Pages from a sketchbook: Working In The Dark – Literally

By its very nature, and irrespective of what is being extracted,  an underground mine is a dark place to work. It has, in fact been likened to ‘being buried-alive for eight hours a day’. There is, of course. little art to convey what this is like; since after all, black (intense, almost touchable black) is just that’ ‘black’.  However, the addition of light, whether from candles, carbide lamps or  electrical battery-powered lights attached to safety helmets  does (literally) brighten the scene and it is this that I have attempted to portray in the images presented below:

Titled:  ‘View from a Chamber towards a Shaft’. the first image attempts to convey the depth of the darkness (as shown in the entrance to the shaft visible in the background) and also the small amount of light given-off by the use of candles within the shaft chamber; the candles appearing as circles of light  with only a very small field of illumination around them and across the waiting ore wagon in the foreground.

Title:  ‘View from a Chamber towards a Shaft’.

Media: pen and Ink liner on 100gsm cartridge paper.

Owner: Artist’s own collection.

This work is copyright

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View from a Chamber towards a Shaft.

A scene with a similar theme appears below, and shows two miners using a Lyner-brand compressed-air rock drill at a working face. Again, the darkness is illuminated only by candles, and the area is full of shadows as a result.

Title: ‘Lyner Stoping Drill’

Media: pen and Ink liner on 100gsm cartridge paper.

Owner: Artist’s own collection.

This work is copyright

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Lyner Stoping Drill.

 

 

 

 

 

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Pages from a sketchbook: Working In The Dark – Literally

The Woodstock Battery

As with the previous image, the Woodstock Gold-Ming Co. Ltd. was located at Karangahake, in New Zealand’s North Island.  The Company was formed in the early year of the Ohinemuri (Oh-hin-ee-moo-ree) goldfield and existed as a separate entity  for several decades.  it was eventually taken-over by the neighbouring Talisman Consolidated Ltd.

The image shows the Woodstock’s 40-stamp battery which the Company constructed at the confluence of the Ohinemuri and Waitawheta (Y-tah-fee-tah) Rivers, the Ohinemuri being visible in the foreground of the painting, the Waitawheta in the center, to the right of the battery building.

The battery suffered a  major fire in 1910, and this was followed shortly-after by severe structural damage as the Ohinemuri rose in flood.  The battery was dismantled as a result.

Title: Woodstock Battery, Karangahake

Media: Acrylic paint on canvas paper.

Owner: Artists own collection.

This image is copyright

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WOODSTOCK BATTERY, KARANGAHAKE.

 

The Woodstock Battery

Talisman Consolidated Ltd.

Talisman Consolidated was a London-based gold mining company that operated a mine at Karangahake (Car-rang-uh-hack-ee) in New Zealand’s North Island from approximately 1893 to  1921.  It was one of the ‘Big Three’ gold mines in the area, and was , for a time, one of the biggest gold producers in New Zealand.  However, the gold effectively ran out during WW I, and the Company closed  its battery  and mining operations in December 1919.

This painting is based on a photograph that appeared in the New Zealand Mines Handbook published in1906. Subsequent research indicates that the sides of the building could possibly have been painted Red Oxide (as appearing in the May Queen (Hauraki) painting that I posted on 5 May 2016). This cannot however be confirmed, although research into the matter continues.

Title: ‘The Talisman Consolidated Battery at Karangahake’.

Notes: Acrylic paint on canvas.

Ownership: Artist’s personal collection.

(This work is copyright).

 

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THE TALISMAN CONSOLIDATED BATTERY AT KARANGAHAKE.

Talisman Consolidated Ltd.

The May Queen

The painting  below is of the May Queen of Hauraki Gold Mining Co. Ltd.’s  Poppet Head (Headframe), surface buildings and Mullock (waste rock) dump.  The ‘Queen was located in the Karaka Creek area of the Thames (New Zealand) goldfield, and was one of the last of the large Thames gold mines to operate.

Title: May Queen of Hauraki Gold Mining Co. Ltd, Thames, 1910.

Media: Acrylic paint and ink pen on canvas paper

Ownership: Artist’s personal collection.

(This image is copyright).

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MAY QUEEN OF HAURAKI GOLD MINING CO. LTD., THAMES, 1910.

The May Queen

Pages from a sketchbook: The Daily image (16 Jan’ 2016)

As is already evident, I am interested in ‘things railway’ with particular emphasis of steam locomotives.  I especially like large articulated tank locomotives (of which there are various types and wheel arrangements). and inevitably these have appeared in my art. I am particularly interested in the Kitson-Meyer type of articulated locomotives, a little-known variant of articulated tank engine, a type most active in South America, and have posted two examples of this type of locomotive below. They belong to the Tickford Valley Railway Co. (London) Ltd. (TVR), an imagined narrow gauge railway line that is constructed through very hilly and difficult terrain in the western part of New Zealand’s North Island . A 1:148 scale representation of part of this railway (The ‘Kereru Branch’), has been constructed.

Michael Keith

STEAM LOCOMOTIVES

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KITSON-MEYER TYPE ARTICULATED LOCOMOTIVE

(Type 1. 0-6-6-0T)

(Tickford Valley Rly. Co. (London) Ltd.

Notes: Drawn with Black-ink Pigment Liner (.005 nib) on white cartridge paper.  Dimensions: 3 in. x 4.5 in.(76 mm x 114 mm).

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KITSON-MEYER TYPE ARTICULATED LOCOMOTIVE

(Type 3 . 0-6-6-0T)

(Tickford Valley Rly. Co. (London) Ltd.

Notes: Drawn with Black-ink Pigment Liner (.005 nib) on white cartridge paper.  Dimensions: 3 in. x 4.5 in.(76 mm x 114 mm).

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Pages from a sketchbook: The Daily image (16 Jan’ 2016)

Pages from a sketchbook: The Daily images (15 Jan’ 2015)

Despite the preponderance of gold-mining and railway-themed illustrations that appear on this site,  I have been known to draw other things, especially aircraft. Herewith an example.

AIRCRAFT

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ON-MARK B-26K ‘INVADER

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GOLD MINING

11. A CALIFORNIAN 5-STAMP BATTERY...DSCF3393 (2)

‘A ‘CALIFORNIAN’ TYPE  5-STAMP BATTERY AS USED ON N.Z. GOLDFIELDS’. 

In most of the Coromandel Peninsula’s batteries (reduction-works), the stamper battery was the key to success.   The battery  invariably  operated in  groups of five (as illustrated).* Heavy weights (the ‘Stamps’),  operating  in a pre-programmed sequence and set at  the optimum height for the purpose, crushed the gold-bearing quartz-rock to talcum-powder fineness, releasing  the gold there-in for further chemical processing.

* Confusingly, in Australasia, the term ‘Battery’ was / is used to describe both the crushing  machinery (as illustrated), and the building / site where these machines were located.

Michael Keith

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Pages from a sketchbook: The Daily images (15 Jan’ 2015)

The Daily Images (14 Jan’ 2016)

GOLD MINING

‘Art’ takes many forms, not all of them necessarily mono-dimensional.  For many years I have been a model railway enthusiast, using 1: 148 scale (‘British’ N-scale) to reproduce in miniature the sorts of things that could be seen in the ‘full-sized’ world.  An example of this appears below. It depicts the battery (also known as a ‘reduction-works’) of the Kaisers Reef (Hauraki) Gold Mining Co. Ltd.   In common with many of my efforts it is fictional in concept, although based on actual similar plants and is technically-accurate in what it portrays.   It is included for your viewing pleasure as it is a verifiable ‘work of art’ , albeit in three dimensional form; the colours and techniques used in creating the model forming (at least in my opinion) a cohesive whole, and contributing to the over-all narrative.

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Kaisers Reef (Hauraki) G. M. Co. 40-stamp Battery and cyanide plant

Notes: Scale: 1:148.

Dimensions:  13 in. x 13.5 in. x  5 in.

Materials used: Mixed media.

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STEAM LOCOMOTIVES

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 New Zealand Government Rlys. Dept. Class Wb.

These were a small tank locomotive of 2-6-4T wheel arrangement, and were used on light track  and suburban service.

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The Daily Images (14 Jan’ 2016)