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Posts tagged ‘Sussex’

An Extraordinary British Summer, Part 2: Provençal luncheon, Sussex setting

Everyone dreams of those typical Provençal scenes – the rustic wooden table, set out under the dappled shade of a bounteous fig tree, chairs collected from all over the house set around the table as a miscellaneous collective of dissonant styles, and upon the table pitchers of wine, large bowls of salads and platters loaded with fruits and meats set down in waiting for a large family gathering…Such was the idyll we created last weekend, but not in Provence. In England, where the country’s best summer in decades continues to bring smiles of sun-inspired joy across all four corners of the Kingdom.

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For me, the heady mix of sunshine and a lush flower-filled English country garden, is one of the very best ways to enjoy the summer. My childhood memories are full of nostalgic reflections on summer picnics on the lawn, the feel of grass between my toes, the smell of lavender wafting in the wind, the sensation of stone paths baked by the sun (I think I must have deleted the memories of the rainfall which inevitably dogged other days – who needs to remember those?). So on those occasions when the English summer bears fruit, I head to my childhood garden where the flowers still grow abundantly, and the family can still gather despite the many years that have gone by.

So all things combined, and with my family now double the size what it was in my childhood, my homage to the English summer was a table laid under an iris tree, freshly cut flowers hung overhead so their perfume imbued the air during a lunch of barbecued meats and elaborate Mediterranean style salads. The wine, of course, was flowing, and as my birthday fast approaches, a first cake and early presents were enjoyed to mark an occasion perfectly fitting for this fine English summer. And as befits a luncheon more Mediterranean than British, our afternoon was spent at the seaside, where the waters of the South Coast are easily as warm as Spain’s.

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Vive the English summer! Long may it continue.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2018. 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.

A Seaside Sojourn to celebrate the Season

While the sea may be the same globally-unfied expanse of water wherever it laps and wanders around the world, the nature and appearance of the sea as it washes up upon a shore will differ widely from beach to beach. While on the Mediterranean shores, sandy beaches and clement conditions are conducive to crystal clear seas tinted cerulean by the sunny skies, in England in the winter, the waters of the South Coast take on an altogether more electrifying, menacing quality. And yet those waters, while not inviting the viewer in amongst their freezing watery fold, are nonetheless as enticing as the sea in a warmer location.

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So on Christmas morning, with the meat left roasting in the oven, and the family table freshly laid with a Christmas centrepiece made from lustrous winter foliage and gold candles, I was drawn to the Sussex Coast, which happens to be a mere minute from my family home. The weather was not unreasonable, but the beach was frosty and cold. Its waves were charged with so much energy that the water’s edge frothed and bubbled as it collapsed upon the stoney shore – so much so that it reminded me of egg whites whipped manically into meringue. Its wooden groins were almost totally submerged by the sand which had been newly hurled up upon the beach; Its plentiful pebbles were freshly scattered with shells gifted to the shore by the depths of the ocean.

As ever, I was on hand with my camera to capture these details. For Christmas Day is not just about the glitter and gold, but about taking time out from the busy schedule of the festivities to appreciate people, and nature, and the gifts of the season.

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.

Summertime Sussex (Part 1): Composition No. 6

One of the great things about gouache paint (the likes of which I rediscovered a few months back and am now totally in love with) is how quickly one can turn around a fairly detailed painting in a short space of time. Of course it helps that the paint dries within minutes of its application to the paper, allowing a detailed image to be swiftly executed. The result of this is that I am finding myself increasingly able to catalogue my life’s adventures in gouache paint, as well as through photography and the written word.

Consequently, no sooner had I finished off the last of my Provence-inspired gauche paintings, which in turned formed part of my “compositions series” (the idea behind the series being that the paintings follow a more abstract compositional styling rather than being constrained too heavily by accurate figurative representation), than I got to work on another, this time inspired by a short 24 hour trip I made to my home town of Worthing in Sussex for something of a pre-birthday celebration.

Composition No. 6 (Summertime Sussex: Taking a bathe) (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gauche on paper)

Composition No. 6 (Summertime Sussex: Taking a bathe) (2013 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

Having been languishing in the sultry summer sunshine of late, the UK has firmly entered the holiday season, and its many beaches have each become heavily populated by visitors taking dips in the English sea to cool off from the unseasonably high temperatures. The beach at Goring-by-Sea, the small suburb East of Worthing and where my family home is situated, is no exception. My mother and I headed down to the beach on a warm Saturday afternoon and, having made our way through the various groups of barbequing families, young children playing in the sand, and sun-lovers spreading themselves out in worship of the sun rays, we reached the shore whose waters were surprisingly warm and clear. Neither of us could resist a dip, and this 6th painting in my compositions series marks the moment when my mother was taking a bathe in the sea while I, looking after our things and taking in the surprisingly summery scene before me, sat on the water’s edge, this image building in my head.

The very next morning I began to sketch out the composition, complete with its curving wave-like forms and overlapping seaweed-covered groynes and within a few days it was done. The perfect testament to a perfect British summer’s day. I leave you with some photos of that little beach trip which, like my gouache, capture some essence of the British seaside in the summer.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2013. 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.

A Sussex Sunday

Last weekend, I headed down to verdant (occasionally) Sunny Sussex, the green rolling coastal county of my birth. Sussex, for its occasional dated coastal town and abundance of retirement homes, is a county rich in lush green landscapes, large country houses, expansive farmland extending across the rolling chalky Downs, and fine coastal views. And these attractions are no better appreciated than when a now accustomed Londoner like myself gets to reacquaint himself with the fresh air and vibrant green landscapes of the county on a brief respite from city life.

So last Sunday, once my requisite visits to family were completed, purchases made at pet shops for my nephew’s birthday, and a grand familial dinner consumed, I was insistent that I get out into the countryside to sample Sussex at its best. And to do this, my Mother chose well, guiding us into the small town of Pulborough where, on the outskirts, our first visit was to the ancient medieval Stopham Bridge (built 1423) which spans across the river Arun. There in the shadow of this charming, sturdy looking construction, we had lunch at the White Hart, a pub so quaint and old that the plates themselves were probably the straightest surfaces in the place, but whose food was presented with surprising elegance for somewhere so evidently steeped in tradition.

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That afternoon, the highpoint of this Sussex sojourn was to visit Parham House, a large country estate and Tudor Palace which had once received the patronage and visitations of Queen Elizabeth I and today, after extensive renovations undertaken in the 1920s, now boasts some exquisite Elizabethan detailing, as well as a comprehensive collection of regal portraits and grand landscapes collected by the various inhabitants across the centuries.

But for me, the best part of Parham is undoubtedly its walled garden, which at this time of year was abundant with colourful tulips, cherry blossom bursting into flower, and rich green foliage unfurling in the warmer Spring-like air. Armed with my new Sony Cybershot HX20V, I was snapping away like crazy, the results of which are here, as promised, for the sharing.

Details of Parham House and Gardens can be found here.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2013. 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.

 

Winter light on the Sussex coast

There’s a lot to love about winter in England. When the sun is out, the winds have calmed and clouds erupt like fluffy candy floss into a peachy sky, the effects can be stunning. The winter light is sublime, not least over the dark seasonal sea which seems so much more menacing and destructive in the winter, like a wild beast, lying in wait, ready to pounce ferociously upon the dormant shore. While the summer may provide fair weather views, the winter is more about contrast, drama and suspense. And as a result, beautiful photographs can be found almost anywhere.

Yesterday I was visiting my family in Sussex. As a Londoner, I miss the smells, the sounds and the sights of the coast where I grew up, and make it a priority to indulge in the seaside whenever I am down. Walking along a short distance from Goring-by-Sea to a small café in Ferring, I captured several enchanting shots on my camera. I’m not a photographer but I am an artist. I love beauty and I pursue it relentlessly. These photos show how an impulsive walk along a familiar path can bear fruit of the most artistically fulfilling kind. Beauty is everywhere, even at home.

© 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.