Megan Dowsett is a creative consultant working in museums, galleries and the arts, an illustrator who is finding her voice through personal and local projects, and a parent to two young beings who can't help but influence her creative journey.

Through the name Norris and the Flamingo, she shares the sense of adventure that runs through all of life, wherever we are on our journey. A sense of imagination, of possibility and discovery, for children and adults alike.

27 February 2011

Lino Envy

Richmond Printmakers have an exhibition in the Stables Gallery in Richmond. I am suffering lino envy; awe, inspiration, a kind of wistful nostalgia at the elegant beauty of three (well, one has disappeared by being sold - my favourite - someone had good taste) enormous lino prints by Tessa Charles, which explore the graceful lines of plants and birds. It's something to do with the balance of white spaces and dark spaces, and simple, elegant patterning in keeping with the themes. And the colours - not as simple as black and white, but at the same time discreet, harmonious and unintrusive to the elegance of design.

All very timely, since I'm playing around with jungle-inspired prints at the moment.

23 February 2011

City of Wood

City 045City 032Look at our city! Inspired by a collection of scantily painted blocks of wood in the Museum of Joaquin Torres Garcia in Montevideo, and tying in nicely with the development of a small model set of Richmond buildings, my 5-8s Art Club have spent a glorious few weeks turning scraps of wood into their own imagined city. With a train track and train, river and barges, disco, flower shop, hospital fully equipped with helipad, police station, fire station and fire engine, I believe this city is ready to go!

21 February 2011

Artist in Residence at MI6

Imagine getting into MI6 as an artist! Believe it or not, MI6 has indeed had an artist-in-residence, James Hart Dyke, and now we can see in, through an artist's eyes, to the world of intelligence, I-Spy, and always-looking-over-your-shoulder-ness. As an eternal fan of drawing, the spontaneity of the above is unsuprisingly one of my favourites, but others remind me in some ways of Victorian London, or of Renoir and others who captured the gloomy winter greyness of nineteenth century streets.
Since knowing Alison Drewitt, I've increasingly been inspired by the idea of artist residencies, and of getting to know a place so intimately that it becomes a part of your identity. Alison is the Queen of Brixton Windmill!

20 February 2011

An Ambitious Week of Printmaking

Screenprint 005 Every class of the Unicorn School came to visit Orleans House a couple of weeks ago, and we decided to give each class a different experience of printmaking, in response to the Stables Gallery exhibition by Richmond Printmakers. It was an ambitious task, screenprinting with 22 seven and eight year olds in 90 minutes, but they did an amazing job!

Collograph 012

... And finally I was able to share my newfound passion for collography with a class of Year 5s. Once again, time was tight, but we all learnt a lot and they produced some stunning pieces. I particularly liked this one, and I hope the artist prints it again, as we found that one or two of the plates had begun to dry out by the time they reached the printing press.

15 February 2011

It's all about the Sketchbook

Paul Ryan
Last Friday I went to see Manual Setting, an exhibition at the Danielle Arnaud Gallery, in which my friend Ivan Cartwright was exhibiting. It was a supremely interactive exhibition - hardly an exhibition at all, more a gathering of assorted, laid back discussions. And a glorious opportunity to delve into the 'secret life of artists' as the exhibition centred on artists' sketchbooks. Given free range to flick through the sketchbooks of four artists, while the artist sat and watched, only able to explain the work if I asked a question. Aside from Ivan, who fills his sketchbooks with dense, inspiring inks, photoshop experimentations and entertaining diary-esque narrative, I loved the work of Dino Alfier, who somehow gave me permission to be meticulous in my own work, with his, intricate, delicate sketchs.

It was inspiring and motivating for my own sketchbooks, and encouraging too ... the contrast in styles between each artist's approach to the sketchbook seemed to tell me that anything goes ... Well of course it does. It's a sketchbook.

8 February 2011

Lessons in Relief and Intaglio

IMG_0005Here at last, are the glorious joys of Collograph.

Above, printed in relief, made by rolling ink onto the surface and printing it.
Below, printed intaglio, when you press ink into the plate and then polish the surface, leaving ink only in the cracks to be pressed onto damp paper.

I didn't expect the relief print to work as it's a very subtly textured plate, but I'm remarkably pleased with both!

4 February 2011

March of the Penguins

Safia_0005 I'm feeding my new-found fascination with birds to my 10:15 group at Orleans House. Safia insists she can't paint, but I thought she did a wonderful job with her penguins, and waltzed into new realms of imagination when we discussed March of the Penguins, and the fact that penguins trek for miles across Antarctica and then huddle together to stay alive through the coldest winds and blizzards.

1 February 2011

Fairytale Linocut

IMG I have returned to the physical satisfaction of scraping out lino tiles (but secretly I'm enthralled by the infinite possibilities of collography ... watch this space!)