Skip to content

Spring has arrived! – Vol. 2

Only two weeks ago I enthusiastically published a set of photos which warmly welcomed the arrival of Spring. When a few days after posting it, temperatures turned towards winter again, I feared I had been hasty in making my salutations to the season. But happily Spring has arrived all over again, the temperatures are back up, Londoner’s white legs are starting to get an airing, and the flowers which were mere buds when I had photographed them but two weeks previously had now burst open into the most stunning kaleidoscope of colour.

The photos below were taken in some of London’s most beautiful open spaces. In St James’ park at the front of Buckingham palace, the sea of daffodils which I shot a few weeks back has dwindled away, only to be replaced by a stunning range of vividly coloured tulips. Similar flowers also grace the flower beds of the Embankment gardens, which I am lucky enough to pass through on my way to work.

The colour kaleidoscope of London’s parks

DSC03777 DSC03793 DSC03783

Meanwhile, in the elegant streets of Chelsea, the start of April had brought about the reopening of the Chelsea Physic Garden. This garden, set on prime realty just round the corner from Gordon Ramsay’s flagship Chelsea restaurant and alongside the Thames is a perfect solitary spot, where the chaos of London’s streets immediately dissipates as soon as you walk under the trellis-covered gateway. At this time of year, it’s early days for these neatly tendered flower beds which are packed with specialist medical plants from around the globe, but in these early weeks of the summer season, the garden is resplendent with blossom, with newly shooting exotic plants and a pond full of quivering tadpoles. Bliss.

The Chelsea Physic Garden

IMG_8200 IMG_8152 IMG_8193

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

New Woodcut: Boats in the Porto Santa Lucia, Naples

Introducing my new (and second) woodcut print: Boats in the Porto Santa Lucia. Like my first woodcut completed earlier this year, my second is inspired by the incredible Christmas trip I took with my partner across Italy, from Venice, to Rome and ending up finally in Naples. 

This woodcut was inspired by our first morning in Naples when, with the sun shining a surprisingly summery warmth upon us, we headed down to the city’s Mediterranean port and were bowled over. Of course we’ve all heard of Naples’ bigger industrial port, but just around the coast, in front of the upmarket Santa Lucia region and around the Castel dell’Ovo is a beautiful little marina full of all of the shiny white yachts, fishing boats and other marine paraphernalia you would expect. 

Boats in the Porto Santa Lucia, Naples (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, woodcut (3 plates) printed on fabriano)

Boats in the Porto Santa Lucia, Naples (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, woodcut (3 plates) printed on fabriano)

I was unsurprisingly obsessed by the water there and all of the brightly coloured ripples reflected from the boats and the harbour walls. This woodcut is an attempt to capture them. It’s a multi-plate print which means that a number of plates are cut and combined to introduce different colours into the print. Below are shots showing a print of each coloured plate individually, which combined together really bring the work to life. You can also see the plates set out alongside the inks and rollers in the printmaking studio, as well as a series of prints hanging up to dry – editioning is tiring stuff!

DSC03850 DSC03851DSC03855IMG_8094IMG_8098

This is now my second woodcut and my seventh print since I started printmaking last Spring. I can say without hesitation that I now consider myself to be as enthusiastic a printmaker as a painter and I can’t wait to make more! 

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacy-brown.com

Nicholas de Lacy-Brown’s new solo exhibition, When (S)pain became the Norm, will be at London’s Strand Gallery from 13 – 18 May 2014. For more details, click here.

Domingo de Ramos

It’s Palm Sunday and all over the world, people will be marking the start of Easter Week. I’m not that religious myself (I went to Catholic school and sung in a church choir throughout my childhood, but that’s probably the extent of it), but there is something undeniably enchanting about the celebrations which are afoot in the Christian church at this time of year, especially in Southern Spain.

In celebrating Semana Santathe Spanish go all out in a devotional show which makes the spine tingle with its emotional impact. Every evening in Spanish towns and cities throughout the country, but particularly in the South, brotherhoods (hermanidades) of various churches dust off the various statues of Jesus and Mary which usually sit in the enclaves and side chapels of their churches, dress them up in flowers and candles, and with great fanfare parade these statues upon gilded tronos around the streets of their respective cities. The hermanidades themselves are likely to parade as nazareños, the slightly sinister masked figures who accompany the floats, with their pointed conical hats carrying candles which sway to the rhythm of the parade. Seeing row upon row of these figures lined up in the street is a moving and dramatic sight.

Grupo de Nazareños (2009 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown) Oil on canvas

Grupo de Nazareños (2009 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown) Oil on canvas

My first ever experience of one of the Semana Santa parades was in my (sometimes) hometown of Marbella on palm sunday. Decked in rich velvet costumes of red, green and white, the nazareños carrying their heavily decorated silver and gold crosses and candlesticks completely inspired me, and I painted this quick oil painting named after the day of the parade which inspired it - Domingo de Ramos.

Of course those who know my art will know that this is but one artwork which has been inspired by the moving spectacle of Spanish Semana Santa, but as it depicts Palm Sunday, it seemed only appropriate to share it with you today.

And if you like my artwork, don’t forget that all of my Spain-inspired paintings will be on display at my forthcoming exhibition, When (S)pain became the Norm, starting one month today!

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacy-brown.com

 Nicholas de Lacy-Brown’s new solo exhibition, When (S)pain became the Norm, will be at London’s Strand Gallery from 13 – 18 May 2014. For more details, click here.

 

Paolo Veronese – The Martydom of Saint George

London’s National Gallery is celebrating one of the gems of Italy’s and more specifically Venice’s Renaissance age: Paolo Veronese (1528-1588). In its new exhibition, Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice, the National can’t help but put on a show. In celebrating the work of this artist, whose paintings epitomise the magnificence and theatricality of Renaissance Venice with huge historical and religious canvases, bold colours and a wonderful aptitude for painting figures, classical buildings and sensational drapery, the National Gallery brings us one big hit of a painting after another. It’s almost a problem for the exhibition, which has collected together so many brilliant, vast masterpieces, that the visitor is bamboozled, unable to concentrate on any one painting in particular.

So being the great public service blogger that I am, I decided to solve this problem with a neat solution – to focus on just one of the utterly brilliant paintings on display, and the one which took my breath away over and above all the rest.

Paolo Veronese (c.1565), The Martyrdom of Saint George - on loan from the city of Verona (image source: wikipedia commons)

Paolo Veronese (c.1565), The Martyrdom of Saint George – on loan from the city of Verona (image source: wikipedia commons)

Painted in 1565, The Martyrdom of Saint George was created at the apex of Veronese’s illustrious career. Measuring some 4.2 metres in height, this vast canvas offers us all of the glorious elements that make Veronese’s paintings sing like a grandiose opera almost half a century after they were painted. Depicting the moment when Saint George, a Roman soldier, accepted his martyrdom after refusing to worship pagan idols, this moment of dramatic realisation is captured with skilfully applied light (just look how our eyes are drawn to that perfectly lit torso and the outstretched arms of the martyr), and a brilliant composition, with clouds tumbling upwards into paradise, where the Virgin and Christ child appear with Saints Peter and Paul along with the allegorical figures of virtue: Faith, Hope and Charity.

The balance of the painting is brilliant, with the cerulean blue sky echoed in the drapery beneath Saint George, in the clothing of the turbaned man on the left, and up in the celestial clouds at the top, while the figures are variously placed at different heights, intensifying the feeling of drama and the sense of audience participation in this dramatic moment of religious history.

Of course this painting is but one in an amazing collective celebrating the genius of the often overlooked Venetian master. And at the risk of being quite overcome by it all, you may as well go along and revel in the glory.

Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice is on at the National Gallery, London until 15 June 2014.

The Daily Norm’s Photo of the Week: Catalan Lizard

When I was recently in the process of choosing some miscellaneous shots of Barcelona to tantalise you all with, I came across this photo, recently taken on my weekend away to Barcelona. So beautiful is the shot (not by virtue of my skill, but rather because of the wonder Mother Nature again) that I felt it had to be featured all on its own – this beauty can’t be allowed to get lost in the pack. With its stunningly patterned scales looking like delicately applied beads, and its characterful piercing gaze looking straight at the camera, this little lizard (and it really was little) is a true beaut.

I’m still surprised that I managed to capture the shot. Using the close focus application on my Sony Cybershot, I had to hold the camera pretty close to this mischievous little lizard in order to take the shot. It was a delicately balanced game of stare-out for us both. The lizard didn’t dare to move because he didn’t know what would happen if he did. I didn’t dare to move in case he scuttled away (and these guys move fast). Slowly I took the camera nearer, closer and closer, holding his gaze until “click!”, I managed to take the photo before he shot away at lightening speed.

Photo of the week

I love the defocus on his long curling tale, which contrasts wonderfully against the hard focus on his head and frontal body. Then in the middle, the focus ebbs away, in a kind of haze, such that you can almost feel the heat exuded by the sunshine on that wonderful Barcelonian day up on the Montjuic hill.

That is why my lizard is The Daily Norm’s Photo of the Week.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

 

Photographing Food (and eating it!)

Food is all about the eating, the flavours, the preparation. But as anyone who has a passion for food will tell you, that’s only ever half the story. As an artist, and one of food’s most loyal fans, the thing that gets me really excited about food is the look and feel of the raw ingredients in their purest form. There is no greatest pleasure to my eyes than seeing a market stall loaded full of the freshest ingredients, for there was never a greater designer in the universe than Mother Nature herself. Who can resist the beauty of fresh fish, with their stunning silvery two-tone scales, or sun-blush pink langoustines, their perfectly formed claws still snapping? Who can not admire the stunning fir-cone like layering of the globe artichoke, or the vivid glossy red of a vine-ripened tomato?

Such is the beauty of food that sometimes I buy ingredients just for their appearance. Having loaded them into my kitchen, my favourite  aspect of food preparation is to set out my ingredients and admire them. Not only does this make creating a meal easier, but it’s like putting together a still life painting, as juxtaposed colours and textures are loaded upon a simple rustic chopping board.

The seafood

DSC03604 DSC03600 DSC03631 DSC03633 DSC03629 DSC03608

So when I found myself admiring, and then buying some of the freshest seafood a London foodie can purchase from Moxon’s Fishmongers in Clapham last weekend, the first thing I did was to set about photographing my fish, forming a little composition which the instantaneous benefits of photography then enabled me to capture and share on The Daily Norm. And once the fish was snapped, I couldn’t resist the charms of my marbled iberico ham, freshly cut from the delicatessen’s knife, nor the rustic charm of a robust loaf of sourdough bread.

The tapas board

DSC03637 DSC03648 DSC03644

But in the end, all those delicious ingredients begged to be cooked. And the result? A dish of clams, prawns, and artichokes all doused in white wine and herbs and served with a sprinkling of the iberico ham for a perfect salt balance. As for the bread and those slippery sliver mackrels, those were served simply griddled with that sourdough toated and spread with tomato, salt and oil in the style of Catalonia’s Pan con Tomate. For with ingredients as fresh and wonderful as these, the worst thing you can do is hide the flavour – simple cooking is all that is needed for Mother Nature’s best creation to present at its tastiest, most beautiful best.

And the dish at the end of it all…

DSC03668 DSC03674 DSC03661

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Barcelona | A photographic miscellany

Now I must admit, I did get waylaid ever so slightly. Having begun my account of my recent weekend trip to Barcelona at the beginning of last month, I neglected to post what must be the most important post of them all – my good old miscellaneous photograph collection. Such is the drawback of organising a solo art exhibition, the likes of which will be alive and kicking some 6 weeks from now, and the preparation for which is taking up almost every minute of my spare time. So in amongst all of this stress, being able to sit back to write this blog and reflect upon the good times, like Barcelona, provides the perfect antidote, and the process of choosing a selection of photos to show Barcelona at its best has been almost as enjoyable as taking them in the first place.

DSC03500DSC03069 IMG_3956 IMG_4056 DSC03091

So why not come on a little journey with me, through the cobbled dark streets of the atmospheric Gothic Quarter to meet the Cathedral geese and sun streaked palaces, or through the old squares whose houses covered with elegant stucco and adorned with ornate ironwork street lamps. Let’s take a small trip to the soft sandy shores of the Costa Brava, or to see the lush slope-hugging gardens of the Montjuic. Then there’s the modern buildings with their abstract reflections, and the paseo by the sea where birds stretch their wings magnificently. It will only be a short stroll – as long as it takes you to flick through the photos below. But in that moment, let these photographs transform you, to the beating bustling heart of Spain’s most vibrant city.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Vintage-dusk | A floral installation

Following on from the Spring theme of yesterday’s photo-post, and in equal celebration of the onset of Spring, I decided to both fill my home with flowers, and share the results with you on The Daily Norm. I find that flowers are such an important part of a home. A different bunch of flowers can transform a room from one season to the next; their scent can bring nature alive within the confines of four walls; and their colour can be used to either enhance or improve an interior scheme. So although having regular flowers is something of an indulgence at £10-£20 per time, I’d rather spend on that and it last a week or more, than an equal spend on wine which disappears in one night (although lets face it, I do plenty of that as well…).

Rationalisation aside, time for me to introduce my latest floral scheme. It’s something of a contemporary design – more of an installation in effect, but I think it looks pretty good in the centre of my dining table. Playing on the vintage theme, I have combined both heavily gilded vintage gold frames with beautiful faded dusky pink roses. Being unable to afford over a dozen of the kind, I opted for 6 showpiece roses, and supplemented with contrasting green thistle and some purple foliage (whose name escapes me). All of these I placed in a variety of sized and shaped glass bottles, one stem in each, and positioned these in various locations within my vintage frame “installation”. I took the idea of single stem bottles from the Hotel Estherea in Amsterdam, where I stayed at the beginning of 2012, and whose daily sprays of fresh flowers made a huge impression on my design sensibilities. It’s a clear departure from the traditional vase, and with all of those different panes of glass standing side by side and reflecting through each other, the grouped bottles have an almost chandelier effect – the perfect degree of decadence for my vintage theme.

IMG_7978 DSC03683 DSC03698 DSC03687 DSC03686 DSC03679 DSC03676 DSC03695 IMG_7981

A vintage themed contemporary installation, perfect for the modern design-conscious home.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. 

Spring has arrived!

There is nothing quite like the arrival of Spring. That first day of the year when it’s warm enough to keep the window open; when the wafts of mild air carry in their gently undulating waves the subtle scent of blossom, warmth, and hope. When you first breathe in that clement air, drinking deep on the inherent optimism it provides, you wonder how you were ever able to survive the winter in the first place – how it was possible to endure those short dark days; brisk walks hunched up against the cold; a period that now seems intolerable in this new Spring light.

I accept that we’ve been pretty lucky this year. The winter was not a cold one in the South of England – I never even had to cover my balcony plants from any frost or icy air. And the result of these clement conditions means that this year my plants are sprouting new shoots early, whereas last year they were doing so two months late. But it’s the light, or lack of it, that makes the Winter so hard – never seeing one’s home in the light of day; long dark evenings that seem to bury you in a state of soporific hypnosis. But it’s all change now, and with last weekend came the return of Light, as clocks went forwards, thus giving us longer bright evenings and heralding the onset of the summer. It also brought with it some much welcome warmth, which in turn newly embraced the fresh arrival of spring flowers everywhere.

DSC03742 IMG_7832 IMG_7845

So it is in celebration of the arrival of Spring that I share with you a whole host of Spring-themed photos which I have been taking on my travels in and around London. Being one of the greenest cities in Europe, the new fresh scent of Spring is tangible in the London air, as floral wafts spread outwards from the city’s flower-packed parks and gardens and blossom-rich trees. There is simply no better time to be in this city, whose streets and spaces are full of the hope and regeneration that comes with this new season, bustling with happy over-coat free people, and with the colour and freshness of Spring. Goodbye winter: welcome happiness.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. 

London’s homage to print: Part 2 – David Hockney Printmaker

Last week I told you all about the first of two high profile celebrations to printmaking currently being held in London. The first, Renaissance Impressions at the Royal Academy charts the development of woodcut to create all of the depth and powerful contrast of chiaroscuro in the 1500s. The second unveils a whole new side to celebrated contemporary artist, David Hockney, best known for his colourful Los Angeles Swimming Pools and large scale multi-piece canvases of the Yorkshire countryside, but here shown to be as skillful a printmaker as he is a painter, or, in my opinion, more so.

In presenting this brilliant little exhibition, Dulwich Picture Gallery shows Hockney as a subtler artist; without the distractions of his trademark bold colours, this is Hockney the skilled draftsman; without the almost theatre-scenery sized canvases, here we see Hockney as a man of detail, capturing intimate scenes with a personal aspect, and delivering sometimes simple still lives but with all of the energy of those familiar swimming pool scenes.

David Hockney, Lithographic Water Made Of Lines And Crayon (Pool II-B) 1978-80 © David Hockney / Tyler Graphics Ltd

David Hockney, Lithographic Water Made Of Lines And Crayon (Pool II-B) 1978-80
© David Hockney / Tyler Graphics Ltd

David Hockney, Self Portrait, 1954 © David Hockney

David Hockney, Self Portrait, 1954
© David Hockney

David Hockney, Two Boys Aged 23 or 24 from Illustrations For Fourteen Poems from C.P. Cavafy, 1966-67

David Hockney, Two Boys Aged 23 or 24 from Illustrations For Fourteen Poems from C.P. Cavafy, 1966-67

It is abundantly clear, from the first room of the chronologically hung exhibition, right through to the last, that printmaking has been an important and consistent accompaniment to Hockney’s creative process throughout his career. From his first etchings, amusingly poking fun at his fine art degree (I like the etching which was created using his actual fine art diploma, The Diploma (1962)) and taking a new spin on Hogarth’s The Rake’s Progress, pictorially describing Hockney’s own move to, and development in the US, right through to his recent and renowned use of the iPad as a new digital tool for creating print works, Hockney embraced print and all of the possibilities it provided for artistic expression. His main printmaking stints appear to have been in etching (which lends beautifully to the simple linear illustrations for Cavafy’s Fourteen Poems) and lithography (his print version of his famous swimming pool series being a particularly good example), although Hockney also extended into less traditional print methods – his use of a coloured photocopier to gradually build up a complex image was, for example, particularly effective.

But asides from Hockney’s excellent handling of the medium of print, the images themselves make this show a clear sell-out success. In his Cavafy series, Hockney’s prints exude a wonderful, but always polite intimacy which seems to be characteristic of his somewhat reserved but slightly cheeky persona. With their common place objects and models staring straight out from the print, these images appear to welcome the audience into the works. As viewers, we don’t feel like voyeurs, but more like welcome participants; friends joining in on the happy-go-lucky lifestyle Hockney portrays. In his later Mexico works; Hockney gives us a vivid, energetic lithography whose varying angles and stilted perspective appear to pulsate and dance to the rhythm of that hot Latin country, and remind me a little of the stunningly colourful Grand Canyon works he painted in the late 90s.

David Hockney, Views of Hotel Well III, 1984-85 © David Hockney / Tyler Graphics Ltd., Photo Credit: Richard Schmidt

David Hockney, Views of Hotel Well III, 1984-85
© David Hockney / Tyler Graphics Ltd., Photo Credit: Richard Schmidt

David Hockney, Rain on the Studio Window, From My Yorkshire Deluxe Edition, 2009

David Hockney, Rain on the Studio Window, From My Yorkshire Deluxe Edition, 2009

David Hockney, Artist and Model, 1973-74 © David Hockney

David Hockney, Artist and Model, 1973-74
© David Hockney

David Hockney, Lillies, 1971 © David Hockney

David Hockney, Lillies, 1971
© David Hockney

I also found that some of the best works were the simple ones – a vase of cala lilies, with an accurate and precise cross-hatched background contrasting with the purity of the white flower; a superb iPad image of raindrops running down a window which exudes the cosiness of looking out at rainfall while benefitting from the dryness and comfort of home; and portraits of friends, simply posed, looking straight out at the viewer, prompting interaction, welcoming us in.

It is, therefore, a show with something for everyone, but with an overriding central devotion to the versatile, unique art of printmaking.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,886 other followers