On 30 November 2019, many painters and illustrators gathered at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels for the first edition of Painting Nights. With easel and brush or just with sketchbook and pencil, they dared to work among the Tyrannosarus Rex and the famous Iguanodons of Bernissart.
What did the participants themselves think? Five creative night owls share their experience of their after-hours painting session below.
Hilde Kinnaer: "For me it is the first time I have the opportunity to paint a skeleton of an animal. And then right away I dare to draw a dinosaur. That is by far the most extraordinary thing I have already drawn. Painting and drawing in groups I also do at the academy, but here with such a diverse audience I find it very enjoyable. You feel we all have the same goal in this space."
Frances Joossens: "Static dinosaurs require a different drawing style than a live model. Drawing a skeleton is actually just like a classical anatomical approach. For example, I was shocked at how many details their spine is built out of. Yet today I worked faster and sketchier. It is impossible for me to put a realistic stylized image on paper within a three-hour session, which is why I would like to come back to the museum again to work out this style of drawing a bit more. Normally I always draw in my studio. Here with such a group together painting and drawing creates a different concentration, which makes for a nice atmosphere."
Bieke Buckinx: "At first I had to get used to painting among the other participants, but the atmosphere here is very calm and everyone respects each other. However, I prefer to paint by myself, so for me it is a unique experience in many ways. I am also painting more loosely now than usual, because there is no pressure to meet a certain deadline."
Tim Verhaegen: "It's very inspiring to be able to paint together in this room after closing time. We are all here with the same goal, and and the concentration is very high. It's something different from painting in my living room, which I'm used to do. And a dinosaur like this is immediately the most exceptional model I have painted so far."
Marieke Lenaerts: "Here in the museum's dino room, there is immediately an impressive atmosphere around the skeletons. The lighting accentuates the details of the dinosaurs, something I wouldn't pay much attention to right away. There is a great sense of togetherness among the other painters and draftsmen, although I haven't talked to other people at this point because we are constantly working. Just as I do model painting at the academy, here we work toward a deadline. A different kind of model this time, though!"