Furniture in unusual designs, a spectacular bathroom, countless types of tiles and a vast garden with a view of Gentiel Van Eeckhoutte's architecture: welcome to Villa Gaverzicht! This modernist villa in Waregem was the setting for the ninth edition of Painting Nights on Saturday 3 June.
For the ninth edition of Painting Nights, we set up our easels at Villa Gaverzicht. In the middle of a Waregem residential area, the architecturally modernist home is tucked away as a reminder of a bygone era when architect Gentiel Van Eeckhout designed his home with great attention to detail. With its semi-circular bay windows, metal railings on the roof and rounded windows, the villa seems to sail by like a boat. Once inside, the stained-glass windows, stairwell and unique object collection immerse you in the art deco atmospheres of the past. Van Eeckhoutte chose the typical modernist colour palette: ochre, earth colours, azure, green, white & black. Enough elements for an inspiring evening of painting on location.
Villa Gaverzicht proved to be the ideal place to spend a summer evening in June. After a tour by the owner and Toerist Modernist through the impressive interior and a generous dose of inspiration from lecturer Philine Vanrafelghem, around 50 participants made their way into the garden and the building to translate the imposing home to the blank canvas or paper. We tapped briefly on the shoulder of Gorik, Elien and Katrien & her family to hear what they thought.
"I am an architect by profession, but I have always been interested in drawing. I used to practice figure drawing. In recent years, my interest grew in heritage projects, especially in the style of the interwar period. So this location is really my thing. It is not the first time I have come here; I already visited Villa Gaverzicht once during an open day.
I like the challenge of working in a more plastic way this evening, although I always keep looking with an architect's eye. I have resolved to make some exterior sketches at the beginning of the evening while it is still warm and there is plenty of light. Then I will draw some interior details, maybe of the stained-glass window, and experiment a bit with colour. The shadows combined with the textures in the house appeal to me a lot."
"I usually paint still lifes and make my own set-ups in the studio or in the studio at the academy. I like to experiment with shapes and how shadow play can be a connecting element. I visited the house just now, but find the interior very overwhelming. Now I have picked a spot in the garden, overlooking the villa. I'm going to focus on all the curves in the house, and how the sun creates shadows on them. Both in the bricks, and in the windows and furniture, you can't see anything but curves. It fascinates me.
I paint on a canvas, a canvas that is not stretched. It is a bit rougher than a pre-tensioned canvas. The grains of the canvas come through and I like to play with that. When you paint dry, you have the texture of the canvas, while with wet paint you can create a window effect. I find it very inspiring to participate in Painting Nights. You consider a building, which is an architect's idea, and you find your own interests in it. I also like getting an exercise, and doing my own thing within that framework."
Margriet: "We’re here on a sort of familytrip. My sister Ayla is moving to India next week with her husband Nakul. She draws, and Nakul is an architect interested in art nouveau. Our mother Katrien likes to paint. So the mixture of architecture and art was perfect to spend a last night together before my sister leaves next week."
Nakul: "I’m a big fan of art nouveau. I’m really fond of the interior of Villa Gaverzicht. I like all the small elements, the quirky details... It reminds me a lot of my parents’ work, they were directly influenced by this kind of architecture. It's a bit nostalgic for me to visit the house."
Ayla: "I used to draw a lot when I was a teenager. It disappeared when I went to university, I didn’t have no time at all. But it is fun to do it again. All these different patterns, shapes and sizes of the house are very interesting. In every corner you see something different. I think the immersive experience of Painting Nights is fun. It's like working in a piece of art itself."
"This is the first time I come to Painting Nights, at the invitation of my daughter Margriet. She wants me to get back into painting more. I usually paint portraits and prefer to work indoors. Outside, you surrender to the weather conditions, which are thankfully ideal right now. But the convenience of having all your materials close by in your workspace, to be in your own environment, being able to put on a music...that suits me more.
I find the building a bit dark inside and choose to work outside. The shape of the building is very imposing, looking like a boat. So I wanted to venture into capturing the intricate composition. It is searching for the right proportions and the rendering of the lines in the structure. I am trying out with watercolour. Normally, you stretch a canvas like this and prepare it, but here at Painting Nights, I can let go and experiment a bit."
Kunstwerkt organised this edition of Painting Nights together with Toerist Modernist, a project by Gerlin Heestermans through which she aims to put modernist housing on the map in Belgium.