29 June 2012

Down by the river

Back in March, I met Twitter and Facebook friend Dean Harkness (@Deanus on twitter) for the first time in Peterborough… we had a fab time!  One of the wonderful things about Twitter – that you can make such fab friends as a result of it!  At that time, we did a writing challenge, much to Dean’s surprise (I know, I’m mean) which I blogged about on 30th March, and we kind of promised ourselves that we’d do something similar the next time we met.

Last Friday, we met up again, again in Peterborough. Strangely, the weather when we’d met in March was amazing, like a Summer’s day, and we had sat outside Peterborough Cathedral on the grass and eaten lunch and wrote our cathedral pieces.  This time, on what should have been a Summer’s day, guess what?  You guessed it – it was like March!  A shower greeted us at the station, and it was chilly and pretty windy for most of the day.  Did it spoil it?  Did it ‘eck!  It was fab!  We spent ages chatting in a cafe and eating paninis (nom nom) then wandered and chatted even more.  Then we sat by the fountains with a hot chocolate… and chatted a bit more.  We met a man selling the Big Issue who had the most gorgeous dog called Willow, who was cuddled up in a sleeping bag and wearing a rather striking hat.  She was 14 and apparently still loved to run around.  She clearly wasn’t in the mood for running around when we saw her!  After that, we had a wander down to the river.

We hadn’t discovered the river on our last trip and were both really pleasantly surprised.  What a stunning place.  The trees that bordered it – clipped willows – were amazing.  They reminded us of the Ents in Lord of the Rings – they really did look as if they might stride out to meet us and shake our hands.  We met a gorgeous black staffie, tied up to a boat, who was so friendly and boisterous that he knocked Dean’s glasses off at one point!  (I only laughed a bit, honest.) And we saw a rather bizarre site, a dead pike laid beside a boat ring.  A sad site really… made an interesting pic though!

We both picked our sketching spots.  There was an area across the river of fencing and different wooden structures, with warehouse type buildings set back beyond greenery.  The contrasts struck me, so I decided to hone in on this.  I’d taken a few lead pencils but chose just to use black pen.  On a recent sketching trip with Angie Shawcroft (@AngieShawcroft on Twitter) I had sketched from a cafe just using black pen, something I hadn’t done before, and had really enjoyed it.  There’s a different feel to it.  It feels more fluid and spontaneous somehow.  So I did the same with this sketch.  I added the colour in with Inktense pencils (which are brilliant by the way) when I got home later. The end result…
Dean sat a few feet back from me to take in the scene from a distance, incorporating some lovely trees, a boat, and me on the bench sketching.  He said, after, that he likes to incorporate people into his pictures.  Dean also drew in a passing swan.  I love this idea of injecting life into an otherwise still scene. I also like that Dean’s picture is so different to mine in technique, much softer and more subtle.  Dean chose to do his sketch in pencil, building up the shades of grey afterwards. Neither of us had time to add colour at the time, but I know Dean intends to.  Dean’s lovely picture…

Our intention, after the sketching, was to head back to the station… but, we had one or two, what you might call, diversions!  One was a shop, where we bought fab and funky fridge magnets after spending 20 minutes deciding which ones we loved the most.  The next diversion was back on the river.  We discovered the most amazing bridge.  It was incredibly stunning, and what made it even more so, was that the sun had decided to make an appearance and lit up the structure, as you can see from the pic!

It occurred to us then that we might be a tad, errm, lost… and late!  We ended up legging it across Peterborough like a couple of crooks and getting befuddled by the railway signposts, according to which, there are half a dozen stations in Peterborough! But we made it, with a few mins to spare, both sweating buckets, gasping for breath and laughing our socks off.  It was a top day with a top bloke!  Thanks Dean 😉

In a week’s time, I shall be visiting the lovely Jane Howard (@JaneHoward on twitter)  Who knows what we may have in store for you (sniggers).

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About Abi Burlingham

I write children's books and paint pictures inspired by nature, animals, trees etc, mostly in acrylics. I am a crisp addict.
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18 Responses to 29 June 2012

  1. Lovely blog Abi & fab drawing again! You getting lost, who’d a thought it?! 😉
    Wait till I get you using a dip-pen & proper ink next! lol
    Angie x

  2. Oh crikey! I used to use a pen and green ink many years ago – it’s been yonks – yikes! I dyed the sides of my hair with the green ink at one point…. mmmm, that’s a whole other story xx

    • Ha ha! I need to hear this story next time we catch up!
      …Was considering dying my hair green yesterday actually for Hair For Hospices… fancy doing yours again?! xx

  3. In a word… No! 😀 xx

  4. Jenny Alexander says:

    I love this post! It’s got all the things I like to read about – fun, friendship, art, writing – plus gorgeous pictures. I strolled over here in the normal way, but I’m leaving with a skip in my step!

  5. Hee hee! Aw, thanks, Jenny! Really glad you have your skippy feet on. Thanks ever so 🙂

  6. lisashambrook says:

    So much fun! Must get out and sketch! Must stop raining… 🙂

  7. Hee hee! Hey, we’ll have to have a ‘tweet up’!!! 😉

  8. What a fun, bright and cheery post! And the picture of Willow is adorable 🙂

  9. Emma Pass says:

    Sounds like you both had a fantastic day! I love the drawings and it’s fascinating to see your different styles. The shading on yours is gorgeous, Abi, and I love the misty look to Dean’s. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Thanks Emma. Really pleased you like the drawings 🙂

  11. Hiya Abi! We did have fun, didn’t we…. again! Though the getting lost 20 minutes before your train was due has to be the highlight 😀

    Not sure I can forgive you for showing me up, artistically speaking. You’re the writer, OK!

    I worked on my scribble with coloured pencils and then water, which really brought out the colours, but then I got the watercolour paints out too! Will definitely post it on FB and Twitter soon.

    Thanks for a bloomin’ marvellous day! xx

  12. Hee hee! Thanks Dean 😉 Can’t wait to see the finished pic. Thanks too – it was ace! xx

  13. Lovely post about a lovely day despite the lack of summer warmth!
    Those trees are definitely ent-like.. quite magical to look at 🙂

    Oh, so a pike is a “gädda” 😉 Those are tasty ones :o)

    Next time you better play down your drawing talent Abi, the moaning and groaning it caused, hihi 😉

    Wish you a wonderful Sunday! x

    • Ha ha! Thanks Anna – will definitely play it down – we can’t have the lovely Mr Harkness moaning and groaning can we? 😀 Glad you liked the post and the trees – they were amazing! Happy Sunday to you too sweetie xx

  14. Nadine says:

    Awww, I love the doggie wrapped in the blanket. And that pic of the bridge is truly spectacular. I’m glad that the rain didn’t prevent you both from having what was obviously a fun day. The sketches are lovely. I hope you remember what I told you about your gift. 😉

  15. Awww! Nadine, thank you so much. We really did have a fab day, and the sketching is becoming a tad addictive. I haven’t forgoteen what you said – how could I? – and am hoping to do more with this 😉

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