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Posts from the ‘NormNews’ Category

Norms Palma Series: On La Rambla

Norms adore flowers. When they get a hint of floral perfume wafting in the air, they follow it like a dog going after a bone. For them, flowers encase the very merriment of life and encapsulate the hopes of spring. They are the very best manifestation of Nature’s natural gift. And so when it comes to the city of Palma de Mallorca, one of the places you will regularly find a whole host of Norms will be La Rambla, the beautiful tree lined avenue whose wide central promenade plays host to the majority of the city’s florists.

Walking along La Rambla is like that moment of entering the ground floor of a department store. A waft of dense perfume greets the senses and sends them spiralling into a full-flow of memories of Spring days and surprise gifts. And on La Rambla, you are greeted not just by an assault of delicious smells, but buy a host of colours too. Flowers and plants of every shape and size can be found there, and there is a gift for every Norm in need.

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Norms on La Rambla (2016 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

So here we can see the Norms bouncing along La Rambla, enjoying the trickle of the fountain which sits at the avenue’s climax…some Norms even like to do their laundry there, which frankly others feel is one step too far beyond excepted social norms. But be that what it may, one Norm norm is accepted as a fact. Buy a Norm some flowers and you will make him or her very, bouncily, happy.

© 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

Norms Palma Series: Café Gran Hotel

The Norms have been away for an awfully long time. Unreasonably long, one might surmise. After all, The Daily Norm is a blog named after the funny little blob like creature, and it feels somewhat redundant when the eponymous protagonist of the piece is missing. But everyone is entitled to a rest, Norms included, and the Norms have been taking their time off seriously indeed, partly meditating amongst the citrus trees of Capri, and party philosophising deep in a Grenadian jungle.

But now the Norms are back, where they have returned to their favourite mediterranean city of Palma de Mallorca. Everyone knows that the Norms are a social folk, and they love nothing more than to sit back in a bustling cafe and watch the world go by. In Palma, there are plenty of cafes to choose from, but one of their decided favourites is the Cafe Gran Hotel, directly outside what was once a likewise named hotel of supreme art nouveau elegance. These days it finds itself the home of one of Spain’s many bank-run art foundations, a fact which both vexes the Norms and delights them in equal measure. But whatever the contents, the building retains its period glamour. Hence why the ever elegant Norms adore to sit in its shadow.

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Norms at the Café Gran Hotel, Palma (2016 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

© 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

Norms in the Caves of Drach

Legend has it that the Norms have lived on the earth for many millions of years, although over that time, it is thought that their bean-like gelatinous form has gradually morphed and evolved. In fact some allege that these famous white blobs once started off as a mere circular structure, although the biological reasoning behind this theory is heavily disputed.

Nonetheless, there is nothing that Norms like to do more (well apart from sip on a steaming cup of hot white chocolate perhaps) than reconnecting with their heritage, and owing to their tremendously long history, this connection can be no better realised than in a good set of caves, themselves the products of millions of years slow limestone dripping.

Norms in the Caves of Drach (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

Norms in the Caves of Drach (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

It is no wonder then that on a recent trip to the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, the Norms were to be found happily visiting the famous Cuevas of Drach; gazing up in wonder at the multiple surreal forms created by the stalactites, and floating, awestruck, across the crystal clear lake, gazing at their milky reflection while a boat full of Norm musicians serenaded them across the water.

You could say they took to it like a Norm to water…,

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2015. 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.delacybrown.com

Norms in the Embarcadero of S’Estaca

It’s been many months since the Norms last featured on this blog, which is somewhat incongruous for a blog where these little one-armed white blobs are the protagonists. Yes everyone needs a holiday, and while for me that meant a rest from my Norm drawing board, for the Norms themselves it was a busier time… word has it they’ve been locked away in the Normaboratory engaged in top-secret scientific research about the luminosity of the outer Norm-mebrane. And although they’re keeping characteristically silent about the results of their work, they have at least come out to play. And happily for me, the Norms’ new playground is the island of Mallorca, where I found them only the other day at the incredible Embarcadero of S’Estaca.

Norms in the Embarcadero of S'Estaca (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

Norms in the Embarcadero of S’Estaca (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

This stunning little setting, nestled in the rippling folds of the Tramuntana mountains as they plunge down to sea, was featured on this very blog only a few weeks back, and must have been noted by the Norms. For mere weeks later they can be found lounging in the very same place, bobbing around in the still waters amongst mysterious rock forms, preparing to dive, fish, and take the sun a little… All in the aid of scientific research of course.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2015. 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.delacybrown.com

Introducing my revamped website

The Daily Norm has been fairly quiet of late, and certainly far from daily. But the reason for that is all the work that I and my scurrying little Norms in the Daily Norm office have been doing on this blog’s sister website. For www.delacy-brown.com – the official home of my art – has been revamped, and now finally, with content uploaded and fully up to date, it’s ready to go live.

The process of revamping my website has, despite many hours of late night toil, been a rewarding one, as is so often the case when I see so many of my creations all gathered in one place. But where this revamped website differs from previous versions is the proliferation of Norm content which has grown so significantly since I have been producing artwork for this blog – the home of the Norms. And so, while directing you to the Norm sketches section of my new website, I also thought I’d take this opportunity to look back on a few of my favourite Norm sketches from the last two years – an exercise which is even more appropriate since The Daily Norm will be celebrating its two year birthday next month.

Norms on a Tram in the Praça do Comércio, Lisbon (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

Norms on a Tram in the Praça do Comércio, Lisbon (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

Norms in Venice (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

Norms in Venice (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

Norms at the Musée Rodin, Paris (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

Norms at the Musée Rodin, Paris (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

Of all the Norm sketches I have even done, my travel images are probably still my favourites, since the travels of these friendly little Norms are synonymous with my own fond travel memories. I love my Norms in Lisbon, for example, which perfectly sum up the charm of the old trams clanking their way around the Portuguese capital; likewise I’m fond of my Norm gondoliers, elegantly steering down Venice’s Grand Canal, and my various Norms in my favourite city of Paris, such as these ones above, looking round the grounds of the Musée Rodin.

However, my Norm sketches have also been invaluable in enabling me to celebrate the special occasions and life-enhancing experiences of my lifetime; such as Norms at the London 2012 Olympics, and involved in the celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, as well as annual festivities such as Halloween and Christmas.

The Norms' Diamond Jubilee Street Party (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown) (Pen and pencil on paper)

The Norms’ Diamond Jubilee Street Party (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown) (Pen and pencil on paper)

Norms at London 2012: The Torch's final journey (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

Norms at London 2012: The Torch’s final journey (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

Normy and Normette ponder the meaning of Dali's Mae West Lips (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

Normy and Normette ponder the meaning of Dali’s Mae West Lips (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

So I leave you with just a few more of my favourite Norm sketches, while encouraging you too look at all of the rest, and the remainder of the comprehensive art content, which can now be found on my revamped, restyled home of my art: www.delacy-brown.com. Look forward to seeing you there!

Norms at the Halloween House of Horrors (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

Norms at the Halloween House of Horrors (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

On the 10th day of Christmas my Normy gave to me, 10 Lords a-leaping (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

On the 10th day of Christmas my Normy gave to me, 10 Lords a-leaping (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

The Nighthawk Norms (after Hopper) (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

The Nighthawk Norms (after Hopper) (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2013 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. 

Norm’s Autumn Banoffee at Palau March

As the green leaves of summer turn gradually to shades of auburn and brown, it’s time again to reflect on that sunny island of Mallorca, where the higher temperatures of summer live on, and the sun’s midday warmth embraces all locals and visitors alike with its life-enhancing optimism. But even Mallorca and the Mediterranean is not immune from the seasonal momentum of the planetary system, and as evenings draw in before winter descends, and the sunlight hours diminish, the locals and Norms of Mallorca’s capital Palma look to the cosier pursuits in life.

And can there be anything cosier in the emerging autumn than a late afternoon tea, with a slice of Cappuccino Grand Café’s classic banoffee pie, consumed while sitting on the comfy sofas of the Palau March café under the colonnades ofthis elegant city palace? This little Norm certainly does not think so, and indulging in the very height of afternoon delight, he sips upon his coffee and digs into his oozing caramel-filled banana and cream tart with a gusto which is more than justified when exposed to such an exquisite dessert. His little heart beating to the sumptuous sounds of Cappuccino’s jazzy sound track, and his eyes otherwise entertained by the unbeatable views of Palma’s historic centre beyond the colonnades, this Norm is all set up for an autumn afternoon of insurmountable delight, and is frankly the envy of all of us who can not be there with him.

Norm at Cappuccino Palau March (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

Norm at Cappuccino Palau March (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

My little Norm painting is acrylic on canvas and currently hangs, so I gather, in the stunning Ibiza Botafoch café of the Grupo Cappuccino. Now that’s got to be a double whammy for this little Norm.

Check out more Norm paintings in the new Norm galleries of my (almost) completed new website.

© 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.

Norm cocktail in the Port of Andratx

It’s been a bit quiet on The Daily Norm front this week, as behind the scenes, the Norms and I are scurrying around working hard to redesign and develop my art website which, when it is finished, should provide the perfect partner to this blog, acting as a permanent platform to show my artwork to the world. So while the hard work continues in the offices of The Daily Norm, and as the chillier autumn evenings start to draw in, its surely time to pay one of our Norm friends a visit, over in the warmer climes of the Mediterranean, where the summer extends, that much longer, into the darkening autumn days.

Norm at Puerto Andratx (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

Norm at Puerto Andratx (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

To the island of Mallorca, and onto the stunning little Puerto Andratx, a naturally enclosed semi-circular marina, flanked on all sides by steep green hills leaving only a slight cerulean slice of horizon visible. In this idyllic little port, where fishermen still cast out their nets and store their fishing paraphernalia on the dock side, and where little cafes and restaurants are lined along the still lapping waters and cobbled harbour walls, the persistently chic Cappuccino Grand Café has acquired itself the nicest spot of all, directly next to a little harbour arm, where old wooden boats bob up and down, and the omnipresent sunshine sparkles like a discotheque over the surface of the water.

There, on rocking chairs set out alongside the sea, this hedonistic Norm is soaking in the ultimate pleasures which this cafe paradise can provide: a lavish location, melodic jazzy music, warm midday sun, and a cocktail in her one, well manicured hand.

Now this is surely the way to spend an autumn day.

© 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.

The Daily Sketch: Norms take the tram in Soller

Travelling from Palma de Mallorca to the little town Soller, on the old rickety Ferrocarril railway, is like stepping back into the time of Agatha Christie. You fully expect someone in a trilby hat or a feathered tiara to shout murder! at any second. After making it to the charming little town of Soller, set near the North coast of Mallorca deep in a vast mountainous valley, further rickety old wooden trams, running from the Ferrocarril station down to Soller’s picturesque port, give the town its undoubted charm, taking tourists and locals alike back to the good old days when transportation was slower, yet undoubtedly more reliable.

Norms in Soller (2013, © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

Norms in Soller (2013, © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

Take a glimpse in Soller today, and you can see the Norms trying the tram out for speed. Queuing in a little group, waiting patiently in the shadow of the imposing facade of Joan Rubio i Bellver’s Sant Bartomeu church, and besides the town’s charming little restaurant-filled square, these Norms are all prepared to take a ride on Soller’s iconic tramline. One Norm has even dressed for the occasion, bedecked in top hat as befits such a classical mode of transportation. There’s really no beating the good old golden age of the trams, as these Norm-packed carriages prove. Happy tramming Norms!

© 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.

A Prelude to Printmaking – Part 2: Linocut

Following yesterday’s post, introducing my first ever attempt at etching to the world, here is my first ever attempt at lino cutting. Linocut, which is a form of relief printmaking, involves cutting into linoleum, which, while originally conceived for flooring, has been used by printmakers for almost as long because of its soft surface for cutting while retaining a sufficient durability for printing.

Linocutting is perhaps even trickier to get your head around than etching. This is because you use the same piece of lino to make a print of various colours. In order to “protect” each colour, you cut away at the lino further between prints, going from light to dark because light colours will never show up when printed over darker inks.

Cutting into lino

Cutting into lino

So to explain further, you first cut away from the lino anything you want to remain white. This is because the ink will never touch those cut away areas when the ink is rolled over the lino, so once applied to paper, the paper will remain white where the cuts are. Once you’ve got the hang of that and printed your first colour, the same then applies again to that colour – once you roll a darker colour over the lino, it will simply print on top of the first colour unless you cut more of the lino away to protect it. And so it continues for each layer of colour.

We worked with three colours, but with no forward planning on the details of my image, it was extremely difficult to work backwards and think of the image in terms of light going into shadow, and what colours needed to be preserved and what cut away. The lino also proved difficult to cut in a controlled manner.

The result is something a little coarse, but it’s a finish which I think works really well with the theme – Mexican Norm! Here is the finished print (I printed an edition of 5):

Mexican Norm (linocut print)

Mexican Norm (linocut print)

…and here is the lino after it’s final cut.

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Linocutting was not a technique I loved as much as etching, largely because I find the process of making the image in etching easier to control. Nevertheless I was delighted with the results achieved through linocutting and would certainly like to give it a go again.

Norm prints a plenty, here we come…

© 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.

A Prelude to Printmaking – Part 1: Etching

I’ve never really paid much attention to prints, and still less black and white prints which, in a gallery full of paintings never seemed to capture my attention. All of this began to change around last summertime. The first trigger was the Royal Academy’s annual Summer Exhibition where, amongst the numerous galleries full of paintings of often rather questionable quality, I found myself inexorably drawn to the print gallery, a room packed to the rafters with prints of every conceivable style, technique and colour (and in fact bought two!).

Lucian Freud, Man Posing (1985)

Lucian Freud, Man Posing (1985)

The second trigger came on a visit to the Courtauld Gallery at London’s Somerset House, where a newly acquired collection of Lucian Freud etchings had been hung. I was completely entranced by these works, which, in their monotone black and white seemed to shift focus from what is usually Freud’s fleshy textured paintwork to the almost visceral, fervid lines and cross hatchings by which Freud had reimagined many of his painted portraits in this new medium. In particular I adored Freud’s etching Man Posing (1985) in which the use of etching as a medium seemed to me so artfully applied to capture every hair, muscle and contour of the figure’s naked body.

Completely captivated, I went home and that very evening researched the internet for tips on how to etch. I very soon realised that unlike painting, etching would not be so easy to self-teach, and promptly enrolled myself for a printmaking course at the Art Academy in London Bridge (there being no introductory course dealing exclusively with etching).

Having now done this short weekend course, I can unconditionally say that I am hooked on printmaking, and on etching in particular. On the course we undertook two techniques – one was relief work (we used lino cutting – which I’ll tell you all about in Part 2 of this post); the other was the much anticipated etching technique, something which I found every bit as enjoyable to execute as I had taken delight in looking at Freud’s finished prints.

Another favourite etching - Edward Hopper, Night Shadows (1921)

Another favourite etching – Edward Hopper, Night Shadows (1921)

The process of etching is surprisingly fiddly. Of a whole day’s work in the studio, I probably spent a maximum of around 45 minutes actually drawing out my image onto plate – the remainder of the time was engaged in preparation and printing. Etching uses metal (we used zinc) and an image is etched into the plate using acid. That plate is then plied with ink and used to print an edition. So how does it all work? Well basically, once you’ve got yourself a metal plate (and carefully degreased it), you apply a dark “ground”. This is the layer which protects the metal when it is placed in acid. Once applied, you use a needle to draw your image. It is this process which reveals the metal underneath which will then be “etched” into the metal once acid is applied. So the process of drawing into the ground is a somewhat perplexing one – not only do you have to plan the image in reverse, but you’re also working in the colour negative, cross-hatching into metal to create shadows on your print, when what you end up drawing appears to be light on dark.

Anyway, I’m getting a little techy and I’m sure what you actually want to see is the result. And here it is: Sailor Norm on a beach in Mallorca (holding a fish). I probably ought to think of a better title, so any suggestions are welcome.

Here’s the metal plate with the image etched into it.

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Then below, you can see what it looks like once printed: a series of prints which shows me experimenting with ink removal. In the first, I removed all the ink off the plate apart from the application of ink to the narrow etched lines. In the second, I left a little ink on the plate to create a moodier effect, and for the third and fourth left more and more, specifically targeting certain areas where I wanted more shadow. My favourite is probably the second or third. What do you think?

Sailor Norm on a beach in Mallorca (holding a fish) - print 1

Sailor Norm on a beach in Mallorca (holding a fish) – print 1

Sailor Norm on a beach in Mallorca (holding a fish) - print 2

Sailor Norm on a beach in Mallorca (holding a fish) – print 2

Sailor Norm on a beach in Mallorca (holding a fish) - print 3

Sailor Norm on a beach in Mallorca (holding a fish) – print 3

Sailor Norm on a beach in Mallorca (holding a fish) - print 4

Sailor Norm on a beach in Mallorca (holding a fish) – print 4

So that’s my first etching done, and with an intermediate course now booked, I cannot wait to create more and explore this new medium further. The etching is truly my oyster…

© 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.