A Tribute to all the Salon
It all started in Kuurne
1992. A small gathering of Belgian decorative
painters demonstrating techniques and having an exhibition of their work
organized by the local painters association. Also a few Dutchmen were
invited to demonstrate their skills, which gave the gathering an
There was no vision behind it at that time
nor any plan to repeat this event in the future. There was simply a
revival going on within the decorative painting world to bring back
these old techniques, which were almost lost and only known by the old
The only purpose was to catch young
peopleís attention and show them what the possibilities were within the
At that time I had already started during 5
years with a year of specialization year at the painterís department of
the school where I work. I was struggling to find my way through all
that decorative stuff by studying books, looking at videotapes and
making a lot off mistakes because I didnít have the money or the time to
take lessons. So I took the opportunity with both hands to go to the
gathering of the masters in the trade. Iíd finally would see them at
I stayed there watching all day, steeling
with my eyes, testing my knowledge and learning to know the masters. I
was a revelation, I got lots of energy and wanted to get started to
improve myself. There was still so much to learn, so much practice to
do. This was the turning point it stimulated me to become a good
craftsman within the decorative painting business and to secure the
skills to be able to teach at a high level.
So I practiced and practiced, invited a few
of the masters to the school to demonstrate and to criticize my work.
Because of these they invited me to come along to the
school of Yannick Guegan
in 19996. There the ball really started to roll. I was an admirer of
Yannick, I had studied his books for so many years and now I was going
to meet him in person. I would be able to see his work from up close, I
The visit exceeded all my expectations;
suddenly there were decorative painters from
Holland with outstanding portfolioís and samples.
Everybody was talking about the profession. It was an exchange of
information and ideas.
Again I was injected with lots of energy.
I got to know all these wonderful people
who had the same interest, aspiration and ambition and they were willing
to share their knowledge with me. I was excited to see all that
beautiful work and to feel that positive energy. And I wasnít the only
I havenít mentioned any name so far. I did
this on purpose, it is so easy to forget someone and Iím sure the Salon
members, who will be reading this, will recognize themselves between the
But there is one name I feel I have to
mention and thatís the name of my good friend Jan Berghuis.
He was so thrilled and inspiring there in
France that he wanted to reorganize this event in
Holland the next year. I didnít know Jan that
well at that time and I didnít know what to expect. But as we all know
by now, he is the true soul behind the Salon event, he came up with a
name for it. Thanks to his commitment the Salon was born and came to
life. It might as well have stopped there in Quimiac
France. But Jan put his shoulders under
the project and has set the standards for others to continue his ideas.
And they did, we have been travelling each year to a different town or
city in a foreign country and every organizer has been giving the best
of him to be a perfect host for the people who want to participate the
Salon. I have seen it grow over the years, I have seen peopleís work
become better and better and I have made many friends. The Salon events
have inspired me, and still do, increasing my level. It has opened
doors, it gave me the opportunity to teach abroad and to meet a lot of
nice people. I would like to thank everyone who keeps the spirit alive.