bird.  Here is a photo I took of the “Mallard” steam engine at the National Railway Museum in York three years ago, along with my son Matthew.

Mallard, the fastest ever steam engine, at York National Railway Museum along with my son Matthew. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Mallard, the fastest ever steam engine, at York National Railway Museum along with Matthew Burton.  Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Now back to the ducks and the dangerous task of crossing the road.  The road seemed clear so Mum decided to cross.  A car was signalling to turn left into our road and I flagged it down just as it was turning, which gave me little time to get a photo of the ducks in the middle of the road.  The result was a bit shaky.

Mallard Mum and eight ducklings crossing the road in front of a waiting car in Gledhow Valley. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Mallard Mum and eight ducklings crossing the road in front of a waiting car in Gledhow Valley. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

When you are a very small duckling it’s not easy to mount a pavement you can’t really see over, and there’s not much sympathy from Mum.

Ducklings struggle to mount a pavement higher than they are. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Ducklings struggle to mount a pavement higher than they are. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Pause to regroup and a crowd of kids is starting to gather.

Ducklings regroup on the pavement after mounting to kerb. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Ducklings regroup on the pavement after mounting to kerb. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

The worst is over and the female Mallard turns right into Gledhow Valley Road.

Mallard and ducklings turn right into Gledhow Valley. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Mallard and ducklings turn right into Gledhow Valley. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

The Mallard Mum and her train of ducklings can speed up as they enter the home straight.  I am sure now that they will turn right into a drive soon.

The train of Mallard ducklings speed up as they enter the home straight. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

The train of Mallard ducklings speed up as they enter the home straight. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

The crowd of kids is becoming a bit intrusive and I ask them to keep their distance, but without much effect.

Kids arriving from all directions are beginning to crowd the ducks. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Kids arriving from all directions are beginning to crowd the ducks. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

The Mallard Mum’s preferred garden is a bit further along I think, but she decides that she will turn into this drive anyway to escape the kids and go down to the stream.

The Mallard and her brood turn down a drive to escape the kids and to head for their stream. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

The Mallard and her brood turn down a drive to escape the kids and to head for their stream. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Just another incident with wildlife in the valley.  Not long ago Joan and I helped a family of swans to cross Gledhow Valley Road, whilst policemen held up traffic from both directions, but that’s a story for another day.