Tag Archives: Mick Burton continuous line blog

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

 

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.

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.

Red Squirrel continuous line and Grey Squirrel photographs

Red Squirrel, continuous line with colour sequence. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Red Squirrel, single continuous line drawing with colour sequence. Mick Burton, Leeds continuous line artist.

This continuous line Red Squirrel, completed with colour sequence, is one of my pictures to be hung at the Leeds Art Exhibition and Sale put on for the 15th year by St Gemma’s Hospice.

St Gemma's Leeds Art Exhibition. 29 - 31 October 2015

St Gemma’s Leeds Art Exhibition. 29 – 31 October 2015

This colour sequence squirrel is the last of a series which began with my attempt to produce a continuous line drawing with a shimmering fur effect for the squirrel.

Continuous line squirrel from 1970, with shimmering effect of fur. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Single continuous line drawing of squirrel from 1970, with shimmering effect of fur. Mick Burton, Leeds continuous line artist.

I have a treasured memory of seeing a Red Squirrel, when I was four, sitting on a wall next to our cottage at Arncliffe Hall, in the North Riding, where my Dad was Head Gardener to Sir Hugh Bell just after the War.  I thought that completing alternate shading with copper paint would best reflect this colour in this picture from 1970.  My daughter Kate said on the phone today that she remembered this picture being in the hall when she was young.

Red Squirrel with copper alternate shading from 1970. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Red Squirrel, single continuous line drawing with copper alternate shading from 1970. Mick Burton, Leeds continuous line artist.

I have many clear memories of living at Ingleby Arncliffe from the age of nearly two, to four and a half when we left.

Falling out of my pram outside the local shop and crawling up the step was the earliest. There was a three legged cat, then at Sunday School one of the stamps I collected was “The Light of the World” by William Holman Hunt (my first taste of the Pre-Raphaelites) and I won the child’s sprint on sports day on the cricket ground.

In the famous terrible winter of 1947, I remember Dad helping to dig a trench in the snow drifts down to the village.  It was amazing to walk along the trench and not be able to see out.

 I once watched a pig being killed in the yard by the cottage and the workman laughed as he squirted me with the pig’s bladder.  This memory came back years later when, as a young police constable, I attended my first post mortem (of a coal miner who had been in an underground tunnel collapse).  My sergeant stood with me and assured me that it would be just like a newly killed pig being cut up, if I had ever seen one.  I said “Yes, I saw one when I was four ! “

I only see grey squirrels now, mainly helping themselves to the bird seed Joan puts out.  With Gledhow Valley Woods at the end of the garden we can have five of them at a time.  Yesterday, a young squirrel was chased by a cat and ended up on the trellis a few feet from our dining room window.  Joan chased the cat away and called to me as the squirrel was too scared to move.

I took some quick photographs whist it was still there, but it became apparent that it was not going to move and was looking at me pleadingly.  So I went out and shepherded it into the bushes.  Here are some photos of a shimmering fur tail.

Young Grey Squirrel from Gledhow Valley Woods. Three feet from my window after being chased by a cat. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Young Grey Squirrel from Gledhow Valley Woods. Three feet from my window after being chased by a cat. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Young Grey Squirrel not daring to move, even though Joan had chased the cat away. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Young Grey Squirrel not daring to move, even though Joan had chased the cat away. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Young Grey Squirrel, imploring me to stop taking photos and do something about the cat. So I went out and shepherded it to the bushes. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Young Grey Squirrel, imploring me to stop taking photos and do something about the cat. So I went out and shepherded it to the bushes. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Leeds Carnival 2015 with photos by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Red Indian head dress costume, Leeds Carnival 2015. Photo by Mick Burton continuous line artist.

Red Indian head dress costume, Leeds Carnival 2015. Photo by Mick Burton continuous line artist.

This was the first costume in the parade, preceded by one of several mobile steel drum bands. We stood on the first bend, near Gledhow Valley, after the parade’s initial stretch from Potternewton Park.

Cockapoo with wet paws waits for the Leeds Carnival parade to approach. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Cockapoo with wet paws waits for the Leeds Carnival parade to approach. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

It was a dull afternoon and drizzling. The Cockapoo loved the fuss from the crowd and waited for some action.

Red and blue costume in the Leeds Carnival matched the drizzle. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Red and blue costume in the Leeds Carnival matched the drizzle. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Yellow and orange costume which lit up the parade at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Yellow and orange costume which lit up the parade at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

The drizzle had stopped and this costume, really lit up the parade.

Violet and yellow costume at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Violet and yellow costume at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Razzle and Dazzle at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Razzle and Dazzle at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Gold costume at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Gold costume at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Lion King at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Lion King at the Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Catherine wheel costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Catherine wheel costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Flamingo costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Flamingo costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo by Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Bolivian costumes, back view, at the Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Bolivian costumes, back view, at the Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Jamaican costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Jamaican costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Blue and Green costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Blue and Green costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Pink costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Pink costume at Leeds Carnival. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Child with balloon in Leeds Carnival parade. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Child with balloon in Leeds Carnival parade. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Multi petal costume at Leeds Carnival parade. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Multi petal costume at Leeds Carnival parade. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

So there we are. Another very entertaining Leeds Carnival parade. The colours lit up a dull afternoon until the sun came out.

 

Spherical Continuous Line Abstract with Colour Sequence.

Spherical continuous line with colour sequence.  Flypast Over Rolling Hills. Mick Burton 2015.

Spherical single continuous line drawing with colour sequence. Flypast Over Rolling Hills. Mick Burton, continuous line artist 2015.

I have modified my Spherical approach to continuous line from the method I described in my Continuous Line Blog post of 9 July 2014, which did not quite reflect the reality I was seeking.

I have kept the idea that when you draw out of one SIDE of the paper you need to return at the opposite SIDE at the corresponding point, so that the pattern matches vertically and after colour sequence the colours also match if you pull the paper round into a tube shape.  This is similar to the equator on a globe of the world matching.

Previously I had said that when going out of the top of the drawing you also need to return at the corresponding place at the bottom.  I was correct to say that the colours would not match, which would be equivalent to the poles on the globe of the world not meeting, but the treatment of the lines needed to be modified.

I realised that the bunching effect of the top being pulled together totally separately to the bottom being pulled together was fine regarding separate sets of colours but matching the line patterns from top to bottom was the wrong approach.

So, when I go out at the TOP now I need to come BACK IN AT THE TOP at the corresponding distance from the other end of the top.   Similarly if I go out at the bottom I come back in at the bottom.  You could then imagine that folding the picture vertically down the middle would mean that both pattern and colour sequence would now match at the top and bottom respectively (don’t actual fold it and spoil the picture ! ).

I recently drew the following for a demonstration/workshop at Stainbeck Arts Club in Leeds.  I started drawing the line a couple of inches in from the top left side and did a few rolling curves diagonally down from left to right, followed by several exits and returns to the picture – initially out at the lower right side and back in at the lower left side, then down and out at the bottom left and back in at the bottom right.

Spherical continuous line drawing with rolling and jagged lines.  Mick Burton 2015.

Spherical single continuous line drawing with rolling and jagged lines. Mick Burton, continuous line artist 2015.

I later tried some “shark fin” curves and a couple of large jagged sequences.

All the time I tried to draw the line cleanly through existing shapes (avoiding going near previous junctions) and being aware of areas I had not visited much.  Finally I needed to work out how to get back to my start point without spoiling the composition too much (here going out and back in can be handy).

I hope you can check the route of the line through the whole picture fairly easily.  I then applied my Colour Sequence to produce the picture at the top of this post.

The first stage is my usual alternate overdraw of the line (if you are overdrawing a section as you go out of the picture you need to continue to overdraw as you re-enter, or if not overdrawing going out it’s not overdrawing when you re-enter).  See my post of 10 September 2014 for the full ALTERNATE OVERDRAW process and my post of 27 September 2014 for the COLOUR SEQUENCE process.

I have used a series of 6 colours from Pale Yellow through greens to Prussian Blue which I have tried to work out in steps of tone.  This is partly to highlight the overlap effect of continuous lines and the natural depth of the abstract.  As always, there is choice of direction of colours – light to dark or dark to light.  Here it seemed best to have the single lightest area at the top and several darker areas across the lower part of the picture.  The picture also has an Optical Art look about it.

Printing the picture in Monotone is usually a good way of checking the steps of colour and light to dark.  So here it is.

Monotone of Spherical Continuous Line

Monotone of Spherical Single Continuous Line Drawing “Flypast Over Rolling Hills”. Mick Burton 2015.

I also produced another similar abstract for the Demonstration at Stainbeck Arts Club to show the Spherical approach with a different flow of lines and colours.  I had coloured the drawing with a sequence from Yellow through Reds to dark Brown.

Spherical Continuous Line with Colour Sequence.  Forest Fire.  Mick Burton 2015.

Spherical Single Continuous Line Drawing with Colour Sequence. Forest Fire. Mick Burton 2015.

Here is the Monotone of this picture.

Monotone of Spherical Continuous Line

Monotone of Spherical single continuous line drawing “Forest Fire”. Mick Burton 2015.

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.