There are many who bemoan the onset of autumn, especially those who miss the balmy long light days of summer. But while the summer may provide days of endless sunshine, in the Mediterranean, their clear blue skies are repetitive, no matter how beautiful. Come autumn however, and within the array of the season is a blockbuster of show-stopping sky spectacles. Whether it be by sunrise or sunset, the interplay between cloud and sunlight makes for the most incredible harmonious duet, casting the skies with a panoply of vividly rich colours, from primrose yellow through to a deep blood-rose red.
The photos on today’s Daily Norm post are just a few of those I have snapped when I have been lucky enough to capture the light of the sun here in Palma, both at the beginning and at the end of the day. For as any photographer will know, these light effects are brief and ephemeral… and more often than not, I have a camera nowhere near me when the very best skies are on show. And how I kick myself at that moment. But with this set, I have at least captured some of the rich tones of the Autumn skies. And as the season has only really just begun, I cannot wait to see more.
© 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 http://www.delacybrown.com
Living in Mallorca is not like being on a continuous holiday, as much as I might wish it were so. Working full time means reliance on the weekends to enjoy this beautiful land around me. But when my free time comes, and the weather graces us with its welcome presence, the landscapes around me are always a welcome treasure, and no more so than at this time of Spring. For as my recent travels around Mallorca this past Easter weekend have shown, Mallorca in the Springtime is a veritable paradise – an island overflowing with an abundance of flowers and blossom, petals and perfumes. It is quite truly a Springtime Arcadia.
Driving around Mallorca can be deeply distracting. Even the main roads are lined by wild flowers of ever tone and colour – yellow buttercups and red poppies, fields alive with colour and trees abundant in blossom. And these views are all the more precious knowing that they will be short-lived – a few weeks at the most before green again dominates. Yet they are difficult to get to (stopping my car mid-motorway could be precarious in innumerable ways) and consequently I haven’t managed to capture on camera nearly as many views as I would have wished. But the photos I am posting today will hopefully give an idea of this floral wonderland, just as it reaches its annual highpoint.
Amongst these photos are some lovely shots of insects – occasionally captured by accident, other times with painstaking patience. They also include a few shots from inside my home – for what greater joy can there be than bringing the Spring inside too. I hope you enjoy them.
All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2016 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.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember, as I look out of my window onto palm trees swaying in a gentle sunny breeze, that Christmas is upon us. Yet come nightfall, when the temperatures drop and that very same palm tree becomes emboldened with the thousands of fairy lights which have been wrapped around its trunk in celebration of the season, I know that this very special season has arrived. Mulled wine – that exquisite perfume of sweet cinnamon, citrus and rich red wine – ginger spices, old cloister carols and the flickering flames of candles fill my home now, and all around me it is truly beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.
The Tree at San Miguel (2015, © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)
But amongst the wrapping and the carols, the alcoholic indulgence and the preparations for the visit of Old Saint Nick, let me not forget all of you, my amazing Daily Norm readers, who have made blogging such a pleasure this year. I’m wishing you all the very happiest of Christmases, and a wonderful, prosperous and very exciting New Year. And as my parting Christmas gift, I hope you enjoy this last of my gouaches of the year – the incredible Christmas Tree (one of my own in fact!) at Cappuccino San Miguel, here in Palma de Mallorca.
Merry Christmas everyone! ¡Feliz Navidad!
© 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
The year hasn’t long started, but as far as photographs go, this has to be my favourite of the year so far. Created in a moment of pure suspension of time, this tortoise, one of four holding up an obelisk at the end of the Paseo Borne (Passeig del Born) in the centre of Palma, is happily basking in the Winter sunshine, while beside him, the water from the fountain spurting energetically all around has dissipated and separated; atomised into what appear half way between gelatinous forms and glass beads. It’s a shot whose success owes itself to a huge amount of luck and less to skill, but I am particularly thrilled with the composition, and the shapes which have emerged – particularly the crossing of the water, and the hint of Christmas decorations and autumn leaves in soft focus in the background.
There can be no doubt that this photo deserves its place as The Daily Norm Photo of the Week.
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.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and in the office of The Daily Norm, we intend to get thoroughly sloshed on mulled wine. Meanwhile the blobby white Norms are toasting their favourite snack – marshmallows – over a glittery Christmas candle, and trying to solve the age-old dilemma of how best they should hang out a stocking for Santa when they don’t have feet.
After several weeks settling into our new abode in Mallorca, my beloved and I are newly returned to England to pass the season with family. For us, that means a trip to Sussex, and here in a county of green rolling hills, crackling fireplaces, smoke puffing from old stone chimneys and homes alight with the glow of Christmas, we have spent Christmas Eve exploring some of the more Christmasy spots: the County Town of Chichester, whose rather magnificent cathedral was alive with the Christmas spirit when we visited this afternoon, and the little hill top Seat of the Dukes of Norfolk: Arundel. In both historical towns, there was plenty to photograph, what with the Georgian townhouses trimmed with seasonal ornamentation, and the little shopfronts alive with a Christmas glow, but with only my iPhone to hand, what follows is a series of mobile phone square-framed shots taken in last-minute homage to the season.
So with these pictures, and with these final sober words, I bid all of The Daily Norm readers a very Merry Christmas. Thank you for your loyalty, your interest and your support. Have an amazing, suitably indulgent seasonal celebration and see you soon! Right, that mulled wine smells about ready…
All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 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.
In a large number of countries the Nativity scene (Belem in Spain, Presepe in Italy) is as big a part of the Christmas festivities as the lights switch-on in London’s Oxford Street or the Christmas tree at the centre of a family home. Having gone to Catholic school as a boy, I still remember the prominence with which the Nativity set was placed in the front entrance, and how perplexed I was (and remain) that the teachers remained insistent that the Jesus figure should not be placed in the manger until Christmas Day: but this is a school I thought – who on earth is going to see it during the holidays?
Despite the fact that the tradition of setting out a nativity is centuries old in many a catholic country, the general belief is that it all began in Italy where St Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first nativity scene in 1223 at Greccio, Italy. There he is said to have recreated the birth of Christ through placing people dressed in the various nativity roles in a cave. A tradition was born, and perhaps for this reason, it is arguable that Italy has remained the predominant master of the nativity craft. This is not least in Naples where, in the famous Via San Gregorio Armeno, the entire street is given over to the craftsmen who make every intricate detail of the characters and setting of the Neapolitan presepe.
While last Christmas I braved the crowds who had crammed their way up the dark side streets of the Spaccanapoli to get a view of this famous Neapolitan craft, this year I have had the fortune to see their masterpieces at far closer a proximity. For here in Palma de Mallorca, but 2 minutes from my flat in an inconspicuous church on the Carrer de San Miquel, there is a Neapolitan gem of its own. Set out across a mountain plane simulated from the supple bark of a cork tree, and comprising a phenomenal range of architectural features and carefully characterised figures, this Nativity demonstrates why the Neapolitan craft remains so renowned. Not a single detail of street life has been missed, from the slimy pig’s head sold by the Butcher, to the bag of eggs swung by the old housewife. What tickles me are the gruesome details of their lined faces, and their masterful expressions – so full of personality you’d swear they were alive.
In fact Palma de Mallorca holds the nativity or Belem dear to its heart, with a trail tracing once fantastic Belem to another across the city. But few could deny that the real brilliance of Belem craft has been mastered by the Neapolitans, as the nativity photos above demonstrate so well.
All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved.