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Posts tagged ‘Oil on canvas’

Aix: City of a Thousand Fountains

After a week of “sneak peeks” via my delacybrownart twitter feed, I am delighted to be able to share with you the final and complete image of my major new oil painting on canvas – Aix: City of a Thousand Fountains. Started shortly after I returned from my first visit to the stunning Provençal city last summer, I set out to capture something of the sun drenched joie de vivre which  Aix excuses by the bucket in a work which eventually took me 7 months to complete.

As the painting’s title suggests, the work plays on a well known descriptive adage which notes that the city is one of “a thousand fountains”. While that may be something of an exaggeration, the motivation behind the statement can be well understood – one of the most notable features of the city is indeed its plentiful and elaborate fountains, one situated in what seems to be every square and street, in the middle of junctions and on street corners. It really is a city where water flourishes; where splashing running currents sparkle playfully in the sun.

But in choosing to symbolise several of these many fountains, I decided to play with the themes somewhat, combining those fountains with the very predominant cafe culture which is an integral aspect of the city’s character, and which fills it’s many multi-coloured shuttered squares with life. It is in one such square that my work is set, a square which also plays host to a series of Provençal shops and peeling old vintage adverts upon the walls. And there, on the typically dressed chequered tablecloths of cafe tables, my fountains, rather than plates, are the dish of the day.

Aix: City of a Thousand Fountains (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas)

Aix: City of a Thousand Fountains (2014 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas)

Meanwhile no painting of Aix-en-Provence could be complete without a reference to the magnificent Mont Sainte-Victoire, the mountain which so seduced and fascinated the artist Cézanne for years (resulting in a series of canvases which continue to be his most enduring works) and which features monumentally in my work, dominating the upper half of the canvas. I remember so well that moment when, last summer, my partner and I climbed up the steep hills north of the city to the exact place where Cézanne used to paint the view of the mountain which obsessed him the most – and turning to see that same breathtaking visage which had so captivated this master of modern painting. It was at that moment that I knew I had to make my own homage to that incredible view, and that brilliant artist – and it was at that time when this painting was born.

The keen-eyed amongst you may also notice that I have included a further homage to Cézanne, by featuring his famous card players sat at one of my café tables, as well as a whole host of other details which I now share with you in the gallery of details featured below. Hopefully you will enjoy looking at the individual aspects of this painting as much as I enjoyed painting them. It was, with every brush stroke, like revisiting my holiday to Aix afresh, and for that reason alone, it was surely worth the 7 months slog to complete 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

New painting alert! – A week of sneaky-peeks on twitter

I make no secret of the fact that I am a great creative, spending hours of every day and week creating, whether it be sketching, painting or printing, or further afield cooking up feasts in the kitchen or closely acquainting myself with my camera. However, since starting work full-time two years ago, the rate at which I complete the large scale oil paintings which I used to create on a regular basis, and many of which will be on display at my forthcoming solo exhibition, has really slowed. Last year’s Autorretrato took me around 9 months to complete, and the work which I turned to shortly after completing that one – my painted exploration of Aix-en-Provence in the South of France was commenced as long ago as last summer.

So it is with a great degree of excitement that I am but mere brushstrokes away from completing this homage to Aix which I have been working on tirelessly (on and off, admittedly) for the last 6 months. Fairly large in scale (1oocm x 75cm) and big on detail, it was always going to be a fairly ambitious project, containing as it does a landscape and cityscape all rolled into one together with illustrations of some 9 of the city’s famous fountains as well as a number of shops and cafes.

As I approach the completion of that work, I wanted to share the excitement with you, and what better way to do that than share some exclusive peeks of the details of the work? Starting from today, I will be sharing one glimpse a day of my new painting – it’ll be a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, with little pieces of the work being released day by day before the whole painting is unveiled next week. But while the first peek is contained here on this post, it’ll be the only one – for all of the rest, you’ll need to check out my twitter, @DeLacyBrownArt, from which I will be posting a new detail of the painting every day this week. And as if that weren’t incentive enough to follow me, my twitter will also tell you whenever a new Daily Norm post is published!

Aix: City of a Thousand Paintings (2013-4 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas) Detail - Ribbons!

Aix: City of a Thousand Paintings (2013-4 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas) Detail – Ribbons

So please do check out my twitter, and come back again to The Daily Norm soon to see the complete image of my brand new oil painting. Arghhh, the excitement!!

© 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

Venice: My paintings (Part 2) – Ripples

No artist can visit Venice and not be inspired. By the mist which clings so densely to its cold canals in the winter time, and the sun which shines upon the city with such alacrity in summer; by the classic Venetian gothic architecture which graces its canal-side palazzos, and the astounding masterpieces of art history which adorn the insides of those residences and their neighbouring churches alike; and by the elegance which resides at the core of Venetian values as manifested in the masquerade balls, the carnevale, and the most sophisticated of all modes of transportation: the gondola. But above all things, as yesterday’s photography focus demonstrated, no artist can fail to be inspired by the watery reflections which provide a unique, second facet to the city.

Back in around 2007, when I made a short weekend visit to the city, I came back loaded with ideas of what I wanted to paint. On Monday, I shared with you two of the paintings I created at that time, focusing mainly on the Grand Canal and the palazzos which neighbour it. Today however, it’s time for those rippled waters to take centre stage, as I share two further paintings from that brief 2007 collection, both of these focusing not so much on the city itself, but on its rippled reflection in water.

Venice II (2007 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas)

Venice II (2007 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas)

Venice IV (2007 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas)

Venice IV (2007 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas)

Venice II is almost a complete reflection, with only the mere hint of the end of a gondola representing the real world above water; while Venice IV focuses a bit more on the lavish paintwork which adorns so many gondolas and the kind of narrow canal “street” which is so characteristic of the city.

There’s one more Venice 2007 painting to share with you, and then it’s surely time to paint something new…? See you next time.

© 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

Venice: My paintings (Part 1) – The Grand Canal

I have decided to begin the narrative of my recent adventures in Venice, Rome and Naples at Christmas by sharing a few of the paintings I created when I last visited the watery paradise of Venezia in 2007. Painting 5 works in all, 2 of which are featured today, I was drawn, as so many of the best artists have been before me (Turner, Monet, Manet, Canaletto, Whistler, Seurat to name but a few…) to reflect upon the very unique face of a city which simply has no rival elsewhere in the world.

With its liquid reflections doubling up the views of every street, every palazzo and every church; it’s unique style of gothic architecture creating elegant lattice-like facades; it’s canals filled with stripy gondoliers and the elegant gondolas themselves; and for all its magnificent statues and pink lamps and bridges and art-stuffed churches, Venice is just a gift for artists.

Venice I (2007 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas)

Venice I (2007 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas)

Venice III (2007 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas)

Venice III (2007 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas)

When I last went to the city I came back, somewhat predictably, with a whole pile of photos which then inspired me to turn my hand to painting. These first two canvases focus on two typical Venetian views, both based on a series of photos I took of the Grand Canal. While I look back on these works now and see some degree of naivety in their finish, you can see how fascinated I was with the watery ripples which cast an abstract reimagining in every Venice reflection, as well as with the renowned elegance of those great Grand Canal Palazzos and the gondolas that float onwards before them.

For all the criticism I could give these old works now, someone must have liked them – I sold them both shortly after their completion!

More Venice ahead – so join me soon on The Daily Norm!

© 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

Sunday Supplement: Dicing with Death (La Pieta)

On last week’s Sunday Supplement, I got the ball rolling with an exploration of some of my more traumatic paintings, created while in the immediate and protracted recovery from my nasty life-changing collision with a collapsing wall. In today’s Sunday Supplement, I am featuring the fourth of my accident paintings, and perhaps the most intimate and private of them all.

Dicing with Death (La Pieta de l’accident) explores the nursing roll undertaken by my mother is the aftermath of my accident. While as a family, we had always been close, post-accident, a new extent of proximity was forced upon us, as I went back to being practically a baby in the everyday attention I required. Recovery in hospital was one thing, but three weeks later when I was discharged to my family home in Sussex, the real horrors of my convalescence begun. The daily trauma of wearing an illazarov frame, having to clean around the pin entry point, waking up to sheets soaked in blood, screams of agony when I tried to move from bed to the bathroom, and in the middle of the night when I could stand the pain no longer. All of this was for my parents to bear, and for my mother in particular, who was compelled to be a nurse as well as a physio, feeder and grieving mother, and once again become physically intimate with me when I needed help dressing, cleaning, even going to the toilet, it was a huge ordeal to experience.

Dicing with Death (La Pieta de l’accident) 2008 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas 120cm x 120cm

The worry, the concern and the strain this had on both of my parents was plain to see, even through the fog of pain which clouded my eyes during those terrible months. My attempt at expressing the uncontrollable spread of the effects of my accident upon my family was to paint this work. It is loosely based on the famous La Pieta sculpture by Michelangelo, which poingantly portrays the grieving Mary cradling, with disbelief and agony, the limp dead body of her son. How different this pose is from the celebratory felicity of the typical mother and child pose, the glowing Mary with her new baby Jesus.

Michelangelo’s La Pieta

It was tapping into the great pathos portrayed by La Pieta that I chose to reflect the pose in my Mother, cradling me, the wounded young adult in her arms, not dead, but so close to it as I practically embraced my end under the weight of a crushing collapsed 10ft concrete wall. There too is my baby nephew, born only a few days before the accident, representing both innocence and the cross-generational effect of my trauma, and also in the scene, a skull, reminding me of how close to death I came. The playing cards, the falling dominoes and the dice all go to represent the great gamble we take every day of our life – when everything appears normal until one, life-changing event occurs and alters everything for ever: Look then how the dominoes will fall and the effects of the event begin to traverse every facet of your existence.

Michelangelo’s La Piete is not unique of course, and I leave you with two other variations on the theme – Bellini’s painting, and Picasso’s heart-wrenching study for his great masterpiece of grief and tragedy, Guernica. 

Bellini’s La Pieta

Mother and Child by Picasso

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2012. 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.

Sunday Supplement: Bricks and Stones May Break My Bones

Following on from the somewhat tender recollection of my accident when painting the traffic cone upon my autobiographical mobile, I thought the time was probably ripe now to share a few of my accident paintings too. They’re not the easiest of works to suddenly introduce on The Daily Norm which, after all, tends to be more about the joie de vivre and the pleasant past times of daily life. Nonetheless, we would be foolish to underestimate the power of art as a channel through which stories of pain can be relayed in often the most powerful way, and also as an invaluable tool through which, as an artist, that pain can be relayed and tackled head on.

In the months which followed my altercation with a falling wall, I was bed bound and imprisoned under the weight of a barbed metallic illizarov frame. This frame, which is a form of external fixator, was attached to my leg, with some 14 metal rods sinking deep through the flesh and into the bones. The daily pain of moving around with such a structure affixed was indescribable, which, along with my need for crutches, and severe weakness meant that I could do little more than lie, sleep, read and, mercifully, paint.

Bricks and Stones May Break My Bones (The Show Must Go On) 2008 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas (130cm x 110cm)

This painting, entitled “Bricks and Stones May Break My Bones (The Show Must Go On)” was the first of ten paintings which I eventually completed during the course of my recovery. I started imagining the painting shortly after the accident, when the effect of a falling wall had become so inextricably linked with the physical and mental course of my life that I imagined myself morphed into the wall, the chilling barbed wire from the top of the wall framing my head like a kind of crown of thorns. With the work growing inside my head, I ordered the canvas while in hospital and set to work as soon as I could when I was at home in my parents’ house in Sussex.

The work wasn’t easy. I had to be lifted onto one chair, with another chair directly in front of me so I could place my leg upon it. Both chairs were on wheels so that I could move around the full dimensions of the canvas (it’s 130cm wide), but in fact I could paint only in short bursts at a time, such was the pain that wracked my leg and the fatigue which overcame me.

The resulting painting illustrates the accident through a toy lorry, crashing into the wall which has metamorphosed into a classical bust with my horrified face atop it. To my left, my crushed leg is like a column, broken into pieces, the foot, with its nerves damaged resulting in a foot-drop, being propped up by a crutch. I guess I drew influence from Dali for this image, who himself used wooden crutches as symbolism in many of his works – how ironic that after years of loving Dali’s work they should be so pertinent to me now. The broken column meanwhile is a reference to the work of Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist, who struggled through her career with a spinal injury sustained in a tragic bus crash, and whose pain is transposed so powerfully into her work.

Dali’s Crutches

Frida Kahlo, The Broken Column (1944)

On the right of the canvas, the idea that “the show must go on” is represented, another crutch propping up the theatrical proscenium arch in a demonstration of my means to carry on and not give up at this early and all important stage of my convalescene. However in this theatre, the curtains are red like blood, pinned to an engorged fattened pillar (representing my swollen leg) with the ghastly metal stakes which fixed the illizarov frame to my bones. There too the traditional masks of comedy and tragedy have both adopted the guise of tragedy.

And as my body crumbles, my ear has fallen away and lies in the foreground, next to my artist’s signature. This is my representation that my accident had made me a stronger artist. As a symbol of this, I used the ear, making reference to the likes of Van Gogh who, despite the emotional turmoil, the chopping off of his right ear etc etc, was a real artist, who used his work to give him strength, and communicate his turbulence to the world.

Finally, I should add that the title, “Bricks and Stones May Break My Bones” is a play on the familiar saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” – a phrase through which a child, perhaps teased at school, attempts to instil strength within himself, despite the pain he feels for having been the victim of mean words. The phrase was pertinent then, because like the child, I was struggling so hard with the relentless pain of my recovery, but through art I drew the strength to somehow get through it and tell my story to the world.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2012. 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.

Autobiographical Mobile: My painting diary – Day 7: My accident

It was a drizzly dull day, the day that changed my life. I was cleaning my windows. I had laboured all day. My newly found art agent was due to visit my flat the next day and I wanted to make a show of it. So I cleaned away, polishing each surface, wiping away a winter’s worth of raindrops from my large sliding glass windows on this mild May day. The cleaning was time consuming however, and it was past 2pm when I realised I had missed lunch. Just a quick break is all it would take to walk along to Marks and Spencer’s, only two doors away, where I could buy a snack.

So out I went, leaving my flat, and walked along the road to grab a sandwich and a drink so that I could carry on my day. I left my now clean windows open, the TV on. I was only going to be a minute.

But I never got that sandwich. And that TV was switched off by the police.

Traffic cones in my art – Road Traffic Control (The Semana Santa Code) (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, oil on canvas)

There was a large concrete brick wall next to the building in which I live. Atop the wall, barbed wire prevented trespassers, but also gave the otherwise empty site the appearance of a concentration camp, stark and deserted on the South London skyline. I had walked past this wall countless times, but had never paid it much notice, at least not until that barbed wire cut into my head, like a crown of thorns encircling above my eyes. True, the huge metal gates were occasionally swung open, but were more often closed: the site was used for some kind of storage, and large delivery lorries would occasionally enter and exit the site. There was, occasionally some activity there.

The day that changed my life was one of those days. As I walked past the wall, a large lorry was driving towards the exit. It was heading closer and closer to the wall. But something was wrong. What happened next is something of a blur. It wasn’t a long distance to walk, but as I passed the wall, time seemed to stand still. I will always remember in my mind that enduring image – the top corner of the wall seeming to crumple, like paper, folding outwards towards me. Once I realised that the wall was falling, it was too late. As the masonry fell and the whole weight of the massive 10ft concrete wall started to crash towards the ground, there was no escape. I was already pinned under it.

It’s the loneliness that haunts me. No family, no friends. Alone, imprisoned under a fallen wall. Not knowing whether I would walk again.

I remember the rain. The sickly feeling of a pitter patter around my head. And the stinging sensation. I couldn’t locate it – the signals were all too mixed. But I remember around my face feeling sharp pain, the cold water from the skies, the trickle of blood, the uncomfortable sensation of grit all around me, the numb pain of weight pounding down upon my body as I tried to move.

Moving on from my accident – Road Traffic Control (Autumn in Richmond Park) (Oil on canvas, 2011 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

But I couldn’t move, try as I might. Because my right foot was somewhere around my shoulders – my entire body was twisted in a way that no skeleton was ever meant to withstand. The wall had fallen – the lorry had crashed into it, brought it down as the driver tried to go forwards. He was not, as it was later reported, reversing. This driver was heading forwards into the wall, consciously sealing my fate as he continued in his reckless trajectory towards the road. I never knew why he brought down the wall, what he was doing, what was his excuse. I never learnt why he drove away, leaving the scene of the accident until police stopped him. And I was never given an apology.

Yet 4 and a half years after the day, I live with a mercifully saved leg, a leg pieced together by 7 operations but which must, still, endure the intrusion of a string of future operations still to come. After two years on crutches I can now walk unhindered, but not for long. I cannot run, cannot bend my leg sufficiently to get on a bike. I cannot stretch it fully out, and I cannot lift my toes. I’m forever tripping on my feet, and bemoaning the burning sensation which runs down my damaged nerves. I have to fill my shoes with insoles, and build my heels up to compensate for my now shortened leg. But I survived. And in a way, I’m stronger, as cliché as that may be.

The day the wall crushed my leg was a day that changed my life. I face an uncertain future, but I was given the opportunity, as a 23 year old, to face up to the fragility of life, and now live life to the full.

A traffic cone now hangs on my autobiographical mobile

On my autobiographical mobile, my accident must feature. It’s a Calder-based mobile, and simplicity is the key. So what better way then to symbolise the accident, than a simple traffic cone, a symbol which I have already adopted in my art as a representation of my accident on the roadside, when a heavy goods vehicle brought down a wall and disabled a passer by.

The day that changed my life: My accident, my story.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2012. 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.

Autobiographical Mobile: My painting diary – Days 2-5: Bilbao and Fluffy

For those of you who are long term readers of The Daily Norm, you may remember, either from my post in which I extolled the virtues of a good teddy bear, or from their occasional appearance in my photos of daily life, that I have two very important little teddies who follow me around in my life – Bilbao, a little dog, given to me by my Partner as I came round from a rather hideous sixth leg operation semi-conscious in my hospital bed, and Fluffy, a little teddy (once far fluffier than he is now, much loved and slightly matted) who I gave to my partner as a thanks for all those bedside vigils and the much required care which followed by post-operative state. Ever since, these two little characters have been our constant companions in life, and inevitably, they have crept into my art too.

Bilbao and Fluffy, pose for their portraits

Last week I started my painting diary in what will be almost like an autobiography on canvas – a large painting which aims to explore various components of my life, past and present. Because they represent the contentment and stability of my home life, Bilbao and Fluffy are integral features of my story, and were therefore the first characters to make it onto canvas as my painting progressed to the semi-finished Mallorcan background of last week’s post, to the more detailed work which I have now started.

I thought this would take me around a day to achieve, but as I started to paint Bilbao, it soon dawned on me what a daunting undertaking it would be to paint all of his knitted body. He took me FOREVER to paint. At the end of day two I had managed to paint his head, which then floated around disconcertingly bodyless for a whole night, all the more freaky for having successfully captured that twinkle in his eye.

By the end of day three, I had done most of his body (bar one leg, the angle of which I found difficult) and his little red t-shirt (I needed to be careful this didn’t bleed into the beige of his knitting).

Bilbao was finished on day four, comme ça…

And Fluffy, thank goodness, didn’t take half as long, and I completed him, together with crumpled little ribbon, pretty swiftly on day five.

So there you have it, the painting so far, slowly progressing and presenting patience-trying technical demands from the start. Who would have thought that two cute teddies would prove to be such a painting challenge?

I leave you with a few photos of Fluffy and Bilbao in different locations throughout the world, just in case you weren’t already convinced that I am slightly eccentric.

Hoping to be able to update you with more painting progress soon. Until then…

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2012. 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.

Autobiographical Mobile: My painting diary – Day 1: Mallorca

Since I started The Daily Norm last year, in those unenriched days when my interaction with the abundant world of the blogosphere was only just beginning, I have featured a fair number of my own paintings on my blog, attempting, as I have posted their photos, to explain some of the meaning behind what are often quite complex painted images. For my latest painting, I am changing tack.

In my current  work, which has now been sitting upon my easel for some weeks, I am exploring an autobiographical subject matter on a grand scale (the canvas is 120cm x 120 cm, so a fair size for my lounge-come-studio to take when you consider that when I paint, I basically take over my kitchen – leading to some interesting food results when the paint gets too close to the oven top). Because the work is essentially a self-portrait albeit explored through a catalogue of symbols on a large Mediterranean background, I anticipate working on the canvas for some time before it is finished, particularly as painting is not my day job. Since that will mean a sparsity of artwork available for Daily Norm consumption in the foreseeable future, and because I plan to paint a plethora of details, I thought it would be equally relevant to blog about the painting as it progresses, rather than ramble at length when it is eventually finished.

First layer done – the Mallorcan inspired background

You join me then in what is the first post of my painting diary, a set of hopefully regular accounts cataloguing my progress on the work. In my first instalment, I present the background of my work. I decided to set the piece on a quiet, rocky beach, somewhere on the island of Mallorca. The background is far from finished – this is just a sketch of where the finished scenery will be set, but it provides enough structure, allowing me to build the details of the painting on top of it, layer by layer.

The background is loosely based on Torrent de Pareis, a beach in Northern Mallorca which provides stunning natural scenery but which, for the purposes of my painting, provides the right balance of solitary surrealism to cast the perfect backdrop to my self-analysing piece.

The Torrent de Pareis in reality

And its crystal clear waters

Since the painting will be a take on my story, it’s only appropriate that I should set it in the Mediterranean and on Spanish soil since Spain has, for most of my life, proved to be a consistent inspiration in my art and in my aspirations for life. While I have spent the majority of my time in Andalucia, my trip to the island of Mallorca this time last year inspired me more than any other. Expecting an island full of package holiday tourists and English menus, I was surprised, if not stunned by the incredible coastal scenery to be found around the island (once we fled from the ugly shadows cast by Magaluf and other tourist dystopias). The waters are such an incredible shade of blue, and the rocky covey beaches so idyllic and colourful, that seeing is believing. I accordingly enclose just a few of the shots I took of Mallorca’s incredible coastal scenery last summer – the colours alone are an art form in themselves. I just hope that my painting does Mallorca justice, even as just a background to a far deeper work.

See you for the next instalment of my painting diary.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2012. 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.

Sunday Supplement ITALIA – Cityscape IV: Rome

It’s ITALIA Season on the Daily Norm, and after a week of Norms’ adventures down the boot of Italy, and a showcase of my photos of the glorious country, it’s time to feature another of my paintings. I haven’t devoted nearly as much canvas space to Italy as I have to Spain or Paris for example. And now I come to think about it, that really should change. There is frankly so much beauty to inspire me that I could paint Italy for the rest of my life. Perhaps that’s why I have never really begun.

However one work which I did paint in homage to Italy was a simple reflection of Rome’s Forum Romano, against a rich orange and pink sunset. You can just about see St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican in the background. The painting formed part of my “Cityscape” series which I painted back in 2007 when I was trying to teach myself how to master oil paints, having been painting for so many years in acrylics. Despite being only “studies”, the resulting collection was so popular that I transformed part of it into limited edition prints back in 2008.

Anyway, without further ado I give you Rome, in sultry silhouette.

Cityscape IV: Rome (2007 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, Oil on canvas)

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2012. 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.