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Posts from the ‘Mallorca’ Category

Mallorca My highlights – Part One: The First Year

A big move is in progress. The Daily Norm has one gelatinous leg in its new London home, and the other floating somewhere in transit as we await the delivery of all the possessions – and post importantly the computer – which makes writing of The Daily Norm a regular possibility. So excuses are sought from all readers for the temporary scarcity of posts. But at the same time, as any self respected blogger, I don’t want to lose this moment to reflect upon the magnitude of this change, nor to miss the opportunity to look back on my time in Mallorca. For two short years it may only have been, but those 27ish months provided a lifetime of unforgettable experiences for which I am so grateful.

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So in the next two posts, I plan to reflect back upon those two years, doing so by way of the medium of my photos which is surely the best way of reliving the memories. For the mere process of selecting these photos for part one of these posts – the first year of my Mallorca experience – demonstrated with such potency what an incredible time we had. The colours alone speak of a thousand moments, of all those sunsets and sunny days and spring flowers and autumn leaves. The incredible mountains and the craggy coast, the windmills and the sheep and the little shops of Palma’s Casco Antiguo. All goes in the mix as I reflect on my first of two years in Mallorca – two years which can be very easily labelled the best in my life. So far.

© 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. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com

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Sunset over my time in Mallorca

The sun has set, enriching the sky with its fiery strata, emboldening the clouds with shades of purple and gold like the toga of an enthroned Roman emperor. These photos, taken from the roof of my current building in the centre of Palma de Mallorca, capture one of the stunning sunsets which so often characterise the winter skies over this blissful Mediterranean island, and were taken in this, my last week in Mallorca. For after two and a quarter incredible years living on what can only be described as a paradise land, it is time to follow the path of the sun, as the light sets over my time in Mallorca.

Our decision to leave has been hard indeed, but conflicting priorities often make difficult decisions a necessity. We return now to the splendour of London, although when I consider that city, constantly regenerating, continuously improving, it feels like more of a new adventure than a “return” to a past left behind. Nothing now can take away from me the wealth of memories which have enriched our time on Mallorca, and island which has done more, visually, to inspire me than any other place in the world.

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So although this will be my last post written from this island (at least in my current period of residency!), further reflection upon Mallorca is inevitable and will cover the posts of this blog for weeks to come, I am sure. But in the meantime, I leave Mallorca with these very appropriate photos, which, like the island, demonstrate the incredible colours and wonderful, fleeting transience of Nature at its best.

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© 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. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com

 

2016: My Year in Photos

It’s beyond crazy that a year has passed since I last compiled a photographic review of my photos. I remember exactly where I was sitting when I last did it, the rush I felt at writing the post before jetting off the following day to Venice…I practically remember what I was drinking (gingerbread green tea surely… it comes highly recommended). Short of remembering the clothes I was wearing, it seems so ridiculously proximate in time that I feel almost in a state of dreamlike disorientation as I engage on the annual tradition of writing this post. Even filing through my many thousand of photos does not convince me that enough time can have passed for a year to be up already. And there was I thinking that leap year 2016 had one more day to its number.

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And yet my calendar tells me that we are once again here again, coming to the end of another year, and one which for me has been very, very busy but full of light, sunshine and happiness. All of these things have mainly been the result of my location which, for another full year, was based on the paradise island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean sea, a backdrop which provided a daily life rich in sensual pleasures, and from which other fantastic locations such as Barcelona and Granada were only a short plane’s hop away.

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Yet asides from the visual riches so inherent in Spain, 2016 was a year which provided us with the opportunity to explore old favourites such as the enduringly attractive city of Rome, and also to embrace the new: the island of Menorca, Split in Croatia and Vienna in Austria were just three of those exciting new destinations which we were lucky enough to discover in 2016. It was also a year of discovery for my young family too…One of my highlights has to be the visit to Mallorca of my sister and young nephews, and experiencing their joy as they dipped into the warm sea for the first time.

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When I look back over 2016, I remember a year of stark contrasts. Because for all of the beautiful experiences which manifest in these photos shared today, I cannot deny a feeling of trepidation as I leave a year which presented so many new dangers. As if Brexit in June was not bad enough, the Trump election in the US just 5 months later was like rubbing salt into a still unhealed wound. And in my personal sphere, the news that I will soon be leaving to Mallorca to take up life again in London likewise will come with its share of challenges. Only time will tell how this cocktail of external and personal factors will play out, and the experiences which will result. However I am confident that in 12 months time, another year will have quickly passed. I look forward to sharing with you the photographic gallery which will surely result.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 20136and 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. 

Norms Palma Series: Christmas Shopping at La Pajarita

While there is no doubt that the island of Mallorca truly comes alive when the summertime descends, its capital city of Palma is often uncomfortable when packed with tourists and baked under a relentless sun. But come Christmas, when the tourist hoards are back at home and the city becomes once again the realm of its locals, Palma metamorphoses into a festive delight of late night shopping, Christmas carols and streets filled with lights. As the local Palma Norms prepare for this most favourite of their annual celebrations, they delight in the sparkling manifestation of Christmas in the streets of their city, bouncing from shop to shop as they stock up on presents, food and of course a treat or five for themselves.

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Norms Christmas Shopping at La Pajarita (2016 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

But of all the shops in the little maze-like streets of Palma, the Norms’ absolute favourite at Christmas time has to be La Pajarita. Not only is it one of the oldest shops in the city, but the one which sells all of the Norms’ greatest temptations: marzipan fruits, chocolate langues du chats, unctuous turrones, glacier cherries, and boiled sweets of every shape and size. Resembling Norms in both texture and colour, marzipan is probably the Norms’ ultimate delight, and here we join the Norms as they gaze in wonder through the window at the marzipan treats on show, while others bounce away joyfully with their sweet selection wrapped, bagged and ready to go home.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2016. 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. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com

Palmanova: Colonial Age

It’s funny how coincidence so often dictates the trajectory of life. My weekend in Barcelona was booked on a whim, out of a desire to feel the stimulation of a big city. I had no idea when I organised the trip that the Picasso Museum was showing the most incredible exhibition of cubist art at the time I would be going. I likewise knew nothing of the show, nor the style of painting advanced by the Crystal Cubists when I started work on this painting, Palmanova: Colonial Age, which I am delighted to be sharing today. Yet somehow all of the elements of this period seem to have merged in one. The painting, and the trip, while advanced in separate moments, seem to sit perfectly alongside one another as a further phase in my development as an artist.

The project arose out of a restaurant decorating commission in the original Cappuccino Grand Café in Palmanova, Mallorca. A combination of the elegant tall palm trees swaying by the seaside outside, and the preexisting interiors of wood panelling which could not be changed, inspired an Indian colonial scheme, underpinned by rich greens and mustard yellows. This scheme was further advanced when coincidentally I found old artworks containing monkeys and palm trees which perfectly complemented the design, while the name of Farrow & Ball’s shade of yellow, Indian Yellow, likewise came as a signal for the design forming in my mind. But when we decided that the design required a painting for a finishing flourish, this image immediately jumped into my head.

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Palmanova: Colonial Age (©2016 Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

 

Palmanova: Colonial Age is a painting which is defined by the characteristics of crystal cubism which I admired so much in my last blog. Pictorially, it narrates both the surroundings of the restaurant where it now hangs – the sandy beach, the mountainous horizon, the sea and the palms – and likewise the Indian elements which underpin the interior design. But as I took the theme further, I realised that there were other similarities too between India and Palmanova. For while the “colonial” style of design stems largely from the time when the British Empire colonised and ruled India, Palmanova is an area of Mallorca likewise famous for its strong British population, and the local businesses, largely catering for Brit needs, are evidence of the success of this “colonisation”.

Somewhat tongue in cheek therefore I have applied the colonial theme to this sunny stretch of Spain when creating a cubist painting which for me perfectly complements the seaside location and the elegance of Britain’s great colonial age.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2016. 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. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com

A Portrait of Mallorca

Sometimes I just want to paint what’s on my mind. The energetic fusion of ideas applied to canvas in a mixed and multifarious revolution of form and colour. But unlike the Expressionist movement, which tended to splash and splosh their emotion onto canvas in more of a literal application of paint, my variety of expressionism materialises in more of a controlled fashion. I suppose it says something about my rather controlling mind (a tendency for which my partner may testify). For my wildest form of expression is something more cubist in nature. I have always been enchanted by the age of the cubists. The ability to show an object or a subject on multidimensional planes has always filled me with an ultimate sense of pictorial satisfaction. And while my cubism is less a single subject and rather more a mixed bag of ideas, it definitely belongs to the genre.

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Portrait of Mallorca (2016 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

This cubist work, which also belongs to my interpretative abstract way of thinking, is the latest canvas to hop off my easel and says everything and anything about the island on which I have spent the last two happy years of my life. It is for me a true portrait of Mallorca, because beyond the tacky tourism for which the island is so unfortunately infamous, the island is one of true bucolic peasant culture, with its own cuisine and characterised by a stunning mixed mountainous and coastal landscape. All this is represented in the imagery packed into this “portrait” which includes the spiralled ensaimada pastry for which the island is famous, the lacey headdress and straw hat worn by the traditional peasant women, as well as their flowing striped skirts flapping in the Mediterranean breeze. There too are the mountains and the beaches, the glittering coast and the yachts which encircle the island like moths around a light source. And of course the sails of the windmills, which likewise characterise the lower lying stretches of countryside.

It is a painting which fully encapsulates the multifaceted personality of an island which is much, much more than Magaluf.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2016. 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. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com

Discovering Mallorca: Botanical Soller

Were I forced to choose between a beach and a garden, I would take a garden any day. For as enticing as the charms of a beach may be, it is the dappled shady paradise created by a sunny, richly planted garden which for me represents earth’s most sublime elysium. While the island of Mallorca may be famous for its beaches, the proportion of gardens is far lower. Having paid a visit to pretty much all of those beautiful gardens which do exist, amongst them the lush Renaissance terraces of the Raixa, and the arabic tilled patios of the Alfabia Gardens, I had one left on the list to enjoy – the Botanical Gardens in the citrus rich mountainous valley of Soller.

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Soller’s Botanical Gardens did not disappoint. Created in 1985 as a centre for the conservation, study and understanding of Mediterranean flora, the garden is carefully split into diversely collected plant zones, from the cacti of the Canaries to local Balearic fruit varieties. And while many consider the Spring as a perfect time to make a visit to a garden, the autumn turned out to be a fine alternative, blessing our visit with an exquisite caramel light, and enabling for the enjoyment of a ripe harvest of shiny pink apples, ruby red peppers and yellowing citrus.

Surrounded by the dramatic landscape of the Tramuntana mountains, and benefiting from the coverage of numerous tree varieties, the garden was filled with both inspirational views and sun dappled corners made for meditative enjoyment. My favourite corner had to be the wetlands area, where a pond full of bountiful waterlilies was alive with the diving dance of dragonflies, whose rare and occasional pause on a leaf or bulrush enabled a truly unique appreciation of this fragile and elegant creature.

As ever, a garden proved that in life, the best moments are those which enable us to pause and appreciate the beautiful little things that occur naturally all around us.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2016. 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. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com

Inspired by my surroundings: Paseo Mallorca 3

The Paseo Mallorca, a stretch of treelined river in Palma, continues to inspire. I am lucky enough to live on this panorama of green which acts like the lungs of a city already awash with the air of the Mediterranean. It is, if you like, the perfect gateway to the sea from the city sprawl built up alongside it, since a stroll along this tree-lined avenue will take you directly down to the city’s magnificent port.

I set about painting this stretch of urban utopia a few months ago, starting with the bridge closest to the Es Baluard museum of art, and moving onto the bridge of Jaume III and the magnificent post-modern stretch of residential buildings beyond. In this third addition to the collection, I move further up the river, to the area where I live. Here the bridges are simplified but the greenery is all the more stunning. The colour palette is carefully chosen to represent the humid warmth of the season (I started the work on the painting in July), and also to perfectly partner the first painting in this group. For me it captures the essence of this happy, leafy suburbia which I am lucky enough to call home.

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Paseo Mallorca 3 (2016 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2016. 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. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com

Mallorca Moments: The Sea at Sunrise

As much as I love the autumn, one thing which I find somewhat depressing about the ongoing march of the year is the reduction in light. It seems that as each day of the year begins, there is a little less light available to assist in the difficult emergence from under the warmth of a snuggly duvet. Nevertheless, work does not wait for any man, and the need to start the day shrouded in a Wintery darkness will soon become a reality. However, every seasonal change brings with it its fair share of visual spectacles, and now that the light is fading, my customary morning walk now coincides with the precise moment when the sun rises above the silhouette of Palma de Mallorca’s impressive gothic cathedral.

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While Palma’s autumn sun rises make for quite a spectacle, it is the effect of the morning light on the water in the port which really entices me. Enveloped in a warm glow varying between a nectarine yellow and a peachy pink, the gentle movement of the water against the port’s forest of white yachts and sailing boats creates reflections and ripples which are a true vision to behold. Readers of The Daily Norm will know that I am no stranger to the charm of a good ripple – these watery movements have inspired many an artwork in my past repertoire. But in the current light of autumn, Palma’s ripples are surely at their colourful best, a fact well in evidence in this collection of photos.

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All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2016 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. 

Discovering Mallorca: Parc Natural de Montragó

A visit to the Parc Natural de Montragó on Mallorca’s South East coast pretty much summed up the current state of the Seasons. Walking through its abundantly planted forests of pines and locally occurring flora and fauna offered an embrace of the Autumn. There, the colours shone in the sunny September warmth with an auburn glow – even the greens had turned a golden-green, as though touched by a veil of Royal splendour. Yet as the forests gradually thinned and the shallow stream fanned out as it reached the sea, the colours transformed. No longer did the subtlety of Autumn reside, but the all conquering splendour of the summer, as we reached the most incredibly turquoise expanse of water I think I have ever seen.

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It’s no wonder that the beach was unnaturally packed with people who, despite the promise of a swathe of untouched natural park, had somehow managed to find this little slice of paradise (as had an ugly prefab hotel, presumably constructed before the natural park status was awarded to the area). But who could blame them? With colour as vivid as this, Mallorca’s Montragó beach is every bit the Caribbean idyll whose image we all pour over in travel catalogues and whose colours we assume are faked. I expect those beaches are crowded in reality too.

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Despite the crowds, there was no doubting the very invigorating thrill of swimming in waters which were almost electric in their colour. As the ripples of light passed over our skin, it was like being immersed in a Hockney painting in 60s LA. And as the Natural Park is indeed large, it didn’t require a whole lot of exploring to escape the more crowded areas. Strolling around a rocky headland, we soon found ourselves with access to a cove of water all of our own. Jumping into the sea from the precarious rocky outcrops, finally we had found the in Natural. Just the two of us and a complete immersion in the outstanding beauty of nature.

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All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2016 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.