# Colour Sequence Application to Continuous Line Drawings by Mick Burton – demonstration continued.

Clyde the Elephant, single continuous line with colour sequence by Mick Burton.

This is the continuation post covering my demonstration and workshop at Harrogate and Nidderdale Art Club on 6 December 2018.

Here is a reminder of my marker pen attempt at a continuous line elephant.

Demonstration of a Single Continuous Line Elephant, initial drawing, at Harrogate and Nidderdale Art Club by Mick Burton, on 6 December 2018.

At home later I followed the line/s around and found that there was more than one line and I needed to do one or two diversions to correct that.  As the pattern at the front of the neck has a sort of square which I needed to get rid of I used that region to also turn the drawing into a single line throughout.  With a bit of general smoothing of arcs all round I arrived at the following revised elephant.

Revised single continuous line elephant.    Mick Burton, Leeds Artist.

The next stage was to apply my Colour Sequence to the lines, which I completed in the last few days.  The result is shown at the top of this post.

To explain the process I use, and how it works, I will briefly go through the illustrations which I used later on in the Demonstration at Harrogate and Nidderdale Art Club.

We start by drawing a winding line in an anticlockwise direction.

Stage 1. Single line drawn anticlockwise.   Mick Burton explains colour sequence.

Then, starting on an outside section of line, overdraw in red alternate sections of line.  This results in three different continuous line sections bounded by a red line.

Stage 2. Overdraw in red missing alternate sections.   Mick Burton explains colour sequence.

We can now number all the areas to indicate where the colours in the sequence go.  Call the outside 0 and number through the sections to 5 in the middle.  You will see that each channel between red lines has alternately numbered areas.

Stage 3. Number the areas in sequence from the outside (being 0) to the middle (being 5). Mick Burton explains colour sequence.

I have already decided on a sequence of colours to use, running from light tones to darker and from yellow to red.  First apply yellow and gold alternately throughout the outer corridor.

Stage 4. Paint alternate colours within the outer corridor. Mick Burton explains Colour Sequence.

Paint in the next two colours from the sequence – orange (which looks reddish here) and red – alternately in the inner corridor.  You can see how the colours are lining up in natural sequence of tone and colour.

Stage 5. Paint second set of alternate colours (orange, which looks reddish here, and red) in the next corridor.   Mick Burton explains colour sequence.

Lastly, for our anticlockwise line we paint the central area (which has its own red line surrounding it).  The result is a simple set of sequences running from the outside to the middle.

Stage 6. The last colour in the sequence (dark red) is added in the centre. Mick Burton explains colour sequence.

As you will have realised, each loop going over earlier parts of the drawing adds a level, like overlapping shadows or leaves on a tree looking darker as they overlap.  The direction of darker tones of colour in the sequence reflects this.

In more complex drawings, however, the sequences of colours can change direction.  To show this we need to have a different single continuous line.

Start drawing your line with two loops from the lower left in an anticlockwise direction as before.  When you reach the upper left change to doing three loops in a clockwise direction and then go back to the start by a line running underneath.

Stage 7. Start drawing your line from the lower left in an anticlockwise direction doing loops and when you reach the higher left change to clockwise loops running back to the right. Then finish clockwise running underneath to the start. Mick Burton explains colour sequence.

Here is confirmation of the directions of the line, anticlockwise and clockwise, and how they change and run back over earlier lines.  We now have a more complex drawing for colouring.

Stage 8. Here is the completed single line with the directions shown – red for anticlockwise and blue for clockwise. Mick Burton explains colour sequence.

By applying alternate overdraw in red we split the drawing into corridors which look a bit more complicated than the simple anticlockwise drawing we did earlier.

Stage 9. Alternate overdraw in red splits the new drawing up into corridors for colouring. Mick Burton explains colour sequence.

When we number the areas, starting at 0 on the outside as before, we have plus numbers at the top of the drawing but minus numbers appear in the lower corridor.  When we follow the natural sequence of numbers downwards from 2 through 1 and 0 we hit -1 and -2.

Stage 10. Numbering from 0 on the outside as before we get minus numbers as well as plus. Mick Burton explains colour sequence.

After I had been doing my colour sequence for a few years I found out that mathematicians call this mix of anti and clock directions Winding Number Theory.  When you continue with loops in an anticlockwise direction you are adding levels of overlap and when you change to clockwise you start reducing levels.

We can now apply alternate colours yellow and red to the upper channel.

Stage 11. First set of alternate colours in the upper channel on the complex drawing. Mick Burton explains colour sequence.

Then we can complete the positive colour direction.

Stage 12.  Completing the plus direction colours by adding dark red.   Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Now looking at the lower colours, in the clockwise section of the drawing we add the final two colours alternately.

Stage 13.  Complete colour sequence on single continuous line drawn in both anticlockwise and clockwise directions. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

So that is the basis of how I do my colour sequence.

For my elephant, it is more complicated and I show below my sketch after doing the alternate overdraws to create the corridors of alternate colours and then numbered the colours throughout.

Single continuous line elephant showing alternate overdrawn lines in red and colour numbering. The key to the colour sequence and numbering is shown. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

I have shown the key to the colour sequence and numbering in the top right corner.  The colours can be employed in the opposite direction, of course, but with all my drawings the choice of which direction of sequence to adopt is not too difficult.  The darker colours fall lower down or on the main body of the animal and the more delicate red, orange and yellow mostly on the face.

I only use red once, and that is on the eye.  This really reflects the greater detail on a face which extends the colour range.  Several of my colour sequence animals have the eye coloured by an end of range colour only used once in the drawing, eg. Iguana, Harriet the Hen and Olympic Lion.

The completed elephant, at the top of the post, has a story behind it.  I did the initial drawing in my demonstration to Harrogate and Nidderdale Art Club on 6 December 2018, which is the day my first grandson, Lucas, was born in Glasgow, son of Kate and Mark.

I have decided to call the elephant Clyde after the famous Glasgow river.  Lucas can have a picture on his wall which is exactly as old as he is.

# Colour Sequence Allocation on Escher Islamic Mosaic Continuous Lines, STAGE 3.

Now that we have applied my Alternate Overdraw to the Continuous Lines in the Escher Islamic design, I can show how I allocate colours.  We can then compare the result with the colours on the original Islamic design painted by Escher in 1922.

My basic method of allocating colours is covered in my Post on 27 September 2014 entitled “Colour Sequence on Continuous Line Drawing”.

I will start with that same basic process where colour “0” is the outside of the drawing and this is alternated with “1” in its channel or channels.  When we cross through an overdraw from a “1” area we allocate “2” to this adjacent area on the other side and then alternate this with “3” (if there are any) in that channel.  In the negative direction, if we go from a “0” area through an overdraw we will allocate “(-)1” and alternate with “(-)2” in that channel.

Five colour number allocation on continuous lines for Escher Mosaic. Mick Burton study.

There are no areas coloured “3” and so we have 5 colours allocated, compared to only 4 colours used in the original Mosaic.

At this stage things did not look promising.  Trying to equate the 4 original colours in the Mosaic to my 5 numbers produced a best set of matches of 156 out of 313 (I won’t go into much detail here) which is just under 50%.

One thing that I did observe was that YELLOW matched “1” on 76 occasions and “(-)1” on 88 occasions.  This reminded me that I occasionally allocate colours positively by ignoring (-) signs.  When switched to simply using “0”, “1” and “2” I had 3 numbers to compare with the 4 original colours on the mosaic.  This now produced a best match of 241 colours out of 313 which gives 77% and was much more respectable.  Here is the 3 colour allocation.

Colour sequence allocation of 3 colours to continuous lines on Escher Mosaic. Mick Burton study.

Of course the fourth colour GREEN used in the mosaic does not appear at all in mine.

As with a lot of art, including craft, there may be processes (or even rules) which get you a long way in a design but you have to know when, and how, to break away from them.  I may be a bit rigid with my Continuous Lines but my studies of Picasso and Dali doing them demonstrates that nothing is certain.

This Islamic artist, who I regard as very special, probably used a method equivalent to mine to allocate most of his colours but probably made the following over riding decisions to finish the colouring off –

a.   GREEN was allocated to the 8 areas surrounding each of the 8 planets, and nowhere else.

b.  Each of the 8 planets was coloured PURPLE, instead of black, to mirror its use for the centres of the Suns.

c.  Each Purple junction block at the middle of each side has three directional areas surrounding it which are coloured PURPLE instead of black.  I originally considered these to be decorative.

Allocation of all green colours and changes of black to purple on Escher Mosaic. Mick Burton study.

If the above decisions were made first, then the remaining allocations would be made totally on my 3 colour allocation.  That is 229 areas remaining where my allocation matches 100% with the original Escher Mosaic colours.

229 colour sequence areas matching original Escher Mosaic colouring. Mick Burton study.

So there we are. I hope you have found my attempt to explain how this Escher Islamic Mosaic contains two continuous lines, which I believe was deliberate by the artist, and how most colours matched a colour sequence directly linked to the continuous lines.

The basic elements in the design largely match the template produced by my Alternate Overdraw method and, after specific allocation decisions were made by the artist, there was a total match of all other colours allocated by my method using the template.  Whether of not the artist used a similar method to myself, there is a direct link between the colour sequence and the two continuous lines.

In my searches through other forms of art, on the look out for continuous lines, I have not found any other example of art which contained both continuous lines and a related colour sequence, or signs of possible use of Alternate Overdraw with its Template.

There is a modern mathematical theory called “The Winding Number Theory” which could allocate colours in an equivalent way to my initial 5 colours, but it is not as much fun.

I will do a FURTHER POST (STAGE 4) on how the artist could have used Alternate Overdraw to help him to connect up the loose ends on the borders when actually constructing his continuous lines.

Mick Burton Continuous Line Blog.

# Winding Number Theory and Continuous Line Drawing

Whirlpool in Space, or Petrol polluted Puddle. Spherical single continuous line drawing with repeat colour sequence with Rainbow colours. Mick Burton, Continuous Line, 1971.

This painting was one of two pictures hung at the Chelsea Painters Open Exhibition, held at the Chenil Galleries, Chelsea,1971.  I walked along the Kings Road looking for the gallery (I had submitted through and agency) and it was great to see the Whirlpool first in a window by the entrance.

The design was triggered by a browse through mathematics books in the library and coming across Winding Number Theory.  This used a continuous line and every time the line was drawn winding in a counter-clockwise direction a level was added and if you wound back in a clockwise direction a level was taken off.

So far, in my colour sequence numbering based upon Alternate Overdraw, I had not had a sequence of colours greater than about nine.  If I used the Winding Number method and continued to wind around counter-clockwise many times I could have a long colour sequence.  I went a bit mad with the Whirlpool, which was done on a spherical basis (allowing drawing out of one side of the paper and back in at the opposite side), and has a sequence of 20.

I did not simply go from light to dark over the whole 20 (the steps in shade between each colour would have been too small), but oscillated up and down with a smaller range of colours similar to a rainbow.  I had seen the rainbow effect produced by sunlight on petrol spilt on a puddle.

Alternate overdraw with colour sequence numbers. Continuous Line, Mick Burton.

To illustrate the difference between my Alternate Overdraw and the Winding Number, I start with the Alternate Overdraw in Red on the left.  As shown in earlier posts, each channel of areas between overdraws has two numbers alternately.  You move naturally up to a higher channel or down to a lower channel, through the red line and continue the numbering.

As before, you start with “0” on the outside and 0 can also appear within the drawing.

When we come to Winding Number allocation, we can use the same basic drawing with little arrows showing the direction it has been drawn.  It can be either direction of course, but I have chosen one which will match the result above.

Winding number allocation. Continuous Line, Mick Burton.

Starting at “0” for the outside, if we cross to another area through a counter-clockwise border for that area, it will be a level higher.  If we cross through a clockwise line we reach a lower area.

Here the + areas are of course higher levels and the (-) areas are lower.

The numbering matches the Alternate Overdraw illustration above.

Now, just to show the initial thrust of the drawing for the Whirlpool, with many levels, the next illustration shows a line spiralling from the centre outwards and I have shown just 13 winds.

Part of initial Winding Number spiral for the Whirlpool in Space painting.    Mick Burton, single continuous line drawing.

Then I have drawn a line from the centre of the spiral directly back to the bottom of the picture as the first phase of breaking up the spiral so that lots more areas start to  appear.  The next such phase is a meandering line near the top of the picture.

As I have said, this is a shorter version than the one usd for the main Whirlpool in Space picture above.

Next I have decided that the direction of  the line will be counter-clockwise starting from the bottom of the spiral, so that the levels go up towards the centre.  The numbers have then been added.

On the original painting, which is 24″ x 20″, I used alternate overdraw to allocate the colours.  This was because I was used to using that method and I think it is better for an artist anyway.  The Winding Number theory was simply the inspiration for producing a sequence of 20 or more.

Now, to go off at a tangent, I am interested in other artists in the family who keep coming to light.  As part of my research into my mother’s family, the Mace’s from Bedale (from 1825) and much earlier from Cambridge, I have come across a book by Thomas Mace called “Musick’s Monument” published originally in 1676.  It was published again about six years ago.  Amongst his own illustrations within the book is this one of a spiral depicting his idea of God’s world.

“Mysterious Centre of All Mysterie…” in Musick’s Monument, by Thomas Mace, 1676. Continuous Line, Mick Burton.

Thomas was a famous composer of the 17th century, and craftsman who made lutes and viols, whose main job was a chorister at Trinity College, Cambridge.

To add to this “sort of” co-incidence, my Uncle Harry Mace from Bedale, North Yorkshire, was a joiner and builder.  When he retired he started to make old style instruments, such as viols, and sold them to a music shop in Leeds.  I am sure he did not know about Thomas of Cambridge.

Thomas was not too impressed with a relatively new instrument in his time, the violin.

# Colour Sequence on Continuous Line Drawing

Fig 1. Completed Colour Sequence on Single Continuous Line Drawing of horse. Mick Burton, Continuous Line Blog.

How do I apply Colour Sequence to my Continuous Line Drawings, which I first developed in the late 1960,s ?  In my last blog post, about Alternate Overdraw of My Continuous Lines, I pointed out that Colour Sequence was the next stage and so here we go.  I will now show the stages involved in completing the colouring of this Horse.

Fig 2. Alternate Overdraw on Single Continuous Line Drawing of the Horse, as the first stage of Colour Sequence. Mick Burton, Continuous Line Blog.

From the two Alternate Overdraw examples in the previous post, I have chosen Fig 2 commencing at point “X” for this example (either “A” or “X” would result in the same colour sequence).

We are going to number all areas of the drawing, commencing with the background which will be numbered “0”.  In this example the background will remain uncoloured but “0” will also occur within the drawing and have a colour.

Fig 3. Initial numbering (0 and 1) of channels between Alternate Overdraws on the Continuous Line Horse.

You will notice that between all the closed lines, formed by the Alternate Overdraws, there are channels of areas.  These can be completely numbered alternately by only two numbers, which in this case are 0 and 1.  So, starting with 0 on the background, work through all these linked channels, see Fig 3.  This also sets the direction of the number sequence throughout the drawing.

Fig 4. Colour Sequence numbers 2 and 3 on the Continuous Line Horse.

The numbering progresses both upwards through positive numbers and downwards through negative numbers.  We will start with the positive direction and allocate the next pair of numbers, 2 and 3.  By moving from an 0 area into a 1 area, and on through its Alternate Overdraw border, we will enter an un-allocated area we can mark 2.  Now deal with all the other areas in this new channel, marking alternate areas 3 and 2, to complete this allocation.  After this we need to check for any further Alternate Overdraw channel, or channels, at this level adjacent to 1 areas and then allocate 2 and 3 to them also, see Fig 4.

We then need to check for any further Alternate Overdraw channels enclosed within any of the 2 and 3 channels.  If we found one we would allocate 4 and 5 to the new channel or channels.  In this case there is no higher level channel.

Fig 5. Colour Sequence numbers (-)1 and (-)2 on the Single Continuous Line Horse. Mick Burton, Continuous Line Blog.

Having  completed the numbering of areas in the positive direction, we now go into the negative in Fig 5.  By looking at an area 1 and moving through a 0 area with an Alternate Overdraw border we can cross through that into a (-)1 and (-)2 channel.  Mark the initial one (-)1 and then allocate alternately through the channel with (-)2 and (-)1.  After completing that channel, look for other un-allocated channels adjacent to 0 areas and allocate (-)1 and (-)2 to them.  Now look for further channels in the negative direction enclosed within a (-)1 and (-)2 channel.  There is one such, a single area (enclosed by its own Overdraw) in the front leg of the horse, which I have left blank in Fig 5 , which will be (-)3.

Fig 6. Colour Sequence colour chart for Continuous Line Horse. Mick Burton, Continuous Line Blog.

I was inspired by Rainbows in deciding on the sort of Colour Sequences I wanted to use for my Continuous Lines.  For shorter sequences, I settled for “partial rainbows” involving two prime colours only with a progression of colour mix and tones from light to dark.  For the Elephant I used yellows, greens and blues and for the Horse it was yellows, orange, red and browns in Fig 6.

I have carefully selected colours which have a stepped progression, both in colour and tone, and where possible I apply them from the tube (poster colour in the late 1960’s or acrylic now) to achieve an even and solid result.  I avoid mixing if I can, to retain the pure consistency of colour application across the painting, but sometimes it is necessary.

Fig 7. Black and white photocopy of Colour Chart for Continuous Line Horse.

To assess the accuracy of the progression steps of my Colour Sequence chart, I do a black and white (or grayscale) photocopy of my chart to check that the steps still work in monochrome, see Fig 7.

Having produced the Colour Sequence chart, we need to decide the direction of the colours matched to the numbers, ie. Light to dark in an upward or a downward direction.  Generally I see whether a scale would mostly coincide with where a natural highlight would be, or have more darks towards the lower parts in a drawing to infer shadow.  Usually it is fairly obvious, but you can always start again with the other direction of colours.  Note that my style may take advantage of natural hints of highlight or shadow on a subject, but generally these aspects (along with perspective) are absent.

I remember that when doing equations at school, which produced two answers (+ or (-) ), was a puzzle to me which no one could explain.  I understand the concept of a practical outcome from having two answers a bit better now.

Fig 8. Initial Colour Sequence pair of colours on Continuous Line Horse. Mick Burton, Continuous Line Blog.

Once we have decided on the colour match with the numbers, the initial two colours can be painted in, ie.  Vermillion = 0 and Orange = 1, see Fig 8.

Fig 9. Second Colour Sequence pair of colours on Continuous Line Horse.

We can then match numbers 2 and 3 in areas to the colours required in the next channels up, or simply apply Golden Yellow to areas across the overdraw from Orange and then its alternate colour Permanent Yellow, in Fig 9.

Fig 10. Third Colour Sequence pair of colours, in the negative direction, on the Single Continuous Line  Drawing of Horse. Mick Burton, Continuous Line Blog.

Now we can match numbers (-)1 and (-)2 in the negative direction, or simply apply Light Brown to areas across the Overdraws from Vermillion.  When these Light Brown and Burnt Sienna channels have been completed the last channel colour is (-)3 which is Burnt Umber.  In Fig 10 I have left this final area blank  (on the front left leg of the Horse).

So you have seen my Colour Sequence method, using Alternate Overdraw, for Continuous Line Drawings.  Sorry if it has been a long explanation (particularly if you grasped it quickly or had already come across parts of it), but I have tried to pitch it as helpfully as I can, based on my demonstration sessions.

A couple a years after I started Colour Sequence I came across the Winding Number Theory.  There is a connection and I did pick up one or two ideas from it.  I will talk about this in a later post, but as always I am not a trained mathematician and so I will keep talking in pictures.

I hope that you will give it a try and I am sure you will enjoy the ride, as I have for so long.

If you display or publish your results, it would be great if you could specifically acknowledge me and my ideas.