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.

30 January 2014

Monet's Water Lilies

When I was 17, my art class made a study visit to Paris.  I often look back on that trip as a starting point for everything that's happened since.  Somehow the trip opened up a world that previously I'd been oblivious to - the joy of visiting 'real art', of seeing it in the flesh, drawing from it and taking inspiration directly from it.

The trip also set in stone a lifelong differentiation in my mind between Museums and Galleries, but we won't go into that now.

So a romantic get-away to Paris for Christmas was for me filled with the excitement of re-visiting some 17 year old memories.  And sadly, with the need to choose carefully between them, thanks to Christmas, a husband with finite interest and an 8 month fetus weighing me down.  It was a tough choice, the smaller museums of Musee Rodin, Musee Picasso and L'Orangerie, sticking most powerfully in my mind.

I chose L'Orangerie, for Monet's Water Lilies.  I remember so sharply the almost physical impact of being faced with Monet's paintings on a scale they were clearly designed for.  While I recognise his enormous achievements and contribution to the canon of art, Monet's 'pretty' aesthetic isn't my usual preference but when a painting made entirely from blurs of colour brings an entire time of day to life before your eyes, you can only wonder at the magic in his paintbrush.  When there are 8 such paintings, each reflecting in an utterly mundane view the mood created by a different time of day, well, you have no need to visit the countryside any more.

27 January 2014

Feets meets the Planet: Painting the bump

HiyaCutes2 In keeping with recent tradition, Liam and I decided we really ought to paint our bump.

So on a leisurely day over a rainy New Year, and Liam got to work.  It had to be a map, of course ... and with a shape like that, well, it had to be a globe ... HiyaCutes3

23 January 2014

The Octagon Room at Orleans House

The education team at Orleans House have developed something of a tradition of making elaborate, collaborative leaving presents for departing colleagues. Sadly the final stage always seems to be a bit last minute, and we have very few photos of the gifts we've made over the years! But here at last is our collaborative lino print of the interior of the Octagon Room, a gift for Miranda after a devoted 8 years at the gallery.

19 January 2014

Stanley Spencer at Somerset House

Some time ago, I drove a group of pensioners to Cookham for a day of painting and art.  It was here that I discovered the work of Stanley Spencer, a long overdue discovery for an art historian, it turned out, and for someone who loves to walk through the towns of the Thames.

So I was excited to hear that more of his work was on display at Somerset House, and finally I went to visit it over the Christmas break.  Heaven in a Hell of War is an exhibition of the paintings made site-specifically for the purpose-built Sandham Memorial Chapel, and they are on an excursion to London.

I'm not sure it's an entirely sensitive or appropriate response to give, but I just find his work beautiful.  Canvases densely packed with figures full of action and activity.  The detail of texture, whether we're looking at mosquito nets, wallpaper patterns of towels, and yet somehow I'm caught by the simplicity of the paintings at the same time.

It makes me want to take out my paintbrushes again, for the first time in a while!

15 January 2014

Applied Monoprint with Scissors Paper Cloth

Taking the form of decoration from my candle holders, I introduced the wide possibilities of applying monoprinted tissue paper to a range of forms and vessels, to Scissors Paper Cloth. Many of the other techniques we've shared have been quite open-ended in their style, and I wasn't sure how this one would move develop in the minds of my creative participants. Perhaps it would be too rigid and not leave scope enough for their own experimentation?
I needn't have worried.  From smudging ink, painting on top of the prints, applying prints to existing paintings and rubbing work off with a sponge, everyone seemed to find a different way to interpret the techniques!

Here is work by Lindsey (above) and Charlotte (below).

11 January 2014

From Toilet Rolls to Candle Holders

The latest (and final?!) stage in my ongoing experiment-
ations with plaster and toilet roll tubes became this year's Christmas gifts, decorated with monoprinted tissue paper ...

7 January 2014

Make and Create's Christmas Stall

Make and Create hosted a craft stall at the Orleans House Gallery Christmas Craft Fair. It was a challenge in many ways, but I hope overall a positive experience for everybody!

3 January 2014

Paper Decorations

The EAL Friendship Club joined me at Orleans House for a session of making decorations from paper ...

1 January 2014

Bethlehem Unwrapped

As I walked along Piccadilly the other day, I was surprised to find St James' Church replaced by an enormous concrete wall.  It seemed rather a dramatic thing to have happened quietly to this distinctive spot of central London!

So I looked a bit closer ... and found myself looking at a replica of the wall that is erected through Palestine, the 'separation wall' - something that has always reminded me of the Berlin Wall, which I tend to think of as one of those dreadful, inhumane things they used to do in the olden days.  It's easy to forget that such impossible inhumanities still happen every day.

The wall installation encourages us to add our thoughts to the growing graffiti.  But it also has a projection, showing a mixture of art by children in Bethlehem (all they paint is the wall), an evocative animation of how it would feel to have a wall erected before your very eyes in London, ripping through the centre of Picadilly, Trafalgar Square and separating you from everything that's familiar, and a collection of other pieces, also on display in the church itself, behind the wall.