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Posts from the ‘ArtSales’ Category

Tuscan Towns #2 – Bolgheri

Bolgheri is a tiny town, more of a hamlet really, based as it is along one main street which latterly converges into two, a sunny square and a row of delightful little houses and restaurants precipitating the divide. For the majority, the closest they will come to knowing Bolgheri will be to read its name upon one of the plethora of nectarean bottles of wine produced by the region every year. Yet for the lucky few, who are led, magnetised, down the perfectly straight cypress-lined Roman road to the tiny little village, finding Bolgheri will feel like stumbling upon a hidden jewel.

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While Bolgheri has a castle, it is as proportionately small as the village. It is not a place for museums, nor a city for those wishing to stroll endlessly from one new corner to another. No, the real attraction of Bolgheri is its atmosphere. It is enchanting. While a visit at any time of the day will be enthralling enough, there is a poetic grace about Bolgheri in the late afternoon, as the sun starts to set over the vineyards and rolling hills to the West, and every cafe and shop and house seems to fling open its shutters greedily urging the peach coloured light to spill into its small little terracotta buildings.

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Bolgheri in the afternoon is a place in which to sit and close your eyes, feeling the sunlight spill across your face. It is a village where sipping upon an aperol spritz takes on new majesty, and where an ice cream glimmers with a precious golden aura. It is a time which is all about relaxing, chatting, strolling, thinking, and if I wanted to do anything when I set out to take these photos, it was to capture this time of utopia. So apologies in advance to the fellow visitors who ended up in the photos on this post, but without the look of sheer pleasure and relaxation written all over their faces, I don’t think I could ever have properly expressed the blissful experience of an afternoon in Bolgheri.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2017. 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. 

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The East London Printmakers Annual Show: You’re Invited

My summer has been so incredibly hectic, full of travels, work and multiple new artistic creations that I have barely had time to promote the fact that several of my print works are about to feature in the East London Printmakers (ELP) Annual group Exhibition at the Embassy Tea Gallery in London Bridge over the next two weeks! And in fact it’s very much a case of better late than never, because the show will open this very night, with an exclusive guest appearance and official opening by none other than British abstract expressionist, Albert Irvin RA.

Amongst 70 artists exhibiting works created over the last year and aptly showcasing the versatility of printmaking as a medium will be none other than yours truly – me! Yes, this show will represent my first significant outing into the exhibiting circuit since my near sell-out show at the Strand Gallery in May, and I am particularly excited to be showing two brand new prints. The works, both of which were inspired by summer travels in Spain and Croatia respectively, mark something of an innovative departure for me. Having learned both the techniques of etching and woodcut, with these prints, I decided to combine the two things, thus taking the mediums in new directions, and printing on a totally different scale.

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The first of the two prints, Malaga Poolside, shows a heady day when my partner and I sunbathed and swam on the incredible rooftop of the Molina Lario Hotel in Malaga. We couldn’t quite believe that up on that hotel terrace, we were able to swim with the stunning surroudings of Malaga’s one-armed cathedral just besides us, and this print attempts to capture that incredible view in a simple black and white etched line drawing, contrasting with the vivacity of the turquoise swimming pool which is almost Hockneyian in nature.

Malaga Poolside (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, etching and woodblock on paper)

Malaga Poolside (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, etching and woodblock on paper)

The second of my prints is entitled Terracotta Sunrise, and illustrates the swathe of terracotta rooftops which so captivated me when I visited Dubrovnik earlier this year. While I opted again for a simple line to illustrate the details of the compact houses and streets of this beautiful Croatian city, I wanted to use a graduating block of terracotta to subtly represent the overarching colour of the city when seen from afar, doing so with a graduating roll of colour which fades off almost like a sunrise.

Terracotta Sunrise (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, etching and woodblock on paper)

Terracotta Sunrise (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, etching and woodblock on paper)

But of course these are only photos (and not very good ones at that) and there is no substitute for seeing the real thing. So if you are able to get down to the Southawk/ London Bridge area of London tonight (for the opening) or any time over the next two weeks, do please come along – the gallery will be open until 6pm daily until 28th September. All the details can be found here. See you there.

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Two Mackerels

Fish have always fascinated me. It’s not just how beautiful they look, with their silvery scales and feathered tails, their glassy marble eyes and their silky pink mouths, but they’re delicious too. There is nothing better than some plump fresh fish, simply cooked and eaten with a glass of white wine and a lot of sunshine, preferably in Mediterranean surroundings. And it is largely because I live so far from the Mediterranean but want to recreate that precise moment of bliss that I buy so much fresh fish from my local London fishmongers.

On one recent occasion, I went in wanting sardines, and came out with two mackerels. I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but their beautiful black and silver bodies, with a almost zebra pattern towards the top of their scales so enticed me that I had to buy them. In the end we ended up eating them well seasoned with catalan pan con tomate, but not before I had taken a load of photographs by way of admiration of their beauty.

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Two Mackerels (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, etching and aquatint)

Two Mackerels (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, etching and aquatint)

Before long, these photos sewed the seeds of creation in my mind, and when I decided the time was right to start another etching project, I decided the stark simplicity of these two mackerels would make a perfect etched image. And here is the result – etched into Zinc, including the woodgrain which is, in reality, just small scratches onto the plate but which is meant to represent a chopping board upon which the mackerels lie in wait, ready to take centre stage in some culinary feast.

So that’s the etching done. Now for the exhibition. I’m hoping this one will go on show with others this September when I exhibit alongside the East London Printmakers – more details to follow. In the meantime, should you wish to buy one of my Mackerel prints, get in touch through the contact page on my website

© 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

Printmaking Progress IV – La Flamenca (copper etching)

Regular readers of The Daily Norm will know that I have been dabbling in printmaking in recent months, and in particular etching, inspired by the superb results achieved in the medium by the likes of Goya, Picasso and Lucian Freud. Well having dappled a little in zinc plates (I hesitate to say “mastered” – as my recent disaster when aquatinting a zinc plate was to prove), I decided to move onto a copper plate, which, because of its durability, is the optimum plate to use for a bigger print edition.

Departing from the Norms who feature on my previous etchings, I decided to follow my familiar passion for Spain, and flamenco, recycling the idea I had for a fragmented dancer in Composition No. 8, and this time etching a flamenco dancer with a free-flowing fluid dress making for the major attraction of the plate. In terms of process, the image itself did not involve a whole lot of etching. Rather, the detail came with the aquatinting and soft-ground applied thereafter. Once the initial dancer image was etched into the plate, I then took a benday dot stencil, the likes of which would have been used by Roy Lichtenstein, and applied a series of polka dots across the background of my plate, emulating the popular pattern of flamenco dresses, and adding variety of tone by dipping in acid for different lengths of time.

La Flamenca (copper etching on paper) © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, 2013

La Flamenca (copper etching on paper) © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, 2013

In the lighter areas of the background (kept light through giving them less exposure to acid) I applied an intricate lace pattern using the soft-ground technique. This basically involves painting the plate with a protective liquid ground which is left wet. A piece of lace is then applied on top and the plate sent through the print press. This presses the lace into the soft ground, lifting it off the plate and leaving an impression of the lace in the ground, which is then etched into the metal when exposed to acid. I adore the result, creating a background which now includes both the lace and polka dots so characteristic of flamenco.

The final step then was to print my plate – I did so with a black ink mixed with a warming red to give a real flamenco flavour. I’m really very pleased with the result, so much so that I have decided to make this print a larger edition of 50.

The initial line etching

The initial line etching

Applying the dots onto aquatint

Applying the dots onto aquatint

Applying a lace softground

Applying a lace softground

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Stopping out the figure before final acid dip

Stopping out the figure before final acid dip

The finished plate

The finished plate

The finished print

The finished print

If you would like to buy one of my limited edition prints, they’re available now – in my Etsy store. See you there!

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2013. 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

Printmaking Progress III – Editioning El Marinero

Readers of The Daily Norm may remember that in that optimistic time of Spring, long long ago, I discovered the art of printmaking. Having been inspired to give the medium a go by masters of the craft such as Lucian Freud and the ever dark-minded Spanish great Francisco de Goya, and having dappled at first in a little lino cutting, I very soon fell in love with etching, the technique by which acid is used to “etch” an image into a metal plate, which can then be used to print a whole run of that image (albeit seen back to front – something for which careful planning is required). You’ll be forgiven for thinking that my newfound love of the technique was short lived – after all, I haven’t posted any etchings since May, and have, quite unapologetically, become obsessed with gouache paint on paper which I have pursued relentlessly in the creation of my “Compositions” series.

Well, come the autumn, and with my summer travels, sadly, long behind me, I decided the time was right to re-enter the printmaking studio, not just to start projects afresh, but to finish off the ones I started all those months ago.

I have previously told you about etching the line image onto the metal plate (I used zinc, but other metals can be used and this will affect the number of prints which can eventually be made from the plate), and also about the aquatint process by which tone is added to the plate. The final stage of printmaking is printing and editioning – making sure that every single print is printed identically, so that a closed “edition” can be made, and sold through the aid of a single exhibited example.

The zinc plate with image etched into it

The zinc plate with image etched into it

First print - before the aquatint was applied

First print – before the aquatint was applied

El Marinero during the aquatinting process

El Marinero during the aquatinting process

Editioning is an intricate and time consuming process. You have to cut yourself paper of an identical size; bathe it in water to ensure the paper takes the ink, but dry it before printing to ensure the ink does not run. You have to smear the plate in filthy oil-based ink, and then gradually wipe it off again, leaving the ink remaining only in the lines. You have to clean the edge of the plate to ensure that the embossment of the paper around the plate is kept pristine. And finally, ensuring you do not dirty your paper with your inky-black hands, you have to run the plate, and the paper through the printing press. All this takes about 15 minutes per print, but once you get a system going, it’s surprising how easily the human body can become like a factory process.

I have now spent several sessions in the studio, making editions of the two zinc etchings I made back in May, and the result I want to share with you today is my first ever plate. When you last saw it, it was a line image only, with no aqua tint adding tone. Now the image is aquatinted and complete, printed as a limited edition set of 15 which, by coincidence, are now available on my online shop to buy.

And a nice close up of the image

The finished print

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The print, entitled “El Marinero” shows a sailor Norm holding a fish on a mysterious Mallorcan rocky beach. It’s an enigmatic image, with its empty shores and strange rocky forms, but one which I cherish as being my first dalliance into the world of etching, and inspired by the surreally-shaped coves of Mallorca’s stunning coastline. Now I am on my third and fourth etchings respectively (one in zinc, and one in copper) and I cannot wait to complete those and share them on The Daily Norm.

Details of how to purchase your own strictly limited print of El Marinero can be found on my Etsy shop. As a closed edition of 15, it’s an extremely limited set, and hopefully therefore an attractive art investment for your future, as well as a pleasing little gift for another, or of course, for yourself.

Norm Christmas Cards – now for sale on Etsy!

Halloween is over, the evenings are quickly darkening, and there are only 7 weeks until Christmas – so the time has surely come to get your Christmas cards in order. Here on the Daily Norm, we like to help out with these little things, and in the spirit of spreading the Norms’ reach criss-crossing around the globe this festive season, the Norms have printed their very own Christmas cards in the hope that readers of the Daily Norm from around the world will also help to spread a little Norm festive cheer this year.

Hot off the press, these Christmas cards are prints of my 2011 paintings, Santa Norm and Snowman Norm. With whimsical, quirky, colourful and Christmasy artwork, these cards are both original and artistic ways of wishing your friends, family and associates a very Happy Christmas. With these cards, you will truly be sending a work of art this Christmas!

The Cards consist of a high quality, semi-gloss image printed onto sizeable A5 cardboard (148 x 210 cm/ 8.3 x 5.8 inches). Each cellophane wrapped pack of 10 cards comes with 5 cards of both the Snowman and Santa Norm design and 10 matching white envelopes. The inside of the cards reads: “WARMEST WISHES FOR A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR”.

And most importantly of all, they are available on my Etsy shop right here!

Now I don’t mean to turn my blog into a sales room, but since Norm is the new Holly (not to mention the Ivy), these cards are pretty much a must for those in the know this year. Need I say more?

Seasons greetings from the Norms (it’s early I know, but Norms are very organised creatures).

Sunday Supplement – Cityscape I: London

London is the word on everyone’s lips right now. Yes, the olympic games are over, but the paralympics will start in just under a week, and the buzz around them continues to grow. For the influx of visitors descending upon our currently hot and humid jam-packed olympian city, the river will be a highlight of their sightseeing tour, the huge central artery which snakes through the crowded metropolis, marking the physical divide between the characteristically different North and South, providing grand vistas aplenty from the many elegant wide bridges, and, on the South Bank, playing host to the rejuvenated cultural heartbeat of the city.  On the river too stand some of London’s most prominent sights: the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the London Assembly Building, the London Eye, and this one: The iconic Houses of Parliament.

What the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, Big Ben is to London. Strangely enough, Big Ben is the bell in the tower rather than the tower itself, but it’s this high-gothic, grand and decadent campanile which gets the tourists excited and marks the beginning of each new year with such ceremony and aplomb, surrounded by fireworks, the iconic spectacle marking the passage of every significant moment in the city’s history. The view of Big Ben and the House of Parliament to its side have understandably inspired photographers and artists throughout the ages. Monet was fascinated by the effect of light in the dense fog surrounding the looming silhouette of Parliament, while Turner painted the fiery ravage of Parliament’s predecessor repeatedly.

This is my take on Parliament. It’s part of my cityscape collection, a small group of city views which I painted back in 2007 when I was trying to get the hang of oil paints after a long period of painting in acrylics. So it’s more of a study piece really, but still one of my favourite pieces of London.

Oh, and if you like it and fancy my painting hanging in your home, you can get limited edition prints of the work on my main website here.

Cityscape I: London (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas)

Have a great Sunday.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2012. 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.

Salamanca: My Painting – Homage to a sandstone city in oil on canvas

It’s been two months since I returned from the golden glowing sandstone Spanish city of Salamanca. There was so much to inspire me when I walked those elegant historical streets. When I gazed, mesmerised through my hotel window onto the stunning baroque Cathedral, the sun setting upon its orange stonework, and cypress trees gently waving from side to side in the evening breeze before it, a painting came to my mind. I rushed to make a quick sketch which I still have on the back of a reservation print out for the restaurant we were dining at that night. My painting of Salamanca was to contain what to my mind was the essence of the city – a kaleidoscope of dappled, marbled oranges and golds in a landscape uniquely built from the local Villamayor sandstone, a city bursting with historical artefacts flowing from the dual powerhouses of church and university. It is a city which is elegant in its antiquity, and yet bursting with fresh new life from its greenery, its strong local life, the pull of tourism and the thriving university population which resides there. This was my inspiration and shortly after returning from Spain I set to work on a large 105 cm x 90 cm canvas. I finally finished  the work over the long Jubilee Weekend. And here, exclusively, is the result, as I present my first (non-Norm) painting of 2012…

Salamanca (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas, 105 cm x 90 cm)

Dominating the centre of the canvas is a silhouetted skyline of the city, recognisable by the Cathedral spires and the intricate turrets, domes and baroque roofing of the nearby University. Rather than paint the detail of the buildings, I constructed the skyline out of a wall of villamayor sandstone bricks, in the same way that each building of the city is constructed. Those individual bricks act as a window onto different features of the city. On one brick you see the conch shells of the famous Casa de las Conchas, while on others, parts of the hand painted street letterings are featured, infamous for their historical use of pigs blood and olive oil.

In the meantime, out of the Cathedral and the university, the ironwork crosses become large mobile-like structures, inspired by the great maker of mobile art, Alexander Calder. On these mobiles hang various symbols of the city. The astronaut and the ice cream which are usually imbedded in the intricate plateresque facades of the Cathedral and the University’s famous sandstone frog are all featured, as well as the skull upon which the frog sits (my painted skull is inspired by the Mexican Dia de los Muertos celebrations for which houses and graves are adorned with beautifully decorated hand painted skulls like this one). Represented too is the tradition of learning at the University, embodied in the Orrery (one of which I bought while in Salamanca as a souvenir of the city) as well as the famous Plaza Mayor, represented by the infamous bust of Fascist leader Franco which can be found amongst the busts of Spanish rulers around the square, and the inclusion of which causes such controversy that it is regularly vandalised. My Franco too has been vandalised, but is that paint on his face or blood on his hands? Finally the painting is generously sprinkled with various groups of cypress trees, tidily placed in terracotta pots at various spots across the canvas as well as a curtain of clouds sweeping across a clear green sky. Ooh and look out for the little stork’s nest embedded amongst the spires of the cathedral – the storks are a customary feature of the city and do not appear to cause the residents any hassle – in fact some churches have baskets placed on top of their spires to aid the storks in building a safe and secure nest!

So there it is, and above, so you don’t miss the details, are more photos showing the various individual aspects of the painting. I hope you like the painting and, more importantly, let me know what you think! I’ve already started a new work, so look out for that over the coming months.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work 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.

Sunday Supplement – The Joie de Vivre Triptych

The sun is shining in London, the olympic torch is gradually winding its way around the country to rapturous applause, and the nation is decking its streets in union jacks in anticipation of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations next weekend (you notice I’ve ignore the slight blip that was eurovision last night, when the UK came second from bottom in the results table – but no surprises there, it only goes to emphasise our disconnection from continental europe). So with spirits high, and with what looks like the arrival of summer (finally!) I have decided to showcase a triptych of paintings which I completed when the times were good, the sun was shining, and I was enjoying uninhibited zest for life. I was holidaying in Marbella, Spain at the time. I had just finished my law degree, and was spending almost a month in Spain. By day I would enjoy the freshness of the mediterranean sea, the heat of the beach, and the pleasure of seafood and of wine. In the balmy afternoons, I would retreat to our sun-dappled garden, under the shade of our fragrant jasmine tree, and rest, contemplate, and (being english, even when in Spain) drink tea.

It was in these times of ultimate afternoon delight that the Joie de Vivre triptych was born, three paintings which were unplanned, but which burst freely out of my paintbrush and straight onto canvas, an apt demonstration of my uninhibited happiness when life was good, the drinks flowed, the sea lapped upon the shore and my imagination came to life.

The resulting triptych sold at my 2006 exhibition, Between me and my Reflection and is now one of my best selling limited edition prints (with some still for sale on my Etsy store). It celebrates the ‘zest’ or joys of life through an illustration of the three stages of culinary and alcoholic indulgence during the day; lunchtime, afternoon tea and evening. Recreation and hedonism are central to the juxtaposed images with a further emphasis on home entertainment, namely piano/music, cards/gambling and chess. Opulence is illustrated by symbols of extravagance contained within all three images, as well as buried treasure and jewellery. Sea food is the culinary indulgence on the menu: many other life-forms or objects are anthropomorphised, for example, the sheep seen in the domestic setting of its whale-house, the musical notes struggling to save each other from the perils of a rough sea, and a snail which digs underground to retrieve the buried treasure. The ‘zest of life’ which these images embody is also specifically reflected by the citrus slices which radiate perfect weather conditions in each scene, while a human hand is always “on hand” to assist in the activities being illustrated, whether it be pouring the cream for the afternoon’s strawberries and the marie-rose sauce for the crab, or dealing out the cards for an evening of casino entertainment. The painted images flow and metamorphose from one object to another, as a string harbour-side lights becomes a string of pearls which in turn  becomes of floating buoys or a sudden rain shower becomes ice cream, piled on a cone to be enjoyed with a glass of rosé.

There’s a lot to explore in these paintings, which are typical of what happens when I set my mind loose, so without further ado I will let you enjoy the paintings in full, hoping that you take from them the optimism for life which they engender as you go about enjoying your sunny sunday and forthcoming summer.

Joie de Vivre/ Zest of Life 1: Crab Cocktail (2005 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

This print is available to purchase as a limited edition print at my Etsy store 

Joie de Vivre/ Zest of Life 2: Afternoon Sea (2005 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

This print is also available to purchase as a limited edition print at my Etsy store

Joie de Vivre/ Zest of Life 3: Casino Nights (2005 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

This print is also available to purchase as a limited edition print at my Etsy store

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work 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.

Limited edition prints for sale on Etsy

It’s bumper Friday with a second post just to let you know that in addition to my Norm Christmas cards, I’ve put five sets of limited edition prints for sale in my Etsy Shop. This is a great opportunity to buy some art in time for Christmas. Take a look! The prints which are for sale are shown below.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2005-2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work 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.