A new name: Nature Studio

When I look back to my 20-something year-old self, I wish I could travel back in time.

I’d sit beside her as she sat at the table after dinner, trying to teach herself to paint.

I’d tell her where those first brushstrokes were going to lead.

That she will get the hang of this. That painting will lead to a deep connection with nature.  That doing this will save her.

But even if I could, I don’t think she’d believe me. Not in the early days.

It felt vulnerable, picking up a brush and learning to paint watercolour after 7 years of not creating any art.

Trying to teach yourself something without guidance is a process of trial and error, and results in plenty of frustration.

20-something year-old me had no idea that this would become something so much bigger than herself.

That tens of thousands of other artists would end up walking this creative path with her.

But that’s the thing when you start to create. You never know where it’ll take you.

Over the next few years, I grew so much as an artist.

A funny thing happened. The more I painted, the more I ended up creating beyond my paper.

Like receiving an RHS Gold Medal. Opportunities to exhibit and teach workshops, including overseas. Writing my first book.

And by 2014, about 7 years after those first dinner-table days, I ended up launching my online School, with 300 members (many of whom are still members today).

Day in, day out, I’ve been pouring my heart and soul into helping members to become the artist they want to be.

I’ve worked tirelessly to create hundreds of classes that cover all aspects of my realistic watercolour technique. Our library never stops growing. Even as my own 2 precious babies, Ben and Fern, miraculously appeared over the last 6 years, I kept nurturing my first baby – this community – as well. The videos kept coming!

Those videos are highly effective in teaching members the skills they want to learn. But because their membership keeps them feeling inspired and helps them to create regularly, members often end up staying long after they reach creative independence.

So our community never stops growing in size.  We currently have over 6,000 members worldwide.

We’ve grown into so much more than a school.

Supporting others to develop has meant we’ve ended up growing too.

We’re a place artists come to learn or improve their technical skills, and then stay for the community, support and inspiration.

I came to the realisation that the word ‘school’ wasn’t right for us anymore.

We needed a new name.

A name that fits our whole community and feels right for learners, improvers and more experienced artists who want to be part of something bigger than themselves.

A name that reflects the two things that unite our members: a love of making art, and a love of nature.

A name that describes our welcoming, peaceful online space that artists of all levels, from beginners at the dining table to experienced creatives can join to retreat, create, connect and grow.

So “Anna’s School” is now Nature Studio.

I could never have guessed my first brushstrokes would lead us here.

How about you? Have your first brushstrokes led you to unexpected places? Have you grown in ways that have surprised you? Has Nature Studio been part of your own creative journey?

Please join in the conversation below. I’d be thrilled to hear from you.

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  1. Pam Aylmer on May 9, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    Congratulations, Anna–I watch your site to learn, but I enjoy watching your little family grow up too. The new site is lovely. All the best to you and yours.

    • Marjorie on May 9, 2023 at 8:15 pm

      Being apart of your school has been so exciting and helped me learn to paint the way I have always wanted to paint – detailed nature paints. I love the new name, Nature Studio! It is perfect! At the moment I am not painting much if at all. But I love having the connection to this world wide group of artists and nature lovers. My membership gives me hope that I will return to painting before long and feed that part of me that gives me joy. Thank you Anna for all you give and share with your students. It is invaluable!

      • Anna Mason on May 11, 2023 at 10:12 am

        Thanks Marjorie, I hope you find your way back to painting really soon.

    • Anna Mason on May 11, 2023 at 10:12 am

      Thank you Pam!

  2. Rox on May 9, 2023 at 4:34 pm

    My first brushstrokes… the were joy, and pleasure, and amazing sense. Later, I began to study more and more, and I became my own and self-demanding boss…so I learned a lot but I didn’t find the same pleasure. Currently, I am still studying but I am already needing to release my own language, whether it is understandable or not, comprehensible or not, marketable or not. That’s what I’m looking for today. My voice, my for what.

    • Anna Mason on May 11, 2023 at 10:15 am

      That’s really interesting Rox – I’ve been the same lately and will be sharing lots of my thoughts on this soon which I hope you’ll find helpful & useful.

  3. Karla Ries on May 9, 2023 at 4:47 pm

    I started painting last year at 64 years old during covid lockdown. I couldn’t get out to buy greeting cards, so with my grandchildren’s paint supplies, I painted my own. I laugh now when I look back at some of them which have been kept by family members. They look so amateurish and I was so proud of them at the time.
    I was gifted some beautiful paints and brushes from the husband of my dear friend who passed away two years before. They were her’s and she painted beautifully with them.
    I developed several autoimmune illnesses during this time which have resulted in my legs no longer cooperating. Most days it is painful and some days impossible to walk. I am waiting for my wheelchair and modifications to our car to accomodate it so I can finally go out again.
    I joined Anna’s school in November as a 65th birthday present to myself and find it hard to believe how much I have progressed. I paint every day and feel disapointment if for some reason I can’t. It has become my favourite pastime.
    I can’t express how important painting has been to my emotional wellbeing. It grounds me, keeps me calm and in the moment. Painting beautiful subjects gives me so much satisfaction. Learning a new skill keeps the boredom at bay and sharing my paintings with my supportive family and friends is a joy.
    I love being part of Anna’s (school) Nature Studio. The tutorials are so helpful and the community is very supportive. Being in regular contact with such talented artists inspires me to keep painting and progressing. Thank you Anna!

    • Anna Mason on May 11, 2023 at 10:16 am

      This is wonderful to hear Karla, thank you so much for sharing!

  4. Pegi Convry on May 9, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    Exciting!! Thank you for your caring and beautiful art!!!!!

  5. Monica on May 9, 2023 at 7:15 pm

    Dear Anna,
    I have learned so much from your tips!!!
    I love painting even if I started only a few years ago after an entire life without a brush in hand, but now painting is for me something to order my tangled thoughts after an heavy working day.
    I can hear good music and make peace before the night!
    But I’ve always thought the same thing you have said: it’s a way for me to combine my love of nature with a love of watercolors, light and colors!
    (Sorry for my bad english)

    • Diane Ruggles on May 10, 2023 at 10:44 pm

      I started painting watercolor when I was 62 years old. My life was full of busy. An Equestrian competitor and instructor for 35 years. I was living my passion!! However, life changed. I could no longer continue that path. My life had a big hole in it. I liked many things but few fit the bill as a passion. I always was a Nature lover and was drawn to watercolor! When I found Anna school online I thought I would give this a try. To my absolute amazement I actually liked my first painting. A pear. I did that!! Anna is a Wonderful teacher. I was hooked!! Today the school now offers so much more than just Watercolor!! Nature Studio has Drawing classes, Nature Journaling, Nature Photography, Monthly challenges and a fabulous group of students from all around the world who support each other !! Nature Studio is for anybody who loves Nature and wants to learn how to create! No talent needed! Let Your creative juices flow and let the healing therapy of creating be a powerful force in Your life!! I will always be grateful that I became a student and it changed my life.
      Diane Ruggles ❤️ Missouri USA

    • Anna Mason on May 11, 2023 at 10:17 am

      Sounds like we are kindred spirits Monica!

  6. Beth Lillis on May 9, 2023 at 7:33 pm

    Congratulations Anna on your success and the expansion of your school. As an older artist with a long gap of not painting anything due to life, I enjoy watching and learning from other artist. As an older adult, with limited finance and time I appreciate the artists who still occasionally provide tutorials for free or reduced cost. Your tutorials provide inspiration and education for everyone. Thanks again for the time you spend to produce these tutorials

    • Anna Mason on May 11, 2023 at 10:17 am

      And thank you for your comment Beth x

  7. Carole Anne Watson on May 9, 2023 at 7:59 pm

    That’s an apt and very lovely name for your new site. I still keep a close eye on all your posts and may one day return…when other demands aren’t quite so ..demanding! Anything with the word ‘Nature’ in it draws me in, so that’s a brainwave on your part Anna. Good luck from Carole Anne.

  8. Isabella on May 9, 2023 at 8:48 pm

    We are around your birthday and this is a great gift you are making to us and to yourself!
    Happy birthday 🎁🎊💐
    Wishing you all the very best
    Love 💕

    • Anna Mason on May 11, 2023 at 10:18 am

      Well remembered Isabella and thank you so much! x

  9. Dorothy on May 10, 2023 at 2:20 am

    Congrats Anna on your incredible success- it just keeps getting better! I’ve been a student for 3 year and have loved this community and the things I’ve learned/ways I’ve grown.. I would definitely say my first brush strokes led me to unexpected places. When my friend shared her version of the pear and introduced me to the school- I would never have dreamed I would paint so well… Unexpected-that this skill was simmering below the surface waiting to be explored and shared!! It has been so fun and I wonder where the next few years will take me. The nature studio has been a huge part of my growing confidence and skill development. I didn’t get in on the live online painting time but it’s something I would love to do in the future! Thanks for sharing yourself with the world! You’ve made my world larger, brighter, more beautiful and colorful, interesting, and fun!!

    • Anna Mason on May 11, 2023 at 10:18 am

      Thank you so much Dorothy and I look forward to seeing you at a live session soon!

  10. Kathy Johnson on May 10, 2023 at 2:42 am

    Love the new look and the new name!!! Thank you sooo much for the 3 new classes—I look forward to checking them out!!! 🤗

  11. Ella Born on May 10, 2023 at 3:11 am

    Thank you Anna for all the time and energy you have given to your on line classes and free tutorials
    I really like the new look and name.
    As for my experience which was nil before Covid, I never thought I would be good at watercolours. It was the one thing I wanted to learn in my retirement and through you classes and tutorials I am amazed at my accomplishments. Family and friends have been so encouraging.
    I also try to challenge myself with thanks to you…..painting has given me a place of contentment and joy

    • Anna Mason on May 11, 2023 at 10:21 am

      So beautiful to hear Ella!

  12. Elizabeth on May 10, 2023 at 5:10 am

    Thank you Anna for your great classes!!!! I found your online school during lockdowns. I improved so much with your method and tips because I had already started with watercolors before your classes. I want to say that I enjoyed having your online art classes, they are very friendly to learn and were the best of my time, having them as my special time and my happy place with nature and art together in complicated times.

  13. Annie J. Mathew on May 10, 2023 at 7:24 am

    Hi Anna
    Great news…Best wishes for your new venture Nature Studio..It will be highly encouraging for beginners as well as refreshing to all painting lovers in our community.

  14. Polly Spikins on May 10, 2023 at 7:47 am

    Many Congratulations, Anna.. Well Done
    Nature Studio is perfect – it describes perfectly the way that members can just pop in and out and nothing formal,
    I have learned SO much over the time that i have been a member. but would find it difficult to share.. Probably easier now its a Studio !!!!!!
    Cheers Polly

  15. Ann Henshaw on May 10, 2023 at 9:11 am

    Congratulations Anna, great news! Every good wish for your new adventure- such an exciting time for you….
    I am starting my 5th year with you next month having learned so much from your realistic style of painting – which was a revelation to me & the way I had been struggling to achieve realism for many years. With your teaching & the wonderful support along with your team & members- I’ve achieved my goal!
    Although not a prolific painter I enjoy what I do & also learned to accept all the compliments….
    As you so rightly mentioned Anna, you have built more than a business you have created a community from around the world – that’s amazing! I enjoy the aspect of being able to help members too – so many enjoyable facets to enjoy.
    Enjoy your journey so well deserved…… x Ann 😊

    • Anna Mason on May 11, 2023 at 10:23 am

      Thank you so much Ann – you’re such a valued part of our community! x

  16. Susan on May 10, 2023 at 12:08 pm

    I learned so much from doing you Pear class! And I am excited to try the next three free ones! Than you for being so generous in your offerings. And the new name is great! I’m saving my pennies so I can pay for lessons.

    • Anna Mason on May 11, 2023 at 10:23 am

      Yey! I hope you enjoy them!

  17. Laurane on May 16, 2023 at 3:38 am

    I’ve joined your mailing list since I saw that first pear video over a year ago. But I’ve been busy with my babies and making up lots of excuses for not getting started on it. I keep your emails coming into my inbox as a reminder that the opportunity to do something new and amazing is still there! I just need to pick up my art supplies and do something. So thanks for keeping me in the loop even though I’ve been the absolute worst member/student ever. One day I promise I will get started.

  18. Laurie on May 16, 2023 at 5:43 pm

    Looks to be a great new website. I’m a member. I can login but then I’m unable to access anything. Please help!

    • Amy Adams (Team Nature Studio) on May 16, 2023 at 5:51 pm

      Hi Laurie,
      I’ll send you an email – I think it might be happening because you’ve had two different accounts. We’ll get you sorted!

  19. Graça Lagrifa on May 16, 2023 at 9:53 pm

    Hello Anna
    Raspberry 2019, your water colour painting was my first attempt, watercolour was quite different from my sculpture and ceramics, but I wanted to try. So you are really “responsible “for my love for painting with this medium. I began with plants, fruits, flowers, seeds, after that birds, mammals, etc. Once my granddaughter asked me why I was not painting humans? I’m 78 now and I needed to try, but with a different medium, so I began with pastels and since then I’ve painted portraits (264) based on photos taken by me, or by photographers all around the world.. Last year I had an exhibition with some of my portraits “Faces of India”. But I intend to keep painting with watercolour and I know I can count on your help to once again, use my brushes. Tank you so much Anna for showing me how to discover my capabilities. Graça Lagrifa/from Portugal

  20. TERRY LEE CHURCHILL on May 20, 2023 at 6:18 pm

    Greetings Anna from South Africa! After a 43 year long career as an Executive Secretary & Personal Assistant…I am now able to dedicate time to myself & my lifelong passion of Watercolours (whew)!!! I had to put this on the back burner since the 80s, when I first picked up a brush to paint. I am entirely self taught and had painted a Seascape, Violets, a Portrait & even a Landscape on driftwood found on the beach!! I am also a self taught Calligrapher. Then a few years ago, I came across your free Pear & Blue Anemone tutorials & absolutely loved painting them!! I’ve just completed the Red 3D Poppy kindly Emailed to me with 3 other tutorials…Thankyou SO much!! Is there anywhere I can post this for you to view, which you’ve asked we do?? Sadly I’m not a Student of your Online School, as affordability in SA Rands is unfortunately a no go. Congrats on your newly named Nature Studio! Best wishes, Yours in creativity, Terry Lee Churchill, KwaZulu Natall, South Africa. PS; I follow all your Social Media platforms 🌷🌸🌱🌼🌻🌺🍃🎨

  21. Adele Fenwick on June 27, 2023 at 7:33 pm

    Hi Anna, have been with your school, now known as Nature Studio, love the new name by the way, for 9 months now, & feel I have learnt so much from your excellent tutorials, in all the years I have been dabbling, my partner, he thinks that I have come on in leaps & bounds, & believe you me, that is a compliment, to your teaching skills, & Jennifer Rose too, with her methods, different to yours, but they compliment each other! A friend gave me one of your books, for a Birthday, I’m so glad she did, otherwise I would never have discovered, your unique methods! Thank you!

  22. LadyCinnamon on July 19, 2023 at 3:58 am

    Hello, Anna and Nature Studio members.
    Love the new name since it perfectly reflects your overall vision. Like some others of you, I have not painted in just about a year, but am keeping my membership active with the full intention of getting back to painting. I still enjoy getting the weekly newsletters and keeping up on what everyone is doing. I have a few life issues to clear out of the way, but am holding many ideas for new paintings of my own using Anna’s method. I like working in detail and really enjoy the level of detail watercolor allows. And the worldwide, international community we are all part of is really amazing.
    I missed the live painting session too, but am looking forward to another one whenever Anna can put it together.

    • Anna Mason on July 25, 2023 at 11:42 am

      thank you so much Liliana. More live sessions will be up and running again soon. Look forward to you starting to paint again, and in the meantime for your membership to keep you connected to your creative side x

  23. How to paint a shiny strawberry - Nature Studio on September 4, 2023 at 2:10 pm

    […] this being one of my most popular tutorials, and to coincide with my school and community adopting our new name Nature Studio, I decided it’s time to freshen up the Strawberry class with new […]

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