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Posts from the ‘Norms do…’ Category

Norms: The Saints Collection | Saint Ramon Llull of Mallorca

There is a spiritual kind of sensibility in the air which is very tangible for me at Christmas time. It has much to do with my childhood experiences of singing Christmas carols by candlelight in cold churches, the orangey smell of the Christingle mixed with candle wax, and my life changing art history course in Italy when the Catholic churches of Florence and Rome in December really came alive in my imagination. All of this means that I am at my most spiritually receptive at this time of year, particularly when it comes to admiring Renaissance and pre-renaissance gilded altar pieces and religious masterpieces. And it is for that same reason that when it comes to my own creativity, I love creating Saint Norms.

First inspired by an altarpiece I saw in the Accademia in Venice, my Saint Norms was a collection of illustrations started in early 2014. The last two I made were later that year, following our move to Mallorca. With Santa Lucia and Saint Nicholas, I laid the collection to rest…that was at least until now. For following a recent visit to the magnificent Cathedral of Palma, I became inspired by the island’s own patron saint, Ramon Llull.

Born in 1232 in the turbulent period following the reconquest of Mallorca from islamic rule, Ramon Llull was a writer, philosopher and Franciscan tertiary famous for creating what is quite possibly the first major work of Catalan literature, and for his prominent work on elections theory and computation. While he may just have been a happy-go-like writer of salacious poems, he turned towards saintliness following a continued apparition of Christ on the Cross, the likes of which first came to him as he sat writing in his Mallorquín home.

saint-ramon-llull-norm-2

Saint Ramon Llull Norm (2016 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and gold paint on paper)

Such is the scene now imagined here in this latest Saint Norm sketch, which also includes all of the traditional trademarks of Mallorca craftsmanship, from the ancient zig zag frescoed ceilings, to the Mallorquín lenguas fabric cushions on his chair.

Now my latest Saint Norm is completed, I finally feel fully ready for Christmas.

© 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

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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

Norms: The Saints Collection | Santa Lucia

At this festive and, for some, religious time of year, the calendar is awash with Saint’s days and festivals which make the whole Christmas period sparkle with something rather magical. Last week, I noted the passing of St Nicholas’ day, a Saint’s day of the utmost import because it is that rotund smiling fellow who will pass out the presents this December 24th, and of course because he happens to share my name. Last Saturday, another festive favourite was celebrated: St Lucy or Santa Lucia as she is perhaps more widely known, and as the bringer of light and patron saint of sight, this Saint is equally important at this sparkling, light infused time of the year.

In fact such is Santa Lucia’s renown as the bringer of light, that her Saint’s day is celebrated with gusto in the Scandinavian lands, where darkness reigns for much of the day at this time of the year, and where locals therefore gather in reverence to the Saint in the hope that St. Lucy will bring them more light to get through the winter. Apparently her connection with light stems from the fact that at the time of her death at the hands of Emperor Diocletian, her eyes were gouged out, either by order of the Emperor, or by herself in order to disuade a potential suitor from pursuing her. Either way, the story has been taken up in popular iconography, and in more recent times, Santa Lucia has been depicted holding her eyes on a platter.

Santa Lucia Norm (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and gold paint on paper)

Santa Lucia Norm (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and gold paint on paper)

And so, here is Santa Lucia Norm, depicted in all her glory with eyes upon a platter. No gruesome gouging here (it is Christmas after all), but just the suggestion of it. My Santa Lucia is wearing the crown of candles which is worn by celebrants of her festival in the Scandinavian celebrations which are the basis of my depiction. Those celebrations also include choirs of children wearing white gowns, conical hats and carrying candles in homage to the Saint’s light-giving powers – celebrations which are depicted here against a snowy, Christmassy Scandinavian landscape. More about those celebrations tomorrow, but in the meantime – a Merry Christmas to all!

© 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

Norms at the Chocolateria C’an Joan de S’Aigo

Having read my post a few days back on the oldest and most venerable of all chocolateria’s in Palma de Mallorca, the C’an Joan de S’Aigo, it was only a matter of time before the Norms sought out the establishment for themselves. Pearly white though they may be, these little one-armed creatures love nothing more than a cup of warm silky chocolate, which helps to nourish their gelatinous skin, and gives them an extra spring to their bounce. So off the Norms went to Palma’s most popular cafe, nestled in the streets of its ancient medieval quarter, and still exhibiting an eclectic mix of interior articles from a bygone era.

On the visit we see in this little Norm sketch, these hungry Norms have ventured into the cafe at a fortuitous time. For not only have they been able to find themselves plenty of greasy sweet ensaimadas to dip into their hot chocolate, but they have also coincided their visit with that of Joan Miro Norm, the great Norm artist who himself always loved to indulge in a little cup of the good stuff. Here we can see Miro Norm somewhat struggling with a piece of art work. Should he draw another bird or another star? Is the black outline around the yellow circle thick enough? It’s a real struggle being an artist – I can tell you that much.

Norms visit the C'an Joan de S'Aigo (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

Norms visit the C’an Joan de S’Aigo (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

© 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

Norms in Dubrovnik | Up the Cable Car

Like us, Norms do enjoy a good view. After all, their faces feature not the nose or mouth of humans (although rumour has it that these intriguing little creatures eat through pores that open in what would approximately be the location of a mouth on a human face), but two huge wide eyes, which are perfect for taking in the most stunning of sights. And where better to indulge their view-loving tendencies than from the Dubrovnik cable car, where the very best aerial view of the city can be admired.

Of course these Norms are a squishy lot, and that means that when it came to filling the cable car, rather a lot could fit in. That didn’t mean it was particularly comfortable for the tightly packed Norms however, and as this much happier lone Norm photographs the city from atop the hill, he cannot help but notice how those poor cable-car Norms look rather more concerned with the crush they’re enduring than the view below them. Still, they’re almost at the top, and once they get there they can enjoy one of the most unrivaled views of the Adriatic.

Norms in Dubrovnik take the Cable Car (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

Norms in Dubrovnik take the Cable Car (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

And there ends my four-piece collection of Dubrovnik Norm sketches. I hope you enjoyed it!

© 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

Norms in Dubrovnik | Life’s a Beach

There is nothing that Norms like more than a good day out at the beach. Their little round tummies sit particularly well with lounging around by the seaside, although they have to be careful to protect their pearly-white skin. I’m not sure that the bottle of factor 15 seen in this little sketch would provide apt protection to these reckless beach-going Norms. But Norms can’t be mistaken for being lazy. They love the water too, and bobbing around in warm seas is one of their particularly favourite occupations, not least in waters so clear and clean as Dubrovnik’s, particularly when the waters, and the beach benefits from a sensational backdrop of the city like this one. 

So in my latest Norm sketch, we see the Norms in the midsts of a day of seaside happiness: one is sketching, sat up on the rocks, another teaching his baby Norm how to float with the help of a safety ring. On the water’s edge two little Norms are building sand castles from the rather limited stocks of sand to be found on Dubrovnik’s otherwise pebbly beach, and two more are being conscientiously healthy by playing ball games in between swims. One more Norm is about to go snorkelling in waters which are so clear as to afford him a great view of the fish within, while another is more concerned with that amazing city view, and has swum out quite far to get the very best vantage point.

Norms on Dubrovnik Beach (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

Norms on Dubrovnik Beach (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

Life truly is a beach for this little group of holidaying sun-loving Norms.

© 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

Norms in Dubrovnik | Tourist Norms on the City Walls

Dubrovnik is, unsurprisingly, a very popular tourist destination. Thousands pour into the tiny old town encased within its thick stone walls every day, and the thousands have now become tens of thousands owing to the popularity of the TV series, Game of Thrones, which is filmed there. It’s not uncommon to see a whole cluster of cruise liners docked off the coast shunting out boat loads of tourists to explore the city – my taxi driver told me that some days they have to cope with as many as 6 cruise liners, each with several thousand passengers, visiting the city in a single day. And this is on top of the many hundreds of tourists who head to the city every year under their own steam. And where is the first place that these tourist hoards head to? The city walls.

From the unique vantage point offered to us by the Stari Grad Hotel nestled in the centre of the old town, we were able to see several sections of the city walls. When we headed up to breakfast close after 8am the walls were pretty quiet, but by 9pm they were starting to fill, as group after group of tour-led travellers started walking in single file along the top of the narrow walls. By lunchtime there were so many people along the walls that the masses looked like an extra line of masonry.

Tourist Norms visit the Walls of Dubrovnik (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

Tourist Norms visit the Walls of Dubrovnik (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

In Norm-world, the Norms are facing exactly the same problems as they too head up the step of Dubrovnik’s walls (bouncing as they go) to visit this renowned medieval attraction. Here in my latest Dubrovnik sketch, we see the Norms being bustled along the walls by various tour guides; a stream of tourist Norms so extensive that you can see them reaching all the way around the walls as far as the eye can see. But just look at the incredible view the Norms get from that unique vantage point: the sea of terracotta roofs on one side, and the sparkling Adriatic on the other. That has to be worth the tourist-Norm cram along the walls of Dubrovnik.

© 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

 

Norms in Dubrovnik | Fishernorm in the Brsalje Harbour

Amongst the mystical rocks and the shallow still waters of the Brsalje Harbour in Dubrovnik, Croatia, barely a soul is stirring. The crystal clear waters of the Adriatic lap so gently upon the small beach there that their placid rolling motion is more like a tender embrace licking clean the smooth white pebbles of the shore. Even at the deepest sections of the harbour, the fishes seem to be hypnotised into a mid-afternoon slumber, swimming gently in slow motion, quietly transfigured by the sparkling ripples created by the afternoon sun. On the many rocks, small crabs are similarly somnolent, happily ensconced by the waters edge, soaking up a few Mediterranean rays. And across the bay, a little boat lies in waiting, neither moving nor occupied, a reminder of the activity which at times fills these waters but which today has been abandoned in favour of siesta time.

Amongst this scene of blissful inactivity, the only movement is from the one occupant of the bay, although even he, this little fishernorm idly fishing by the water’s edge, is struggling to fight the waves of fatigue spilling over him. Yet occasionally, one of those otherwise contented fishes explores curiously the little worm hanging down from the fishernorm’s road, stirring the mirrored waters with the perfect circles of a ripple as its tail flicks this way and that, before abandoning this inevitable means of entrapment.

Fishernorm in the Brsalje Harbour, Dubrovnik (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

Fishernorm in the Brsalje Harbour, Dubrovnik (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)

Yes, here is the first of my sketches showing how the Norms, too, have discovered the stunning city of Dubrovnik. While many tourist Norms will of course be bobbling along the extensive city walls, one must always remember that Norms like nothing more than a little inertia of a warm afternoon. And this little fishernorm’s idea of fishing in the beautiful Brsalje harbour looks like a fine one to me. Let’s just hope that in all that beautiful tranquillity all around him, he doesn’t nod off and roll into the water.

© 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

Norms do… Marie Antoinette

There have been many famous female figures in history: Mother Theresa, Queen Elizabeth II, Florence Nightingale, Marilyn Monroe, Cleopatra – but of all history’s matriarchal icons, my favourite of all time has to be Marie Antoinette. Born Archduchess of Austria and later Queen to France’s doomed Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette’s iconic fame arises, not because of any kind of historical achievement on her part, but because of her reputation for lavish excess, sky-high hair, massive abundant dresses, and a complete self-indulgent profligacy which saw her building herself miniature villages, vast gardens, living in extravagant palaces and dressing in only the finest fabrics – and all this at a time when France was crumbling on the brink of revolution.

Famous for supposedly uttering “Let them eat cake” when told that the poor of France had no bread (although there is no documentary evidence that she ever did so), Marie Antoinette’s renowned excess could not go on forever in the instability of French society at the time, and eventually it became her ultimate downfall, all the way to the guilotine. No doubt this ignominious end is crucial to why Marie Antoinette has become such a legendary figure, together with her towering powdered wigs, vast horizontal dresses and of course a token beauty spot.

Well, as I was preparing for the show stopping highlight of the Norm collection of my recent London solo exhibition, I thought about how I could create a climax to my collection which would ultimately hang at the very end of my show. And being as I already had a super-elaborate Versaille-style gilt frame begging for a new canvas, it seemed that only one Norm would fit the bill: Marie Antoinette Norm.

Marie Antoinette Norm (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

Marie Antoinette Norm (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

While the eagel-eyed amongst you may have already spotted her residing in my show in the photos I have shared, here Marie Antoinette Norm, the result of several weeks labour in acrylic on canvas, is presented for the first time. Surrounded by all of the paraphernalia of her power and royal station, together with her iconic high wig, beauty spot and over-sized silk-ruffled skirt, my Marie Antoinette Norm is the very embodiment of the character who has been famed throughout history. She is even holding a piece of cake by way of illustration of her most famous (if historically doubtful) utterance.

The painting, with all of the fabrics and grand interiors typical of the time, was not the easiest to paint, and I found that to make the painting look older, I had to really knock back a lot of the brightness of shop bought colours. Still at its finish I am wholeheartedly delighted with this most glamourous of Norms – the fitting end to a collection of art historical figures all translated into Norm world.

At the exhibition

At the exhibition

© 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

Norms: The Saints Collection | Saint Jerome

Of all the stories of saints which I came across when first studying art history in my gap year, and re-encountered subsequently in my travels around some of the best of Europe’s art galleries, my favourite has always been Saint Jerome. Generally this is because in depictions of the Saint, Jerome is shown kindly tending to the paw of a lion (I am a Leo after all). So the legend goes, he tamed a lion because he had managed to remove a thorn from the poor Lion’s paw. On subsequent investigations, I have learned that this may not have been the legend of Saint Jerome at all, and that in actual fact, the same is said of Saint Gerasimus whose name is confusingly similar to the latin for Jerome, “Geronimus”. But Lion or otherwise, this kindly saint is also famous for being one of the most learned of all the famous figures of Christianity, and for the fact that in the course of his theologising, he was the first to translate the bible into Latin. For this reason the saint is likewise traditionally depicted  surrounded by books and the other paraphernalia of study.

So in illustrating my latest Norm of the Norm Saints Collection, I have ensured that my Jerome Norm is accompanied by both the sad wounded lion, and the books and scrolls of study which are an ever constant in this Saint Norm’s life. His little study looks so cosy, I could quite happily take that lion’s place and spend a little time by Jerome Norm’s side, reading books and having my paws tended to. You can keep the thorn though.

Saint Jerome Norm (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen, ink and gold paint on paper)

Saint Jerome Norm (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen, ink and gold paint on paper)

This is likely to be the last Norm of the Norm Saints Collection for a while – after all, my new solo art exhibition at the Strand Gallery in London beckons in just over a week. But hopefully more will follow in the future, when the divine intervention of all the Norm saints inspires me…

© 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 Normwill be at London’s Strand Gallery from 13 – 18 May 2014. For more details, click here