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Posts tagged ‘Life’

Musing on the Seashore

I found myself on Monday morning sitting by the lapping shore of the Mediterranean, which was softly sweeping golden currents of calm, watery loveliness onto the freshly wet sand. The sun was warm despite the winter, and across the vertical column of light reflected over the water, small sardine fishing boats glided slowly into harbour to unload their night’s catch. I was lucky. A quick weekend at my family home in Marbella coincided with a few bursts of sunshine, while back in London, Monday’s regular commuter stream was being battered by arctic winds and snow showers in some 20 degrees less than I enjoyed back on that seashore.

As the water licked the beach’s edge, giving temporary glimmer to all the stones and shells it passed over, those who like me value the early light of daybreak took a similar stroll along the sand, an excitable dog invariably at their side (at least when it was not jumping in the waters, who teased with their swift withdrawal from shore line back towards the mass of sea). One such passer-by approached me, laughing apologetically for her dog who, nuzzling my side with his freshly wet face, seemed to sense that I was, at that moment, all at one with the sea which so delighted him.

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I not only took time to contemplate my luck at enjoying this transformative moment of winter sunshine; I also reflected upon the very accessible humanity which you can find amongst those who live in the sun, and in alignment with nature. In Spain especially, where the golden warmth of sun graces the country on most days of the year, there is an intrinsic approachability and outwards civility to everyone you meet. Strangers greet you like members of their family. Passers-by exchange not merely a glance but a comment on the beauty of the day. My time living in Mallorca open my soul to the kind of embrace of humanity I found in the Spanish. Now back in London, when I’m on the tube, and in the angry streets of the city, I feel the need to hide away that recharged humanity, in a place where smiles are too often met by scowls and courtesy left for others to administer.

Circumstances are so often the source of our mood and our civility. But as that moment in the sun reminded me, we should all take time out to smile, give and share with others, even when the demands of the daily grind render this difficult.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2011-2018. Unauthorised 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.

Post 1004 | Mountains Pass

I feel giddy with the excitement of this past week on The Daily Norm. Celebrating the moment when my blog reached 1000 posts gave me a perfect opportunity to take a retrospective glance back across 6 years of musings, and realise just how vital blogging has become in my life. As this week nears its end, I felt it was time to look forwards again, and as The Daily Norm surges forwards into a new thousand, I wanted to share one of my newest artworks with you.

Entitled Mountains Pass, this gouache was inspired by the most momentous of train journeys which we enjoyed on a perfectly streamlined, brilliantly efficient Swiss train as we traversed the boarder between Italy and Switzerland and sped through the stunningly snow-topped Alpine scenery on our way to Zurich. Journeys are so often a means to an end, but this one was an event all of its own.

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Mountains Pass (Journey to Zurich) ©2018 Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper

Sitting in the very luxurious first class carriage, we were able to enjoy these views from the comfiest of seats; and the views couldn’t have been any better. As if they weren’t vast enough already, the enormous mountains were doubled by their reflection is mirror-still lakes, while up their craggy sides, little idyllic wooden chalets pumped small streams of log fire smoke into the clear blue sky. It was just like the most perfect Christmas card image blown up into super-sized reality.

So from that journey to this: a simple gouache which, with modern lines and an earthy colour palette which recalls the scenery as it sped past our windows and I gazed, captivated, by the majesty of landscape before me. As the mountains passed by, this image lodged itself in my mind. Now it’s on paper and ripe to be shared in this new era of The Daily Norm.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2011-2018. Unauthorised 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.

Post 1003 | My top 10 Norm Sketches

I’m having a jolly old week. Reaching 1000 posts (well now 1003) on The Daily Norm has provided me with a wholly satisfactory opportunity to take a look back over the last 6 and a bit years of Daily Norm posting and feel thoroughly proud of my achievement. But of course this blog would be nothing without the protagonist at its heart: the Norm.

While Norm emerged from my imagination some time before The Daily Norm hit your screens, it was only upon the advent of the blog that I started creating what has now become a staple of Norm expression: the Norm Sketch. Presented in various shades of grey and sepia, the Norm sketches have enabled me to show Norms in every kind of pose, mischief and travel indulgence, and in today’s retrospective post, I am delighted to share 10 of my all time favourite Norm sketches.

Venice Norms

Norms in Venice (©2012, Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

Saint Jerome Norm

Saint Jerome Norm (©2014, Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

Norms La Pajarita Sweetshop

Norms at La Pajarita, Palma de Mallorca (©2017, Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

 

It can only be seen as a coincidence that the Norms seem to have travelled to most of my favourite places…why, the Norms are almost as well travelled as their creator. Little surprise then that amongst my favourite sketches here featured are the Norms in the stunning Croatian town of Dubrovnik, the Norms on the old rickety trams of Lisbon, Norms in the dreamy gardens of the Musée Rodin in Paris and, from my all time favourite Italian series, the Norms in that romantic city of Venice. But just as The Daily Norm office relocated to Mallorca between the years of 2014-2016, so too did the Norms, and here we can see them at La Pajarita sweetshop – the quaintest boutique in Palma.

Tube Norms

Norms on the Tube (©2011, Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

Norm Last Supper

The Norm Last Supper (©2014, Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

Olympic Torch Norms

Norms carry the Olympic Torch (©2012, Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

Lisbon Norms Trams

Norms in Lisbon (©2012, Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

Now back in London, the Norms are getting used to being back on the commuter conveyor belt, an image which Norms on the Tube illustrated so well. Sadly there are no London Olympics for them to attend as back in 2012, but this sketch of the Norms carrying the Olympic torch on its final journey along the Thames past Hampton Court reminds them of that magical time. Talking of magic, the Norms’ religious series remains one of my all time favourites. Sparkling with gold leaf additions, I adore Saint Jerome Norm of the Saints series, while the Norm Last Supper is one of my all time Norm highlights. But from the light, into the darkness, this collection wouldn’t be complete without a look back on the creepy delight of Norms in the haunted Halloween ghost house – a truly eery, atmospheric image. 

Rodin Norms

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

Dubrovnik Norms Walls

Norms in Dubrovnik (©2014, Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

Halloween Norms

Halloween Norms (©2012, Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

It’s testament to the sheer success of the Norms that asides from those three images I expressly reserved for myself, all of the above featured Norm sketches have been sold and are now enjoyed in the homes of Norm fans across London and beyond. I told you Norms like to travel, and they simply love to grace the homes of their fans too 🙂

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2011-2018. Unauthorised 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.

Post 1000 | Celebrating a Daily Norm milestone!

Who would have known, when I wrote my first ever post on The Daily Norm on 14 November 2011, that some 7 years later I would reach the massive milestone of my 1000th article. When I think how much I must have shared with Daily Norm readers in that time, and how many hours I have whiled away sharing my musings and inspirations with the world, I almost can’t believe I could have written so much. And yet for me, this is a moment of utmost pride. Because writing a blog does take time and real effort. But The Daily Norm quite simply changed the way I saw the world and the way in which I prioritised my life: For when you know you are going to share slices of your life with the world wide web, you make more of an effort to live life to the full.

Now, when I look back at my statistics, I find it eye-watering to see that over three-quarters of a million people have looked at my blog and shared in my life’s adventure. That’s practically a country! I am honoured to have well over 5,000 subscribed followers who continue to put up with my waffle and indulge me in sharing my aesthetic vision of life. Thank you everyone, truly. You have given me a reason to paint, to draw, to take photos on holiday and generally have pride in my existence.

So how can one celebrate this great feat in Daily Norm history? Well, asides from bubbles, and plenty of them, no celebration of this nature would be the same without the protagonist of this blog, the little cute, one-armed white blob whose existence prompted the name and the nature of this creative platform: my Norm. And here, in the latest of my Norm sketches, we can see the Norms going about their own appropriate celebration of this four-figured, triple-zero achievement. Let’s just hope these poor little blobs don’t get squashed by the somewhat tenuous erection of that last mighty “0”.

Daily Norm 1000

The Daily Norm celebrates 1000 posts (©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, 2018, pen and ink on paper)

But that’s not all. This week, The Daily Norm will be very much daily again (sorry, that’s become something of a rarity of late) as my 1000th post spills over into 1001, 1002 and so on and so forth, with a look back at the most popular ever post, and the most popular Norm painting, as well as some new content and my favourite Norm sketches ever.

All that remains is to thank you all once again for supporting The Daily Norm. A newspaper is nothing without its audience and the same goes for this blog. Who knows if I will make it to 2000 posts, but one thing is certain, The Daily Norm isn’t going anywhere. So long as there’s a Norm, a painting or a beautiful landscape to be seen and shared, I will be blogging.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2011-2018. Unauthorised 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.

Mallorca My Highlights – Part Two: The Second Year

Sometimes I find the thought of Mallorca almost unbearable; that I had such a paradise on my doorstep, that now it feels so far removed from my reality. The ease with which beauty was so readily embraceable; the speed with which it was taken away. The silky smoothness of fresh air as it filled the lungs. The sound of the waves as they nudged gently along the shore.

Yet had I stayed for longer it would have been a paradise lost. A true skill of life is in knowing when the leave the party. Linger too long and the magic is spoilt, and with it the memories are tainted.

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Happily the renewed distance from my beloved Mallorca serves only to enforce the perfection of our two year residency, to allow me the chance to reflect fondly upon a life altering adventure which enabled a level of displacement of which few people can boast. Yes we worked, but we also lived, and the weekends, the evenings, even the mornings in the sun were like an extended holiday. Like we were cheating time.

So in this second collection of Mallorca photos, I look back over our second year on the island, a year in which there was still much to discover and during which the creation of photos went hand in hand with the flurry of artwork I created.

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This may be my final reflection on my two years worth of photos, but it won’t be my last post on Mallorca. For the island has more than earned its place in my heart, and will continue to inspire me. In my reflections, I will relive the turquoise sea and the earthy smell of blood red earth. In my ears I will hear the gentle bells of sheep on a mountainside. And from my hand the palette of Mallorca will play out in my creative output, as the qualities of that great chapter of my life furnish me for the remainder of my story.

© 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. 

The day I married my soul mate

I knew I wanted to marry my soul mate Dominik almost from the first moment we met. It was within a few dates that I knew we were two inseparables, so alike in our tastes and ambitions, thoughts and feelings, that it was like finding myself all over again, and gaining the best friend, companion and lover a man could wish for. We marked our commitment very early only – it was within 6 months that we placed eternity rings around one another’s hands on a snowy night in Montmartre in Paris – but it took us a further 5.5 years to seal the deal.

Getting ready for the big moment, and with mother of the groom and my nephews…

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I suppose for us, the big step was engagement, and the marriage was only ever the cherry on the cake, or at least that was how it felt when we decided to opt on a completely secret, tiny ceremony two weeks ago, inviting only our most intimate family and very few friends, in order to keep our wedding small, both numerically and economically. For us it felt more administrative as we filled in the forms and gave our official notice. And when, in the days leading up to our wedding, people asked if we were nervous, I couldn’t understand why we were supposed to feel nerves, when on paper it all seemed so simple.

The magical moment, and stepping out into a confetti of peonies 

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That was until the wedding. In that moment, when joining hands before a Chelsea registrar, we looked into each other’s eyes, and placed the final wedding band on our fingers, suddenly it all became very, wonderfully real. The extent of our commitment, the magic of the moment, the utmost celebration of the most perfect union: the moment I married my soul mate. Now, looking back on those magical few minutes, my memories are flooded with the great surge of emotion I felt in that moment, the pride and the love, and the utmost and complete joy.

Photos, celebrations and a top-notch lunch

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So for anyone doubting whether the US decision of last week, which legalised gay marriage across all states, was the right one, let my experience cast those doubts asides. Gay marriage in the UK has enabled me to commit myself not to a boyfriend, nor a civil partner, but to a husband, in the eyes of the law and before my family and friends. It has enabled me to bind myself to my one true soul mate, and in doing so share the same right afforded to everyone around me, whatever their sexuality. The world is finally moving forwards, common sense is prevailing, and equal love is truly victorious.

Rounded off with an incredible cake (courtesy of lady-aga.com)





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All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved.

Appreciating the everyday: Waking up to Palma

It’s all too easy to be complacent, to get used to the good things in life and stop appreciating them, and here in Palma de Mallorca, where we are literally surrounded by the utmost of urban and then rural beauty at every stretch I am constantly reminding myself just how lucky I am. Such complacency resides more than anywhere else in the home, where we enjoy the same stunning surroundings every day, but the constantly changing beauty of our immediate environment provides a frequent reminder that it should be appreciated afresh every day.

Such were my musings when I got up one early morning a few days ago, and looked out of the window onto the multi-coloured panoply of old town streets which surround our apartment. Radiant in warm yellows, terracottas and greens, the nearby streets are archetypally Mediterranean, and look simply resplendent under the golden morning and evening sun rays. But what enchants me even more is the length of the early shadows, adding fresh stripes to an already linear landscape which move across the facades with the sun.

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This small set of photos was snapped quickly before work, when in a sudden moment of realisation, I was made to stop and appreciate my daily views afresh. Even my sculpted model, made during my first ever sculpture attempt in London back in 2011, appears to be captivated by the view she now enjoys on a daily basis. And who can blame her.

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.