Megan Dowsett is a creative consultant working with museums and galleries, and an illustrator who is finding her voice through personal and local projects.

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.

7 July 2019

Van Gogh and Britain

It's something of a rare luxury to visit an exhibition with time to enjoy it at the moment, but having recently seen the film At Eternity's Gate, I was keen to see the Van Gogh and Britain exhibition at Tate Britain.  I enjoyed it, but I admit I was a little confused - almost the first thing I learnt was that Van Gogh hadn't yet become an artist when he was living in Britain.  And something else I couldn't understand was that he didn't seem to have done any drawing or painting at all during that time - even as an amateur, or a hobby, or simply a doodle.  I still find this a bit baffling - in fact, I think he must have done, but the exhibition didn't address this, or what is probably the lack of any work still remaining from this time.  Van Gogh I also struggled a little get particularly excited in most of the rooms, which aroused some curiosity in me - do I no longer have any attention span for exhibitions?  Are the crowds entirely off-putting?  Have I become more demanding now that I don't have opportunity to do this very often?  Or have I become more critical and analytical since I began to explore interpretation in my professional life?

Baffled by my indifference, I finally sat down and looked up a review.  And felt vindicated to find many of the same feelings expressed in the Guardian.

All of this said, surrounded by the work of numerous less-known artists, Van-Gogh's work shone.  It will always be beautiful.  And what caught my attention the most - or perhaps I simply had the courage to confront these less colourful pieces in my sketchbook - were some people studies from his early career as an artist.