Robyn Bauer has lived in Paddington for a long time. She has walked the streets, watched the gardens grow, met her neighbours, and had art in her life all along. Her mother was an artist; Robyn herself started painting and drawing from a young age, and now runs a gallery in Latrobe Terrace. She has held numerous solo exhibitions, her last one being Terra Australis, which centred more on wildlife fauna and flora.
I met Robyn at Petrie Terrace Gallery, the Royal Queensland Art Society, at 162 Petrie Terrace.
She was dressed in a bright blue dress, and everywhere I looked in the gallery, there were bright colours. I told her about my love of the neighbourhood and she told me about hers. Paddington is an area that has a lot to say for itself. It is close to the inner city, and full of character and history; from Trammie's corner, to the fading charm of the old Theatre, which is now the Antiques Market in Latrobe.
She draws her inspiration from the beautiful architecture of the houses, the gardens full of blooms, and the unbelievably strong colours; colours that she tries to enhance in her pictures. She mentioned, with a twinge of sadness, that some of these character-full houses are falling into ruin, with their gardens running wild. The preferred architecture of the day are more muted, with softer tones, paved small gardens, with nothing out of step.
She was quick to realize the beauty around her – this was a paradise close to home. In fact, it was purely domestic. She could look at the geography of the houses and the roads, and uncover all that lies beneath them. A world painted outside her door; one which awakens the senses, one of belonging: the dog in the foreground, and the children on their bikes. The colours and the seasons, the jacarandas in full bloom, and roads taking on that purple- blue hue, the marriage of city and wildlife. All this, in a neighbourhood that she knew so well.
There are pictures of the city, and of the races, of gardens and small paradises, dotted here and there. You can see it and be charmed by the vibrancy and the colours. As she said, the colours were all there – she merely enhanced them, and anyone who has lived in Brisbane through the seasons knows how true this is.