A work of art
With paint and passion, an ordinary home has been transformed into an ever-evolving masterpiece.
The Van Wyk family’s Stellenbosch home is bound to take your breath away. What once was an ordinary family home dating back to the ’60s now boasts room upon room of art-filled walls; not the kind that’s neatly framed – the walls themselves have become the canvas!
“It’s an extension of my creativity,” says mom-of-three Michelle-lize of the project she began in 2016. And for her, it’s not only a matter of creative expression but also an expression of her faith: “To paint is to worship the Lord.”
Although Michelle-lize has been interested in art for as long as she can remember, she ended up studying physiology and biochemistry. While working at a pharmacy, she took up art classes – her only formal training – and in 2008 made the decision to paint full-time.
“Being creative was the way I worked through uncertainties in my own life, dealt with hurts and expressed myself,” she says. These days, her art is on exhibition at Banhoek Lodge just outside Stellenbosch and it’s also available online at michelle-lize.co.za.
However, Michelle-lize’s greatest joy is transforming the walls of her own home. “I believe we are given talents and gifts in order to serve the people around us,” she says.
A labour of love
My workday never ends – but then again, you can’t call this work. It’s play! – Michelle-lize
Michelle-lize and her husband Theo have been living here for the past 10 years but the process of sharing her art within her home began in August 2016 when the walls, then a “cream of mushroom” colour, were painted black.
A month later, Michelle-lize invited friends and local artists to join her on Wednesday and Friday mornings in a collaborative process of transforming the black walls into a bright, flower-filled ‘garden’.
Large blooms dominate the walls from floor to ceiling with red poppies in the lounge, proteas and roses in the kitchen, prickly pears in the foyer and the fruit and flowers of a prune tree by the staircase in the living area.
It’s a work in progress. “The garden that ‘grows’ in our home is fascinating,” says Theo, who works as an actuary.
“It’s totally unique and it changes all the time. It’s an oasis in today’s busy world.”
Next up, Michelle-lize plans to paint the main bedroom. “I’m looking forward to that moment when there is harmony between the various elements of colour, size and pattern,” she explains. “There is no formal planning involved; it is a case of letting it happen organically. I love living in the artwork!”
The painted blooms aren’t limited to the walls; they extend to the ceiling, cement floor and cupboard doors to create an organic flow from one space to the next. “I tried to stick to certain colours in the different rooms but I wasn’t too strict. I had to think about the house more in terms of a garden than a work of art,” she says.
Cushions from MRP Home