Brisbane South Bank and Art Gallery

It’s 5 weeks since we came back from New Zealand. Pottering in the garden, reconnecting with friends, enjoying the small place we call home. But I now feel like a day out exploring.

The weather is a perfect Queensland winter day, clear blue sky, fresh windless 22C. NO humidity… I bounce out of bed “let’s go to Brisbane”. It is quite a while since we went there. ( April 2013 see it here ) Brisbane is the capital of Queensland, it is a cosmopolitan and lively city that is home to many different types of scenery, including skyscrapers, parkland and even an artificial beach. Brisbane is a river city, with Brisbane River running through it.

It is a 100 kilometres from the Gold Coast. Not far in Australian travel terms, this land of vast expanses. But we still do not have a vehicle (though we are looking for one!). So it is a bike ride to the bus, then a bus ride to the train station and, from there, a 1 hour 15 minute commute to Brisbane.

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On the way we fill the time in by sketching. We are both looking at the same scene from slightly different viewpoints, but look how different our styles are. 

A great day for a stroll along the river and through the South Bank Parklands.

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An enterprising young woman has set up her VW as a mobile coffee stand. But we do not stop here as I am planning to have lunch at the art gallery.

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Before looking around the art gallery we stop for a cuppa and sandwich


It is a tranquil and artistically laid out space.

Yellow tables and chair complement the vivid green of the lawn

Yellow tables and chairs complement the vivid green of the lawn.

The sun highlights the fountains spinning wheel of water creating rainbows.

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Every where there are ibis, waiting hopefully for crumbs. At the next table another diner takes out a note-book and starts sketching as she waits for her meal. I cannot resist asking her what is she drawing. She shows us, it is quick sketches of the ibis. We have an interesting conversation about art. Karen and her partner are both artists and she gives us her web address. Take a look. I was very impressed.

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Now refreshed it’s time to immerse myself in the creative genius of the many artists work on display. I prefer the realistic art of the old masters and find modern art difficult to understand.

Here are some of my favourites.

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I stood in front of this one for quite a while, it seemed to talk to me. I loved the 3 dimensional effect and the soft gentle feel of spring just awakening the blossom on the tree.

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James Gleeson “Structural emblem of a friend” In quite a different way this one intrigued me. The lifeless gaze as the blood is sucked from him by a wife. The mortgage getting under his skin. Maybe the only beacon of light for him is the boy/son? There was no information about this painting so I made up my own story. What story do you see?

I’ve just been reading the life story of William Dobell, the book showed many of his paintings but it is never the same as standing in front of the work of art, studying the colours and the brush strokes and textures.

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 The look around was taken slowly and really immersed in what I did have time to see, not a quick rush around trying to see too much. So much more to see, I will definitely have to come again.

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As I left the sun was highlighting the branches of a frangipani tree and I noticed it still had one lonely flower defying the odds.

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A last look at Brisbane as I head back to catch the train for the return journey to the Gold Coast.

Categories: art gallery, Australia, Brisbane, South Bank, travel | Tags: , , , | 34 Comments

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34 thoughts on “Brisbane South Bank and Art Gallery

  1. What a great day trip! Under the jacaranda tree is all the more special because of the story that goes along with it. Really enjoyed your photos.


    • Thank you. The Jacaranda tree is stunning when you see a whole line of them against a brilliant blue sky. Hoping to be around when they flower this year.


  2. really enjoyed the post – exploring with you is fun…. and the water fountain shots were my fav – but then so was that close up of the bird – oh wow did you show us the texture and smooth feel –


    • The ibis are almost pests they hop on the tables as soon as some one leaves to clean up and left overs and crumbs.


      • that sounds crazy to hear – but I believe it – even tough in my mind they seems exotic and so gorgeous – and to hear pests – well I believe it!


  3. Those pinwheels of water are my favourite part, Pauline- especially with the rainbows 🙂


  4. I know this place well! Nice train sketches. 😊. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Five weeks, already! Golly gosh – it seems like you were here only the other day. My favourite painting has to be the Gleeson. What an interesting story it tells – as if the friend’s identity will soon be completely gone.


  6. I enjoyed your photo gallery. Great shot of the Ibis, and some beautiful artwork. 🙂


  7. What an excellent gallery and plenty more to see in Brisbane, glad you had a great day!


  8. poppytump

    Love your impromptu day out Pauline ! Sketches from both of you and a trundle round the art gallery as well as some pictures . Fabulous . I know what you mean about Modern Art but I do try and then yes, make up my own story too.
    I checked out William Dobell – what a variety of genres he painted in differing ways !
    Jacaranda trees in flower are so attractive , it really is a lovely painting that one .


    • William Dobell is classed as one of Australia’s greatest artists, and an all round good bloke. His life was totally devoted to art.


  9. You captured the day beautifully, you are my favourite blogger.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, you packed plenty into this post, Pauline! You both created great sketches, I am most envious of your abilities! Loved those fountains, and your musings at the art gallery 🙂


    • I took so many photos of those fountains from all angles I was fascinated by the lighting on them. Some of the modern paintings had the artist comments next to them and I found those as incomprehensible as the paintings

      Liked by 1 person

  11. What a timely post from my selfish point of view: I plan to be in Brisbane for a few days in July, and you’ve given me art gallery incentive. I’ve always loved “Monday morning”; the cafe looks splendid; and your ibis is superb. Your cycling needs to be an inspiration for me in Warsaw – bike paths everywhere, although riders can be quite lethal. Thank you for many pleasures, yet again.


    • I also like the GOMA gallery but didn’t leave enough time for it, we spent too much time talking to our luncheon lady…Will have to go back again…
      The GC is very good for biking, lots of bike ways and all flat.


  12. Lovely, lovely photos, Pauline – thank you for taking us along! Particularly liked the jacaranda & man-made rainbows.
    (Good luck with your transport search!)


    • G’day Del. I always look forward to the Jacaranda flowering time, they are very spectacular trees and some towns have whole streets lined with them. I’m looking forward to having a car again.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I loved seeing the side=by-side sketches as well! The ibis is pretty impressive, as were those grand paintings. Thanks for taking us with you on this outing!


  14. anny

    Ta ever so


  15. Oh so many treasures here, Pauline. The fountain Catherine wheels are just wonderful, and I loved seeing your joint views of the train ride (and such a lovely train too compared to ours). But then you throw in an art show too. Under the jacaranda makes on gasp with pleasure (though it needs a nicer less distracting frame), and so refreshing to see the other Australian works. Thank you for such an all- over enlivening post.


    • Those Jacarandas are very spectacular. I was surprised to learn that most of the Jacarandas around Brisbane were progeny from the tree in the painting. There are 100’s of them spread around, so I think that may be an exaggeration…


      • Oh I don’t know about the exaggeration. These trees are pretty prolific and cover most of suburban Africa – Kenya, Zambia etc, anywhere where British colonial plantsmen have been busy. I read that the trees themselves are fairly short lived due to being shallow rooted, and prone to falling over. I have a very nice almost life-sized aardvark carved from a fallen-over Nairobi jacaranda. Akamba woodcarvers set up camp around it on the roadside reserve where it had fallen, and set about re-purposing it into hippos – life-sized to table-top versions. The aardvark was a bit of an odd one out, and the young man who had made it, said he had not seen one in real life. I ought to do a post about it maybe.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That would be a great post Tish I would love to see a photo of your Aardvark. Those woodcarvers were very opportunistic to go to the tree and work. Good for them!!! Can you imagine our councils and health and safety people letting them do it either here or in the UK?

          Liked by 2 people

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