I'm an artist, educator and founder of Nature Studio, an online art school & community. My inspiration comes from nature, sunshine and colour. Oh, and from you: because my passion is to help you access your creativity to paint & draw the way you've always wanted to.
I'm dedicated to creating resources to help you begin painting & drawing, or to take your artwork to the next level. Through my books, my free videos, my blog posts and through Nature Studio membership, I've built an audience from over 100 countries and a huge digital following.
But it wasn't always like that...
I didn't pick up a brush for years...
Before I started with all this, I hadn't painted, or drawn, or created any art of any sort for 7 years. 7 loooong years.
And yet making art was my true love throughout my whole childhood. Hours and hours...and hours... spent painting in my room.
And wow, did I miss it.
How had this happened?
Well it started when I absorbed the idea that I should pursue a 'sensible', secure job (and that wouldn't be one in art).
So I did History at uni, a stint working in Insurance, a masters in Interactive Media (an attempt to get back to something more creative), and then a string of jobs I didn’t much like.
By my mid 20s, I was working in local government management. It felt about as secure as it got but, of course, my artistic creativity was completely sidelined.
I'd tried a few times in those 7 years to pick up a brush but it always felt so difficult to start. For me my main block was that I could never think of what to paint. And I also had a sense that anything I did paint would be a pretty pointless and frivolous waste of time! Which of course was hilarious considering how much TV I watched.
But, when I was 26, it finally caught up with me.
I just couldn’t ignore the creative longing any longer.
So, for the umpteenth time I thought I would try doing some painting in my spare time...
Within 2 years of that if-she-can-I-can moment, I won a prestigious award for my painting, had my first sell-out exhibition at Chelsea Flower Show and, with a nervous deep breath, quit that 'sensible job'. I’m so grateful to say, I haven't looked back.
That magical moment was 15 years ago.
Whaaaatt!! It's gone so fast.
It's been a richly detailed, colourful ride. But it’s not all been a breeze. Far from it. Like most of us, I've gone through some heavy stuff in that time (like cancer, divorce and IVF - in that order!). But I've also found my soul-mate, married him, had success with the IVF and welcomed my two beautiful kiddos and the radical changes to my life they have brought in.
Through it all painting has been my constant.
It's been like a restorative tonic: both calming me down and energising me throughout all life's ups and downs.
I can help YOU experience the benefits of painting too.
Breaking down the process
Fast forward another couple of years and I began to teach alongside exhibiting. This was another massive moment for me: experiencing the joy of helping others to develop their skills and gain confidence in their abilities.
What I also love about teaching is getting to use the trained critical thinker in me, to carefully break down the painting process into clear stages and put it into words. I realised that being self-taught had actually been a huge bonus to me. Without going to art school, I'd developed a step-by-step method for myself that made it dramatically easier to learn how to paint & draw what you really see.
Bringing clarity to that process for others has become my second passion, and I've had two books published so far.
No more angst.
As I worked with adult students, I became aware of the multitude of blocks that exist for people around making space to nurture their creativity.
To add to the ones I’d experienced myself, I also saw people saying they didn't have the time or the space to paint, or that they couldn't seem to enjoy painting because they feared getting less-than-perfect results; sometimes so much so that they didn't even allow themselves to start. Or they did start and they then got frustrated and disappointed with their skill level.
SO MUCH ANGST over something that they knew on a deeper level would benefit them and be FUN. I feel so much compassion for anyone experiencing this. I know it can be overcome and that's now the other main focus of my work: how to help people move past their creative blocks: so they can paint with ease and without angst.
Nature Studio: my online school & community
From a method...
Teaching via video was a logical next step in order to enable more people to access the teaching from the comfort of their own homes.
I launched my online school in 2014 with 3 clear goals in mind:
- Skill members up by creating the clearest videos to guide people through the process subject by subject
- Help members grow into their own independent practice
- Help members to move through any creative blocks
...to a movement
Fast forward to today and I’ve taught over 15,000 people. We grew into a vibrant community offering support to one another way past the initial skill-learning phase of the artistic journey.
Not only did members learn to paint & draw nature subjects, but in doing so they reawakened their creativity and connection with nature. They felt more fulfilled, more alive and more themselves. So we changed our name to Nature Studio in 2023 to better reflect our welcoming online space & values.
I've also hand picked other tutors to share their styles and skills with the community, always ensuring that the video tutition is of the highest quality.
Members have gone on to exhibit themselves and even turn pro with their own Etsy sites, commissions and exhibitions. But crucially they've found that rewarding flow that they were missing and are honoring an authentic part of themselves.
So now I get to help other people (you?) find their own way back to painting, to their creativity and to themselves.
If you'd like to try the first step of this journey with me, be sure to click here try out the free classes I offer here on my website: they'll give you the opportunity to see if the Nature Studio approach is a good fit for you.
If you sign up, you’ll also get emails from me every couple of weeks with painting tips and motivational blogs all aimed at helping you to paint.
And beyond that I hope you'll connect with me on social media:
And visit my artist website where you can see more of my portfolio & even purchase originals, prints & signed books.
Taking the leap into painting full-time has taken my life to places I never imagined…
- Professional botanical artist since 2008, taking commissions & exhibiting at the Chelsea Flower Show & in the US
- Paintings in the prestigious RHS Lindley Library Collection and also the Shirley Sherwood Collection
- Published two books: The Modern Flower Painter & Anna Mason’s Watercolour World
- Received an Gold Medal for botanical art, the highest award given by the Royal Horticultural Society
- Taught over 15000 people from 100 countries how to paint with my online art school