Four years later I received a scholarship from the Belgian Government, to study at the,Belgian National Institute for Fine Arts in Antwerp, where I had my own atelier and model. In that time I had my first exposition. With the earned money I bought a Vespa Scooter and drove to several picturesque places in the neighbourhood, especially the Harbour of Antwerp.
It was there , I met a ship-owner, who delivered me many commissions, in the shape of portrets of many people. Unfortunately, the ship-owner died and I left Antwerp and went to Paris, where I stayed a couple of months. On Place de Tetre I painted portrets from the early morning till midnight, so I could buy a house in Bergen, Holland, afterwards,where I lived with my first wife, Hannah. In this time I made a lot of paintings, which I sold In galleries and artmarkets. Then a drama happened, Hannah died in a car-accident, leaving me behind with our 6 weeks old daughter, Hester.
After a chaotic period I decided to return to Heerlen, where I moved into a residence in a little castle, Kasteel Terworm and threw myself upon my work. I sold my paintings in Holland and Germany. At the end of the 70th, I met my second wife , Thea with her little daughter Susan.. Together we got a son, called Bram.
Halfway the 80th I conceived the idea of making prints of my paintings. This caused a lot of alterations, as well in the sphere of money, as on the domain of art-fairs and exhibitions. Regular I received an invitation from publishers to come to Art-fairs in the United States , England and Germany.
I signed the limited editions on the art-stands in the Convention Center of New York and Los Angeles. While my lithographies were shown at the Expo, my original paintings were exposed in a gallery on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. My work became known all over the world and I held an exhibition in Nagoya, in Japan. It was a great succes. The Japanese especially like the romantic pictures, in soft colours.
In this period I was approached by an owner of a gallery in the Stokstraat of Maastricht. Together we went through a lucrative time, holding a beautiful exhibition in Galllery Renoir, every two years. Because of a disease of the gallery-holder this cooperation had to be ended.
In 2003 we bought a house in Spain, Hondon de las Nieves, where the municipality asked me to expose my paintings in the Casa de Cultura of the village. It was a nice coming in. At the moment I work with publishers, who distribute my work all over the world, in the form of litho’s and gyclee-prints. My original paintings are being sold by myself and gallery-owners. On You Tube you can see a little movie from me , called film Willem Haenraets