Nelly Oostland Veldhuis, Hoorn, the Netherlands
Nelly Oostland Veldhuis grew up in Hoorn, the Netherlands. Hoorn is a beautiful medieval town overlooking lake Markermeer. This southerm body of water used to be part of a North Sea inlet called Zuiderzee. In 1932 the Zuiderzee was closed off by the Afsluitdijk (E22), a 32 km (20 mi) dike. The Zuiderzee was no longer a sea inlet and was renamed IJsselmeer (Lake IJssel). The continued flow of riverwater flushed out the saltwater.
But nature always fights back. So it's quite an "angry" lake. When the sky gets grey the lake becomes green.
Nelly says; "Indeed I'm blessed, because Hoorn is a city with so much style and culture. It's just a twenty minute drive from Amsterdam and half an hour from the North Sea. And because of the location, (see map), I enjoy gorgeous skies and all types of weather conditions, sunsets, bird life and boating, right out of my studio windows,"
While Nelly was a child, she loved everything that had to do with being creative, especially drawing. She didn't go to a special art school, because she thinks art expressions come from within. And art doesn't need diplomas. She rather followed tuition from different painters who all were well known. Among whom: Hans Peter Nagtegaal, Rob Komala, Bob Tomanovich, Ann Blockley and Ron Ranson. Nelly would travel to Ron and Darlis, who became very good friends with her, to the Forest of Dean to have weeks of private lessons. She also traveled to learn from Ann Blockley in the Cotswolds.
Nelly describes her painting style as "not too photographic." She is rather, fluid - her favorite way of painting. She loves to paint a beautiful sky, with a shine on the water or animals. Painting flowers is also a must for her. So, as you see Nelly has a strong bond with nature.
Nelly teaches in her lovely well-equipped studio/gallery for about thirty years now. What she teaches her students (besides the techniques of course), is to keep their own "style." And when one paints with a reference, she encourages students to put it away halfway through the painting process, as to develop their own art. "Better a nice lie then the ugly truth" Ron Ranson used to say. There is so much to say about teaching, colours, techniques, it’s quite endless!
What fascinates Nelly is the way watercolour paints flow. She doesn't like acrylics, so watercolour is her thing, but she uses different techniques, such as painting with inks, gouache, sumi-e: Japanese style...etc.
Next to painting Nelly also loves to take photographs. That's quite a hobby too. However, her biggest hobby are her grandchildren. The two eldest love to paint as well and Nelly is their private teacher.
She has exhibited in different places like in Bilbao, Amsterdam, Hoorn and a lot of other places. She sold work in Spain, England, Belgium, Ireland, Sweden and France. She has been teaching in the Morvan in France, which was marvelous.
What Nelly wants to say to new watercolour painters is: Stay true to yourself, read as many books about watercolour as you can. Try different styles, before you choose your own. And remember: not every painting is a "top painting," but some are. And when you see paintings of others which are marvelous, those people also have had times of "blood, sweat and tears."