PROOF that it’s never too late to start painting

never too late

Do you regret not starting painting sooner?  Perhaps you’re already painting, or maybe something’s blocking you from beginning. Either way, your inner voice might be whispering to you that it’s too late. Too late to really develop a skill, and certainly too late to have any real success as an artist. 

But like so many thoughts our minds generate: it’s not actually true!


And I’ve got proof.

I had a chance encounter exactly 20 years ago, back in my student days when I spent the summer in Hudson, South Michigan. I was 19, and staying with my American boyfriend at the time, and during that stay, I got to know his landlady, Barb (who I went on to become great friends with).

It came up in conversation with Barb that she’d like to have a mural painted on the wall beside the staircase in her farmhouse. Bear in mind, I was a history student at uni, and thought I’d left serious painting behind when I left school. But Barb’s enthusiastic, can-do attitude was infectious, and I knew I had the skills for the job. So I thought I’d throw it out there and oh-so-subtly hinted: 

‘Oh, I can paint’

“Then you have yourself a commission” Barb replied – grabbing her car keys for us to go straight to the art store for supplies!  

I remember feeling so excited to get to paint, and to get to spend more time with Barb.

Then Barb added “And I’d like the painting to be in the style of Grandma Moses,”

“Who’s Grandma Moses?” I asked, unaware that I was about to discover one of the most inspirational artists ever.

Grandma Moses is PROOF that it’s never too late.

If you live in the US, you might well have heard of Grandma Moses, but you may not be fully aware of her story.  And if you live in the rest of the world, you might not have heard of her at all. Either way, her story is well worth contemplating:

As a child, long before she ever became a grandma, Anna Mary Robertson loved to paint. But in 1872, at the age of 12, Anna went to live and work on a neighbouring farm. For 15 years she worked there until she met and married Thomas Moses. The next era in her life was very busy bringing up her family and making ends meet.

Through this time, Anna was creative in her home, and enjoyed embroidery and quilting. But by the age of 76, it became painful for her to hold a needle because she developed arthritis. Her sister suggested that a paintbrush would be easier for her, so that’s what she did.

She started painting at age 76.

What if Grandma Moses had told herself she was ‘too old’ to start, that it was ‘too late’ or that she was ‘past it’?

1. She would never have produced the 1,500+ paintings she created in three decades. 

Yes, she was a highly productive painter and painted one and a half thousand canvasses in her painting career, in her characteristic ‘naive’ style.  That’s 50 paintings a year, or about one a week.

2. She’d never have had her work spotted by an art collector

Whilst her paintings were for sale at a local drug store, at a price of $3 to $5 each (1930’s prices), an art collector spotted them and bought the entire stock.

3. She wouldn’t have had her work displayed in New York’s Museum of Modern Art and had world-record breaking solo exhibitions

In 1940, just 4 years after she started painting, she had three solo exhibitions in as many months. Her paintings were exhibited throughout the United States and Europe for the next 20 years, with her exhibitions breaking attendance records around the world.

4. Her paintings would never have sold for as much as $1.2 million

As she grew famous during her career, her paintings were selling for as much as $8,000 to $10,000 (1940’s prices). In 2006, one of her paintings sold for $1.2 million.

5. She wouldn’t have been named “Young Woman of the Year” at age 88

She was given this title by Madamoiselle magazine. She was also named as one of the five most newsworthy women of the year by the National Press Club in 1951.

6. She wouldn’t have appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine

7. She wouldn’t have received two honorary doctoral degrees or been handed an award for her outstanding achievements by President Harry S. Truman

8. And after she died at the age of 101, President John F. Kennedy wouldn’t have said “The death of Grandma Moses removed a beloved figure from American life”

Not a bad list of achievements for somebody who began painting at the age of 76!

Grandma Moses didn’t think she was too old, and she was right. 

She wasn’t afraid to show her work, or to offer it for sale.  And when her right hand eventually succumbed to arthritis, what do you think she did? 

She swapped hands and started painting left-handed.

There are lessons we can all take from this inspirational lady.

But let’s not apply pressure on ourselves to display our work in galleries and appear on the cover of TIME magazine.

I’m pretty sure Grandma Moses wasn’t motivated by these things. She was just somebody who was doing what she loved, and doing lots of it. 

My grandad was also somebody who found his passion later in life when he took up oil painting in his retirement. He became very good indeed, and he too was a very productive artist. But unlike Grandma Moses, he didn’t sell any of his work. Money and acclaim wasn’t what inspired him.

He just loved painting.

You don’t even need to pressure yourself to be productive. 

Producing volumes of work isn’t the name of the game here. This is about you spending time on a regular basis doing what you love, and doing it just for you.

So, back to the mural Barb asked me to paint. I had a great time painting it for her, and she was so pleased with it that she commissioned me to paint two more Grandma Moses inspired murals for her.

But more than just the act of painting, her faith in me to do a good job – and even to pay me for my paintings – fuelled a flame deep inside that wondered if perhaps I could make art my career in some way. It took me another 6 years to bring that into consciousness fully and to act on it, but Barb and the Grandma Moses story helped make that happen. They helped me come to realise that, even though I had taken the more ‘sensible’ academic route at uni, it wasn’t too late for me either. 

I’m so grateful to have met Barb. We stayed in touch and Phil and I visited her and her husband John in the States 4 times over the years.  The last time was just before I embarked on IVF for my son Ben

This has been a difficult post to write because Barb passed away earlier this year after a brave battle with cancer. She was only 68.

She was a good friend of mine and though we lived far away from one another, she meant a great deal to me. I really miss her and am so sad that I will never get to laugh with her again. And she will never get to meet my children. I hope to keep in touch with her lovely husband, adult children and their families who have experienced such a loss.

Barb had been thrilled that I decided to make painting my career and always offered support. In fact in 2013, she even helped me to exhibit my work in Florida where she was then living. Her enthusiasm for life, and for trying new things was an inspiration to me and to so many others whose lives she touched.

It’s a painful reminder that time does eventually run out for us all. But until that day actually comes, don’t write yourself off. Don’t think that you’re too old and please don’t chastise yourself for lost time. 

Your time is now.

The question is; what are you going to do with it? 

I hope some of Grandma Moses’, and Barb’s, “go-for it” spirit has rubbed off on you. If you’ve felt moved or inspired reading this post, please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

And if you know anybody who feels it’s too late to do what they really want to do, please share this post with them.

Share this post!


  1. Nicole on December 31, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    So touching

    • Elaine Rund Rund on December 31, 2019 at 4:54 pm

      ANNA … thank you for this publication. I live in Costa Rica and I am 72 years old. You are an inspiration to me, I am still working on the pear, II am only half done. I LOVE to draw and paint., I guess I am nervous about making a commitment. BUT I am inspired by your email. .

    • Joni on December 31, 2019 at 8:13 pm

      Thank you Anna for sharing your story with all of us, I was brought to tears for the loss of your dear friend. I have been inspired by your art for several years now and have not as yet committed to pick up the brush and begin. They say, that everything happens for a reason and in it’s own time, I do believe that my time is now. I will retire in exactly one year, however, I have been drawing and taking various art courses over the last few years, all the time telling myself that ‘when’ I retire I can dig in. I’m going to dig in now, in part because of your encouragement and in part because art has always been calling me and I feel the most satisfied and blissful when I sit down and create.

      I hope the coming year is filled with endless possibilities for all of us, and that we all find it within ourselves to take those steps towards finding our individual bliss.

      Happy New Year to you and yours Anna, I have a feeling 2020 is going to be nothing short of Amazing!

    • Betty Diesner on December 31, 2019 at 10:41 pm

      Wow! Thank you so much Anna, you’ve really made my day and my whole year!. I’ve been a bit stuck despite of I’m a good painter. I’m retired and painting in a regular basis but I’m still trapped in many daily chores that kept me away from my studio a lot and many times I feel very frustrated that I can’t dedicate more hours to my painting. I took a Craftsy class with you and follow some of your free videos regularly, but my painting projects stay delayed over and over. Now I’m determined that I have to start putting more hours to my art that I love and is it practicaly the main thing that truly motivate me. Thank you again for your encouregement and for pushing me a little further in order to get my artistic goals without more procastinating. Happy New Year for you, your love ones and all your artist and students community.

    • Paula Bush on January 1, 2020 at 1:14 am

      Yes, it was…

    • Nicole Gregory on January 1, 2020 at 10:34 am

      What a lovely story. I am an artist that literally quit painting for 25 yrs just hit a block and frustrated . I had no idea this was so common if I had realized I could have tried to push through. I realize everything happens for a reason so I am trying not to feel regret. I am so thankful I picked up my brushes 2 years ago due to a friendly gift. I can’t believe what I am producing and selling . I am amazed and feel so excited ,reborn , and feel like myself again after decades of turning myself off. Thank you Anna I am @artsysomm

      • Diane H. on January 14, 2020 at 3:51 am

        Thank you Anna. I can’t stop crying. My mum is dying of cancer too, diagnosed at 58. Just too young. It’s so true you have to grab life with two hands and live it fully present and true to yourself. No looking back. Now is all we have. Sending love from Australia.

    • Bronna Steiman on March 25, 2020 at 3:16 am

      I just turned 80 and I started my watercolor journey at 79. I really enjoy your tutorials and this week I left my comfort zone and painted some roses sans tutelage. I think that every time I paint. My eyes open a bit wider to the possibly of creating some Beautiful. I’ve got a long way to go, but there is joy in the journey. Anna you are an inspiring teacher and you make delicious babies. Volease give Ben and Fernando virtual hug from grandma Bronna

      • marlene jones on August 23, 2020 at 4:59 pm

        Oh I needed to see this comment. I’m 71 and I’m telling myself it’s never too late to start something new. I want to learn Anna’s techniques. I am so happy you began to paint. I just love watercolor paintings and want to be able to bring life to a piece of paper with paint. Thank you for helping me see it is never too late to start.

        • Dr. Tillmann . Regine on October 10, 2023 at 2:40 pm

          Hallo, so geht es mir auch, ich bin 72 Jahre und habe vor 4 Jahren wieder angefangen zu malen , meist Aquarelle und auch schon ausgestellt ; es macht soviel Freude und vielen Dank für Grandma Moses , .
          Regine from Germany

    • Carol Kelly on July 21, 2020 at 10:09 pm

      This is exactly what I needed to read at this point in my life. What a touching story and it does prove that if you truly do have the desire to learn to paint, just dive in and do it,
      Thank you for that inspiration. I was feeling a little overwhelmed after going t brought all the resource videos.

  2. Sallie Hunter on December 31, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    Your story! Well, thank you! How did you know that is just what I needed? I am almost 71 years old and my husband bought me my first ever easel for Christmas…. I ran to my favorite art supply store and bought a canvas and some acrylics. IF it wasn’t for friends and family encouragement I would still be a closet artist. I appreciate your story, your advice, your spirit and your talent. Thank you for sharing! Happy New Year!

    • Zarina on December 31, 2019 at 3:24 pm

      So happy for you. Enjoy the journey.

    • Marilyn on December 31, 2019 at 4:53 pm

      I was terrified to open your post! I thought you were going to announce that you were quitting – selfish thought. What a lovely friend you had, and I’m so sorry for your loss.
      I am 72 years old, retired, and have just discovered that I have some artistic talent. I am mostly self-taught and take art courses locally. I am what my instructors call “detail oriented”, much to their chagrin. Your artwork inspires me. It’s what I want to do! Prior to Christmas, I purchased your brushes and supplies and now that the holidays are over I intend to dive into your instructions. The free lesson (painting a pear) is first on my list, followed by a Craftsy/Bluprint class that you teach. If these are successful I’m signing up for your course. BTW, your website is top notch, first class and your artwork is amazing.

      • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:29 pm

        Now’s your time Marilyn, and there’s nothing wrong with detail 🙂

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:02 pm

      Now’s your time Sallie!

    • Linda Murphy on January 1, 2020 at 10:36 pm

      Hi Anna I’m 77yrs old and painting for years just for friends and family. I watch
      your videos all the time and live your work. It’s so inspiring and helpful. Thank you so much

  3. Jo McGarry on December 31, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    What a lovely and inspirational post. Thank you so much Anna . And Happy New Year!

  4. Katherine Ford on December 31, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    I retired two years ago and now at 66 I have been painting and selling a few of my works. It has been a relief to allow my creative self come out.

    • Judi on December 31, 2019 at 7:17 pm

      Thank you for this Anna. I have just turned 60 this last year and have time and time again said that it was too late for me to do more than dabble in art and that it wasn’t worth pursuing anything more than homemade painted cards for family and friends. You have encouraged me to continue to dabble, but to also work towards finding my niche with watercolours and keep in mind that one day, someone will purchase one of my pieces. Sorry for your loss of your friend Barb. We all are losing people close to us too soon. Gratitude for what we have right now is the best place to be for me. With Gratitude, Judi

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:02 pm

      I bet! Congratulations Katherine.

  5. Jo Ann Frommer Rom on December 31, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Thank you Anna for sharing such inpirational stories. Yes, I have always love Grandma Mose’s paintings and her style. So unique. Yes, I have been mulling over about my goals this year, and plaining on updating my website with my student paintings.

    Happy New year to you and your family.

    • Zarina on December 31, 2019 at 3:27 pm

      Her face and paintings does look familiar. I am from Malaysia and still residing here but my dad brought the whole family to the States when he was doing his degrees. My whole grade school years were there and yes, my background is more American than Malaysian.

    • Ginger Lang on December 31, 2019 at 4:28 pm

      Thank you, Anna, for sharing your touching and inspirational story. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. How wonderful it is that you found each other and shared a friendship that shaped each of your lives. I am thankful for you and for your teaching. I have completed all the basic tutorials and two instructional tutorials. The new year will bring more opportunities to follow your tutorials and grow my skills. I started watercolor 6 months ago at age 74. I didn’t know that watercolor was what was missing in my life. Thank you for sharing your skills and kindness. All the best in the new year to you and your family. Ginger

      • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:23 pm

        Sounds like you’re making great progress Ginger!

  6. Zarina on December 31, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    When I first read the title of the newsletter, I thought: NO!!! don’t say that you are closing down. It nearly gave me a heart attack. When I read to post till the end, and I said ooooh and I can share the feeling when you gave the title. My condolences to the lost.

  7. Susan Palmer on December 31, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful uplifting story Anna. What a wonderful New Years gift to think of in 2020.

  8. Renato on December 31, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Anna, that’s a great story and very inspiring! I too just started painting after partially retiring. Being raised in an immigrants family of very poor origin, art was not a conversation theme. I love to read and, of course knew about painters and famous paintings. But I saw my first watercolour painting in my honeymoon, 40 years ago. I was so impressed that even though life was not easy, we had not finished medical school, I bought it. And thought to myself that one day I would like to try it. And here I am. It took me 38 years to start. I don’t pursue fame or money, though they will be welcome if they come . Just the joy of painting. Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us.

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:03 pm

      Thanks Renato. I’m so pleased you didn’t forget about that spark of passion and came to it all those years later. And how good you have got!

      • Hilda Barone on January 2, 2020 at 1:03 am

        Thankyou Anna for sharing your story. So inspirational. I love your work and also enjoy your videos that help me lots.
        Happy New Year xxx

  9. Susan on December 31, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    I don’t know how many false starts I’ve made over the years, but your posts along with your approach to making art have encouraged me to refresh my materials and begin once again. Christmas is just finished, and I have all I need to start my first painting project with you and your instructions.

    Thanks for sharing your sweet story, I’m excited to find you online.

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:04 pm

      Excited to have been found Susan 🙂

  10. Susan Mitchinson on December 31, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    Thank you Anna, This is a wonderful inspirational story. I started to paint just a few years ago at age 65 and l confess to having been dogged by the feeling that’s it’s to late and that l am wasting my time. This has led me to give up for long periods and then approach it in a lazy fashion. Your story has made me feel that there is still time and l am now determined not to waste it. Thank you so much

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:05 pm

      There is! Go for it Sue, you deserve it.

  11. Christiane on December 31, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    Anna, what a marvelous post thank you for sharing this story it’s totally what I needed. I’ve been painting for a long time favoring watercolor but with some illness surprising me a few years ago I started losing interest in my watercolor painting and tried felting as well as silk painting. I’ve been juggling between wearable art and my watercolor for the past year asking life to guide me and requesting a sign that would help me make a decision on what to pursue. Then, came the Oh! it’s too late to start showing my work anyway. Then, on this beautiful snowy day came your email. I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL TO YOU, for writing this post. It’s the sign I waited for.

    Happy New Year to you and your family, may you be blessed!

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:06 pm

      Thank you Christiane, you follow your heart.

  12. Carol Burkholder on December 31, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Such a beautiful inspirational story. What a lovely person she must have been. Once again I must tell you Anna; your beautiful books have inspired me and helped me advance my skill. The dark tulips in your first book have given me so much happiness and pride. And it’s because you share your process and skill. I’m looking forward to the next decade of Anna’s inspiration. All the best in this New Year….. I can’t even fathom how busy you must be with the little ones but you still make time for us….your fans. Btw. You haven’t aged in the years since uni:). All the best to you

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:06 pm

      Ha! I certainly have the last couple of years with the baby Carol, but thank you for your kind words. I’m so pleased to have helped you.

  13. Sheila on December 31, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    What a beautiful story. I believe God puts people in our path for a reason, and this is proof. I’m so sorry Barb is gone, but her legacy lives on in your work. Thank you so much for sharing, and in turn giving me encouragement to keep pursuing my passions.

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:07 pm

      Thank you Sheila.

  14. Virginia on December 31, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Thank you so much. That is exactly what I needed to read.

    I have been so busy creating a new home closer to my grandchildren for the past eighteen months and made no time for myself to paint.

    I want to make time each day as from January 1 st (tomorrow). My problem is that I don’t know what to paint!

  15. Marihet on December 31, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    Dear Anna , you have been so inspirational to me and I realize over and over it is never too late to pick up painting again. As a child I always dabbled in art though was never given paints. Then came my career and studies a as a pharmacist, and a mother and In the 90 started again. Even sold many paintings. Certain circumstances prevented me from painting and I took up quilting. Now that I am retired a practice both and gardening but you are still the best inspirator Have a wonderful creative 2020 Anna and your family!

  16. Lily Koblenz on December 31, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Thank you Anna for the lovely and inspirational story. Several years ago I chanced upon a Grandma Moses exhibition at the Crocker Art museum in Sacramento California. I recall being similarly taken by her story and by her art. The sheer volume of work that she produced was amazing. I remember thinking that she found her own style, stuck with it, mastered it, and created a body of work that is truly unique and such an amazing testament to a world that no longer exists here in the US…. at least not for most of us. I also was inspired by the age at which she started painting. This is all such good reinforcement to just keep working on the things we each love, in our case painting, and to enjoy the process and let mastery be a byproduct but not the only goal of our effort.
    Happy painting to all of you in 2020.

  17. Barbara Tonkin Stokes on December 31, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    Thank you, Anna, for this inspirational story. I painted my first watercolor in 2017, I think, inspired by your free wild rose video lesson. I was 85 years old. I had been involved in many arts and crafts during my life, but I always wished I could draw and paint.. I will be 88 this month, and I am still painting. I am enrolled in the Emeritus classes of a local college and belong to my local art association. Thank you, Anna, for getting me started on a new venture at a time in my life when I needed it. Happy New Year to you and your family.

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:08 pm

      Delighted you are painting now Barbara!

  18. Breege on December 31, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    An inspiration to anyone starting out in the coming New Year. Its always time to start what you love doing, even if you are starting again, and again………. Happy New Year all, wishing everyone a healthy, happy and creative time to come.

    • WendyinCA on January 1, 2020 at 2:02 am

      What a wonderfully encouraging comment, “It’s always time to start what you love doing,” Breege! Thank you for that thought. It really resonates with me.

      And thank you, Anna, for not only sharing your beautiful & talented work with us, but also sharing the rather rare gift of an artist who is not only incredibly encouraging, but shares knowledge so generously as well.

      Thank you for this story from your heart. What a gift Barb was to you! I can see that you are following in her footsteps by being a gift to others as she was to you. <3

  19. Linda Coffey on December 31, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    Thank you! I love your story and I heard of Grandma Moses but didn’t know she was an artist. My Dad is my inspiration. He always liked art & wanted to go to art school, but ended up as a lawyer & eventually a judge. At age 70 when he retired, he received and easel and a set of oil paint supplies. That was the beginning of his journey. He was so rajj Lu ended and painted for the next 18 years. I just recently retired and at age 67 began taking a few watercolor painting classes. Starting off as a child like painter, I can already see my progress one year later. I am determined to get close to my Dad’s competence. Different medium, but I have confidence that with practice I can also become a “real” painter even just for the fun of it! I just gave two paintings as gifts this year to my sisters. Wishing everyone a very productive 2020 with lots of time to paint!

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:09 pm

      What a great inspiration for you Linda! Do him proud 🙂

  20. Michelle on December 31, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    What a joy to read your story! Ive always loved Americana style art, grandma Moses and Charles Wysocki being two favorites. Truth is ive been intimidated by your beautiful floral paintings. I was looking at my art work collection this past week and realized that, hey, I actually do have some ability to paint and create art. I’m inspired to make year 64 of my life more productive and to continue to develop my own painting voice. Praying for comfort in our loss. Thanks you for sharing such a wonderful story.

  21. Tammy L Monroe on December 31, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    What a beautiful story Anna, and a lovely message to send us into a new, magical year.
    Thank you for sharing, and may the new year bless you and your beautiful family.

    Tammy 🙂

  22. Nancyhage on December 31, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    So inspiring to hear both Grandmas Moses’ story and Barb’s. The story is a grand gift to all of us embarking on this painting path. I am so jazzed. Doubt I’ll be the prolific painter of one per week, but I am painting almost daily….a little bit on each painting. Thank you for keeping this school alive and available. Very very grateful. Happy New Year to all.

  23. Renee Cassese on December 31, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    Thank you Anna for sharing your beautiful story. My condolences on your loss of such a good friend and inspiration.

    I’ve always believed no one is ever too old to pursue her passion, or too old to learn a new skill. For 2020 I intend to follow all your tutorials and become a more skilled botanical artist. At 70 years young I have the time to spend expanding my watercolor skills. I have your books, all the paints, paper and brushes I need, and of course your online school.

    In addition to botanical watercolors, 2020 is also the year I concentrate on writing more poetry inspired by the inimitable poetess Mary Oliver. She writes primarily about the natural world and therefore is a perfect accompaniment to botanical art.

    May this year and this new decade bring you and your family joy, peace and good health. ❤️

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:10 pm

      I am excited for your year ahead Renee!

  24. Jan Pettafor on December 31, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    thank you for your inspirational story. I have loved drawing and painting since I was a kid but art class in highschool wasn’t possible as I went in a different direction with music. Ironically I wound up teaching art to grade 7 and 8 (Canada) but I had no formal training. I just wanted art to be a pleasurable, positive experience for them. Now I am retired i have more time to do more art for myself. I don’t have a dedicated space but you have inspired me to work on it.

  25. Barbara Medaries on December 31, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Hello Anna,

    Such an inspiring story! Thank you! I’m also a Barb from Michigan, now living in Virginia with my husband of almost 46 years.
    I have dabbled with drawing and painting on and off for years- mostly off- but have told myself that 2020 is the year to really go for it! I just turned 69, and your telling about your friend, Barb, brought tears to my eyes!

    No more procrastinating!
    Bless you and Happy New Year!

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:11 pm

      Absolutely Barb – this story was meant for you I think!

  26. Lilly on December 31, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    Dear Anna,
    Your work is so inspirational!! I first bought your lesson on Craftsy, then your books. Got some supplies but just been to chicken to continue. I’m 61 and haven’t done anything in Art on a regular basis for years. I dabbled in it during 8th. Grade and then during high school!! Not much since. I decided to actually schedule sometime to paint this coming year as you always say on your little demos. Thanks for your expertise and wisdom!! So sorry for the loss of your dear friend that encouraged you!! May God comfort your heart as you grieve her loss!! Thanks for all your encouragement!! Looking forward to painting this year!!

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:12 pm

      Go for it Lilly. Now is the time!

  27. julie on December 31, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    You will never know how perfect and well-timed this post is. At 61 I’ve been struggling with the “oh it’s too late” feeling. I have started with many of my creative endeavors but always in the back of my mind wonder if it’s too late to start trying. I have always wanted to write children’s books and just found out a few years back that I can draw so now I should be able to illustrate my own stories. Maybe this year will be the year I actually go for it. Thank you.

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:12 pm

      No maybes Julie. Give it to yourself 🙂

  28. Cynthia Zimmerman on December 31, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Thank you, Anna, for sharing this part of your story with us. My condolences on the loss of your friend. I’m thankful that Barb believed in and encouraged you just as you encourage all of us and inspire us with your amazing talent.

  29. KJ Perman on December 31, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    This was such a moving and inspirational post. I am definitely going to go for it in 2020. I want to paint much more than I do at present (I keep saying that life gets in the way but, as your post has shown painting can be your life if you choose it).
    I am sorry you lost such a good friend but, sharing this story will keep their memory alive…… and I will hopefully carry some of that ‘can do’ attitude forward.

    Thank you……..x

  30. Mona on December 31, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    A new year, a new start♥️ thank you for sharing this lovely story.

  31. FLAVIA LAURENTI on December 31, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    Such a beautiful story! Thank you!!! Happy New Year!!!!!

  32. Catherine on December 31, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Beautiful Anna! Your story, Barb, your paintings…all of it. Thank you. I’m so sorry you lost your dear friend. I’m sure she is watching down from heaven and encouraging you in different ways. xo

  33. Adinam on December 31, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    Definitely inspiring. I love the scenes she painted, the people and the animals. Like reading a storybook. I have been curious of my path. There are just so many people doing so many beautiful things now a days. However this story may push through my doubts 🙂 thank you, I would love to see your garden paintings from the show!

  34. Cheryl Brewer on December 31, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    Wow what a lovely inspirational story. I love all those paintings especially the snowy ones. I started painting completely from scratch a couple of years ago, I’m nearly 61 . Wish I had started years ago & wish I had more free time to indulge lol. Thank you for sharing & so sorry for the loss of Barb.
    Wishing you & your family & very happy new year ❤️

  35. Gillian Spars on December 31, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    My! Thank you so much for sharing. It certainly has pulled at my heart strings but has also given me that proverbial kick up the backside I certainly need. If painting makes me feel good which it does, it doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect and if someone else likes what I’ve done on the way then that is a bonus! Thank you once again, inspirational!

  36. Christine Bauer on December 31, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    What an amazing, providential, and beautiful story! You had me in tears. I didn’t know about Grandma Moses and I’m glad you shared her story. You are absolutely right Anna and I appreciate your constantand faithful encouragement. You are an amazing inspiration yourself; I can honestly say it was your tutorials that helped me master watercolor like I had hoped for since I was in college (over 10 years ago). I will keep going! Hugs to you and Barb’s family. It is a very lovely person indeed who helps others follow their dreams. Xoxo

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:14 pm

      So grateful to have touched your life Christine.

  37. Elaine Robb on December 31, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    I sometimes feel that “it is all a bit too late” to take up art, so your article is a great antidote. I began art classes when I’ll health prevented me from completing my training in psychotherapy. My resolution for 2020 is not to worry about making errors/producing a “bad” image – instead I am going to enjoy painting for paintings sake, and if I improve, well that a bonus. Happy New Year

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:14 pm

      That’s the right attitude Elaine! Got for it.

  38. John on December 31, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks Anna- Great story and inspiration. My condolences for your lose – you have such a wonderful friend. Time keeps ticking and big adventures ahead.

  39. Jan on December 31, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this inspirational story and can appreciate how difficult it must have been for you. At 65 my inner voice is only too eager to point out that I have left it far too late to ever become a skilled artist. Then of course the guilt kicks in because I feel I’m just wasting my time. It’s sad really how we allow our inner voice to spoil our enjoyment but can certainly take something away from this story. Many thanks Anna and wish you and your family a Happy New Year.

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:16 pm

      You’re noticing that voice Jan, which means you don’t have to listen to it! Be kind to yourself and give yourself a chance to develop the skills you long for.

  40. Janice on December 31, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Thank you Anna for sharing you beautiful story, and yes, I’ve thought of the story of Grandma Moses several times in life. In Aug. 2017 my dr. had ordered an MRI for my back because of on going pain. What they found caused great concern which sent me back for more MRI’s from my brain to lower back,six and a half hours over two days. The first MRI showed several dark spots on my lower spine that the radiologist said could be “Drop Metastasis”, they were looking for a tumor. I researched this and found that if it was what they thought, I had at best 2-3 months left to live. I actually had great peace and had my final things in life all settled before I received the final diagnosis. During that week of testing and waiting I asked myself if there was anything in life that I had really wanted to do and had never tried. It was to paint with watercolors. No tumor! No understanding what those “spots” are just that they are there. I’m learning and loving watercolors! The hardest part for me is the hard expectation that I have on myself, but with God’s help I’m learning to overcome and even enjoy my mistakes. My mom took up oils in her mid-fifties and she was really quite good! We have one of her framed pieces hanging in the bedroom so that I see it each morning when I wake up. It’s a reminder to me that it’s always good to try new things, no matter what our age is. I’m 64.

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:18 pm

      Wow, what a wake-up-call Janice. I’m so pleased for you and your family that you are well. And its great to hear you are now working with watercolour, and I’m sure, doing your mom proud.

  41. Cyndi Negrucci on December 31, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Thank you Anna for sharing this story! I’m so sorry for your loss! Your message is very inspirational to me. It comes at a very good time. I think we get so busy with our responsibilities that we forget about ourselves. I love to paint using your tutorials and am determined to make time to paint more often. Thanks for the nudge! Wishing you and your family a Happy and Healthy New Year for 2020!

  42. Laurie Sorge on December 31, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Thank you Anna! I am 65, a biochemist in my previous life and have taken up watercolor painting of my favorite subjects, my grandchildren. We are so extremely lucky to have so much instruction available on the internet, I have a long way to go, but am inspired to keep improving because I love it so much!

  43. Valerie Hytch on December 31, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Thank you Anna, what a wonderful story and inspiration to have given us on New Year’s Eve and the start of a new decade. Happy New Year to you and your lovely family.

  44. Michaela Hennessy-Vass on December 31, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing such a touching, personal and inspirational story. It was fascinating to read about Grandma Moses, but I was really saddened to hear about the loss of Barb who was clearly a kind and innovative individual and who despite the distance was a huge part of your busy life. She must have been so proud of you & your achievements. Wishing you well for 2020!

  45. Catherine on December 31, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    Such a timely post! I have regretted that I allowed twenty years to lapse from the time I took some watercolor lessons and loved it! Always allowing ‘ the more important’ things in life to be done first and eventually thinking it’s too late now to take painting up again.
    But just this morning, on the last day of this decade, I made a promise to myself to put my creative interests first. I’m also entering a very uncertain time with a new diagnosis of cancer, being given 3-5 years to live. I have a lot of living to pack into those years, and painting will become a big part of that!
    So thank you for your inspirational message❤️

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:19 pm

      Oh Catherine, I’m so sorry to read of your diagnosis. I hope you feel well and can really make the most of your precious time. xx

  46. Lynne Coffman on December 31, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Thank you so much for what you do. Your personal insights and experiences are such inspiration to all of us. I have the ability, doing art since very young. On and off thru my life. Dabbling but not really finding time to be serious. I see our beautiful world through the artists eyes…but no discipline to make it so. I am 74 . Raised a family of 5 and this year have once again taken out my supplies. I always wanted to learn watercolor. It is a different challenge. I have done all media, preferring pastels. I garden, quilt, do batik wall art…but still feel the need to paint. Thank you for your push to take painting up again. It takes me out of myself and I am immersed in creating. I LOVE it!!!

  47. Gwen Gordon on December 31, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Such a great story, and at the beginning o a new year. I’m considering opening an Etsy shop this year to sell my crafts. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. I’ve always loved makiing things and have learned many crafts over the years,, including sewing, quilting, beading, crochet, knitting, leather work, graphic design, and currently painting. So, this article was very inspirational to me at this time. Thank you for sharing.

  48. Maggie Hart on December 31, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    Thank you for that inspiring story and I am so sorry for your loss. In 2019 I started my journey with you to be the best painter that I can be. I was 59…turned 60 in Nov. I learned so much and then took a break to paint on my own. Thanks to you and what I’d learned from your method I started painting wildlife. I joined my local art guild, entered their annual show and won Best in Show for a watercolor of sparrows. If not for your hummingbird tutorials I would never have thought I could paint birds. I now paint everyday and am framing 12 pieces as we speak for a solo show. It’s only at our local library, but still….I went to Social Work School and never took a serious art class before joining your school. So thank you Anna! I use your brushes still and always hashtag #annamasonbrushes when I post on instagram. One of my 2020 goals is to come back to your school for a refresher and reinforcement of my growing skills. I still have a long way to go…even at 60 its never too late to start a new passion.
    Happy New Year Anna!

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:21 pm

      What a wonderful story and I’m just thrilled that I have played a role in your blossoming as an artist Maggie. I know the other members would love to see your paintings if you make it back to the School at some point.

  49. Gina Robles on December 31, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Thanks Anna for that inspiring story, I retired 2 years ago and my dream has been to have time to paint. I am one of your students, and have taken some of the lessons, not as frequent as I would like, but my goal for this new year is to spend more time in what I love and enjoy most “to paint”. Kind regards, and a Happy New Year! Many blessings for all, Gina

  50. Patti on December 31, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Thank you, Anna for this post! What a beautiful story and tribute to your dear friend. It reminds me of how precious life is and indeed it is never too late to start something new.
    Happy New Year!

  51. Jo on December 31, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Such an inspirational lady, or should I say ladies…all 3 of you! Thanks for sharing this Anna, you are so right…. the time is NOW. Happy 2020 to you and yours x

  52. Vickie deCastro on December 31, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    What a beautiful story, Anna. I’ve always loved Grandma Moses’ inspirational journey, and clearly, your friend Barb was an awesome friend that had a great hand in encouraging your own. I didn’t take my 1st art lesson until I was 64, and there’ve been many online classes and lessons in several different media since then. It’s your own painting style that’s been my inspiration for watercolor painting, and for now I practice working with watercolors in a journal. Being shy, as well as one who is rarely satisfied with my own work, I doubt my story will go very far. However, I’m so grateful for the pure enjoyment of having something I love to do in retirement!

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:22 pm

      Thank you Vickie and I am so pleased you are enjoying your watercolours. Don’t put limits on yourself! 🙂

  53. Naomi Basin on December 31, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    What a beautiful story, truly inspiring.
    You have been a great uplifting support for many years. You are the one I hear saying at the back of my head: You can do it, no matter the outcome, enjoy, because it’s fun. And this story add to it all.
    Thank you so much!
    Wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy New Year 2020.

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:23 pm


  54. Julie Andrews Cook on December 31, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    I write this message to you while standing in front of a painting inspired by my father who has passed, as a cancer survivor, and one who is on the path to retirement in June 2020; in tears. I strongly feel that God places people (even ones we have never met) in our journey through life. You are one of those people for me. Thank you for your message of loss, self-doubt, encouragement, and hope. It confirms that I am right where God wants me to be and that the best is yet to come at 62 years young!

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:24 pm

      You are, and it is, Julie!

  55. Novella Gouldsborough on December 31, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Thank you for your story and thanks to all those who posted their inspirational comments. I painted very little last year. My mother passed away in the Spring and I had health challenges to deal with. I’m looking forward to the New Year and all the possibilities it offers. You have really put the wind in my sails

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:24 pm

      I’m sorry to read of your loss Novella. 2020 is your year!

  56. Mary Jo Smith on December 31, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Omg, Anna…Just this year I watched/took a course of yours through Great Courses Plus and your methods helped me improve my paintings so much! I never worked with water colors till then. It is now my “go to” medium. I never gave Grandma Moses a thought till now….even though I live in the same state, just 50 miles from where she lived and have known about her all my life.

    So, from me, Mary to you, Anna,… I’m 65…and weather or not I ever sell a painting, i am happy to have “met” you and thank you for this great and encouraging “Anna Mary” ( aka Grandma Moses ) story.

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:25 pm

      How fun, lovely to ‘meet’ you too Mary!

  57. anita nutbeen on December 31, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    This is such a lovely post Anna and very inspirational!
    My story is a very sad one. On Boxing Day my wonderful little sister lost her heroic fight with cancer and left us all devastated. Next week I’m travelling to Scotland for the very sad task, to bury her.
    I was always the ‘arty’ one but she always wanted to paint & draw. As part of her palliative care she took up ‘art’! She encouraged me to get back into it again, something I will be forever greatful to her for. We used to paint or draw something every week for many months and then we shared our projects by text! She really inspired and encouraged me to keep going but over the last few weeks I couldn’t even pick up a pencil! But after reading your uplifting account, I’m going to get going again and paint something in honour of my Jenny. Happy 2020 to all the lovely members and especially you Anna xx

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:27 pm

      Oh Anita, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your continued creativity is going to be your living memorial to your sister. Jenny was obviously very inspirational.

  58. Gina Byfield on December 31, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you Anna, i’ll stop beating myself up and get on with it. Reduced to tears what a wonderful story, thank you so much for sharing this with us all, Here’s to a productive new year, new decade and to the next 54 years of my life. Happy New Year to you all xxx

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:27 pm

      Sounds like good tears. Go for it Gina!

  59. Tony on December 31, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you Anna for a great story and I am so glad that painting has become your career as I probably wouldn’t be painting now if it hadn’t been for you. Sorry to hear you have lost a good friend, but I am sure she is resting in peace knowing how well you and your family are doing. Have a great 2020

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:28 pm

      Thanks for your support as always Tony!

  60. Holly on December 31, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    Thank you for this beautiful, inspiring post. I am touched. Thank you to your dear Barb for nurturing that seed in you to pursue a dream, and I am ever so sorry for your loss of such a supportive and encouraging friend. Wishing you and your family all the best in the new year! Happy New Year!

  61. Fran on December 31, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    It is so important to have someone like Barb who not only supports, but also advocates and mentors you.
    Death usually happens to someone else and when it does come into your world it can knock it sideways. She’s left a legacy in you and that’s pretty awesome. You inspire me no end and one day I may try and follow in your footsteps. So thank you for that. Happy New year. X

  62. Suzanne Papp on December 31, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    Hello Anna, I am nearing 77-years-old. I loved doing all crafts and decided to give painting a go a couple of years after I retired. I was at a complete loss as to how to create something beautiful and pleasing. I am so fortunate to be alive during this amazing internet age. I found helpful information on YouTube and joined several art groups on FB and following artist on IG. Joining your online school has helped me more than you can imagine. I am so sorry for your loss. May God grant you as well as all those who knew and loved Barb peace in knowing there is eternal life and we will all be together eventually. I lost my husband and son within the past the past three years. They passed away on the exact same day, exact time of day, two years apart, from the same cause of death. Last month marked the one and three year anniversaries of their deaths. Painting gives me such joy. I believe every day we wake up with a choice. Every day I choose joy. God bless you, Anna.

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:31 pm

      I’m so sorry to read of your losses Suzanne, but your positive spirit honours your son and husband. 🙂

  63. Tracey Chorley on December 31, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a lovely story. I’ve taken up painting this year after tennis elbow in my left arm prevented me from knitting (which was my main hobby). I’m loving painting again and following your tutorials

  64. Jan Smith on December 31, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you for sharing you story Anna. I am 73 years old & have been painting off & on since my 40’s but never on a regular basis. I always felt that my work was not worthy enough but with your encouragement, I am confident that I CAN do this too. Selling my paintings is not a priority for me, but painting as a hobby is. Thanks for all you do in your school & for being the great art teacher you are. I look forward to continuing to learn from you. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your dear friend Barb.

  65. Molly Caton on December 31, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    This is a lovely inspiring story Anna. Happy New Year to You and you lovely family

  66. Doris Woodruff on December 31, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    Wow! what a great new years inspiration! It is wonderful reading all the comments after your story and knowing I am not alone because so many of others stories are exactly what i would write!! I had the privilege of being with you and your wonderful husband in Sarasota workshop right before the babies came along! Your works of art are awesome but YOU are a spirit that infects us all with vibrance and joy! Thank you from the bottom to top of my heart for sharing your life and joy with us! Your friend will always be with you and her family in a way that being in the world can’t compare. At 71 many of my own friends and family have moved to the next world and so have inspired me as yours did for you and will continue to do. Thank you for letting your spirit and story shine a light for us all! Happy Every Year and Have an artful day!

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:32 pm

      Thank you Doris, so lovely to hear from you – what a kind message. I hope you are well and painting lots 🙂

  67. Margareth Demery on December 31, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    Thank you Anna for sharing your art journey with us. My condolences to your friend Barb and family.

    Art/crafts and music were my passion, but life took me into a different direction in the past years. Though through the years of my education career and raising a family, corporate jobs, I still found time to continue my passion, it wasn’t till 5 years ago that my dream came into fruition. All the hours and decades of finding time to take art classes and relaxation time on my piano paid off. I have been teaching art and selling my art for five years now. And here is the kicker- I’m now 65. Have 50 classes a month … seriously & even some on weekends. Most are in the Senior Retirement Communities. It is amazing that those that have Alzheimer’s/ Dementia conditions do quite well with my instruction method to paint. We use mostly watercolor, but there are currently that are using the acrylic medium. I have had three battles with breast cancer and I think this time I won!
    I believe that doing something you love creates an energetic spirit in oneself to reach out to others and share your experience. My art journey has been great , successful and I feel so blessed. I still continue to take art lessons just for my enjoyment and am happy to have come across your site to join another adventure. I literally get to paint each and every day… comes with the job. But I see it this way … “it’s not a job if you love what you do”. I bring the “Joy of Art” to all I teach out too. Added bonus is I get paid :). Happy New Year 2020 to all, with love n hugs Margareth in sunny California!

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:00 pm

      What a wonderful example of you doing exactly what I’m urging others to aspire to. Well done Margaret!

  68. Kathleen Michael on December 31, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    Thank you, Anna, for the best end of year, look forward post. It is so good to see how just simple living events impact people’s lives. Mary Anna Robertson’s sister makes a simple suggestion and wow the impact! On her sister, the whole art world, on Barb, on you, and so many others. Yes, it is never too late to learn, grow, be interested, helpful, kind, surprised by activity.

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 7:59 pm

      Love that take on it Kathleen! And thank you Mary Ann Robertson’s sister!

  69. Louise Kraft on December 31, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Anna, you are such a love. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story with all of us. I remember teaching elementary school students about Grandma Moses. We even did a large class painting that hung in the school’s entryway for years. Barb’s story was particularly poignant. Being diagnosed with cancer certainly reminds us how fragile life is and to make the most of every moment. My deepest sympathy to you on the loss of your friend. How wonderful that you could be a part of each other’s lives.
    I found you online and have learned so much from you. I love your style and dearly appreciate your sharing your knowledge with us. Thanks to you, I will put more thought into my artistic goals for the following year and decade. My very best wishes to you and your lovely family, Anna, for a joyous and healthy New Year.

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 7:58 pm

      thank you for your lovely comment Louise and think BIG with your goals!

  70. Wendy MacKenzie on December 31, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Dear Anna, thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful and inspiring story with us! It’s a perfect beginning to a new year. I’m feeling really inspired to make the most of each day. Best wishes to you and your family for a Happy, healthy new year!

  71. Linda Tower on December 31, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Thank you Anna!!

  72. Julie L on December 31, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Anna, the story of three people who pursued painting because it was a passion is very inspiring and touch. I started painting last year at 68 years old and found that it was relaxing and so much fun! I laughed at my first few pictures because they were so primitive but painting gave me such joy. I continue to paint and my teacher Dianne is a gift. This year I plan to paint every week and hope to feel confident enough to give my paintings as gifts to others.
    Thank you for your enthusiasm, excellent teaching on YouTube and for the encouragement you so freely give to me.

  73. Julie Davies on December 31, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Well I can now say I am ‘only’ 63 so starting to paint now is definitely not too late thank you for sharing this story and your wonderful lessons. Happy New Year x

  74. Bia Mauricio on December 31, 2019 at 5:27 pm


    I read your text and touched me. I’m a 59-year-old lady, I dropped the art when I married 30 ago. I separated from my husband with young children, a girl of 4, and a boy of 2. I had an income because my father was a successful engineer. I worked with children’s parties to complete income, then went to pharmacy college, and worked until my kids graduated. It’s been 4 years since I returned to the art business, I’m a watercolorist. Last year I produced a lot but didn’t sell anything, it’s very discouraging. I have found it difficult to sell my paintings. I admit that the theme chosen is difficult: pupilavde eyes of endangered amphibians. It says a beautiful exhibition but without sales success. I don’t know what awaits me this year. I am very discouraged to produce

  75. Donna Andersen on December 31, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    What a wonderful series of events that have brought you to this place in the world…. teaching others how to be creative. Grandma Moses is such an inspiration for me. And we all need encouragement and someone (even if it is our self) believing in our journey. If we don’t have that belief, it will not grow. We need to remember to water ourselves so we can grow. I admit that I sat here crying as I read the blog. Truly hit home with me that as long as there is breath, there is life and there is hope. Thank you Anna.

  76. Linda Sandy on December 31, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. I had forgotten all about Grandma Moses! What a great lady!
    I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend Barb. I too lost a dear friend like that.
    As I have enrolled in another year of your tutorials and guidance I’m looking forward to more challenges this year. My confidence is growing and I paint nearly every week. At 70 years I feel my creativity is still going strong as I can’t wait to start the next project!
    Happy 2020 to you and your beautiful little family!
    Linda Sandy in Kansas

  77. Denise Large on December 31, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    Thank you for this post.
    My sister died 2015 aged 52 she was fantastic at art but couldn’t draw anymore due to her scleroderma hands .. fingers all curled and stiff…
    I liked fiddling about with drawing but could not do anything like she did.
    I gave up. When she died….. I had such an urge to draw…. I had a go at copying a character for my grandsons birthday card…. it turned out so well it was like my sister was using me to draw through.
    I’m enjoying it now… trying watercolours and had lots of compliments…
    but I’m so critical of my efforts..
    I’m now trying to enjoy whatever I do… life is too short … to get worried about paint and paper. Xx

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 7:57 pm

      So pleased you are creating Denise and maybe your sister is indeed doing it through you – what a lovely thought.

  78. Margaret Longbotham on December 31, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    Thank you Anna for your story. I think that many of us relate to the fact that we started, with your guidance, to paint, after retirement. It makes you realise what a beautiful world we live in. By painting it means you have to look and wonder at the complexity of nature.
    This is also a time of year when we remember friends and relatives who are no longer with us.
    Take care and have a joyous new year with your family. Margaret

  79. Joan Stockton aka Ziva on December 31, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    Lovely story and I am so sorry for your loss. Such an important person in your life. personally I have loved watercolor paintings and have tried it many times over the years. I have always know it would come some day. Your school has taught me the tools and techniques I needed to enjoy watercolor painting. At 65 I plan to retire at 70 and in that time to really work on my skills in the hopes that I could bring in some extra income for as long as I am able to paint. I don’t need the extra income I hope it would just be icing on the cake. It would be fun and maybe then I can call my self an artist. It is a personal thing at what point are you an artist. Thank you for telling your beautiful story and sharing your still freshly wounded heart. I understand that wound very well. All the best in 2020!

  80. Linda Hicks on December 31, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    WOW, Anna, that was such an amazing and inspirational recounting of your life. Thank you for sharing such a touching story. I agree with you 100%. I had heard the name Grandma Moses, but, honestly, never knew the story and I live in America!

    Happy New Year to you and your family!

  81. Sally Lynn MacDonald on December 31, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing Grandma Moses and Barb with us today. I needed to read this. I’m a bit farther along the journey of life than you are, but my three children (all from IVF) are all in uni now; and I have the time to paint. I just need to do it! Thank you. Happy New Year!

  82. Linda on December 31, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    You are an earth angel, Anna! I really needed to read your inspiring article as I am turning 70 next week. Thank you and please accept my condolences on the loss of your friend, Barb.

  83. Angela Slade on December 31, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    Anna, what a fabulous story. Thank you so much for sharing, she sounds like a very special woman.
    You have given me a great push to orgainise myself better and not only for paining, really appreciate it.
    Best wishes to you and your family for 2020!

  84. Wallace on December 31, 2019 at 5:47 pm


    You will never know what this note has meant to me! I have a very difficult time expressing myself with words. But my Mother, who was my best friend, and my Wife, who is my best friend, were and are inspirational and supportive of me and my painting! I have been fortunate and lucky, and have become a better person and artist because these women have shaped and educated me to become who I am today! Sadly my Mom passed in 2008, and I miss her deeply everyday! Your note helped to bring her back to me today. I realized I have not lost her, she is with me inside my heart and mind as I hope your Barb is with you! It gives me great comfort that my Mom sits beside me every time I pick up my brush and paint, no matter what field in France or Italy I am in. These precious people are not lost forever, merely misplaced for the time being.

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 7:56 pm

      What a beautiful comment Wallace. It’s my greatest hope that I can do for my little Ben what your mom did for you. She is still with you. Thank you for sharing.

  85. Cynthia on December 31, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    Dear Anna, you were my inspiration. I never dreamed I would paint a Robin or an owl with a reflection in its eye. A petal with a raindrop. I am sorry you lost your friend, friends are precious. Barb inspired you. Anna, you inspired people round the world. What a legacy your friend left. May I wish you and yours and all in your school a Happy New Year.

  86. Barbara gershberg on December 31, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    A very Happy New Year to you and your lovely family.
    I have been a sporadic painter most of my life, off and on, all mediums, until I discovered Watercolor at age 78, having enrolled in the Academy of Botanical Art, here in Sarasota, Fl.. I fell in love but unfortunately the course became too expensive for me, retired, to afford to continue. I discovered you at that point and have been working on my own. Your story is inspirational, and I jokingly refer to myself as * Grandma Moses*.
    Best Regards,
    Barb G.

  87. Kathy Howard on December 31, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    What an inspiring story! It is good that you got started on your painting career early. I painted (acrylics) a little as a teen and young adult, but put it aside when the babies came. Your books and classes must help you out now that you are busy with a family, too. I have been dabbling in digital art for a while and find that satisfying, even if it doesn’t earn me much money. Luckily, I usually like my own work, even if others don’t. I have turned a few watercolor paintings into digital art, but since I haven’t yet gotten the good supplies for watercolors, I settle for painting motifs that I can turn into digital pattern designs and modify to compensate for my paint quality.
    Sorry for the lose of your friend.

  88. Anne Kibbler on December 31, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Sorry, Anna, for the loss of your dear friend. Her inspirational spirit lives on in your stunning paintings.
    I’m yet another late bloomer. We had no proper art instruction in school, so I spent years thinking I had no skill. Then my children’s experience with a wonderful art teacher changed my perception about who can be an artist. With their teacher’s guidance, my kids created beautiful work. The same teacher is also a friend, and her philosophy is that we are ALL artists. She offered to share her teaching talents with a small group of us, and she encouraged me to paint on my own. Last year, when I turned 60, I decided it was now or never, and I found your school, for which I am profoundly grateful. It speaks perfectly to my love of nature and my ability to focus on detail. Now, painting is a quiet joy that gives me peace when I need it most. This has been a tough year for me, too, losing my mum and, a couple of weeks ago, our beloved family dog. Painting has helped me refocus on the beauty that still exists around me.

  89. Margo on December 31, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    Thank you Anna. I’m 68 and started drawing and painting these last two years. Sometimes I think I’ll never learn, because I’m already too old, or why am I even trying because I’ll soon die! Thank you for these encouraging words. I’m not too old, I’ll still live a long time and I’ll go on learning and enjoying on the way!

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 7:54 pm

      You go for it Margo! x

  90. Margo on December 31, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    And a happy and creative 2020 to you and your beloved ones!

  91. Charlotte on December 31, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    What an inspiring and moving story. May Barb Rest In Peace and your memories of her be a blessing. Thank you for being so encouraging to your community!

  92. ELAINE RUTLEDGE on December 31, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    12/31/2019 I’m painting at age 75! when I’m not quilting or sewing clothes, or designing patterns. Lately I wanted to do a quilt block that was yet unpublished, but was visible in a YouTube video. So I drew it – when the author pleaded with me to not post my stitched block until the pattern was published on 1/1/2020 I knew I had to honor her wishes and put it all aside – praying for patience. My prayer was answered – I learned that patience means productive preparation. One more day!

  93. Keli DiRisio on December 31, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    This was so inspiring. As I sit here reading this, in the back on my mind I was thinking about the work I have to do to prep for the new semester (I’m a university professor). But this helped me to realize that we need to enjoy today for today. And it’s never too late to start or to continue. Thanks for this important reminder. It’s been a crazy busy few months, and reading this reminded me of why we all paint. We all love to create. And I need to remember that!

  94. JoJo F on December 31, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing this…brought tears to my eyes in reading this inspiring story. I needed to hear this story. although I am younger than the friends mentioned, I am no young one any more I hate to admit. Struggling with the what do to with art, especially after an accident and fairly major hand-wrist injury. Can I really do much, besides just for fun and sharing here and there? I don’t want heaps of experiments just piled up with my time is ended here. And yet, this story is a reminder that my grandmother went out on a limb when she was 50 and took her first painting/art class ever. She never became famous like Grandma Moses, but she did have several single artist showings, and later found out she even had her art at a couple galleries, besides all that she gave away to her closest friends and family. I had the privilege to paint with her the very last time she ever was able to paint. I still don’t know what it is all suppose to look like, yet, I am thankful you were brave enough to share your story. Thanks Anna, a good reminder that certain things that happen in our lives aren’t by chance and anything is possible!

  95. Sue Higgins on December 31, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Such an inspirational read. Thank you for sharing, just the nudge I need
    Happy New year, new beginnings and creative challenges.

  96. Kyunghee Johnson on December 31, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    Thank you Anna. This is very inspiring story. I always wants to do watercolor painting since young teen. But didn’t. At age 44 2016 I found your school and loved it. I’m not the school members anymore but am still painting because you inspired me to paint. Thank you and happy new year!

  97. Cynthia Clarke on December 31, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Dear Anna, The above comments have said it all! Thanks for sharing your own story to get us all more inspired to
    stay focused and positive in growing as artists. All the best!

  98. Rita Morris on December 31, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Anna thank you for your inspiring story.We are never too old to start painting.I like you have always loved painting but sometimes our life’s are so busy working and following a job that takes over all our life’s.I have been painting now about twenty years started with a local painting group then went to the local college to learn more then thought the time was right to start up my own group.I have had four exhibition selling most of my work..I became very interested in Botanical Art so went on to do my diploma which I passed with merit. I am now running my own Botanical class which I really enjoy at the age of 73 years and have planned my next step so no you are never too old.

  99. Kris Mason on December 31, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    Wow! What a response you have received to this post. It connects with me in so many ways.
    I majored in art in high school but unable to continue with it once I got married and started a family. Always trying to make ends meet, Spending money on art supplies was never in the budget. When I became 68 I realized I had to make many changes to be able to relieve the stress that was making me so sick. I was trying to hold down a full-time job, take care of my grandchildren 2 days a week, be close to my husband who was starting to show signs related to agent orange from Vietnam and to be there for my mom who was going through demensia. My mom loved to watch me draw and talked about those old memories when I was a teenager. So, I retired from a job i loved and started a watercolor color class at a nearby church and found your class online. I would take my paints when I visited my mom so she could watch and I helped other seniors paint, too. My mom passed this year and painting is what helped me get through the holidays. Thank you, Anna, for helping me realize the gift of watercolor.

  100. Mary on December 31, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    Very interesting. I did not know about her. However, I did learn not too many years ago about another artist (Canadian) who had a very similar style of to her paintings: Maude Lewis. She was extremely poor and lived on the east coast of Canada. She had to paint on whatever she could find. She was very crippled and yet her passion for painting allowed her to do so. Both these women are inspiring and makes me think that surely I can do a few paintings a year. Thank you for this story. Hope you will check out Maude’s:

  101. Ruth Flecknell on December 31, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    So at 65 I am just a whippersnapper. Inspirational people really help us to persevere don’t they? Whatever we want out of life, it very often means spending time on stuff for other people because we play a role in our friends and family’s lives as well. However the older I get I have realised that looking after me is important too. So in August 2018 I joined your school. It believing for one minute that I would become obsessed with painting. I am loving it and I have always been artistic but didn’t do art because it meant starving in a garette (which I don’t even know how to spell) let alone know what one is! I imagined something between a damp attic room and a shed.
    So at 18 my careers advice was to go for a secretarial job, become a nurse or a teacher. I discovered that by teaching I could specialise in art and English so that was the deciding factor. I was a good teacher but I always wanted to paint. I encouraged my own children to do whatever they wanted to do and they are both doing what makes them happy work wise.
    Thanks for this blog Anna, you have had so much happiness this year with your growing family, but I am sorry that you have lost such a fine friend. It sounds as though she is with you still as you are now painting and teaching all of us how to do it your way. Happy new year to you and your family.

  102. Hanna McCown on December 31, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    Dear Anna, I’m so sorry for your loss. Grandma Moses story is inspirational for sure. I’m 60 and have painted and dabbled all my life in art. I get it from my granddad. He began seriously painting and selling his work during retirement. He was honored by HRH the Queen for his depiction of British nature. In 2019 my husband and I decided that I should treat my art like it is my job with set studio hours etc. I’m looking forward to the new year and wonder what it holds for me with my paintings and pottery. Thank you so much for your inspiration. Love Hanna

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 7:53 pm

      Love the commitment you have made to set studio hours – and great that your husband supports you in that. And what wonderful inspiration from your Grandad!

  103. Monte on December 31, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Very inspirational story Anna and a lovely tribute to your friend Barb. Just when I felt perhaps that I too was too old to be painting (turning 76 in a few days) and learning new skills, your lovely tribute ends up in my email this morning. Painting has always been a passion, but one that seemed to be elusively out of reach. I am a life long learner — I returned to graduate school when I was 64 and graduated 7 years later with a Doctorate in Holistic Health. Lovely as that was, I still wanted to be a watercolor artist. So, here I am learning to paint better and I want to thank you for your inspiration and sharing and encouragement. Enjoy your lovely family as each day never comes again. May your New Year be full of Love and Laughter.

    Dr. Monte Mohr

  104. Lela Sedam on December 31, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    I’m almost as old as Grandma Moses when she started painting and probably don’t have as much talent, but I am having fun! I usually paint several times a week just for fun, but have recently signed up for these classes to hopefully develop better technique. Thank you, Anna, for your classes and your encouragement.

  105. Laura on December 31, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Anna, Thank you for being my inspiration to paint throughout 2019, your excellent tutorials provided the detailed information, guided instruction and the enthusiasm I needed. I’ve painted more that 25 of your subjects in 2019, my last one being the hydrangea where I had to go it alone…and “I did it”. I am ready to begin another year of inspired art and am grateful to you for guiding us to be artists. Happy New Year. Looking forward to 2020 and the many adventures and creations we will have the opportunity to experience.

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 7:52 pm

      That’s wonderful to hear that you have done so well with the tutorials Laura! Here’s to many more in 2020.

  106. patty marino on December 31, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. A great love story….love of friendship, love of painting…..I lost my husband this year to heart disease…..He always encouraged me and built me a studio (a great working place at home) He loved everything I painted, oil, acrylic, watercolor, and loved me going to art classes………I am a retired registered nurse who worked for 37 years in a large hospital……….I retired in 2015 and began painting full time with my husband’s encouragement. I had 5 years with him in retirement (it was wonderful and I painted every day). When he died in June, 2019……….my heart died….I have been having a hard time enjoying painting without him……but I managed to enjoy a few things and take a watercolor class with a friend artist….I made a Christmas card in watercolor ( my sisters encouraged me )…….and when I read your story I understood what you said, it is never too late. My New Year’s resolution will be “too continue to paint”……………I live in New Orleans, Louisiana and there is so much inspiration all around town……….I will continue to paint, I know my husband would want me to do that. Thank you for helping me make that decision. Patty

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 7:51 pm

      Yes he would want you to Patty. I’m so sorry for your loss. He sounded like a fantastic companion and great encourager. I wish you much future happiness though you will always miss him too. x

  107. chiao on December 31, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    Hi Anna,

    Thank you for sharing such a loving story. I am in Michigan, and feel so closed to you, your story. I am sorry for your loss of a special friend. Carry on what she inspired us is the way to honor the friendship. Proud of what you are doing.

  108. Andrea Supe on December 31, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    You were at Selby Gardens! I live in the same town! Wish I would have known back then. My grandma was a painter, but to be honest I never thought I could paint. One day I saw a simple watercolor and thought “I want to paint watercolor”. I still feel like a newbie as I’ve only been painting for a couple years now. I have been a house painter on and off over the last 17 years. Watercolor is very different from that. However house painting did teach me how to paint straight lines. Which is helpful with my watercolor. 🙂 Sorry to hear that your friend passed away.

  109. Monica Uba on December 31, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    Dear Ana,
    Thank you for sharing this inspirational story. I am really planning to begin seriously working with watercolor. I will begin by having a most delayed eye surgery in both eyes and start treating my “disautonomia” problems (sorry. English is not my native language and there are many words I don’t Knorr the translation). I have painted on porcelain for 10 years but “lista my hand” after the disease and the eye problem was also disturbing). After February, 20 I shall be able to re-start. Not to expose, just for my pleasure. Thank you for sharing your art. A Happy New Year to you and all your comunity.


  110. Mavis on December 31, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Such an inspiring story. Its always such an inspiration to hear stories about encounters that change the course of a life. I’m so glad your friend inspired you as you have gone on to inspire thousands. Thank you for the story. And if you have ever thought about doing a Grandma Moses inspired lesson, I would give that a big thumbs up! I am a huge fan of Grandma Moses and attempting her style of painting is on my list. Thanks for all you do and Happy New Year!

  111. Kerry Voelker on December 31, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    It takes a lot of courage to share bits of your life with others. I recently retired (age 59) and have loads of hobbies to return to now that I have the time. I enjoy photography and in the past did a bit of oil painting. For some unknown reason I felt compelled to learn watercolor. I am drawn to the colors – no matter the form of the painting. I joined your classes just a short time ago and am thoroughly enjoying the painting (and learning) process!

    To be honest I believe my mom has everything to do with this compulsion to paint and my love of art and color. She primarily did oils and some watercolor and taught beginner drawing and painting classes. Through all of my life, she would just know when I was neglecting the creative side of myself. She would give me a new pen, or a charcoal stick, or some other little artistic gift – and would say “You should really try this…”

    Well, mom passed away suddenly in an accident a year and a half ago. I have no doubt she is encouraging me and guiding me in this artistic journey. She would be so happy to see me thoroughly enjoying myself and becoming totally immersed in the process of painting and creation.

    So, thanks again, for sharing your talents and bits of your life with us.

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:49 pm

      So pleased you are doing something your mum would be so proud of Kerry.

  112. FloraGirl on December 31, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    Dear Anna, Thank you for sharing your story with everyone – and for recognizing that it would be an important inspiration for so many of us who are older. I am a disabled woman of 64 yrs. and although I spent many years in art school both graduate and undergraduate as a ceramic and textile artist, I didn’t have a supportive family and I sadly gave up my deep dreams of an art life to work and support myself. I developed a form of rheumatoid arthritis when I was 58 as a result of the trauma of losing both of my parents at once. It was a dark time for me, but I could no longer work at a job and one day I realized that this was my chance! I realized I could still paint as it was a “gentle” thing for me to do…and I have been painting watercolors for the past 5 years – WITH YOUR HELP! I became a botanical artist and have had 3 shows in my small island community in Washington state on Whidbey Island where I live.. I still consider myself a beginner, but I have hopes that I can continue to work for a very long time and perhaps even support myself one day with my painting. I need a lot of inspiration to keep going and you have given it to me so many times! I can’t thank you enough.. I feel a lot of love for you and your family – and hope to continue to work with you for many years! Blessings of this bright and shiny New Year! Serafina Stewart

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:51 pm

      You’re doing so well Serafina! Thank you for sharing and I’m so pleased I have helped you with your painting.

  113. Roxanne on December 31, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    I loved your story and it gave me more inspiration. I am still trying to find out who I want to be as an artist.

  114. Terry on December 31, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Exactly one year ago today I did my first little diary watercolor. A week later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Before my surgery, I found your site and my first pear watercolor was done my first week home after a bilateral mastectomy. I found I could do 10 minutes at a time. And watercolor was perfect! And your teaching and style was absolutely perfect! Since I have returned to work full time I have not kept up, but I just said to my husband this morning, I can tell I’m ‘coming back to myself’ because I am eager to continue painting! I am 59 years old – and old enough to realize that you can create your own life – and you are the one responsible to do it. Life is short; paint away!

    • Anna Mason on December 31, 2019 at 8:57 pm

      Wow Terry, I’m thrilled to have helped you find something for yourself that you love. Wishing you good health in 2020!

  115. Jean on December 31, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    Anna, your note couldn’t have been more timely… THANK YOU! I’m old as well… taught high school art for 25 years, and have taken up watercolor after retirement… but struggle with taking time to sit and paint… I’m still programmed for work. I’m going to set time aside daily to be creative in 2020… it will need for me to begin with discipline…but I know the results will be fun and joy…. and improved paintings…a new routine, a new me. Thank you for the inspiration!

  116. Maureen MacNeil on December 31, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Your story brought back to me a memory of the small kitchen of my childhood which was covered in Grandma Moses inspired wallpaper which my mother loved. She was from Inis-Mor one of the Aron Islands and I think it reminded her of home. I don’t think I ever thought about that until I read your post! Thank you for that. And thank you for reminding me to pick up that paint brush again at the age of 70.

  117. Linda Smith on December 31, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    Anna thank you for sharing such a beautiful story of friendship, love, inspiration and sadly loss. Time IS short, so live every moment to the fullest they say. Thank you for being such a great teacher! I haven’t posted any of my paintings, but I have enjoyed each one I’ve finished. I’m surprised each time I finish that I actually did that! It’s because of you and your style of teaching. I look forward to getting back to it now that the holidays are over. Best wishes to you and yours Anna.

  118. Tracey Lowe on December 31, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    Thank you so much for that wonderful and inspirational account of Grandma Moses.
    She certainly was insprational, but the way you wrote it really delivered the inspiration to me. I have never heard of Grandma Moses, but your account of her life as a mature artist kept me intreged and interested.
    Thank you.

  119. Jane on December 31, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    Thank you. Great reminder to stay in the now. Wishing you a fabulous. 2020.

  120. Sharron Farnell on December 31, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    Hi Anna, I wasn’t sure what I was going to read however I was so grateful to read your post! I am 73 and have been painting and drawing since retiring eight years ago. I am my own worst critic! My husband, family and friends have supported me during this time but I feel I am not good enough and lack confidence. Now I am truly grateful and inspired to take your message with me into the future and paint, create and have that exhibition I have been too afraid to hold. Thank you so much for your story and that of Grandma Moses. Happy New Year and God bless you! Sharron

  121. Emily Danies on December 31, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    Thank you for your wonderful post. I am 73 and hadn’t picked up a brush in 50 years.i try to do a tutorial every few days.. I’ve done about 24.. I love your teaching style! . I never thought I’d be in love with watercolors! I work full time as a criminal defense attorney and paint before I go to work. I’m going on a trip to Nepal and will have a small set of paints and brushes and sketchbook with me.. who would have thought I’d be enjoying painting so much! My children have taken some of my work to put in their homes.. thank you Anna for your amazing teaching and wonderful tutorials!

  122. Cynthia on December 31, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    Such a lovely story, Anna . Thank you for sharing. My “pear” has been set aside since the holiday season began. I am 65, retired two years ago, to early for me, and I want to paint. I dream it. You have inspired me, as Grandma Moses and your dear friend, Barbara did you.

    Blessings for a happy New Year!

  123. Shirley Rohde on December 31, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    You may be surpised to learn I am 86 years young. I first started painting when I was in my late 60s I stopped painting for about 10 years when my husband’s dementia became worse and took it up again when he passed away four years ago. Never had any formal instructions. Having a latex allergy made backgrounds a problem and when I saw your books it gave me hope that I could paint without them. I debated if I should embark on such a project at my age. I can tell you it has been totally to my benefit. My painting has improved to the point my kids and grand kids fight over pictures!! I t hank you for this opportunity. Aging has it’s own drawbacks but I am dedicated t o keep busy and th is is a wonderful way to do it.

  124. Rose on December 31, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    Happy New Year! Thank you for sharing your story. You really do inspire so many people. My goal is to make a sculpture with my Dad this year he is 80 years old and a retired fitter and turner so I think it will have to be metal ?! Painting goal is to have an exhibition with some friends from the local art society! Lofty goals hope you have a fabulous 2020! Xx

  125. HelenG on December 31, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing this inspirational story with us. It is so easy to feel that we must be defined by our age. I am a relative newcomer to watercolours and I really want to paint pet portraits. For some reason ever since I was about 10years old I have enjoyed drawing dogs. I’m not very good at it and my painting of them is very amateurish but I feel that if I keep persevering and learning different techniques I will improve. Thank you so much for giving me the inspiration to keep moving forward with my art.

  126. Amina on December 31, 2019 at 11:12 pm

    Wow, what an incredible and inspirational account. Thankyou so much Anba for sharing it. It really touched me and has motivated me to take my passion for painting a bit more seriously this year. Hoping to find regular and serious time to focus on what I love doing so much. I am taking baby steps to learn and at times feel like I am not moving ahead. I felt really so inspired by your story so it’s back on my priority list to continue to learn to paint.

  127. Irina on December 31, 2019 at 11:19 pm

    I am sorry for your loss, Anna, but the story you have shared is truly inspirational. I started watercolor painting about a year ago, after a sad loss in our family, and painting helped me to get through the dark times. I also dream of making painting something bigger than just occasional time passing. Let us see what will become out of this desire.

  128. Ann D. on December 31, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    Oh my, now I’m crying. Beautiful story; thanks for the inspiration.

  129. Sheila Savage on December 31, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, Anna. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear friend, Barb.
    I am 73 and need to get busy creating, thank you!

  130. Ann Henshaw on December 31, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    Thank you Anna for your most inspiring post. So sorry to hear of your friend Barb’s passing. Your memories will comfort you in your loss.
    My husband & young nephew passed in October this year, I have had 3minor operatons during the same time, thankfully, fully recovered. Just getting back to picking up my paint brushes once again & finding your tutorials so therapeutic. My husband was always hugely proud & very supportive of my work.
    I have made a New Years resolution, to make more time to paint & just put in an order for a lamp, which will enable me to paint in the dark evenings.
    My earliest memory of seeing watercolour paintings was at the age of seven, visiting my mother’s friend whom I learned later, was a Tenby Artist. Her sister inherited many of her paintings & when I visited at about age twelve, I thought – one day I’m going to paint like that! Apart from ‘rainy day ‘ art, I didn’t get to paint until after retirement. Now a Great Grandma! So, no it’s never too late & with THANKS for your inspiration & your school Anna, there is no need for any excuses…
    A Happy New Year!

    • Linda Meiklejohn on January 1, 2020 at 10:15 am

      Dear Anna,
      First of all a very Happy New Year to you and your family.
      Secondly, Thank you for your beautiful and uplifting message, it seems many of us needed it, even if some of us didn’t realise it.
      You are an inspiration to us all, I know it’s very easy to say, but your life must be filled with everyday things just like ours, and you have to juggle yours with two young children, so it cannot be easy. Thank you for taking the time to think of all of us, many, who it sounds are past the young family age.
      Thank you for sharing the loss of your very dear friend. It always seems worse at this time of the year, but then I think it’s because we loved them so much and we are meant to remember them, and not to forget.
      I am 72, and still in the hectic business of running a hotel. I haven’t pick up my brushes in months, but I promise today is the day I do it!
      To all my fellow painters, Wishing you a fabulous Watercolour 2020.
      With Best Wishes,
      Linda M.

  131. Peggy OConnor on January 1, 2020 at 12:31 am

    Oh my gosh. This is a wonderful story, it is nice of you to share it with all of us! I never knew all the facts on Grandma Moses. It is clear your watercolor business isn’t just about selling a product. You’ve shown us some heart. Your desire to encourage and inspire us comes thru as genuine. It makes your business of teaching art some much more personal. It’s very touching. Don’t ever lose that aspect of your business/company.

    Thank you, and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

  132. Kim on January 1, 2020 at 12:45 am

    This is perfect timing for me. I bought my art supplies last month. I can’t let fear stop me from starting. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story.

  133. Catheryne on January 1, 2020 at 2:30 am

    Wow! There were so many replies to your inspirational post that they too were a great inspiration. After losing several family members recently I was forced to move to somewhere more affordable, consequently that also meant moving away from friends. At 69 years of age I found it difficult to make new friends and began feeling rather sorry for myself and knew I had to do something productive. My choice -learn to paint. I was off to a slow start as I live in Western Australia and there are not many places to obtain art supplies or get assistance. Thankfully I came across your web site while browsing the net . Thanks and thanks again for your post and a big thanks to the many inspirational replies..

  134. Linda Beattie on January 1, 2020 at 6:40 am

    Thank you Anna….yes indeed…it is inspiring…I have/had come to a road block in my art/painting just this week…but this post gives me s9me light…to look ahead….AND be encouraged! Thank you and Happy New Year!!

  135. Rachel on January 1, 2020 at 10:15 am

    Thank you Anna. I work in the NHS supporting people with mental health challenges and to be truthful in my 51st year..birthday yesterday feel flat. This has inspired me more than anything else I have read.I took your course years ago and loved it but life took over. The idea of the next ten years is a brilliant one for me. I would love to have the courage to show my art and enter a compertition. Thank you so much for this. Youve given me back more than I can say..a focus for me. Wishing you and all of the previous bloggers a beautiful, kind and creative 2020. Thanks all for sharing x

  136. Janet Hammond on January 1, 2020 at 10:42 am

    Thank you for this wonderful story Anna – I had never heard of Grandma Moses but I’m glad you related her story.
    I always said, ‘when I retire I’ll do this … that … and the other’, but guess what? I’m 62 now and feel like I’m running out of time. I’m semi-retired, but the goal posts have changed – I have turned into a carer for someone close to me. So it just goes to show that you can’t plan life, your plans have a nasty habit of backfiring on you, and the time to do stuff is NOW.

  137. bet on January 1, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Thank you so much for this reminder. Have painted my whole life with guilt. As it was not a productive means of spending my time. I am still fighting with myself to allow myself to just paint for the fun of painting.. I am 68, and was taught from an early age that my energy had to be used for worthwhile persuits. Love all your new letters and encouragement. And I am working on it. ( allowing myself to paint just for the joy of painting ) Thanks again.

  138. Hermi B. Manalaysay on January 1, 2020 at 11:58 am

    Thank you, Anna for the inspiration. Happy new year. God bless.

  139. Ellen Niemann on January 1, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    So glad I stumbled upon this opportunity. I’ve always liked to draw and play with paints and pastels, but like the rest, life imposed itself and I wasn’t able to pursue it in a dedicated way until my retirement from nursing. Now I’m 65 years old, and coincidentally, found Louise Fletcher’s challenge to make 2020 “Your Best Art Year Ever”, about the same time I was working on step 8 of the Celebrate Recovery 12 step program. Making Amends – and I discovered the person I needed to make amends to was myself. It is not enough to just say “I’m sorry” for the child abuse you weren’t protected from, or the abusive first marriage that ended (thankfully and also painfully). You must MAKE AMENDS! So in order to set things right for myself, I’ve decided to be more dedicated to what brings me joy. I don’t think my art will go in the direction of botanical perfection, but learning this style will greatly improve what I do. My goal (before I read about Grandma Moses’ achievement of one painting a week – was to start creating one painting a week! Always seeking to improve. You have no idea how theraputic it is! Written on New Year’s Day – with a glass raised to my fellow artists.

  140. Elin MacKinnon on January 1, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    Grandma Moses is my inspiration. Thank you for highlighting her story. I was lucky to see one of her paintings at the Maine Portland Museum of Art. I am 62 and just began watercolor painting 4 years ago. What a wonderful friend you were blessed with to support your journey. Thanks again for sharing this.

  141. Anne Eskelk on January 1, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Dear Anna, How kind of you to have thought of us all who are your school members and to have shared your story in order to help and encourage us all. It is hard when one loses a good friend, all we can do is to look back on the time we had with them and be grateful for that. The world could do with a few more lovely people like you around, that’s for sure.

  142. Sandy Zando on January 1, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    What a beautiful story and also a tribute to Barb. We never know where our life journey will lead us. God knew it already and placed you there at that moment to receive the commission and start you on your way with art. As a result, you too have touched so many lives (I know mine for sure). Thank you for sharing this wonderful story and know that it truly is inspiration for us all. I hope that, by telling your story, you find peace and know that Barb will always be near. Blessings for the New Year! Can’t wait to see what you bring us in 2020.

    Sandy Zando

  143. Kim Strong on January 1, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    This really hit home for me. I USED TO paint watercolors. I USED to do bronze sculpture. Why have I stopped? Because I never did anything with them. Yes, I sold a few of my paintings, but I never showed my sculptures although I have been told they are amazing. My husband was very supportive, but we had a large cattle ranch to run and I was fully ensconced in that. This past April my husband passed away from cancer. I am now sole proprietor of this ranch and feeding over 350 head of cows. It is a formidable task. However, I find myself sitting lonely at night, stupidly in front of a computer, instead of tapping into my creative nature. When I saw your FB post and that you do wet on dry realism, it piqued my interest. Should I drag out all my old paints and supplies? The answer is yes. After reading this story, it is a definite yes. Perhaps it will help with the loneliness. I live very remotely and have beautiful nature all around me. Why not?

  144. Suzanne on January 1, 2020 at 1:18 pm

    I am very sorry that you have lost your lovely friend far too soon. We still remember them long long after they have gone, because they were so special. When someone special departs it is always too soon, especially as, for your friend, it really was far far too early. She helped encourage and inspire you. I hope the wall mural endures in situ to inspire others.
    Grandma Moses is known of in Australia and I like that style of painting. When I was painting on greenware (pottery) I painted a scene around the outside of a mixing bowl in that style as if a village on the edge of water. . I really loved that bowl – after it was fired I the kiln it came out looking lovely. Loved the bowl is in past tense as two fully grown male possums entered my home via a chimney and did lots of damage (that bowl and other things were smashed when they went berserk inside my home while I was away that weekend).
    Recently I have been trying to do water colours of dahlias. still working on these. While single dahlias would be easier I am trying to do justice to create realistic pompom
    and cactus and decorative miniature dahlias. To further inspire me I received three pads of water colour suitable paper, some tubes of water colour paint,, water colour pencils and several small brushes for Christmas.
    You are correct that people can think they do not have time to pursue hobbies they enjoy. but who could say they could not find a spare ten minutes three times a month? Or better still ten minutes three times a week? From little things (or short periods of time) then big things can grow. Even if it is only a short time (comsistently) every week.
    Have been trying to make time. The first 12 water colour dahlia attempts were horrible. The next 8 attempts are a bit improved. I will keep trying

  145. Mary Warren on January 1, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    Thank you for sharing this story. By the looks of the responses it has garnered, you struck a chord with many of us “mature” painters. Art and your online school helped me through the dark times of my husband’s death and my daughter’s life-threatening illness. Ever time I walk by my work table and see one of my creations in progress, my mood is lifted.. I feel my life is made better by your presence in it. Thank you.

    PS: No more scares. I too was expecting to read you were closing down the site. You are a tremendous blessing to us. My thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

  146. Megumi on January 1, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    Thank you so much to share wonderful story for us.
    I have drawn for a year but lushed to be professional painter as soon as I can possible.
    But your sharing story teach me most important thing,
    “If I want to impress someone, I have to draw with enjoyment, or the drawing becomes stiff. “
    This year, I will draw not only flowers but animals with joy and enjoyment.
    Thank you Anna to light our way.

  147. Kate on January 1, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    Really enjoyed this story.

    I took your course Anna from 2014 and I must say I loved it. I must have been amongst your first online students? I stopped taking the course about 3 years ago for several reasons, but really because I became obsessed with completing every assignment instead of making my own work. It was a challenge to make the break and I miss the school a lot but I’m glad I did because it was the right time for me.

    About 2 years ago I sold my first pictures and have sold a number since. I was made redundant 2 years ago after a long bout of mental ill health (just before I turned 60) and decided my new career would be “Watercolour Artist”. I tell people now that’s what I am and my old career feels a long way in the past.

    Most of my friends are retired but I’m so pleased to have found a new path. It’s so lovely to read about this old lady who painted a picture a week for 30 years and who didn’t start until she was well into her 70s.

    Thanks for the inspiration and the reminder. I still get discouraged every now and then, especially in winter, and it’s great to think about people like this.

    • Anna Mason on January 1, 2020 at 8:00 pm

      Wow I’m thrilled you’ve sold paintings Kate! I remember you in the community, and the testimonial you gave, thank you. Keep at it and keep enjoying it! 🙂

      • Kate fletcher on January 1, 2020 at 9:46 pm

        Thanks. Best wishes to all your family for a happy 2020 xx

  148. Iwona W-Z on January 1, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    Dear Anna, You are always such an inspiration! First of all- best wishes for 2020 for You and your whole family!
    Secondly – losing such a friend is always sooo sad – but in many comments posted below your story, there is perhaps the best/right answer to that – keep on going with what you love, also in good memory of your friend/loved ones!
    I have been thinking a lot about the commitment for this year-was not sure how I should phrase it. I was thinking about setting a long-term goal (!) but on the other hand I would not like to make art one of the parts of my life linked with even more stress, time-schedules, the “I have to”, “I must” approach, as I had/have plenty of that in my professional life.. On the other hand, I started to consider a gradual shift of my working life towards something that is more fulfilling and relaxed. But I must confess that it is also scary, as I still have to ‘make ends meet:’. After reading Anna’s inspirational story, I thought “why should I push to make a ‘black-or-white’ choice”? Maybe the right answer is just that I should keep art as my relaxing practice, for the time being. And just try to enjoy it to the maximum. On the other hand, I am more comfy in making also a second – long-term = commitment:: I want to make art/crafts one of the most important areas of my life until 2030 – I would like to have some exhibition/s, as well as trying to find my way in using my growing watercolour skills! It is never too late!
    Thank You, Anna! xxx

  149. D Ferguson on January 1, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing that.
    Just said goodbye to the worst year of my life. I am 61 and believing for a better 2020. Your message was an encouragement

  150. Marion on January 1, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    Thank you for such a heart-felt and inspiring posting, Anna. I am sorry for the loss of your dear friend and champion, Barb, and send condolences to you and her family at this sad time. We all owe her an immense amount of gratitude for encouraging and supporting your talents that we now get to benefit from through your amazing school. With all good wishes to you and your family for the new year and decade ahead.

  151. Esther Wintringham on January 1, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    Hi Anna

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. So sorry for Barb’s too early demise. I too have recently lost friends very close to me and I miss then a lot. They were very encouraging about my artwork but, for me at least, at present the rest of the world does not see it as they did. I have sold a few pictures last year but now find myself with no room to store any more. However, I am still painting in my sketchbook in watercolour, although I use oils on canvas too at times. It is helping me to ‘keep my hand in’ and see what pictures will work as a finished painting and what will not. Keep up the good work. Your work is inspiring to us lesser artists and helps us to keep going too. None of us know what is around the next corner. A very happy New Year to you and yours.

  152. AnneOcci on January 1, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    Anna – I sit here reading this on New Year’s Day, across the pond in the States. I was very moved by your story and saddened by the passing of your friend. I took up water colors four years ago when at 60, I became an empty nester. I adventured on a water color painting trip to Umbria, setting my passion for the media. I still work full time, but now travel with my paints on my business trips. I’ve been with your “community” for two years – and it is this that I write about. The vast outpouring of posts replying to yours is inspirational in and of itself. You are a true inspiration, internationally, to many aging artists, that it is never to late to find happiness in art.
    May you have a wonderful 2020.

    • Anna Mason on January 1, 2020 at 7:57 pm

      What a lovely comment, thank you Anne. So pleased you’re painting now!

  153. Suzanne Linch on January 1, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    Your Guardian Angel then, how wonderful you were blessed to meet such a giving person.
    She will always be with you in heart and soul and this translates thru your giving.
    I’m 64 and yes never give in, it is never too late.

  154. Michelle Schuettke on January 1, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing such an inspiring story. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, My new favorite quote is “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” I’m determined to stop waiting for the perfect (fill in the blank) and just practice because I enjoy it 🙂 Cheers and wishing you all the best for the new year!

    • Anna Mason on January 1, 2020 at 7:56 pm

      What a great attitude Michelle! Go for it. 🙂

  155. Mrs J Craggy on January 1, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    Where to begin? I was deeply moved by your personal experiences in life . Someone mentioned you were an angel sent to earth and it is how I think of you. From some of your comments I have gleaned that life has had it’s difficulties for you but your indomitable spirit has shone through. You now have two beautiful children, a wonderful husband and lovely parents. You deserve every ounce of happiness.

    I am now 78, the same age as my husband. Unfortunately, we weren’t blessed with children but working lives took over and kept us happy. Our dogs have been our babies! My husband has had cancer but cured, an operation on his back and just got over a triple by-pass. Our lovely dog passed away at the end of August and then my dearest, childhood friend was diagnosed with cancer and had just two months to live – I feel lost without her. Then, my sister-in-law had motor neurones disease and has just passed away.

    I am telling you all of this because my consolation has been that your tutorials have really kept me going. I lose myself when I’m following your instructions. if I feel low, I just have to think about the next project. and that has kept me going. I cannot draw and have never painted in my life but at this stage in my life I can’t thank you enough for your inspiration. Your tutorials are so clear and enjoyable that I am always surprised when I find I have completed a painting. My husband gives me a lot of support too.
    Thank you for being there and sending us your sentiments – that couldn’t always have been easy for you. I wish you a very Happy and Healthy New Year.

    • Anna Mason on January 1, 2020 at 7:55 pm

      I’m so pleased my tutorials have been so enjoyable, especially as you’ve been experiencing such losses. Wishing you a wonderful 2020!

  156. LadyCinnamon on January 1, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    Happy New Year to you too, Anna,
    And thank you for your great story. For a moment “this was difficult for me to write” was a little scary and had me fearing you were closing your school. Instead it is growing stronger. I am familiar with Grandma Moses – still a much beloved American artist long after her passing. And having always been a late bloomer, I certainly agree it’s never too late. I’m 74 and returning to art after several years away from it. And I’m also trying to return to playing guitar and learning to speak Italian. Sculpture is still waiting, but that’s hopeful now too. I have a lot of other plans for whatever years I have left.
    If I may share a favorite quote: “You cannot go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

    • Anna Mason on January 1, 2020 at 7:53 pm

      Great quote! Glad you’re enjoying so much at the moment.

  157. Beth James on January 1, 2020 at 7:26 pm

    Anna, Thank you for sharing Barb with us. She lives on in your Spirit!
    My mother had many hobbies including watercolor and oil. She encouraged me to paint.
    Through my friend, I found you.
    You have been a wonderful inspiration to me.
    Thank you for your sincere and detailed instruction.
    Happy New Year!

  158. Mariajose on January 1, 2020 at 11:04 pm

    Dear Ana,
    Your story is really inspiring.
    First of all, I want to express my condolences for Barb’s death.
    Secondly, I’ve felt identified with parts of your story. I’ve been painting for a year and a half, after more than 30 years without doing it. I am currently 52 years old, I am a law professor at the University, and with three children, it was impossible to dedicate time for me.
    The children grow up and in May 2018 through my University, I discovered a workshop in the botanical garden of watercolor, on the mornings of two Saturdays. I signed up, and there I discovered my great teacher and already friend, Alicia, encouraged me and knew that I was carrying the painting inside me. Since then I’ve been following his classes once a week. Some time later, she told me about you, and I loved the way you taught. I signed up for your course last January, and I feel like painting is part of my life, I’ve recovered it after all these years.
    The teaching work i occupied me until now, almost 24 hours a day, however, watercolor has allowed me to separate my work from my personal time. Now I dedicate everything I can to watercolor, and the miracle is that I am surprised by my evolution, it is magical.
    I have participated in two collective exhibitions, and there is the possibility of doing others alone in 2020, hopefully they will come true.
    I would love to live from painting, so I congratulate you for getting it, in my case, I only intend to paint for myself now, it’s my time of day.
    Thank you for your teachings and for your sensitivity.
    and happy new year!!!!!!

  159. bev harrison on January 2, 2020 at 1:21 am

    I am at the end of the line and I agree with all the comments that have been made. What an inspiring story. I started painting last year after I spied Anna’s art while checking out plants on the internet . I had dabbled unsuccessfully with water color and her style was very inspiring. Thank you Anna. I have been a musician, teacher and performer over the last 30 years but can no longer play with crippling hands. This for me had come just at the right time but we do need to keep challenging ourselves knowing that we really can do this and telling ourselves that we can. This I did with music and especially performing where I needed to practice many hours per day. I am 79 going on 80. Living in Australia. I know that I CAN DO THIS. It is a GOOD MOTO. Thank you so much Anna for your encouragement.

  160. Kathy Barnett on January 2, 2020 at 6:43 am

    Only recently did I pick up a paint brush in early October. I am 56. The reason was my father painted watercolor when I was a very young child. It’s like magic to me. Three of the paints I made for Christmas had the recipients in tears and me too. Everyone says you should sell. I say let me enjoy the process for me. If some sell, that’s great but I just want to do what I love. Anna, I love your teaching. It is helping me to grow and improve. I love the story you shared. We should all be so lucky to have a Barb in our lives. Have a blessed new year/decade.

  161. Vonda Lawson-Rosa on January 2, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    Dear Anna – you inspire so many. I have to give you praise, not only due to you picking your passion and painting, but for your wonderful method of teaching! I took a break from your subscription service of teaching and during that I purchased a local well known oil painting artist lesson (btw was about your yearly price for subscription). This 20 hour lesson broken out into steps is challenging as I am used to your wonderfully well laid out method of instruction. His is good, but not quite specific enough for most people to have a successful painting. I am sure my painting I finish with him will be good – but when I take your lessons, I know that I can sit and do as much or as little in a predictable timeframe with spectacular results! Thank you for making watercolor my favorite media and for giving me the confidence to continue painting. I will be back in your lesson planning in this next year – as your lessons help me hone skills and remind me of things sometimes forgotten in eagerness to get it done. Happy and Prosperous New Year – New Decade!!

  162. Tessa Verdugo on January 2, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    It was almost as if you’d written personally to me as I am so procrastinating with my painting. It couldn’t have been a more apt story. I am 78 and determined to spend more time painting this year. I had heard of Grandma Moses but not in detail – what an inspiration, No excuse – here’s to 2020 and new beginnings, Happy New Year to you – to all of us.

  163. Karin Lendle on January 2, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    Your story toughed me deep inside.
    Great that you met Barb.
    And I am so happy that I found Anna Mason. You actually my Barb. Thank you so much!
    I think I improved my painting last year. I made lots of experiments on mixing colors, changing backgrounds from white to black, using natural materials like leaves for example to create my tiny little fairies.
    And I painted those wonderful pieces of chocolate. I will load it up now.

    Happy New Year


  164. lidia ferretti on January 2, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    Thank you so much Anna ! this is so inspiring. and beautiful story.. a thought and a pray for your friend Barb… I’m moved to the happy new year and thanks for sharing!

  165. Margaret Bemrose on January 2, 2020 at 8:30 pm

    Oh my word Anna, your story is so moving, there is no wonder it was painful for you to write; but for your wonderful friend, you might never had realised just how talented you are. I love watching your videos and I am in awe at the beautiful pictures you create!

    I am 75 years old and have only recently taken up watercolour, I love to paint but being a beginner I find it frustrating that the image I seem to see in my mind’s eye doesn’t recreate itself on the paper! 😀 but I keep trying!!

    Thank you for sharing your story – you are an inspiration to us all and I wish you and your family a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. Keep on painting!!

  166. Margaret on January 2, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    That is a lovely post. I was a member of your online school but found watercolours frustrating. I painted on porcelain for 30 plus years, with the encourage ent of my China painting teacher who incidentally is an amazing watercolour artist, I took up acrylic painting last year aged 75. I didn’t want to say I could have or should have and am thoroughly enjoying it.
    Apologies for defecting to acrylic! At least I’m painting.

  167. Debby Mason on January 2, 2020 at 11:01 pm

    Thank you, dear Anna. How precious you are to share your heart with those you do not personally know yet you know we likewise have experienced life challenges that can throw us into despair and despondency. You have a beautiful story and are such an inspiration to all of us.

    I am working on my dreams/goals for 2020 and beyond. These flow from one to another; i.e., body, mind, and spirit. The spiritual aspect is the most important to me as that will continue forever. So for me this goal will never change no matter how long I live. That is to know God and Jesus Christ whom He sent. My life has been changed dramatically by Christ, and it’s through Him I live. He has given me strength to face insurmountable difficulties and given me peace in the storms of life. Physically I plan to follow my same lifestyle, choosing those foods and exercise that aid well being. Mentally involves many things but my deepest passion right now is the WOW world of watercolor which you have so eloquently brought forth to all of us in this school. My immediate goals are keeping my time consistent every day, to learn from my mistakes and eventually develop my own style. Since I am in the newbie stage, it will take me a little time to develop my goal. I have some ideas. I am going to make a list of these in a journal and see how they develop. But my main thought is if the art gets good enough, I want to share with others. No selling or financial gain desired. I’m not sure exactly how to do that yet but the dream will come.

    God bless you dear heart. You are truly God’s treasure.

  168. Debby Mason on January 2, 2020 at 11:01 pm

    Thank you, dear Anna. How precious you are to share your heart with those you do not personally know yet you know we likewise have experienced life challenges that can throw us into despair and despondency. You have a beautiful story and are such an inspiration to all of us.

    I am working on my dreams/goals for 2020 and beyond. These flow from one to another; i.e., body, mind, and spirit. The spiritual aspect is the most important to me as that will continue forever. So for me this goal will never change no matter how long I live. That is to know God and Jesus Christ whom He sent. My life has been changed dramatically by Christ, and it’s through Him I live. He has given me strength to face insurmountable difficulties and given me peace in the storms of life. Physically I plan to follow my same lifestyle, choosing those foods and exercise that aid well being. Mentally involves many things but my deepest passion right now is the WOW world of watercolor which you have so eloquently brought forth to all of us in this school. My immediate goals are keeping my time consistent every day, to learn from my mistakes and eventually develop my own style. Since I am in the newbie stage, it will take me a little time to develop my goal. I have some ideas. I am going to make a list of these in a journal and see how they develop. But my main thought is if the art gets good enough, I want to share with others. No selling or financial gain desired. I’m not sure exactly how to do that yet but the dream will come.

    God bless you dear heart. You are truly God’s treasure.

  169. Belinda Kemp on January 3, 2020 at 2:19 am

    Thank you Anna! This is a lovely and inspiring story. My condolences on the loss of your dear friend. I’d heard of Grandma Moses but had never heard her back story. It reminds of Canadian artist Maud Lewis. Her life was made into a movie (Maudie) a few years ago starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke. It’s worth checking out. So heart warming and inspiring!

    Happy new year to you and your family!

  170. Lilia Lang on January 3, 2020 at 11:09 am

    Thank you so much for this story. It is unbelievable and inspiring. I have shared it with another fellow “late artists”. Have a wonderful and successful 2020.

  171. Polly Spikins on January 3, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    First – Happy New Year to you and your family.
    Thank you so much for that message. I am 80 and have struggled, without much success, to put my painting first for years. Even though I have been on my own for five years now I still have not managed it. HOWEVER. From now it is going to be different. What inspiring stories. Both your own story and that of Grandma Moses. I do know her art and have always loved it but didn;t know the story behind it.
    Since I read this I have started off quite well I think. When it was pointed out to me that I ought to think twice about starting a course now I am 80 and had I thought how old I will be when I completed it I could only think to say ‘Well the same age I will be if I don’t take it’ Not bad for me who mostly wimps out !!!!
    Thank you for that story and I do feel for your loss of such a lovely friend.

  172. Manisha RaiBanthia on January 3, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Hi Anna,

    Thanks for sharing your story. Every person has a story and it is so heart warming to read yours.
    I started to paint after I encountered your youtube lessons, keep sharing your beautiful work and help us to create ours.

    Wishing you many more success for the next decade.
    Lots of love

  173. yip.gayle on January 4, 2020 at 1:33 am

    Thanks, Anna, for sharing such a wonderful, inspiring story I retired to start doing more art and am enjoying the process. My goal for this coming year is to be mindful of my work and my materials. Looking forward to this new year. Happy New Year and again – thanks for your teachings and inspiration for us to continue doing what we are meant to be doing.

  174. Sharon3 on January 4, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    I feel inspired to paint more. Thank you Anna you are right it never to late to paint.

  175. Neil Pie on January 7, 2020 at 11:58 am

    This article is fantastic

  176. Louisa Beyer on January 7, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    Thank you Anna. This was so inspirational.

  177. Janet Kyle on January 7, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    Hi Anna, what a beautiful story. I am sorry for your loss of such a dear inspirational friend. You know she will never be far from you as you look at what you have accomplished since you met her.
    Thank you for the story of Grandma Moses. That alone inspired me as I now am that same age as her when she started painting although I started 5 years ago and currently am in such a funk regarding creativity. But this story with mixed emotions of happiness and sadness too had me smiling at the very end with a feeling inside of me to just go for it, go for what my style is and let it progress.
    Thank you so much for this inspiration today, it’s just the kick in the behind I needed to get going again.
    Happiest of New Years to you and your beautiful family. ❤️❌

  178. Cindy Mitchell on January 11, 2020 at 11:11 pm

    Anna……I studied art in college and loved it. I took classes in oil and acrylic, sculpture, photography, and watercolor. Watercolor was the only class I dropped out of, realizing years later it was the teacher not me. So after 30 some odd years of marriage and kids I took it up again and found your class. I loved it. The passion came back .
    I really needed your story about your friend Barb and Grandma Moses. The first of December my mother had a stroke, followed by another major one Thanksgiving Day. She did not recover and passed Dec. 2nd. Also on Thanksgiving Day my stepfather of 47 years fell and broke his hip and was hospitalized. He developed complications and died Dec. 30th. Needless to say this was a crushing blow, to lose both parents within 3 weeks. It hit hard and I haven’t been in my studio to paint since the first part of November. Your story gave me a “reboot” and I thank you for that. I will get my butt back into the studio and back on course!

  179. Synders on January 12, 2020 at 11:27 pm

    Beautiful, Anna, what a gem. I’m 60 this year and started painting with you last year. It’s been inspiring, scary and so fulfilling. I would love it to be my sea change, semi-retired, but for the moment I’m content simply painting. When I paint I feel God smile, it’s an act of worship and doesn’t have to be anything else… until it is. I want the viewer to see something in nature that surprises them, something they haven’t seen before.
    Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Carp diem!

  180. Jeanne Bunting on January 14, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    OMG. This brought tears to my eyes! I knew who Grandma Moses was, but I had nooo idea of her back story. Reading this I just kept thinking, “I can do this!”! I may not ever be as good as Anna, Grandma M or even that kindergartner that has an innate sense of creativity – but, I can make my own art for me. Very, very inspiring!

  181. Lianne on January 17, 2020 at 10:03 am

    Dear Anna,

    I live in the Netherlands and am 32 years old. Just a year ago I started painting. If you realise that before I could not even draw something resembling anything in real life you’d be amazed at what I am painting now. My paintings are far from perfect but realising that I’ve only begun a year ago, I keep thinking: who knows what I’ll be able to paint in 10 years time? Wow! Most important for me is that I love painting. The results are secondary to the joy painting gives me. I whish everyone could have a hobby like what painting means for me. I have no plans whatsoever on getting paid for my paintings, now or in the future. I prefer to paint on postcard format so that I can send the painting to a friend when it’s finished. I also give them to people around me who need extra happyness or support. Last week I gave one to a colleague who is in physical pain and a wife with breast cancer. Just to let them know I am thinking about them.

    Thank you for the inspiration you’ve given me. Since reading your blog I think you are a really nice and loving person as well. Wish that the whole world could be like that!

    I also have two technical questions. I bought the arches paperblock you recommend and it’s so much better than the paper I used before. Do you also know a brand that sells quality paper fulfilling all requirements in postcard size? The only other solution I see is cutting a big sheet of paper into postcard size, but thats less neat.
    The second question is about the paint. In the Netherlands you can buy Rembrandt paint from Talens. I bought this already before buying your books. The quality is similar to Winsor & Newton. Could you explain in detail how I can compare these brands by using the color number? Becauwe I cannot work it out. I have compared the color shemes but I cannot match the codes. (See and click on ‘aquarelverf’ below ‘Rembrandt’)
    Thank you again for all the painting inspiration (and extra love for gardening by the way) you’ve given me. Lots of love, Lianne

    • Anna Mason on January 20, 2020 at 10:35 am

      Hi Lianne, thank you for your lovely message and I’m so pleased you’re enjoying painting! I don’t have time right now to delve into the Rembrandt colours. In the equipment PDF I offer via I set out what the pigment numbers are in the paints I use. You would need to see which Rembrandt ones seem a close match – and then you’d need to experiment with them yourself and see if they can get you the sort of colours I’m getting in my videos/books. I hope this helps. 🙂

  182. Christiane Beeler on January 22, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experiences Anna! I’m 78 years old and have only been painting for 2 1/2 years. Many painter friends have told me that I do such great art work! I’m not sure about that but I’m enjoying learning and drawing and painting different pictures.

  183. Alina on February 20, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    Wow, thank you so much, Anna!
    I did hit the rock bottom with my carrier and life in general year and half ago. 1 St loosing my dear friend to cancer, then I did get hurt physically which limited my moving life ( I did enjoy ballroom dance prior to), then losing my apartment due to inability climb stairs, and my job that I couldn’t perform at the same level as before, too much for one year to handle. I found your book and started your guided lessons… you brought Sparks in my life, desire to live again and to create. I will never forget that! I keep telling myself that Life is happening here and now, just take baby steps, one foot in front of other…and learn to be patient, patient and forgiving with myself.

  184. Carol on March 10, 2020 at 5:28 pm

    Anna, I just love how you inspire people. After reading about Grandma Mose, I remembered some sage advice from an older fellow painter. She once recommended that I sip a glass of wine to “loose up” when I get frustrated while painting. She was 88 at the time, with a son who restored antique paintings in Italy. I occasionally follow her advice, especially when I am doing detail work with your “teeny tiny” brushes! Of course, one must drink in moderation, or you are opening yourself up to another set of problems. Keep up the beautiful website. We need all the beauty we can find and create while living in these uncertain times. Congratulations on your beautiful children. Their love knows no boundaries!

  185. Potatoes on March 27, 2020 at 11:04 am

    Hi,Anna you are amazing!!! When I see you pianting,I feel like if you actually made a new living object!
    Since I’m new in I have tuns of questions but the thing that’s bordering me is how do you know exactly know which couleur and mix to put on your painting?How do you you know where? And how?
    It all just seems invisible to me!
    Other wise your paintings are exceptional, amazing,beautiful and other words that discribe magnificent things!!!
    Continue in your beautiful work!

    • Jan on April 3, 2020 at 5:33 pm

      You have some mistakes in you comment?

  186. MaryBeth Buschmann on March 30, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    Anna, I am logged in on 03-30-20. It took me two years to respond to your lovely “letter.” As you may or may not know, I had 8 surgeries in 2018 from April thru December. Then in March 2019 we moved an hour north to Lake Forest Place retirement community. After 45 years in River Forest IL, it was a stressful time adjusting to LFP and getting everything unpacked in our Cottage. During that time, you launched your new website and business connections. I need to update my profile. I was already alerted to indicating my tutorial is done and have started doing that. I am part of the” signature help needed ” discussion. It is so good to be back. Anything else I need to catch up on? MaryBeth

  187. Dorothy on August 11, 2020 at 1:05 am

    Thanks for sharing those stories with the world! Sorry you’ve lost your friend. I’m glad you have some wonderful memories to hold and treasure:)

  188. Eva Brunner on January 18, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    Thank you so much, Anna, for sharing your story and of course “Grandma Moses”! I will not forget this story of a 76 year old lady starting her painting career (she’s 20 years older than I!) and this is so motivating! First and foremost because she just DID it and I’m sure she didn’t start because of the TIME Magazine frontpage. I just needed this at this moment. So many things in life can hold us back from doing what we LOVE. Just for ourselves – and I feel so happy and full of joy when getting to work with my brushes, paint and paper. I WILL DO IT. Promise! Thanks again and have a great, hopefilled 2021!

  189. Robert Howe on August 12, 2021 at 7:35 am

    I was glad to hear Grandma Moses started at the age of 76. I’m only 73, so I can put it off for another 3 years! Joking aside, I’m looking forward to watching your videos, and starting again. Thank you very much! Your work and website are wonderful, and a breath of fresh air.

  190. Grete Lepperød on August 20, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a warm and inspirational story. This should put me back on the painting line.

  191. Diane Lalomia on December 28, 2021 at 2:09 am

    Christmas for me was filled with watercolor supplies including your first book and a set of your brushes. I’ve completed your pear, proceeded to do both your Craftsy classes. I’m waiting for the delivery of bright violet so I can work on all the projects in your book. My husband has been very supportive and has encouraged me to enjoy my watercolor journey because he sees how much joy I get from painting. I am looking forward to joining your online classes soon. You are always welcome to visit me in Michigan and see Sleeping Bear Dunes, one of the wonders of the world and a beautiful vista to paint. I’m not as old as Grandma Moses, but I’m not far behind. Thank you for sharing your talents with the rest of us.

  192. Yasmine Jamil on March 20, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    i enjoyed reading about grandma Moses, I had heard about her but did not know her story. i am 77 and am really inspired!
    thank you so much for your story, I have just joined the school and am looking forward to the tutorials.

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