A work of art

With paint and pas­sion, an or­di­nary home has been trans­formed into an ever-evolv­ing mas­ter­piece.

Home Paint It - - READER HOME - By Carissa Govender • Pho­to­graphs Fran­cois Ober­hol­ster • Styling Mar­ian van Wyk

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...

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