Anna van Oel
Having been born in 1958 as the youngest child of a large The Hague family, I was able to develop my creativity from an early age. Possessed of a strong sense of precision and craftsmanship, I enrolled in a professional goldsmithing course in the town of Schoonhoven after completing my secondary education. I subsequently specialised as a diamond setter and ended up finding employment with Swiss-based company Richemont, the world’s second-largest luxury group, which produces brands such as Cartier and Piaget. I lived and worked in Amsterdam for 38 years, the last 13 of which I was responsible for managing Piaget’s Dutch and Scandinavian divisions. Meanwhile, in my spare time, I developed a passion for painting.
I was inspired to teach myself how to paint after reading books by the American author and painter Juliette Aristides on classical painting techniques. My dream was to open my own studio-cum-gallery, and this dream looked set to become a reality when the company underwent a series of corporate reorganisations. The fact that I was also about to turn 40 years old at that time made me consider making some radical changes in my life, and that’s when I decided to dedicate my life to painting. I had the opportunity to enrol in a professional painting course at Academie Renshof in Zwolle in 2016, where I could further hone my skills. I achieved my ambition of opening my own gallery when I moved into a small church building in Hindeloopen, which included accommodation.
I hosted the opening of my first exhibition, ‘Inspired by Nature,’ in the small church on 28 April 2019. It turned out to be a success: the days when the studio was open to the public attracted large numbers of visitors, and I sold my first paintings. I began receiving commissions and started making plans for the future, which included extending the collection, coming up with promotional activities and exhibiting in other parts of the Netherlands – and beyond – within a period of five years. What I wanted most of all, however, was to follow my passion and use my exciting new career to make other people ‘fall in love’ with my paintings as well.
Anna van Oel