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Posts tagged ‘Water’

Mallorca Moments: The Sea at Sunrise

As much as I love the autumn, one thing which I find somewhat depressing about the ongoing march of the year is the reduction in light. It seems that as each day of the year begins, there is a little less light available to assist in the difficult emergence from under the warmth of a snuggly duvet. Nevertheless, work does not wait for any man, and the need to start the day shrouded in a Wintery darkness will soon become a reality. However, every seasonal change brings with it its fair share of visual spectacles, and now that the light is fading, my customary morning walk now coincides with the precise moment when the sun rises above the silhouette of Palma de Mallorca’s impressive gothic cathedral.

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While Palma’s autumn sun rises make for quite a spectacle, it is the effect of the morning light on the water in the port which really entices me. Enveloped in a warm glow varying between a nectarine yellow and a peachy pink, the gentle movement of the water against the port’s forest of white yachts and sailing boats creates reflections and ripples which are a true vision to behold. Readers of The Daily Norm will know that I am no stranger to the charm of a good ripple – these watery movements have inspired many an artwork in my past repertoire. But in the current light of autumn, Palma’s ripples are surely at their colourful best, a fact well in evidence in this collection of photos.

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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. 

The Daily Norm photo of the week: Swan lake

A new working week has begun after a few days’ happy Easter explorations, and with that week comes a new opportunity to show off a photo or two with which I am especially excited. And today’s photo (and its two accompanying shots) is certainly worth a post all of its own. It depicts one of two swans who live in the locality of Palma de Mallorca’s magnificent cathedral and ancient Moorish Palace. Swimming around in a sunlit pool all of their own, the swans look the very picture of grace at the best of times, but with their feathers so beautifully arched as they were when this photo was taken, and with the sun shining upon the water, they made for a stunning photographic vision.

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I love the fact that in addition to the sunlight shining through the green waters of the small lake, this photo also benefits from the rippled reflection of a nearby historical arch, adding interest to this enchanting composition. The perfect vision of a swan, and a lake.

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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. 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 Daily Norm Photo of the Week: Borne Tortoise

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.

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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.

Watery Wonder of Wandsworth in the Autumn Light

After a rare extension of English summer temperatures to the end of September, the inevitable onset of autumn last weekend was heralded by a sudden drop in temperatures, but also a very welcome burst of sharp strong sunshine. Waking to the sunrays peeking their way through my window blinds this Sunday, I rose from my slumber with a new sense of excitement for the season ahead, and gathering together some long since aired padded winter clothing, I headed out with my partner to enjoy the arrival of Autumn.

Our original intention was to photograph the typical hallmarks of the season: conkers, ruby-coloured leaves and mushrooms peaking up around the damp bases of ancient trees, but perhaps because of the warmer-than-average September, or maybe because it is still early days in the autumn calendar, we found such seasonal staples to be lacking. However, what we did find, upon walking in the densely verdant landscape of South London’s Wandsworth Park, was a waterway of small ponds and larger lakes come alive with the auburn light and the rich sunny hues of autumn. While I have seen this park in every season, there was something about the interplay of autumn light, with the turning colour of the leaves and the elegant auburns and greens of the mallard ducks gliding on the surface of the water that made the entire scene a treat for the eyes.

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So rather than giving you a photographic panoply of autumn berries, nuts and other forest favourites, my homage to autumn’s ascendancy is an album focusing on the stunning sparkling reflections formulated in the softly-lit waters of Wandsworth Park. Autumn in England is not known to be the most clement of seasons, but on a day like this, it can make for one of the most beautiful times of all the year.

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.

Dubrovnik | Photography Focus: Part Three – Ripples of the Southern Adriatic

Readers of The Daily Norm cannot fail to realise that I love ripples and reflections in water. I became obsessed with them, rather appropriately, in Venice over Christmas, where the image of the city reflected into water is almost as beautiful as the city above water. I was likewise enamoured by the sun-drenched ripples of the Mediterranean caught in a moment of watery transience in the old port of Dell’Ovo in Naples. This Italian double whammy inspired a couple of gouache ripple paintings, one of which I sold at my recent solo art exhibition in London’s Strand Gallery. I also made two woodcut prints inspired by the ripples of both Venice, and Naples. Then, when I was in Spain in April, I went ripple hunting again, finding that the Spanish Mediterranean in the ports of Marbella was in no shortage of stunning watery wonders.

So it will be of no surprise that on my recent trip to Dubrovnik, I went in search of some more abstract images framed in an instance of moving water, finding stunning examples of reflection not only in the city’s old port amongst the fishing boats and tourist vessels, but also in the crystal clear cerulean blue sea, and even in the elegant old fountains at the heart of the city.

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The resulting photos are a treasure trove of colourful ripples with characteristic sights of the city mixed in. I love my photo of the waters in the old port for instance, where the golden walls of the city are perfectly reflected alongside the blue of the water forming an image in reflection which is so abstract that it could be mistaken for something by Rothko. I also love those photos of ripples around the ancient rocks which surround the fortress city, filled with the magical atmosphere which these natural forms create.

It seems almost appropriate that this further chapter in my portfolio of ripples should fall in the southern part of the Adriatic, the sea where my obsession with water first took hold, up in the colder Northern waters around Venice. I hope you like them.

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. 

Natale Italiano | Naples – Photography Focus: Ripples of the Riviera

I may have thought the ripples and watery reflections of Venice were great, but in the sun-drenched marinas of Naples, we were given a ripple spectacle like Venice on ecstasy. Boats in vibrant primary colours of yellow and red and blue scattering a kaleidoscope of colour into the water, yachts with their proud white masts punctuating the cerulean ripples reflected below, and the sunshine glinting over the sea like a carpet of crystals – this was photographically seductive, ripple-ravishing heaven.

No doubt it was the timing of this visit – a sunny stroll on an otherwise cold December day – which made the experience of dipping into the sensations of the summer all the more special. Breathing air which is tinted with warmth feels like indulging in a glass of heavenly nectar after a day when wretched thirsty work has left the mouth parched; being by the sea when all of the senses have become numbed by the smoke, the rush and the monotony of city life is like a face splashed with freshness on a hot clammy day; feeling the rays of the sun filling the skin with its vitamin-filled goodness is like applying a glinting layer of gold to a dull pot of steel.

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Not only did this reconnaissance with the summer make us feel optimistically alive, and produce some stunning photos of the water, but it also seemed to have the world out to enjoy the weather in unison. And so this little set of photos includes not just the incredible effects of mother nature’s fusion of sunshine and water, but also glimpses of Neapolitan life, as fishermen go about their business by the waters edge, and locals come out from their winter-clad houses to enjoy the hope that the fine weather brings.

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. 

Natale Italiano | Venice – Photography Focus: Ripples

I’ve always loved the effect of water. The way the light shines through it, and on it; the way still water reflects perfectly like a mirror, and conversely the way moving water distorts an image into its own abstract reimagining. My love for the effect of water has always translated into both my art (see my post tomorrow) and my photography so much so that I’ll always remember my friend, Mackenna, lovingly taunting me every time we crossed one of the breathtaking bridges in Paris where upon, almost as automatically as one takes a pause to consider the beauty of the Seine, I would snatch out my camera and start snapping away at the effect of the illuminated bridges reflecting in the water below.

It will come as little surprise then that for me, Venice is like some kind of quasi-orgasmic over-abundant celebration of rippled reflection; a city so spectacular that they managed to build it twice – once in reality, and once in reflection. A city whose very soul is the water which laps around its foundations and without which it would be a city stripped of half the beauty that it manifests to such worldwide renown.

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When you get Venice on a sunny day, those delicate terracottas, pungent oranges and sunny yellows of its buildings reflect to startling effect in its waters against the blue sky beyond. When we were in Venice however, mist largely predominated. This means that my photographic homage to the watery wonders of the city is a more sedate, more muted affair. Nonetheless, there can be no doubting the very transient beauty which nevertheless resides in those photos of ripples and movement through Venice’s canals.

But this post is not just about the ripples. Here too I bring you some of my favourite shots of Venice’s most quaint canals; the characteristic stripy wooden poles which emerge out of the water like a candy-cane forest; and of course the gondolas whose presence is as much an integral element of Venice’s waters as the ravens are to the Tower of London.

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. 

Autumn Inspires | Photos (Part 2) – Reflections on a theme

My second post marking something of a photographic introduction to Autumn (I’m sure more will follow) focuses not on the earthy delights of the season which can be found scattered across the ground under the shedding branches of trees, and gathering and growing within the interstices of their damp twisting roots, but on the photographic effects which can be created, when the burnished bronzes and warming golds of the season are reflected in the rippling surface of water.

One of the great attractions of Wandsworth Common, where my partner and I headed for our Autumn stroll last Sunday, is the cluster of ponds, around which little paths and bridges allow the park’s visitors access into this otherwise quite unspoilt natural habitat. So, from the wooden passages, taking the visitor across the waters and around the lakes, you can view what is perhaps nature at its best – all of the colours and shapes of nature captured, but reflected double in this watery mirror at its feet.

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The effect is wonderful. In the wide lens views of the whole lake for example, one gets a sense of the enormity of nature as the lake reflects not just the full expanses of trees, but also the sky above. Then, in the closer shots which focus on ripples alone, the effect of movement in the water creates what almost becomes an abstract image, as the reflection of trees is fragmented and, when isolated, forms an entirely new visually enticing image of its own. A few of my ripple shots for example remind me of the art nouveau patterns used in the portraits of Gustav Klimt. I wonder whether the apparently imagined patterns of his works drew similarly from the work of Mother Nature?

Whatever Klimt’s inspiration, these photos have surely inspired me. Not only has the act of photographing Autumn provided me with immense photographic satisfaction, but I can already feel my paint brushes twitching to start painting something similarly inspired by the beauty of nature in this season.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2013 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. 

Autobiographical Mobile: My painting diary – Day 16: Water reflection and Enid

The 2013 return to my latest large-scale painting is well and truly kick-started now. After last week’s update on the progress of my autobiographical mobile painting, I am now able to report on another day’s technical painting work on the canvas which has taken over my artistic output for the last 9 months.

Day 16 of work saw me concentrate on the lower right-hand corner of the panel. There, having completed my large cliffs, it was now time to undertake the rather arduous chore of reflecting the cliffs into the pool of water below. I like this watery area… it has a sense of darkness and mystery for me, a bit like a large lake in a cave, a sense which is no doubt heighted because of the vast area of hostile rock face above.

IMG_3034In order to undertake the reflection, I started by practising a very small rock area in one of the little pools in the centre of the canvas (I anticipate that there will be a fair few rock pools by the time the canvas is finished). Having tested the art of reflection in that small area, I went on to the vast reflection of the right-hand cliff. It’s not easy to repeat what you have painted before, but all the more so to do so in reverse, as a reflection requires. It requires you to almost go back on yourself, to flip over every angle and to mirror every shade and colour, while ensuring that proportions are kept the same.

It took me most of the morning to repaint the cliffs in the pond. Once finished, I achieved what looked to me like a mirror reflection, but was not watery enough. The distinction between water and a mirror of course in the propensity of water to move, and therefore even on a still day, the reflection in water is bound to be distorted compared with a normal mirror reflection. Deciding that I’d give my scene a gentle sea breeze, I set about distorting my reflection with various ripples, many of which I created through dragging a dry brush over the surface of what I had just painted. This was a slightly scary moment, especially when I’d just spent the whole morning meticulously painting the reflected area. And of course if I got this bit wrong, the smudges of dark and light oil paint would dirty the canvas and it would be sometime before I could correct it.

At the beginning of the day

At the beginning of the day

First stage of reflection done

First stage of reflection done

Made into a watery reflection

Made into a watery reflection

Sufficiently pleased with my watery reflection for now (it will undoubtedly change as other details of the image materialise and alter), I moved on to a detail at the foot of the canvas. While Bilbao and Fluffy, my teddies at the centre of the canvas, represent myself and my partner (they were our gifts to each other at the early stages of our relationship and now follow us around the world), Enid, the little “golly” down on the right, is a representation of my mother, and my childhood.

Enid in reality

Enid in reality

My mother, who herself has a large collection of gollies, some from her childhood, gave me Enid for a birthday present some 10 or so years ago. I was so pleased with her, I used to take her travelling with me. That was at least until travelling with a golly aroused too much anxiety on my part – This was in part because people displaying gollies in their windows have been arrested and accused of racial hatred… Is this the world gone “politically correct” mad? Perhaps so, and frankly it’s not a debate I want to entertain on my art blog, but all I know is that I grew up with gollies being to me, at most, as harmless as teddies and barbie dolls. My sister and I used to have golly picnics, where we would gather all the family’s gollies together and picnic with them, like your typical teddybears’ picnic. And I used to collect golly badges which one could only obtain having collected a sufficient number of vouchers from the jars of Robertson’s Jam. They are, needless to say, no longer available, but perhaps for that reason I alone, I prize my collection.

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So in representing both my Mother, and my childhood, Enid is an integral feature of this autobiographical canvas. She’s all finished now, save for her label, to which I will add writing when the paint is dry.

Enid completed

Enid completed

And that was my day’s work. More to come, I hope, soon.

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