Tag Archives: drawing

Creative Feature: Abi Burlingham

This week I’m bringing you another artistic writer, what a choice, words and pictures!

Abi is the author of several children’s books and when she’s not filling notebooks with words, she’s painting and creating works of art instead. I relate so easily to Abi, as much of my time is spent the same way! 

Abi Burlingham – Author and Artist

What inspires you?

Nature and poignancy for themes, colour and shape for appearance. I love the natural curves of nature and the diversity of colour. I really love being outside amongst trees, meadows, moors and I love creatures of all shapes and sizes. I find nature very inspiring and want to create something that the viewer feels a connection with, which is why an animal or person often feature in my paintings. Artists that have inspired me are Paul Cezanne, Gustav Klimt and Gaugin – I love their use of colour and shape and themes.

Live Abi Burlingham

Live – Abi Burlingham

Is your art planned or spontaneous?

I usually get an image in my head – it pops up without any conscious thought. Sometimes I store it in there and when I have two or three I draw them on tiny sheets of paper – about 3 x 4 inches – just in biro. They take seconds to do and are the only planning I do. Drawing the picture on canvas usually takes around 10 – 15 mins – I am a fast drawer! The painting and re-painting, as I make changes along the way, take a lot longer and I feel it as I go along, so yes, I would say my art is far more spontaneous than planned.

Matlock Abi Burlingham

Matlock (pen and ink) – Abi Burlingham

I can see you like bold colours and I’ve seen you use pencils and acrylics, but do you have a favourite medium, colours or techniques?

As a child and teenager, I loved using pencils. I still have my box of Caran D’Ache pencils. I now also use Derwent Inktense pencils which are really distinct colours and you can add water to them which increases the intensity. I love doing sketches in situ with these and a black pen. For larger pieces that are completely from my imagination, I love acrylics. They are so bold and bright and you can build them up and get a range of textures. I think they suit the bold, abstract nature of my paintings more than any other medium.

Ivy Leaves - Abi Burlingham

Ivy Leaves – Abi Burlingham

What do you consider your best work to date – do you have a favourite piece?

Ooh that’s a hard one. I think my personal favourite is the big ivy canvas I painted five years ago and have hanging in my hallway. It was a labour of love and took every day for six weeks to complete. I also love ‘The Walk’. I barely thought about the painting as I was doing it – it seemed to create itself and I was so pleased with the end result.

Grub's Pups Abi Burlingham

Grubs Pups – Abi Burlingham

You have several published children’s books, have you ever thought about illustrating them yourself? What are your future plans with your art?

I have! I really would love to one day. I have illustrated a book which I couldn’t find a publisher for and still have all the paintings for this. Maybe I’ll give it another shot one day. I need a fantastic concept that also fits in with my style and the themes of nature and animals. I am currently arranging for a limited amount of prints of my acrylic canvases and plan to sell these and the originals – I already have a buyer for ‘The Walk’ which is wonderful.

Leaf Fall - Abi Burlingham

Leaf Fall – Abi Burlingham

Lastly, if you could commission anything for yourself, money no object, what would it be? 

It would be a painting. I love sculpture too, but I am drawn to huge canvases more than anything. A really huge abstract canvas of trees and birds would be wonderful.

Tree from Website - Abi Burlingham

Tree from Abi’s website (you can all four seasons of trees on her website!)

Cloud Gazing - Abi Burlingham

Cloud Gazing – Abi Burlingham

Thanks Abi!
Check out Abi’s website abiburlingham.com and keep up to date with her projects and the future availability of prints. Take a look at her books which are available on Amazon. She also blogs on her website and you can like her page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter, she’ll be happy to see you there!

Abi’s Bio

Buttercup Magic Abi Burlingham

A Mystery for Megan – Abi Burlingham

Abi Burlingham lives in Derbyshire and teaches English to adults. She has had six children’s books published, including the Ruby and Grub series and Buttercup Magic: A Mystery for Megan. She likes to walk through fields with her rescue greyhound, paint, write and eat cheesecake. She would quite like to do all of these at once and is still trying to work out how.

Thank You for Believing in Me

Many bloggers are contemplative during January, looking back and looking forward…I want to use this post to say THANK YOU. 
Thank you to everyone who has supported my writing and my blog, and to all who’ve taken time to comment on my pages, or review my book!

This time last year I began getting to know some amazing writers and readers online: Blogs, Twitter and Facebook…and I’d like to share a post I wrote a year ago (before I knew many of you!). Thank you for believing in me!

The Future belongs to Those who Believe in the Beauty of their Dreams.

Eleanor Roosevelt had it exactly right…the future really does belong to those who believe in their dreams…

How many of us started out with huge dreams…the kind that stretched far, far beyond what we can see? How many of us played in the woods building forts and defending them from intruders and dragons, or by the ocean building sand castles and trenches? Were you so lost in books that you felt the Famous Five were your best friends? Did you skirt the local park with dark glasses searching for villains and opportunities to spy or use your magic super powers? Did you build Lego towns and fill them with adventure? Did you play ‘Pooh Sticks’ or race paper boats down the river? Did you draw fantastical pictures and wait at night for them to come alive? Were your stories so magical you slipped into them when you dreamed at night? Did you make mud pies and feed a family of dolls and teddy bears? Did you dream? Did you have dreams so strong you were sure you would achieve them?

I did…I knew exactly what I wanted as a child… I wanted to own horses, to spend my days galloping across mountains and valleys… I wanted to live by the ocean and swim in the sea every day… I wanted to write and see my stories published… I wanted to draw and paint and illustrate… Yes, I had dreams…

To be truthful, some were just childhood imaginings, fun, playtime. I was never going to live in the forest and defend my homestead from dragons…
I had ambition, as a child I wanted to write and draw, and I did, making books from A5 paper…I devoured Cicely Mary Barker’s ‘Flower Fairies’ and made up my own, stapling pages together and inventing rhymes to go with them. I bought tiny A6 notepads and wrote stories, lost in a world of my own. I drew, sitting on my bed with a sketch pad, my tongue protruding as I concentrated on my art, sketching for hours.

Images by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use)

My dreams grew with aspirations and ideas as I got older, just as my art did. From the crude pencil drawings of a ten-year-old, to more sophistication at thirteen and more mature at nineteen. My dreams grew up…but not always in a good way. I became cynical and reserved in my dreams, trying to think of things that could actually happen, things that weren’t too lofty for me to achieve…and perhaps that’s just where I began to lose them…

I began to doubt myself, my ability and question the reality of the things I once wanted. Was I good enough to illustrate, or to write something that people, real people, would actually want to read? That doubt, along with the realities of life, leaving school, getting a job, getting married and having children, stopped me from pursuing those things I’d dreamed of all my childhood.

I don’t blame anyone, I just let life take over and my dreams faded like an old masterpiece hung on a wall that no one does more than glance at, left to saturate in the glare of every day sun.
I could have been more than the sum of what I am right now…that does make me sad…there is so much more I could have achieved. It was when I was thirty that I decided I could become more, that those old buried dreams deserved a second look. And I began to write.

Self-belief has taken a lot longer…however, slowly over the years those shattered dreams have come alive, my writing has fed my aspirations and words that I thought would never interest anyone have become the tool for rebuilding those dreams.

So, yes, it’s true I have never found myself dwelling in the woods defending my little wooden fort from all things evil, but those dragons I used to chase off in my imagination, now live on paper. I believe in them, I believe in me…and that’s where it all starts…the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams…I intend to believe in mine.

Once again, thank you for believing in me!

The Future belongs to Those who Believe in the Beauty of their Dreams

Eleanor Roosevelt had it exactly right…the future really does belong to those who believe in their dreams…

How many of us started out with huge dreams…the kind that stretched far, far beyond what we can see? How many of us played in the woods building forts and defending them from intruders and dragons, or by the ocean building sand castles and trenches? Were you so lost in books that you felt the Famous Five were your best friends? Did you skirt the local park with dark glasses searching for villains and opportunities to spy or use your magic super powers? Did you build Lego towns and fill them with adventure? Did you play ‘Pooh Sticks’ or race paper boats down the river? Did you draw fantastical pictures and wait at night for them to come alive? Were your stories so magical you slipped into them when you dreamed at night? Did you make mud pies and feed a family of dolls and teddy bears? Did you dream? Did you have dreams so strong you were sure you would achieve them?

I did…I knew exactly what I wanted as a child… I wanted to own horses, to spend my days galloping across mountains and valleys… I wanted to live by the ocean and swim in the sea every day… I wanted to write and see my stories published… I wanted to draw and paint and illustrate… Yes, I had dreams…

To be truthful, some were just childhood imaginings, fun, playtime. I was never going to live in the forest and defend my homestead from dragons…
I had ambition, as a child I wanted to write and draw, and I did, making books from A5 paper…I devoured Cicely Mary Barker’s ‘Flower Fairies’ and made up my own, stapling pages together and inventing rhymes to go with them. I bought tiny A6 notepads and wrote stories, lost in a world of my own. I drew, sitting on my bed with a sketch pad, my tongue protruding as I concentrated on my art, sketching for hours.

My dreams grew with aspirations and ideas as I got older, just as my art did. From the crude pencil drawings of a ten-year-old, to more sophistication at thirteen and more mature at nineteen. My dreams grew up…but not always in a good way. I became cynical and reserved in my dreams, trying to think of things that could actually happen, things that weren’t too lofty for me to achieve…and perhaps that’s just where I began to lose them…

I began to doubt myself, my ability and question the reality of the things I once wanted. Was I good enough to illustrate, or to write something that people, real people, would actually want to read? That doubt, along with the realities of life, leaving school, getting a job, getting married and having children, stopped me from pursuing those things I’d dreamed of all my childhood.

I don’t blame anyone, I just let life take over and my dreams faded like an old masterpiece hung on a wall that no one does more than glance at, left to saturate in the glare of every day sun.
I could have been more than the sum of what I am right now…that does make me sad…there is so much more I could have achieved. It was when I was thirty that I decided I could become more, that those old buried dreams deserved a second look. And I began to write.

Self-belief has taken a lot longer…however, slowly over the years those shattered dreams have come alive, my writing has fed my aspirations and words that I thought would never interest anyone have become the tool for rebuilding those dreams.

So, yes, it’s true I have never found myself dwelling in the woods defending my little wooden fort from all things evil, but those dragons I used to chase off in my imagination, now live on paper. I believe in them, I believe in me…and that’s where it all starts…the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams…I intend to believe in mine!