Reflections on the power of nature is a common theme in the work of Lulu.
Her traditional oil paintings are often a meditation on the beauty of the natural world—from a single Angel Camellia to the magnificence of the Peninsula surf coast.
Hope rises on the wings of a new dawn, Oil on Belgian linen, Private Collection Sydney
Plein Air, Eastern Creek, Oil on board
This focus has resulted in the creation of the lagoon d’art near her studio which features gold, brown and rainbow trout—and waterlilies in warmer months. What was once a pool full of chlorine slowly became something that sustains life. Although the blue yabbies have had to be relocated because they ate the water lilies, Lulu still has one called Ursula, in a tank in her studio.
Her studio also often features two Quaker parrots called Monet and Rembrandt with videos of their exploits on her website—www.bylulu.com.au.
Lulu’s passion is traditional oil painting using quality paint, Belgian linen, gessoed boards and spike lavender oil and cleaner.
While she paints still life, landscapes and figurative themes she is particularly passionate about portraits.
Many of her early self-taught portrait commissions are in collections in New Zealand and Europe. That includes the study of a woman and her Cavoodle dog, Jack, titled 'Friends Together'.
Reflections on the passage of time in a French cafe, Oil on Belgian linen
Hope rises with a new dawn, Oil on board
Portrait of hero Jeff Williams, Oil on Belgian linen, in private collection, Melbourne
In spite of his physical challenges, Jeff Williams entered the Archibald and his paintings were selected for the Salon de Refuse four times. He painted on a specially designed easel that rotated to enable him to paint his huge portraits.
More recently, Lulu painted a portrait of the late Jeff Williams, who was the President of the historic 50-year-old Mornington Peninsula Painting and Drawing Group Inc. The painting was a finalist in the 2023 John Dudley Portrait Prize. As well as painting the portrait, Lulu helped save his group from folding last year along with Annie and Ges Hogg (now the Treasurer). The life drawing group has historic beginnings with the formation of the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery and continues to meet Tuesday mornings and afternoons at the Currawong Hall in Mornington for short and long poses. All welcome.
Another historic 50-year-old group that Lulu helped reinvigorate is the Australian Guild of Realist Artists which was started by Kenneth Jack, Sir William Dargie, Kath Ballard and others.
This group will now go nation-wide, thanks to artists in each state who kindly agreed to support this historic and iconic organisation, which will soon be accepting new memberships.
Her most recent portrait was of 95-year-old scientist and animal hair expert Hans Brunner who helped exonerate Lindy Chamberlain. The portrait was painted an hour a day in his office complete with microscope. The painting was an opportunity for Hans to reunite with Lindy Chamberlain after 35 years recently. He said the painting experience allowed him to heal from the past and was 'a full stop' on that part of his life.
Lulu can often be seen at beaches along the Peninsula—particularly Gunnamatta, Point Leo, Merricks, Shoreham, Frankston and Seaford painting plein air with many of those scenes reflected in her work.
Although Lulu was given a tantalizing taste of oil painting when young, she wasn’t able to pursue it until years later.
At the age of 11, after her father Peter John Clifton died while she was living in Fiji, Lulu was given a green Cadbury chocolate box filled with brushes, oil paint and a rag by her father’s sister (Joan Caldwell). While she finished two paintings it was not till years later that life allowed an opportunity for her to pursue that passion.
A beach near Somers, Oil on board
A cup of tea meditating on peace, Oil on Belgian linen
Largely self taught, Lulu studied art practice with Colin Johnson for many years, before being later mentored by members of the Twenty Melbourne Painters Society, including Bill Caldwell (who has now retired from the Society), Fiona Bilbrough and Lee Machelak.
Her work is currently held in collections in Paris, Brittany, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Australia. She is a member of the Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors, Peninsula Studio Trail and McClelland Guild of Artists Inc.
Five of her paintings will be in the Bayside Art Show from 23 November 2023.
Her studio will be open by appointment on 18 November 2023.
Her most recent accomplishments in the arts include:
We would like to pay our respects to the traditional owners of the land on which our building stands, their leaders, past, present and emerging.