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Art-in-Amalfi – Painting 1: Positano I (viewed from the beach)

Having seen my post of photos on yesterday’s Daily Normand perhaps even my photos of the incredible views which we were lucky enough to enjoy for our week’s stay at the Palazzo Talamo Hotel, you will easy to understand why I was inspired to create by the town of Positano on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Not only is the town a picture perfect dazzlement of beautiful houses clustered against a vast imposing mountain backdrop, but it is also a riot of pastel colours in an otherwise natural landscape of verdant greenery and sheer greyish purple rock. The most striking thing about Positano is the fact that the small town appears to defy nature as a small cluster of dwellings clinging, almost like limpits, to the sheer side of the otherwise inhospitable mountain sides. The effect is a stark and beautiful contrast between the man-made regularised geometric forms of buildings and the irregular looming presence of the nature-made mountains, and it was this contrast which struck me the most as I set about painting my first homage to the town.

Positano I (viewed from the beach) (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

Positano I (viewed from the beach) (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

Stretched out on the beach a day after our arrival, I started work on this piece: Positano I (viewed from the beach). Using simplified geometric forms and stripping away all of the details which otherwise characterise the houses and hotels of Positano (windows, balconies and so on), this painting purposefully reduces the buildings of Positano to their most basic cubic form in order to emphasise the contrast between rigid geometry and rugged mountain, all the while expressing the beauty of Positano’s very colourful cluster of houses. The result is a painting I love. Made in gouache on paper, for me its colours and sunshine brightness sum up the mediterranean mood, while the geometric gathering of cubes echoes the shape of this small town which makes it so unique on much publicised postcards and travel guides throughout the world.

As with all of my travel-inspired art works, this painting gave me great satisfaction to create, all the more so because it was started on the beach and completed on my balcony with a view. Now who can ask for a better  art studio than that?

© 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

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. I stayed in a tiny apartment looking down on that very dome you have portrayed! This brings back lovely memories of Positano and the Amalfi coast.

    July 3, 2014
    • Ahhh! It must have been incredible – I’m so glad this is all bringing back memories. They say that once you see Positano you’re life is never quite the same again and I have to agree – absolute paradise on earth 🙂

      July 3, 2014
  2. Now I have a new favorite among your gouache work! -at least even with the tuscan ones-
    Wonderful way to show the contrast in the landscape.

    July 3, 2014
    • Yipee!! Oh I’m so glad! And you totally hit the nail on the head of what I was trying to do – it was the contrast between the geometric lines of the town and the rugged mountain backdrop that struck me not to mention the pastel shades versus dark vegetation and rock. Hope you’re well and things are good in Venezuela 🙂

      July 3, 2014
      • maru clavier #

        I also like a lot the way you just show the volumes of the built elements that goes well with the general style you have developed for this and the contrast. But it is difficul to match how much -so much- I like the ocmposition 5. 😉
        Things are kind of tough here, that is why I have not been interacting as I would like…but that’s another issue. Thanks 😉

        July 4, 2014
      • Ah yes, composition no.5 – I love it too and still there are tinges of regret for the day I sold it 😦 oh well – at least I have the memories, and the photos! Take care – all my best wishes and hoping things get better where you are.

        July 5, 2014

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Art-in-Amalfi – Painting 2: Positano II (the other side of town) | The Daily Norm
  2. Art-in-Amalfi – Painting 5: Praiano | The Daily Norm
  3. Interpretation No. 11 – Castagneto Carducci | The Daily Norm
  4. Interpretation No. 15 – Malaga | The Daily Norm
  5. Interpretation No. 19: Venice, the Dorsoduro from above | The Daily Norm

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