The Art of Brenda Bryant
I was born in Liverpool, England, and when the family moved to New Zealand during my childhood, I became interested in art, often sketching and painting the urban landscape of Auckland. In 1978, I moved to Australia, and had a very busy life working on the Gold Coast as a para-legal, while bringing up 3 children.
When I retired to the Tweed Valley I was able to indulge in my passion and joined an art group. Having completed many paintings in a variety of mediums, I am now part-time 'artist-in-residence' at the Caldera Wildscapes Gallery in Murwillumbah.
When not in the gallery, I spend quality time outdoors - in the rainforests and along the glorious beaches that abound in this area. Consequently, most of my paintings are of landscapes and seascapes. I'm especially inspired by the mysterious atmosphere created by misty early morning scenes.
The words of Mark O'Connor's poem summarises my
thoughts about this painting:
"Rainforest is a symphony, never graspable in full replete with fugitive notes
And familiar themes pursued with a soft nutrient harmony Trees dwarf the birds
Like midges in their boughs
But to the ear it's all reversed
The leaves' mist-like murmering flits
A furtive sigh among sunsplashed columns of birdsong"
Couchy Creek Nature Reserve is located on the northern slopes of the Tweed Valley near Murwillumbah. Mostly wet eucalypt forest with isolated pockets of rainforest in the gullies, the biodiversity found in this reserve is exemplary.
As Couchy Creek is not far from my home, I often walk there in the mornings when the light is especially beautiful. After rain, the creek rises quickly and runs rapidly over the many crossings along the access road This place is constantly changing and a pleasure to visit.
Early Morning Mist
As a resident of Chillingham, a delightful village in the Tweed Valley, I love to walk along the surrounding rural roads especially in the mornings.
On one early morning walk, I was inspired by this scene of an old timber fence and cattle yards leading down a tree-lined driveway into the mist. I had to do a painting of this scene.
Pumpenbil Dam at Dawn
I always see things much clearer on early morning walks through the back paddocks near where I live....and I start imagining subject matter for painting projects.
The relatively small dam appears to be a lake, and Wollumbin/Mt Warning seems so mysterious and far away. I love the trees disappearing into the mist.
Country Road at Dusk
I love old weather-beaten wooden fences along country roads. Unfortunately many of these rustic fences are being replaced by steel or concrete structures.
I wanted to capture the character of this fence while it was still upright.
The light was intriguing and constantly changing as I walked along the roadside. What delightful colours we can see in nature at the end of a cool misty day!
Depicted here is the remarkable complexity often found within the Gondwana Rainforest Reserves of Australia.
From the tiniest mosses and orchids clinging to the side of the creek bank to the fallen remnant tree trunk stranded temporarily in the creek bed, the dynamics of rainforests are a joy to behold.
This was my first serious journey into the use of acrylic paint so I hope the outcome provides the viewer with a sense of awe of the splendid forests and catchments of the Green Cauldron. This un-named waterfall is found deep within the Lamington National Park.
The autumn mists create a mystical atmosphere in this scene. The towering gum trees blend into the sky while the meandering creek disappears into the forest.
The Tweed has both wet and dry eucalypt forest types depending on altitude, aspect, and rainfall. Although these forests may appear barren, they are often highly diverse harbouring many species of flora and fauna.
As a novice artist, this was my first journey of discovery with the use of soft pastels, a perfect medium for blending subtle colours.
The Pass - Byron Bay
Volcanic rocks in the foreground set the scene for a dramatic sunset at The Pass, Byron Bay. The horizon line provides a beautiful orange light as the sun sets over the distant mountains in the west. Dark moody clouds compliment the scene.
The Pass is situated at the southern end of Clarkes Beach at Byron where my family and I spent many happy holidays.
Guardians of the Rainforest
Living close to the Couchy Creek Nature Reserve is a joy to me. When I walk through a rainforest, I can feel the age of the forest and am filled with awe at how beautiful our planet is. I have tried to capture this feeling in my painting. Each time I go, I see something different. “Now you see it; now you don’t”.
Couchy Creek Nature Reserve is a protected nature reserve located near Chillingham. The 218 hectare reserve is situated in the traditional Country of the Minjungbal People of the Bundjalung Nation.
Couchy Creek 2
Couchy Creek Nature Reserve lies approximately 14 kms north west of Murwillumbah within the traditional country of the Minjungbal people. The land, water, plants and animals within a landscape are central to Aboriginal spirituality and contribute to Aboriginal identity.
The majority of vegetation in the reserve is wet sclerophyll forest with lowland rainforest occurring along water courses. Rainforest of this type is listed as an Endangered Ecological Community. Couchy Creek Nature Reserve is comprised of part of the eroded remains of the early Miocene aged Tweed (or Mount Warning) Shield Volcano.
As Couchy Creek is not far from my home, I often walk here in the mornings, when it is especially beautiful. Also, after rain, the creek runs rapidly and there are many little crossings over the fords in the Reserve.
I am very fortunate to live in the beautiful Tweed Valley. One of my favourite places to walk and reflect is Couchy Creek Nature Reserve, near Chillingham. No matter what time of day or the weather, it is different each time. I feel such peace there.
The mighty trees, the creek in flood, the smells, and the many waterfalls after a heavy downpour are an inspiration to me in my paintings.
I’ve seen a variety of trees in the nature reserve, but one of my favourite rainforest trees is the blue quandong, or blue marble tree, as it’s sometimes called. I wanted to make this tree the dominant feature of this artwork.
His Majesty - Wedge-tailed Eagle
The majestic Wedge-tailed Eagle is Australia's largest raptor (bird of prey) and one of the largest eagles in the world. It has a characteristic wedge-shaped tail, and legs that are feathered all the way to the base of the toes.
Their keen eyesight allows them spot prey from great distances both when perched and when soaring in flight.
They can be seen in the Tweed caldera and their future is assured although there are only a few nesting pairs.
This was my first wildlife art project and I thoroughly enjoyed depicting the feathers of this magnificent bird.
Early Morning Walk in the Rainforest
Oil on canvas
Lush rainforests, ancient trees, spectacular views, extensive walking tracks, exceptional ecological importance and natural beauty make this Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area an outstanding place to visit.
This is what inspired me to create this painting, after a visit to Lamington National Park, in the hinterland of the Gold Coast. It is about an hour and a half’s drive from Murwillumbah.
I hope that you will feel the peace and quiet of this ancient rainforest, as I did, and that it brings you joy.