Tag Archives: sculpture

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.

 

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.