A Life on Canvas

After a lifetime of painting, Helen Whalley loves dressing up as a work of art herself in the village fashion parades at Lutanda Manor.


A passionate painter for over four decades, Helen Whalley is no stranger to the brush. Having painted a countless number of oil canvases over the years, her home is adorned from wall to wall with works of her creation.

“While I definitely wouldn’t say I’m a professional painter, I have been lucky enough to have had my work exhibited a couple of times, but it’s mostly just a passion,” said Hellen.

“I particularly like painting monotones, anything ethereal really. I love ballet paintings and showcasing the light hitting the body, in a Rembrandt sort of style.”

When it comes to using her brighter hued palettes, painting Australian birds is her go-to, and for good reason too.

“Australia has the best selection of birds in the world, especially parrots: they’re just outstanding,” Helen said.

Her love for all things art also shows through in Helen’s fashion, and she is an enthusiastic participant in the village fashion parades.

She’s no newbie to the runway either, having been involved in various fashion events as a model for over fifty years through school, church and now in her retirement village.

Helen has been strutting her stuff in the biannual fashion parade at Lutanda Manor for the last six years.

“I get to wear beautiful outfits and don’t have to buy them! I feel like a million dollars without actually spending a million bucks,” Helen said.

When it comes to her own wardrobe, there’s nothing she loves more than a statement scarf for winter.

“You can put a scarf anywhere—on a bag, a hat, a coat, around your neck—it’s fabulous,” she said.

Besides painting and dressing the part, travel is another passion of Helen’s, both within Australia and abroad.

“My favourite holiday would have be our trip to Antarctica a few years ago,” she said.

A true artist at heart, Helen’s favourite moments were of course, admiring the pristine colour of the vast landscape that “took her breath away.”

Helen spent her career in the merchant shipping industry, based in Sydney, before retiring and making the move to Lutanda Manor in Pennant Hills. Helen and her husband have recently celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary with their two children and three grandchildren close by.