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Posts tagged ‘Acrylic’

A Windsor Weekend, Part VI: The Abstract

There is often too much pressure on artists to stick to one particular style. Collectors like the work of an artist to be immediately identifiable – too much wavering from that course is never a good thing, they say. And while I suppose there is something inherently identifiable about the way an artist applies his or her brush to canvas, each is capable of doing very different things. Look at Gerhard Richter for example. He would paint vast stark abstracts one minute, and sumptuously emotional portraits the next. And good on him. For I am an artist who doesn’t like to stick to the same narrow path. As much as I have enjoyed painting more abstract scenes of late, I have also enjoyed reverting to the traditional.

Having said all of this, two very divergent painting styles needn’t be kept apart. From each traditional painting, I believe there is an abstract interpretation just waiting to emerge. And that is just what I did when I finished my traditional landscape of Windsor: I set about paintings it companion in abstract.

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Windsor Abstract (©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, 2017 – acrylic on canvas)

So what you see here is a work which is created from the same natural palette of browns, greens and blues as used in my landscape, and which is based upon a simplified version of the same shapes of trees and paths, strata and clouds, but all set into a very jumbled abstractive composition. Its much the same as my abstract interpretation of Las Meninas by Velazquez, except this time I am interpreting my own work.

I’m not sure I can say which of my Windsor works I prefer – this or the traditional. I believe there is a place for both. And together, they are even better.

© 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 artwork of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, visit http://www.delacybrown.com 

Cassata Siciliana

Following hot on the heels of my last Sicilian sketch, today the final curtain falls upon my Sicily series with this, probably the best showstopper I could conceive in dedication to a holiday so rich in inspirational sources – my latest painting, Cassata Siciliana. 

Measuring some 100cm squared, it’s the largest painting I have completed in a long while and utterly dedicated to the joyful colours, textures and landscapes of South Eastern Sicily. Both its name and its central theme revolve around Sicilian desserts, more particular the Cassata which, in both its sponge-cake original and the ice cream alternative is a dish typical of the island comprising different layers of chocolate, pistachio, ricotta and candied fruit, all representing the wealth of Sicily’s locally available produce. Taking inspiration from that multi-layered dessert, I sought to paint a scene of Sicily made up of layers of squares and outlines, colours and textures, all of which combine to represent a jovial Sicilian scene, a town piazza at its centre, and the tables and chairs and striped awning of a gelateria dominating the scene.

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Cassata Siciliana (2017 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

Whether it be the little ice cream cart on wheels, or that other famous Sicilian treat – the cannolo – proudly sat upon a marine-striped building, this is a painting dedicated to the joy of sunny afternoons filled with chatter, happiness and above all things, dessert. But it is also a homage to the beauty of the Sicilian landscape, whether the baroque brilliance of its cathedrals – such as this reference to the yellow-stoned magnificnetly-domed cathedral in Noto – or the natural scenery which characterises the island, in particular the startling shadow of Etna which defines Sicily.

© 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 artwork of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, visit http://www.delacybrown.com 

Green in Common

Sometimes it’s the simple things that are best in life: It’s a well known philosophy, and one which one does well to remember in this world of plenty, of multiple-distraction and rapid pace technology. Living in Mallorca it was a sensation I knew well, as my favourite moments would be sitting on a sunny bench besides the harbour side with a book and my beloved by my side. No music, no gimmicks, just the sound of water and the bobbing up and down of boats. Now I’m back in London, I feel the same when I’m enjoying the great expanses of green which we city dwellers are so fortunate to have on our doorstep. Right where I live I’m a mere stroll away from Clapham Common, Wandsworth Common, Battersea Park to name but a few. And in those spaces one can strip back the protective urban layer and enjoy the simple pleasures.

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Green in Common (2017 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

Such was my inspiration for this piece, my first completed work on canvas since I returned to this mammoth city, an urban conglomeration so large that perhaps this small painting speaks in protest. Inspired by the sight of a vast beautiful tree, I planned a work for which this simple landscape of trees and clouds would form the backdrop for a more dramatic tree portrait. But when I walked away from the canvas, with the protagonist still unstarted, I revelled in the simple beauty of this mere line of trees. So I declared this painting finished: my ode to verdant simplicity, and the moments I most cherish, wherever I happen to be.

© 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 artwork of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, visit http://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

Lady with a Yellow Sleeve (after Corot)

How things change. Having become so accustomed to walking the hallowed halls of London galleries for every changing exhibition, I now tread the sun dappled pavements of Palma de Mallorca and admire the beauty of nature rather than the beauty of paintings which capture it. However on occasion I get the opportunity to return to the London galleries I love, and the other weekend, I had the quick chance of dropping into the National Gallery where I was able to enjoy a temporary exhibition: Painters’ Paintings, which explored the impressive collections of art owned by some of the most renowned artists. Amongst an exhibition including a vast range of works from Titian to Picasso, the one painting which impressed me the most was formerly owned by Lucian Freud and painted in around 1870 by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, The Italian Woman or Woman with Yellow Sleeve.

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Woman with a Yellow Sleeve (2016 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

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The original Corot masterpiece (© The National Gallery)

With its striking balance of colours, from the vivid red and blue of the lady’s dress to the yellow sleeve after which the painting is named, all set off against a morbidly dark background, you cannot help but be captivated by the work. No wonder the National Gallery chose to use the work as the poster-piece of their show. And as I approached the work, it was another one of those moments when a painting stirred me and I knew that an abstractive reinterpretation of the work was forming in my head. And here it is!

I would’t normally be overly attracted by a portrait of this kind, not least one where the sitter is gazing inwardly within her own world rather than outwards to the audience. But because of the colours Corot used, the painting moved me, and it is those colours which are allowed to shine in my simplified reinterpretation of the work. I hope you like it!

© 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

Tierra Lorca

Granada had so much to offer us. We only went for a few days and yet look how I can go on about the place on The Daily Norm for what must seem like an eternity! Two clear highlights of our trip had to be the stunning Generalife gardens, followed by those similarly lush gardens surrounding the previous family home of Federico Garcia Lorca. In both places, a truly poetic sensibility lingered in the air, making each of the senses stand on high alert as perfumes, colours and ambience were magnified in turn. Imagine then just how good it got when these two experiences came together. And that is exactly what happened when, on the night of my 33rd birthday, we headed to a flamenco concert in the Generalife gardens, whose choreography and artistic direction was entirely based on the life and work of Lorca. It was a match made in heaven.

Sitting in an audience of plenty, out in the open air on a warm balmy night in the Generalife gardens seeing before me an incredibly original modern flamenco spectacle based on the work of one of my all time favourite poets, I felt like a truly well-treated birthday boy. The stars were shining so brightly above us that they felt like part of the stage set, while in front of us, the stage itself was constructed from wings and scenery made from the perfectly erect rows of cypress trees which fill the gardens. For someone rather in love with cypress trees, this was a spectacle indeed, and I was particularly thrilled when the director of the show used various lighting effects to make the magnificent natural surroundings part of the show’s scenery.

The performance, with its mix of traditional and modern flamenco was a true spectacle, and the essence of Lorca transmitted was particularly engaging. The effect of the show was long lasting, and when finally we arrived in Marbella after our stay in Granada, I was moved to paint a small work based on the performance.

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Tierra Lorca (2016 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

So the painting I post today is entitled, like the show, Tierra Lorca, for Granada is indeed the land from which Lorca came. With its simple shapes and a frame like the proscenium arch around a stage, this painting focuses on the line of poker straight cypress trees which so enthralled me, and the energetic movement of the incredibly agile flamenco dancers, illustrated by the rose like kinetic shape flowing onto (or off?) the stage. On the right, a black and white photo of Lorca reminds of the protagonist of the piece – a poignant memorial to a genius who himself put so many masterpieces on the stage.

© 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 2

I am on a mission. To capture the beauty that is all around me. Sometimes it feels like an impossible task… the ever changing light and the relentless choice of angles makes my head spin. I feel like Monet rushing between canvases trying to capture haystacks at different times of the day. Yet I plough on, aiming to capture (in however many canvases it takes) the essence of my Palma neighbourhood: the Paseo Mallorca

My second effort in this regard is a painting of the bridge which crosses from Jaume III, Palma’s principle shopping street, stretching over to Santa Catalina, the cool kids left bank-styled area of town. The bridge itself is fairly decorative, albeit that it is somewhat simplified in this interpretation. But what struck me more than the bridge was the sweeping great curve of the white block of flats which sits at the centre of this view. Never a major fan of mass construction, especially in these kind of Mediterranean landscapes, for me there is a real space-age elegance about these 70s style blocks, glowing in the sun against the unchangeably blue skies, especially when contrasted with the soft edges of the many trees below.

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Paseo Mallorca 2 (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

Interpretative Abstract: Cala Sant Vicenç

After some months now of pursuing a new artistic style, I think I’ve finally hit upon a way to describe it. In cleansing my forms and decluttering my method of expression, there is something decidedly abstract about my new work. But by its nature, painting the abstract is to strip an image of almost any recognisable qualities, and instead to create something entirely without figuration. My paintings do not do that –  more often than not they aim to reinterpret something recognisably visual, whether it be an famous painting from the history of art, or an Easter parade. Yet those interpretations are in many ways decidedly abstract – simplistic, geometric. And therefore I think that the best way to describe them would be to call them Interpretative Abstracts. That way, at least, I feel I am on my way to understanding what it is I am setting out to create.

Interpretative Abstract: Cala Sant Vicenç (2016 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

Interpretative Abstract: Cala Sant Vicenç (2016 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

This week I am featuring the newest work off my easel, in which I have attempted to extend my new interpretative abstract style to the simple landscape. Taking one of the most generic views in Mallorca, the jagged rocks of the Cala Sant Vicenç, and simplifying every aspect of the landscape, the result is a painting which is at once a place, and at the same time a simple composition.

 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

 

Soller: First touch of summer

Although, as I write, some clouds have descended over Mallorca, this moment is the first in a long time when the sun has not shone. And while the sunshine in March often came accompanied by a chilly wind, reminding of winter, last weekend an intensity of heat seemed to welcome in the first touch of summer.

The moment I really felt it was when I was sitting with my family at a sunny table on the Port of Soller. As sun rays bounced across the water of that tranquil marina, through my glass of chilled white wine and onto my face, I became truly entranced by the elysium of summer. Around me, I was enveloped by one of the most beautiful harbours in Mallorca – a natural almost 360 degree inlet ringed by spectacular mountains and packed with a few rows of little white washed houses which to me recall the French Riviera.

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Soller (2016 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

It was in that moment that this painting clarified as a mental vision in my mind. I jumped up, asked the waitress for a pen and paper, and on the back of a till receipt made a sketch. A few days later the painting is done. Its key is its simplicity of composition, which allows the viewer the space to breath and reflect on a work filled with the soft colours of the Mediterranean, and to think of their own encounters with this most wonderful part of the world, when the sun first touched them after a long dull winter…

© 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

An Englishman in Andalucia

Dark, broody, flames flickering through a purple and chocolate brown backdrop…a portrait on the wall is alive. Dressed in the guise of a toreador, it is my self-portrait, part alarmed, part anxious, as I consider conflict in my life… the ever omnipresent concerns which come of big changes and repercussive decisions, a conflict which is played out in reflection in a Spanish bull ring; the steady workmanship which comes of intricately embroidering the matador’s traje de luz being the catalyst of the conflict, as blood pours from the pin which pierces at the heart of the bull.

An Englishman in Andalucia (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas)

An Englishman in Andalucia (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil and acrylic on canvas)

Set in the context of Andalucia, where I was when I painted the piece, this is the work of An Englishman in Andalucia… when my displacement in Marbella triggered a time of contemplation, when internal thoughts just poured onto the canvas. In the midsts of expressing my preoccupation of the time, I was inspired to utilise the Spanish corrida as my protagonist, having passed a bullfighting poster on my way to the beach. From that second onwards, this painting sprang into mind as I lay on the beach, and that afternoon I rushed home to start work on the piece.

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It is a painting which deals with the contrasts and conflicts which are always present in my life. The fact of being English and living in Spain, the repercussions of pursuing a creative career which inevitably meant the sacrifice of another. It is a brooding contemplative piece, but for me its creation made for a satisfying process. And in so far as its motifs are therefore consequently dark, the effect of painting it was to fill my mind with clarity and light.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included on this website without express and written permission from Nicholas de Lacy-Brown is strictly prohibited. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com