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Posts tagged ‘Cityscape’

Marrakech on Canvas: Rose City Rooftops

I always find it interesting to observe a city from above. It offers something of a backstage perspective on people’s lives; the washing hanging out to dry, the old furniture dumped up on the roof forgotten, or the private pride which may be someone’s roof top garden, hidden from view from the streets below. I have already said that Marrakech is a city of extremes, and that somewhat bipolar personality extends to its buildings too. While the city has become a hotspot for those seeking Arabian luxuries in marble clad spas and lavish Riads, it is interesting to see that so often that extreme of wealth and aesthetic perfection extends to what is seen only. Viewed from the roof, you see the city’s theatre for what it is: those posh patios are mere smoke and mirrors. What you can’t see is the back yard, barely built, with crumbling plaster and propped up with rough wooden supports. There too you can see the roof terraces strewn with weakly installed cabling and rusty satellite dishes, with age battered plant pots and pink plaster facades left to crack and fade in the sun. Marrakech from above is a fascinating mess, a hodgepodge of unplanned construction and time-weathered dilapidation. But unifying it all is the rose-tinged colour of the whole jumble of construction, together with the occasional beautiful mosque tower which punctuates the scenery.

Rose City Rooftops

Rose City Rooftops (2017 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

This enthralling city vision was the inspiration for a small painted study which I completed just a few days ago. Focusing on a very small cut-out of a wider landscape, it is an almost abstracted focus on the criss-cross of tumbling, crumbling pink blushing walls, together with the satellite dishes and cables and old plants peppering the scene. It is characteristically Marrakech. An unplanned mess which exudes beauty as a result.

© 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 

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

Interpretation No. 18: London

I suppose it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. It took my departure from London after 12 years of living there to recognise that the city, while not consistently beautiful, still has a certain amount of inspirational magic to it. When I lived there I would always profess the need to travel to the Mediterranean and beyond in order to find artistic inspiration. When asked whether I ever painted London, I looked at people as though they were mad: paint this city? But it’s just a pool of grey, I would say.

Yet when I visited the city afresh at the beginning of last week, and sat in the glass fronted restaurant on the 6th floor of Tate Modern on Bankside, I could not help but stare in wonderment at the beauty of the cityscape before me, as I realised that London is much more than 50 shades of grey. Indeed, with the greeny shades of the River Thames, the plethora of glass skyscrapers and old baroque and gothic churches and the terracotta hues of many of the brick buildings, London is a metropolis full of contrasting colours.

Interpretation No.18: London (2015, Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

Interpretation No.18: London (2015, © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. It’s a cliché but it’s true. And as soon as I returned from the city, I started work on this latest of my Interpretations series. A simplified but devoted landscape of a city which is beautiful after all.

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

Ocho Balcones (No.4): The Longest View

Another Monday heralds the next instalment in my Ocho Balcones collection, the gouaches on paper which attempt to capture the mood and views of my Mallorca apartment. As is typical of many of the buildings in the old town of Palma de Mallorca, ours is nestled quite closely to neighbouring buildings, such that the view from our balconies is generally quite close to our fellow neighbours mere metres across the way. This makes for a wonderfully interesting spectacle on occasions when, in the trend of James Stewart in Hitchcock’s Rear Window, we are able to observe glimpses of the varying lives of our neighbours (and more embarrassing, vice versa).

However, not all our views are thus, and today’s gouache captures “The Longest View”… the street opposite our lounge which gives us an amazing panorama all the way down a small side street onto the little bustling square at its end. And just in case you were in any doubt that the view is from our home, in the foreground, our plants and recently acquired Aristotle-looking bust frame the image, likewise enjoying the vertical strip of old town which can be so admired from our fourth balcony.

Ocho Balcones No.4: The Longest View (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

Ocho Balcones No.4: The Longest View (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown 2000-2015. 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

Interpretation No. 15 – Malaga

The week ends as it begun, with the introduction of another of my new little paintings, created comparatively quickly (that is, in relation to my oil works) with gouache on paper, and inspired by another stunning landscape of the Mediterranean. As with the other works in my collection of “interpretations” which began back last summer on the Amalfi Coast, my landscape of Malaga attempts to simplify the forms of the landscape by stripping out many of the architectural details, while using flat areas of colour to delineate architectural forms and their contrast with the haphazard lines of nature around them.

Interpretation No. 15 - Malaga (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

Interpretation No. 15 – Malaga (2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

My photos on Wednesday will hopefully help to persuade you as to why the southernmost large Spanish city of Malaga should have brought out the artist within me, and in creating this 15th interpretative landscape, I have attempted to catch the city at one of its most alluring times, when the sun has set to create a golden backdrop to the diverse architectural shapes of the city: from the baroque majesty of the “one-armed lady” (the cathedral) to the simplified robust walls of the ancient moorish Alcazaba palace.

© 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.delacy-brown.com

Reflections on Ibiza in bloom

My January weekend on the infamous island of Ibiza feels like an age ago, and while my recent return to the island to open a new restaurant for work was only around 8 weeks after my first visit, the island was transformed. True, it was not the boom-beat party-rammed hedonistic madhouse into which the island metamorphoses in the height of the summer (thank god!), but with the onset of the Spring, it was an island transformed. In the streets on the foothills of the Dalt Vila (old town) where I was based, restaurants had reopened after a long winter break, squares were once again filled with life, and an atmosphere of allegria seemed to waft through the air.

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Now being as project managing the opening of a restaurant is a fairly hefty role, it will not surprise you to know that I did not have all that much time to enjoy what are otherwise the beautiful surroundings of the island around me. However, when the odd opportunity afforded it, I took out my camera to snap Ibiza, and this post is the culmination of those odd moments – my reflections on an Island in bloom, whether it be the yacht filled marinas, or the squares newly dappled with sunlight through fresh spring leaves.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 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.

London Chills: White landscapes

It’s gone all cold at The Daily Norm. Yesterday, as icy winds entered London and shook the optimistic hopes for Spring out of all of us, I decided to pay homage to the cold by presenting my collection of Nordic-inspired paintings. Today the cold theme continues in parallel to the dropping dial of the thermometer, and with snow forecast in many places, I have decided to showcase my collection of snowy landscape photography. The photos are not contemporary – I took them last winter – but sadly (or positively for Londoners who actually want to get to work without hours of delays) we have had none of the vast snowfalls which befell us last year. Consequently, in the optimistic hope that temperatures will never drop quite low enough for a repeat performance of a white blanketed London landscape, I thought it an ideal time to present last year’s photos of snowy London for the pleasure of all Daily Norm readers.

The photos were taken on a brief morning walk across Clapham Common in South West London. One of the best things about London in the snow is how idyllic and Victorian it all becomes – suddenly London lampposts and street furniture appear positively Dickensian, as the muddled cityscapes of a frantic city become uniform, clean and bright as a result of an indiscriminate scattering of snowfall. In my photos I have explored how a spray of white snow can emphasise the beautiful, complex structure of trees, particularly their branches, how, against a white backdrop, leafless-trees glow more vividly with rich colours all of their own, and how Victorian street furniture gains renewed elegance when the clutter of modernity is suppressed beneath a tidy blanket of thick snow.

Best enjoyed, laptop in hand, wrapped in a blanket with a large mug of hot tea…

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2005-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.