Tag Archives: Skelldale

Continuous line drawing at St Gemma’s Leeds Art Exhibition 2014

St Gemma's Leeds Art Exhibition.  Mick Burton continuous line.

St Gemma’s Leeds Art Exhibition. Mick Burton continuous line.

I have entered seven paintings in St Gemma’s Leeds Art Exhibition, which starts on Thursday 23 October 2014 at Leeds Grammar School.  There are over 800 pictures for sale.  I felt I had to put this in my continuous line blog.

I have entered in the previous 2 years since I started painting again and managed to sell work each time.  Its well worth a visit.  And its in aid of St Gemma’s Hospice.

Here are three of my paintings as a taster.  All are in acrylic on canvas.



Usain Bolt continuous line drawing.  Several colour sequences.  100 metre Olympic final at night.  Mick Burton, 2013.

Usain Bolt single continuous line drawing. Several colour sequences. 100 metre Olympic final at night. Mick Burton, 2013.

I have been a big fan of Usain Bolt and wanted to use my style to try to capture the dynamic speed and flowing movement of this great athlete.

As the race took place under floodlights, I have used a shimmering effect against the dark background.








Skelldale is totally drawn with one continuous line and various colour sequences have been used. Mick Burton, 2013.

Skelldale is totally drawn with one continuous line and various colour sequences have been used. Mick Burton, single continuous line artist 2013.

I was brought up in Ripon, a North Yorkshire small market town.  There are three rivers which virtually surround the place – the Laver, the Skell and the Ure  in order of increasing size.

I lived near to the Skell, and we sometimes would walk along it upstream to Fountains Abbey.  One of the local myths was that there was an ancient  tunnel from Ripon Cathedral to Fountains Abbey and we would discuss where the route might be.

Red Kites at Harewood, continuous line and colour sequence. Mick Burton, 2013.

Red Kites at Harewood, single continuous line drawing and colour sequence. Mick Burton, 2013.

Yesterday, on the bus back from Harrogate to Leeds, we approached Harewood Bank and saw the herd of deer in the park and above there were six red kites circling.  I have never seen that many at once. 

Since they were re-introduced near Harewood they have spread many miles and sometimes float above our house in Gledhow Valley in Leeds.

I had to try to capture this amazing bird with my continuous line and colour sequence.




Why “Continuous Line” ? What is the point of it ?

You may ask why I am so bothered about the line being “Continuous”.  Well here we go –    Skelldale. Continuous  line drawing.

The Continuous Line gives the drawing an enclosed flexible structure, or environment, which in turn means that all parts are related to some degree.  If I modify sections of a drawing there can be ramifications elsewhere, which may be small or extensive.  “Skelldale” was one of my earliest continuous line drawings.

When I compose a drawing I have to bear in mind that the line must return to the start point.  This is a lot of fun when I do an abstract, but for a figurative drawing it is more difficult as I am aware that the drawing will constantly change.  However, I have learned that this difficulty can help to trigger the creative force that often lies within the drawing.

This discipline of having to make choices on the route of the line, or modifying the route, can produce an extra structural effect or dynamic of movement which I may not have foreseen.  This creation of a result beyond my intention is similar to what happens in nature, where the practical necessity of combining all the elements needed in an animal or a plant often evolve into a tremendous design.

        Lizard. Continuous line with colour sequence. Mick Burton, 1971

A further result of the Continuous Line is its creative effect on colours applied.  I worked out a method of applying colour sequences which can further enhance the natural structure and dynamic effect.  A colour only occurring once can be in a key area, eg. the eye of the Iguana.  I used a special repeat pattern for the scale effect.




Flame on the Sun. Spherical continuous line. Mick Burton, 1972My “spherical” drawings, where the line goes out of one side of the page and in at the opposite side, also produce a special arrangement of colours which can apply to a sphere.  The “Flame on the Sun” has coloured areas which match if the picture has its sides pulled around to meet in a cylinder.  However, there is no such match top to bottom, where a “bunching” effect would form the “poles” to complete a sphere. 

Africa. Four colour map theorem. Continuous line. Mick Burton, 1974.

My knowledge of Continuous Lines also lead to my creating them within natural structures when I researched the Four Colour Map Theorem 40 years ago.  This single line along boundaries of the countries of Africa (from my 1950’s school atlas), goes through every boundary junction once only.  I could connect up the two loose ends to make it “Continuous” !  You can use two alternate colours for countries inside the line and another two alternate colours for countries (and the sea) outside the line and you have your Four colours.  Proving that you only need four colours for any map is a different matter !

 So there we are, my fascination with my lines continues.  I will cover all these types of line further subsequently.