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Annual gathering of international decorative painters

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PATRICK LAHEYNE, 2005

 

A Tribute to all the Salon hosts

 

It all started in Kuurne Belgium 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 international colour.

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 painters generation.

The only purpose was to catch young peopleís attention and show them what the possibilities were within the trade.

 

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 work.

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 France 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 was thrilled.

The visit exceeded all my expectations; suddenly there were decorative painters from England, USA, Sweden and 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 one.

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 lines.

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.

 

SALON FOREVER