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The Friday Files

A Blog featuring the artists of the Mornington Peninsula.

Each week I introduce you to a new artist based on the Mornington Peninsula. This week's artist is Lisa O'Keefe


This week, I am very happy to introduce you to Lisa O’Keefe, an artist based on the Mornington Peninsula and a member of the Peninsula Studio Trail Inc.(PST) In my last post, I talked a little bit about PST and told you that I would be gradually introducing you to the artists who are part of the group. You can see my last post here.


Lisa O’Keefe paints in a style best described as surreal. With a strong background in drawing, colour and composition, Lisa creates imaginary worlds that incorporate her experiences lived in Europe, particularly Paris, memories from childhood, images and gestures of friends, plants and animals. She uses metaphors, like books, ships, fences and shapes, to draw you into her worlds of stories, memories and interestingly, current affairs. Her paintings are meticulously executed and given the details that she includes, take quite a long time to plan, prepare and develop into their final form.


Cleverly, Lisa often uses a mirror to view the work. This gives both the opposite view (helping with balance and composition) and also distance from the artwork. I’d never heard of this technique before, but once she explained it to me, of course I saw how this would be very helpful. Artists often take a photo and crop it to view the image in isolation, which helps to give an more objective view of composition too.


Lisa’s background is in fine art, painting. She studied in Paris, at the “Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts”. Her Paris experience evokes a romantic impression of a quintessential artists life. She is a full-time artist. Her work provokes a curiosity in the viewer. You find yourself entranced by the details, the story and the progression between the images that she incorporates. Her paintings are intriguing and you find yourself going back for a second, third and fourth view. There is always something new and interesting to find.


Lisa’s studio is in the large front room of her house, with white walls, great light and high ceilings. Absolutely essential to accommodate the large canvases on a full-size painting easel. In every room, on every wall, Lisa’s home is full of art. I was privileged to see many completed works, works in progress being prepared for upcoming exhibitions, and beautifully organised photographs of past work.


Lisa works in series or collections. Each collection is unique in itself but ties into the previous or past works through the use of her imagery, the figures she uses or the imagined, dreamlike, gestures, shapes and sketches.


I asked Lisa five fast fact questions about herself as follows:

What are you currently reading? “Disgrace” by T M Coetzee

What do you collect? Paintings, prints and ceramics

Favourite food or cuisine? French (of course!)

Best season? Summer when it’s not cold.

Most soul replenishing activity? Painting and drawing where she can get very absorbed and lose track of all time.


Lisa’s studio will be open for the next PST Open Studio Weekend in November with her available works on display in her front room studio. There is plenty of street parking and a few steps up to the entry. Lisa will also be exhibiting at the PST Annual Exhibition in September/October. See the PST website for details.


With permission, I have included a small selection of Lisa’s work below.


Lisa's paintings from left: A Day at the Vineyard; All That Remains; Facing Out.


To contact Lisa about her work or a commissioned piece, her details are as follows:

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