10 years of Nature Studio!

Nature Studio turned 10 years old this year!

It’s hard to believe that an entire decade has passed since the nerve-wracking moment when I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and hit ‘send’.

In one click, it was done: I’d just sent out the email that launched my online School, not knowing what would happen next. 

That knot in my stomach, ‘feel the fear but do it anyway’ moment is etched in my memory.

I remember it like it was only this morning.

But when I reflect on everything that’s happened since that day, it feels like a lifetime ago.

That might sound like a cliché, but practically everything in my personal life has changed over the past 10 years.

Phil and I got married, we went through the long and difficult journey of IVF and had Ben, then less than 2 years later little Fern surprised us by popping along.

I’ve had two books published, and we’ve moved house more times than I care to count.

There’s been a lot of sleep deprivation and living out of boxes.

But while my life was turning upside down and inside out, one thing has stayed constant:

I’ve been nurturing a community of learners and continually building a home online – Nature Studio – where they can come to grow their skills and wellbeing.

The library now stands at over 200 classes (there were 10 the day we launched), our community has grown to over 6,000 members (300 joined on that first day 10 years ago) and the website has had several major upgrades over the years.

I didn’t have a ‘10 year plan’

When I launched the school, all I knew was that I wanted to share my watercolour method with more people. 

From teaching in-person classes, I’d helped countless students see what they’re capable of achieving if they follow a reliable painting method. And I knew that moving my teaching to online was the best way to help more aspiring artists to feel that “I can do this!” feeling too.

Sure, I had visions of how I’d like the school, and my life, to be. But back in 2014, I didn’t know what was in reach or that running Nature Studio would become my full time job.

Bill Gates is credited with saying that we tend to achieve less than we think we will in a year, but much more than we expect we can in 10 years. 

I think that’s true.

As I now look ahead to the next decade, I want to invite you to join me, and think about how the next 10 years could be for you.

In your wildest dreams, how would things look for you 10 years from now?

How would you most love to be spending your days? 

Is your inner artist less ‘in’ and more ‘out’ than right now? Are you surrounded by your art? Are you more fulfilled? 

Have you produced a body of artwork that reflects who you are and how you see the world?

It’s worth giving this some thought, because my experience from the past 10 years shows:

Over time, small but consistent efforts add up.

Try this exercise…

Grab a pen and paper. For 5 minutes, indulge yourself in visualizing how things would look 10 years from now, in your wildest dreams. 

In as much detail as you can visualise, write it down. 

Whatever you’ve imagined for yourself, Bill Gates and I both believe that there’s a better chance you can achieve (or surpass) it than you may think! 

In 2034, Ben and Fern will be in their teens. I’d like to have published another book or two. I’m already working on plenty of plans and ideas to keep making Nature Studio better and better. 

And I hope to have helped thousands more creative people like you to become the artist they want to be.

How about you?

How has your life changed over the last decade?  What changes would you like to create for yourself in the next 10 years? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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14 Comments

  1. Christina on January 24, 2024 at 5:52 pm

    Wise words- through art and learning I recovered from a stroke and the stress of recovery. Never too late to learn

  2. Lin on January 24, 2024 at 6:58 pm

    Happy anniversary. You have inspired me. Now when I start a piece, I think, how would Anna do this? By doing that, my art has improved…I look more carefully and shade better. Thanks.

  3. CB Mahoney on January 24, 2024 at 7:24 pm

    Thank you Anna for all you have done and continue to do for the artist community and so many more!

  4. Annie McMahon on January 24, 2024 at 10:58 pm

    Thank you Anna for sharing your work and ideas, I have really enjoyed them. I am a printmaker, mainly solar prints of nature. I also am an Urban sketcher .
    Annie

  5. Julia on January 24, 2024 at 11:47 pm

    Happy anniversary and congratulations, Anna! Thank you for your guidance and motivational posts.
    Through your classes I learned how to move from sketching and watercolor landscapes to close up realism. My dream and goal for the future is to compose and paint larger format paintings. And, of course, to improve my technique and understanding of the subject.

    • Kate Fletcher on January 25, 2024 at 11:06 am

      congratulations! 10 years, that’s a big milestone.

      I was among the first to join your school (in February 2014) after meeting you at Chelsea flowershow in 2013. i loved your method from the first lesson (basil leaf), and enjoyed every moment of the first few dozen videos. some of them I repeated twice.

      over the first 4 years, i fulfilled my childhood dream and became an artist. since then I’ve sold nearly 50 originals and 7 of my paintings now live in North America.

      thanks for your original inspiration, and for reminding me that we can all do even more in the next 10 years.

      • Rosmarie Schulz on May 20, 2024 at 12:59 pm

        That’s amazing, Kate!! Well done!!

  6. Everett Leeds on January 25, 2024 at 12:50 am

    Congratulations on this milestone, from one of your pupils at Cranleigh Art Centre. My beloved and I still are drinking from those lovely mugs!

  7. hanna verlaeckt on January 31, 2024 at 2:04 pm

    congratulations! thank you for your inspiration. I am working on my details and your work helps a lot. trying those free class for now. we will see what the future will bring. maybe a great botanical calender and cards. let’s hope so. ???? thank you for everything ❤️

  8. Colleen French on February 9, 2024 at 10:55 pm

    I was drawn to Anna’s painting method one day, through a Facebook ad. I kept returning to watch it and felt a real pull telling me that I too could try this. I joined almost a year ago and am never letting my subscription lapse! Anna’s method, personality and clear teaching is such a highlight when I paint. I do try to do this several times a week. Once I start, I find it hard to stop. Thank you Anna, for your happy, smiling face in the tutorials, and for your wisdom.

  9. Karin on February 13, 2024 at 2:45 am

    I also believe that thru perseverance and a solid belief in yourself you can achieve your desired goals. This year I turn 75 so a 10 yr goal is a bit too long range for me however my 5 yr goal is to show at least one of my paintings in an exhibition. Winning would be great but not necessary LOL!
    BTW I began my watercolor journey in July 2023….

  10. Rosmarie Schulz on May 20, 2024 at 12:58 pm

    Dear Anna,
    What a lot if changes have happened for you over the last ten years! you have married and gone through your IVF trauma (and, as a Midwife, I am familiar with the trauma you needed to endure), then you had two beautiful children and your art school is blooming!

    Congratulations are certainly in order!

    You have much to be proud of.

    I too have had a lot of changes in the last ten years:
    – I turned 60 (now 64);
    – I had to give up my Adelaide city flat and rent a place near my parents to care for my Mum some years back. (At the time I was reluctant to relinquish my city life and my independence).
    – I retired prematurely from Nursing to nurse my ailing old Mum (wouldn’t have it any other way, in retrospect!) and realised with some sadness, during the time I was priveleged to care for my mother, that I would not have a loving daughter to take care of me in my own old age, because I chose not to marry or have children;
    – my Mum passed away in 2022 after which I moved in to my parent’s home to care for my 94-year-old Dad. So two relocations in the last 5 years.
    – I’ve started painting again!! But I often sit for hours in front of a sheet of water-colour paper and don’t even touch my paints because I’m afraid I’ll mess up;
    – I recently adopted a pregnant cat who went on to have four kittens, but became too attached to give the little ones up! So now I am a kitty Mama to FIVE kitties!! All adorable, of course.

    I almost joined up with your school before Christmas, as I’ve always loved water colour, but I am paying off a loan for another couple of years so can’t afford to add to my loan and Visa Card debt committments at present.

    I will join up at some stage in the future when my loan is paid off, as I have always loved water colour and I particularly love your painting.
    Thank you for your Blogs and videos you allow access to, for non-members. I have enjoyed them so much!!

  11. Rosmarie Schulz on May 20, 2024 at 1:02 pm

    In ten years time I hope you be oainting prolifically and also supporting myself with sales of my artwork.

  12. Rosmarie Schulz on May 20, 2024 at 1:05 pm

    To add to my last comment of Congratulations to Anna:
    I love your ten year hopes and ideals!! In ten years time I hope to be painting prolifically and also supporting myself with sales of my artwork!! Hopefully we’ll before then, I will have gotten over this paralysing “white fright” that I get whenever I want to paint!!!

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