Get Inspired!

HOw to know what hobby to take up
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Have you settled on watercolours as a hobby? Or do you try lots of different art mediums, or different creative hobbies altogether?

If you’ve found yourself getting in a bit of a muddle with it, this video may help you to hone in on what should be your focus.

Because having a focus allows you to make progress which is where the rewards really come:

So, what were the things you loved to do before the age of 8 and how do you fit them into your life now, or not!? Please let me know in the comments!

 

Anna x

107 Comments
  1. Mary Barnett 9 months ago

    I have always loved and admired paintings and used to paint as a child but as you said life puts you on a different path. I have always been an animal but too so have always had dogs around me . I am taking your classes and st times get so cross that mine don’t look like yours, but I have improved greatly so thank you.

  2. Jane 9 months ago

    Your so right Anna about what I loved as a child & Yes I got side tracked! Love your book by the way, a present from my dear friends Mike & Carrie Howell

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Thanks for sharing Jane glad you’re painting now- and hi to the Howells!

      • Shawdian 7 months ago

        Thank you Anna! You would love my best friend Gill whose husband a Professor of Dinasor’s who spends his life around the world, looking for and finding what his wife refers to as “Old Bones” of which they have some fabulous specimense lying around their home. Where I live on the Isle of Wight, we have some wonderful Jourasic beaches where even I found a few “Old Dino Bones” which I treasure. You bring out the painting in me x

  3. Betsy Birge 9 months ago

    Hi Anna,

    My passion before the age of 8 was drawing/painting/coloring. I still remember and still have some of the tools I used as a child. And I still have the artwork in a portfolio. Following brain surgery in 2009, my passion was really rekindled and I have progressed in my artwork to now showing and selling in galleries. I love your school because it is teaching me everything I missed out on by not following those childhood dreams. I am definitely making up for lost time but going at it with a more mature mindset. It seems like it all makes sense to me now. Thanks for being such an awesome instructor!

  4. carmelle Tidd 9 months ago

    62 Tokyo Crst.

  5. Anonymous 9 months ago

    I’m screaming with so many holdup as my husband thinks I am wasting time. He does not understand that painting is part of me. It is what I love and on the couple of occasions when the going is good I have continued into the night! Each time I set up to start there is a reason for us to go out. I am miserable. I hope to join your school but money is not to be spared for painting tutorial. I will even if it is at night. Thank you for being there. Jenny

    • Elizaeth 9 months ago

      Hi Anna,
      I loved animals!…still have kitty cats. I loved a pony, and rescued a horse recently! My love for painting has always been in me.even in school when you had to color inside the lines! Always was planting little seeds to see what would grow…still love planting flowers…. but painting….it is part of me!

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      I hope you can get some support from your husband or some good friends Jenny as it will be very good for you if you can express that creativity!

  6. maxine r perry 9 months ago

    Being almost 65 it’s very difficult to think about age 8, but if i recall i did want to be either a veterinarian or an artist. I devoured books on dogs and treated (or attempted) every sick/injured animal i came into contact with. Had lots of recovering birds in my bedroom 🙂
    In the artist arena, i was drawing, painting-by-number, and copying drawings from matchbook covers (‘become an artist’ school ads). I had even sent in my work to the matchbook cover ad company to have my work assessed, of course told i had talent. Never seriously pursued those dreams to fruition. Well throughout my life did my share in animal husbandry by having pets and owning a livestock farm. On the creative side did all sorts of crafts (sewing,…beading…). What revived my art passion was being close friends with a hobbyist acrylic painter here in Panama, Central America. I drove her to find the limited supplies in our area, so picked up inexpensive watercolor pencils, w/c pan pallette, brushes and paper to join her once a week for a paint social day. Here i am today a student of yours with good/great supplies with a goal of painting everyday a little something even if only in my sketchbook. My friend left the country so thru media you and others are my paint buddies. I have touched a little acrylic painting and pastel, but by far watercolor gets the bulk of my time with padtel now coming in as a close second. Thanks for your encouraging newsletter/emails.


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    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Excellent you’re painting everyday, good for you Maxine!

  7. Karen 9 months ago

    It was sewing. And I’ve sewn nearly everyday since then and I’m now close to 60. But I also remember before I was 8, drawing a coloring book page. We have several artists in our family, so it made sense. In the last few years, I’ve taken up drawing and watercolors – but it is slow going as I’m still working.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Slow and steady will get your great progress Karen – stick at it!

  8. This was eye opening for me! I have always thought about my childhood passion AFTER the age of 8, which was writing. When I was about 8 or 9, I remember telling people that when I grew up, I was going to be an author. I think it’s because grownups kept telling me I could write well, and that “maybe someday you’ll write books!” I grew up and still loved painting, drawing, and anything artistic, but I viewed it as a “distraction” from writing. It was only play. I went to college to learn to become an author, Lo and behold, I started skipping class so I could finish some drawing or painting I was working on, on the side. I eventually dropped out and went to art college, but the college was expensive so I went VERY part-time, That was pretty discouraging, so before my first year was even up, I dropped out. Time to find a “real” job.

    Fast forward to adulthood. I wrote and published 11 books. My dream realized! But I continually got sidetracked with art. I’d be working on a novel or a book of some sort and would be tired or distracted or need a break. What did I do to reset my brain? Something artistic. I’d doodle. I’d paint a mural on an entire wall of our house. I’d play with beads. Until finally, I gave up on a book I was working on to start a jewelry design business.

    The jewelry gave me an artistic outlet, but it just wasn’t enough. I kept puttering around with drawing, which – again – became a distraction from my successful jewelry business. I ended up buying some watercolors just to spruce up my drawings. One day I posted a painting on Instagram and asked my followers if they thought it’d look okay if I left the background white. One woman told me there was this artist Anna Mason I should check out. She left her backgrounds white, and her work was incredible! I did the free tutorial and was hooked! I’ve only been with the school about two months, but our house is already filling up with watercolors. I’m finally doing what I spent all day doing as a small child. And, thanks to an aha moment after watching this video, I think I can finally put that whiny little voice behind me, the one that says, “But you were supposed to be a writer!”

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      That’s wonderful Michelle! I’m so glad this has allowed you to take your artistic yearnings seriously. And congrats on the 11 book achievement too!

    • TigerLily 9 months ago

      What if you wrote and illustrated your stories? No whiny voices then and both talents would be utilized..

  9. Jacqueline Sumerling 9 months ago

    Thanks for your email. Unfortunately my computer has been down these last few days so I have not been able to do anything about joining the on line class or to follow the videos. Hopefully now I can. I have bought your beautiful book and am enjoying reading it and being inspired.

  10. Einah 9 months ago

    Art runs in my family, and as far as I remember, I was always drawing in class… my books were always covered with doodles. Although I chose a more “down to earth” career, I kept drawing. I tried so many mediums: oil, acrylic, watercolour, ink, pencil, digital painting. Always self taught, just by experimenting. Then my 2 children we born, with just a year apart… So I had no time to even consider painting! Now they’re just 2 and 3 years old and I’m getting back in painting again. I chose watercolour for numerous reasons, but mainly because it was a medium I always struggled with for numerous reasons. When I discovered your style, it was like I had found the missing link to really work with watercolour. I’ve always tried to achieve realistic art but was never quite happy with my results. Your style of painting forced me to slow down and think about what I was about to achieve, it was my main problem, always trying to rush. Thank you!!!

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      So pleased you’re getting back to painting – and that you’re enjoying watercolours and slowing down! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Anonymous 9 months ago

    For me I noticed that there are only 2 activities that I do when i completely lose track of time and clears my mind: photography and painting! Everyone needs that in their lives. Thanks Anna for giving people a place to go to find this place.

  12. Liza Parmely 9 months ago

    As a child I loved to do anything with my hands but most of all I liked to draw and color. We did not really have paints around the house but once I got to school I was able to paint. The hardest thing for me through the years has been to narrowing down all the different types of art mediums I enjoy. However, watercolor is definitely my favorite. To me watercolor is like magic. I was so excited to start taking your courses this spring but unfortunately broke my right arm slipping on the ice. It has been frustrating as a creative person to not be able to create. I just got my cast off and I am trying to get my stiff hand back to where I can paint. When it is working again I am definitely going to take your class. Thank you for being such an inspiration !

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Phew I’m glad your wrist is healed now! That must have been very tricky to go without painting like that!

  13. Robin Kinley 9 months ago

    I remember just loving doing crafts and drawing and painting. Also, I decided at 7 I wanted to speak French fluently. I majored in French and became a French teacher, and now speak French fluently but left the teaching field to pursue my interest in longarm quilting, which is essentially drawing with thread on other people’s quilts. It was a nighttime watercolor class that got me interested in my art again, so I retired early and haven’t looked back! All those art classes in college and in my childhood are coming to fruition…

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      that’s great Robin! And how interesting you wanted to learn French at aged 7!

  14. Sharon Purnell 9 months ago

    My passions at a very young age were painting (mostly Indians copied from my painting box!), and inventing stories/writing stories. In my head i lived in another world, a world of adventure, where rabbits and buses spoke. I wrote endless stories, which the school sometimes allowed me to act out with my friends. In the school plays i knew everyone’s words including my own (thankfully!). I felt and acted invincible, capable of anything. And then I grew up a bit and became shy, lost my confidence for many years, stopped believing I could be good enough at the creative things, concentrated on the academic. It wasn’t until many years later, after falling very ill just before the age of 40, that I realised my soul was aching badly. So I packed in my very good job, gave up my very good salary, and moved to France to discover whether I could really write and paint. And part of that discovery was seeing your strawberry one day online and thinking “Wow! I’d love to be able to paint that strawberry!” I’ve not looked back since that moment. I have no huge aspirations to become a professional painter, but would love to have my writings published. But the most amazing thing is, my soul has stopped aching….

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Bravo Sharon! That’s a wonderful story – well done for being so brave!

  15. Vinodhini 9 months ago

    Hi anna
    Its so hard to recollect my memories . I was having so many passions like singing, dancing,drawing ,sports but iwas retricted by my parents. The days and years passed only i studied but did not do what my heart says.now with my husbands encouragement i have started to paint.i feel like flying. Lately i found my passion towards painting that too water colouring. I am beginner and wants to learn more. I like your tutorials want to join your class. Waiting a permission from my husband.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Sounds like your husband is a good support – I’m sure you can persuade him!

  16. Pam Ross 9 months ago

    I have been all over the board with multiple hobbies. But now that I have retired I am narrowing it down to watercolor and either color pencil or graphite . Love your style and cannot wait to find my own.

  17. Kyna 9 months ago

    As a little one I spent most of my spare time drawing and coloring..I remember that there never seamed to be paper in the house ..I’m thinking because money was tight as I was being raised by my father , there wasn’t extra funds for things like that…So I spent hours upon hours coloring designs and flowers on large smooth rocks…I loved doing this …and I wasn’t discouraged when I would come back a couple days later to find all my hard work was washed away from the rain…I was pleased I could start over again on a fresh rock canvas.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Fantastic improvising! Lovely story Kyna!

  18. Graham 9 months ago

    Anna, up to the age of eight, I never really had the opportunities to enjoy anything really. Now I am retired, I am really into photography and started to dabble in sketching and painting which, I find totally absorbing and I keep getting drawn into art the more I read.

  19. Anonymous 9 months ago

    All l did besides sports was draw any thing to do with art was great. Today l’m able to continue with my art. At the minute l’m busy learning the techniques of the dry medium once l’m satisfied with that water colour is the next step into the world of art. I’m in the middle of reading your book and so far its been enlightening and interesting Eddie

  20. Payte Foley 9 months ago

    Anna, thank you for your inspirations ! As a child I was crazy for ballet and art! The only class in school I loved was Friday afternoon art class. ALthough I started with paint by numbers in oils, all my pictures were of ballet dancers! AFter watching your latest video…my memories flooded back to those days.And today I am painting with watercolours and love it! Alas, my ballet legs are old and arthritic but I still attend the Ballet . I thank you for taking me back to where these first loves started and continue still.
    Payte

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Wonderful you still do ballet – good for you Payte!

  21. Marie Kelly 9 months ago

    HI Anna, as a child and well into my teens I loved to color, my nieces & nephews would always get so upset with me when I babysat them as I would color in the coloring books.
    Now at age 65 I am into painting, watercolor being my favorite.
    Love your video’s.

  22. Anonymous 9 months ago

    Great incite! Loved the T-Rex.

  23. Ciro Ascione 9 months ago

    I wanted to be a footballer and enjoyed playing in the fresh air. At school I enjoyed drawing. I liked to copy drawings/paintings of old masters especially faces and buildings. In fact had life being different I would have become an architect.
    Unfortunately I had to start work at an early age and while preparing for retirement I read somewhere that you should pick up hobbies you enjoyed when you were young. I could not play football at my age so drawing and painting it was…

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      That’s great you’re getting back to it Ciro!

  24. June Mitchell 9 months ago

    Hi Anna
    I loved drawing and painting as a child. I still have a canvas I done at the age of 13 at school. It was stretched on a board in the school hall for all to see. Remembered being very proud. I’ve dabbled in different mediums over the years and retired 4 years ago love. I have an over critical husband which sometimes stop me painting. Last time six months.

    We also have a very large garden that take up my time …growing lots of my own vegetables.

    I also love archeology my dad was very interested in history. I use to go bottle digging at the age of 20 but this passion has never really taken off. My husband and previous partners have not had the same passion so it’s fallen by the way side.

    I’m now retired 66 and despite obstacles being thrown in my way have rekindled my passion for watercolours, singing and have a bucket list on which perhaps going on a dig have been added.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Don’t listen to the criticism June and keep exploring those passions!

  25. Elizabeth Beveridge 9 months ago

    Hi Anna,

    Thank you so much for this video.

    Your point about being torn between, and constantly switching up, different mediums had me really stuck. I ache to really excel, but you’re right, I have realized I need to focus.

    I’m starting the pear today, and I have a couple of your other tutorials from Craftsy (before I found you coupon here!). I really believe that focusing on your method and really working to become good at it will make me feel good about my watercolors. I seem to gravitate to them, so it’s a good place to focus.

    I can hardly wait to spend some time in your school. You’re a true inspiration.

    Elizabeth Beveridge

  26. Anonymous 9 months ago

    This was such a startling coincidence when it dropped in my inbox today.

    For months in psychotherapy I’ve been talking about how as a child i loved drawing and painting and that all got abandoned when I was sent away to boarding school aged 9. The sort of girls school where you have to learn hunting shooting and fishing so you can be a good wife to a wealthy landowner. It closed down years ago thank god.

    I’m now 59 and I’ve loved every project I’ve completed in this school, which I joined as soon as I c ould after Anna started up. I met Anna at chelsea flower show where I saw her famous strawberry and fell in love with it. I thought “I don’t just want to own that picture, I have to learn how to do that!” I had a go at it 3 ish years ago and it’s still the one all my friends say “I LOVE that strawberry!”

    Yesterday I learned that I will be made redundant from my IT job. today I asked a trusted friend for advice about what I should do next and showed her my paintings. She persuaded me to put some pictures in an exhibition she’s organising in Nottingham in may 2018. It’s for charity but it’s a start.

    And later the same day this post from Anna. There’s a message somewhere here for me. Now, what could it be?

    • Kate Fletcher 9 months ago

      Oops forgot to say who i am and I’m not logged in. Kate Fletcher lol

      • Author
        Anna Mason 9 months ago

        Best of luck with your new chapter Kate – your paintings are great!

  27. Karen 9 months ago

    Hi Anna,
    Doodling in school and on any pieces of paper I could find, including the newspaper, was something I did everyday. But the best memory of art or at least I thought it was, mixing my own paint using small orange and purple rocks I found along Marshall’s Creek in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. We went on vacation there every year and I would spend hours mixing paint and drawing on the rocks. Back in those days, kids were allowed to explore. I was convinced I had found a Native American secret. But, as it happens , I became a Physical Therapist, my grown up passion. Now that I’ve retired, done with PT back to mixing paint. This time out of a tube and onto paper. I love your art and aspire every day to improve.
    Thank you, Karen

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Lovely story- thanks for sharing Karen!

  28. David 9 months ago

    Great video. Question… Why don’t you go draw/paint on an excavation site?

  29. Rosalie 9 months ago

    784 Hammond Pl

  30. Julie Bird 9 months ago

    Thank you Anna
    I have finally bought your book and brushes, and am looking forward to trying them out. I cannot remember before 8yrs old but I know I spent most of my childhood reading writing, drawing or painting. It wasn’t until I slipped my disc that I started to draw and paint again sometime in my thirties. Since then it has been on off, as time and circumstances permit. I have just about everything and have spent a fortune on materials. I have lots of reference photos too. But in November I moved to Blackpool first in a tiny house where I could hardly move to an upstairs flat with two bedrooms . Yeay, I will now be able to do some painting again. I will be retiring in 5yrs and hope to have more painting time. I love your work and wish so much to paint like you.xx

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Wishing you luck with this new chapter Julie!

  31. Artist Under Sail 9 months ago

    At the age of 5 I knew who and what I wanted to be. Blackbeard’s daughter and sail the seas, pirating. Seriously. By the age of 8 I could be found hitchhiking rides on sailboats at a local marina. My parents never discovered that bit until a speech on their 50th anniversary. By 10 I was enthralled with colour, light, and old master painters. Fast forward to present day. I have been sailing the Caribbean Sea these past 11 years, sketching, w/c painting, and teaching what I learn from other artists to anyone I meet who is interested. Two of my major passions combined. What better life can there be?

  32. Anna 9 months ago

    Loved the video!

  33. Esther 9 months ago

    I always liked drawing. Especially faces facinated mecsince ever. But play play….Two years ago two things hapoened. My dad passed away. Same day I was informed that my work permit in Botswana is defnitely not being renewed. I was teaching less wealthy kids how to do usable arts cheaply….since my profit was too small…they stopped my permit. At funeral, my sister suggested we each paint my dad. She has been painting for many years. Six months later my fsrther in law passed away, and I painted him too…then babies were born…and I was hooked on watercolour…especially portraits. Currently focusing more on mastering flowers. Would love to do this onlinexschoil, but our network in Botswana simply not strong enough for videos.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      thanks for sharing your story Esther!

  34. Vickie 9 months ago

    Before the age of 8 I remember drawing and creating my own paper dolls and their clothes. I also created and sewed clothing for my Barbie dolls with pieces of material I found lying around. Six months ago I began taking colored pencil art classes, and now I’m looking at other mediums as well. Your videos have sparked an interest in watercolors, although I only have a few watercolor pencils and nothing else in that line.

  35. Doreen Martin 9 months ago

    Hi Anna. Horses horses and more horses at 50 I bought one then I’ve loaned and bought two others now at 70 I’ve lost my ponies and my nerve so i started painting Watercolour proved too difficult but I enjoyed oil and acrylic but I practice watercolour most days. I joined you school and tried most of your examples with not bad results but what is amazing is that I like portraits so I tried your technique of drawing lightly and start to paint lightest darkest etc. and people can actually recognise my portraits and my watercolours are so much better I can hardly believe it…. So everyone learn from Anna and apply her technique to all your pictures for great improvement .. I’ve had several teachers who in there way were great but you had the most influence on my painting xxx. Thank you Anna..

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      So pleased you’ve really improved and are enjoying your watercolours Doreen!

  36. Nicola Simpson 9 months ago

    Before 8?? That seems a long time ago now. I was an avid reader as soon as I could read and loved books but I can’t say that drawing or painting was a big thing for me at that time. It is now though and I found this school in a roundabout way. It all started with a wine and paint night (all supplies, tuition, wine and snacks provided for the group who are mostly beginners like me). I mentioned to a friend how much I enjoyed these evenings and she invited me to join a local paint group. You take your own art project to the group to work on and get feedback there. I didn’t have a project (or even a paintbrush). I looked on Craftsy for a class and found Anna’s and from there found this school – so glad I did as I am loving learning this technique. Always a dog lover and wanted a puppy from a very early age – at last I have one – a beautiful chocolate labrador and one day I will create a painting of her.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      thanks Nicola – make sure you post the painting of that chocolate lab when you paint her!

  37. audrey peaty 9 months ago

    From the moment I picked up a pencil at age 4 I knew and everyone else knew I had a gift.
    I have spent my life trying to make a living at that gift and have my own business as an
    architectural illustrator. I have not been very successful at selling paintings I made outside
    of my “work” but all my work is on commission so I am paid well.

    I won my first art contest when I was 8 and my mother submitted my drawing of a horse
    to the newspaper. I won $5 and by then I was convinced there was nothing else in the world
    I could do.

    Thanks for reminding me of that.
    Audrey
    audreypeaty.com

  38. Linda 9 months ago

    I became a Petrolem Geologist and Geophysicist. Which has been very up & down. I am glad my passion was not paleontology because that is even more difficult to stay employed in! But I loved all animals & art. & dinos & rocks & books. I have too many hobbies, I do flit from one to another and switch mediums. My husband would like for me to stick with one thing, but I find that difficult. I love to crochet too.

  39. Lorna S 9 months ago

    Hello Anna,
    I wasn’t lucky enough to follow my childhood passion – until I was 50. I was in hospital and saw a flyer on the hallway bulletin board that offered free watercolor classes to reduce stress. My heart did a little dance and my stomach got butterflies. I was excited. So I took the class and many classes thereafter. I told all my family and friends that I was skill developing for my retirement. I no longer have the “eye” or the steady hands for the botanical or realistic painting, but I love, love, love working with watercolors. For me, painting is a way of staying present in my work and time just flies. I love sharing the joy of the process of painting and outcome is low on my list of requirements. Saying that, I once had some “awful” paintings hanging up in my garage. When I had the door open on a spring day to clean it out, a gentleman driving by, stopped and asked to buy my work. I didn’t hesitate to let them go for a fair price.

    Your love of dinosaurs is delightful and seeing you as a child embrasing your two passions provides a charming view of your life. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Thanks Lorna and I love the story about the garage paintings! So good to hear you had that reaction to seeing the flyer – you just ‘knew’!

  40. Jo 9 months ago

    as a small child I dreamed to owning and riding ponies, being a vet or breeding dogs. I would draw horses constantly. My father told me I was no good at science, and horses as a lifestyle were vetoed as an expensive waste of time. I’ve tried and failed at many things in life but recently at the age of 48 I’ve launched a career as a horse and dog photographers and found a real passion. Thanks for the video, it really struck a chord.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Good for you Jo! Parents usually mean well but don’t always know best!

  41. Anne Bradley 9 months ago

    Hi Anna:

    I used to have Crayola Crayons which were stored in my Grandfather’s
    old “Players” cigarette tobacco tin. My Mom would buy me colouring books and we would travel every weekend to see my dying Grandfather.
    I have so many pleasant memories of riding on the train to and fro and “colouring” Mickey Mouse figures in my books. Such fun! And, Anna, thank you for reminding me that this can be a hobby and not a career. A career to me means that I MUST PAINT 23 hours of the day, that it must be perfect and off to the Louvre when I am finished painting. It has become a chore…. I am NOT Picasso’s sister! Now I can enjoy painting as a hobby whenever and I am not burdened by it. Thanks very much.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Absolutely – hobbies are really important too!

  42. Barbara Kulas 9 months ago

    My passion was drawing and painting. In grade school I used to love to take out library books about Michaelangelo. The way he captured muscles and the human form fascinated me. While I don’t remember being 8 yes old I do remember loving to paint what we call poster paints in grade school. Big shapes bold colors like magenta and bright blue were my favorites.

    Throughout my teenage years I entered a few local town art concerts, I won 3rd prize painting Dumbo the Walt Disney character and first prize painting a haunted house on a store window for Halloween. I also sketched portraits of my favorite rock singers i.e. John Lennon and Davey Jones just to feel like they were in my room with me.

    So yes the hard wiring is there and rather take up too much time recounting all of my artistic endeavors over the years, as a retired person I am enjoying the challenge of watercolors since I have never painted with them before. Your method has helped me overcome my fear of getting started. Watercolors are not forgiving. But they force me to make decisions and to trust my inner eye. I feel every painting I do smiles back at me to encourage me to keep painting even though most of the time I feel I could have done better. What a wonderful gift.

  43. Andrea 9 months ago

    I loved fashion and makeup. I really don’t enjoy buying it anymore but would love to illustrate it for fun. I took your free pear course and it came out beautifully. I just purchased your craftsy course and have ordered a few tubes of paint. I don’t know if I’ll enjoy painting nature as much as I would fashion. I think your method is fantastic and so helpful as a beginner at painting (and unfortunately drawing too). Your work is so beautiful and I look forward to doing the strawberry, orange and grapes. Thanking for sharing your beautiful work with all of us.

    Andrea

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      thanks Andrea, I hope you enjoy the Craftsy class!

  44. Sue Murphy 9 months ago

    Hi Anna, When I was young I too loved to paint, draw and create artistic things. I remember growing up in Singapore and picking lots of colorful flowers and poking them into holes I made in large green banana leaves. I would then present them to my mum thinking they were the most beautiful things in the world. I have always loved flowers and their intricate stamens and designs. I first went to work as a secretary in a 9-5 office job. When I fell pregnant with my first child I didn’t want to put them into care so had to find a way to earn money and be at home for them. I started making and selling 3D Paper Tole and taught in my studio at home. After a few years the “fad” wore off and I found painting. I enjoyed it so much I started teaching Acrylics and Oils. I ran the classes in my studio in the evenings when my husband was home to look after the children. When they went to school it became a full time job (very enjoyable) 5 days a week 3 classes a day. I love teaching as much as I love all art and craft. Watercolor had never interested me until I saw your work and I am now addicted. My daughter has ordered your brushes for me for Mothers Day. I cant wait. Thank you Thank you Thank you 🙂 After an illness that affected my memory I didn’t think I would ever paint again but you have brought that joy back into my life and the confidence to keep learning. Just love your work

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      I have a lovely picture of a banana leaf filled with flowers in my mind now, thanks Sue – and I’m delighted you’re now enjoying watercolours!

  45. Margaret 9 months ago

    Hi Anna,
    I have been dabbling in watercolours for the last few years,by doing online classes etc and reading lots of watercolour books.I am only interested in watercolours and have never tried any other medium.. Also I have discovered that I prefer botanical watercolours above all else.I love to draw,but I am not very good at it and .sometimes I draw a leaf or other plant and then try to digitise it into stitches to sew out on my embroidery machine,which is my other passion.
    I have started your craftsy class(The watercolour rose)but haven’t finished it yet..A friend of mine who is also passionate about botanical watercolours,gave me a set of your brushes as a gift(.They are fantastic to use.
    I love your videos about making time for painting in our busy lives,,They inspired me to paint the pear.I love your work.My husband in intrigued as to how your work looks so real..Particularly the water droplets.Can’t wait to try those,to see if I can do it too.Probably a bit advanced for me at this stage,but I will have a go.
    Thank you Anna,you have made me get my watercolour out again after a long break.

  46. Gloria Ayres 9 months ago

    Hi Anna,
    I loved your latest video. Back when I was a child, I was always rescuing injured birds and animals. I was also fascinated by programmes on the big cats and other african wildlife. I also loved painting by numbers and drawing cartoon characters.
    I took time out from being a graphic artist to train as an acupressure and essential oil therapist for dogs and horses. I continued this when I retired to Spain. Unfortunately an old knee injury stopped me from doing this.
    So I decided to try painting. My class was 3 hours a week, but the tutor (although) brilliant, had people in the class doings watercolour/pastels/oils/acrylics and drawing. It was like overload to me as each person only got about 5 minutes of actual personal tuition. I then tried a class just for watercolour, but often got frustrated as I was constantly told I was trying to put too much detail into my work.
    THEN I FOUND YOU. Beautiful watercolour with exquisite detail. Funnily, I have done only your bird tutorials and a couple of my own. I guess I am going back to my fascination of animals in general from my childhood. So your latest video really hit home with me and I know your style of painting is definitely what I aspire to.
    I do feel that I need to include some of the flower tutorials for the added knowledge of colour and seeing the detail.
    I love what you do and how you inspire others. Thank you.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Thanks Gloria! Its lovely you can combine the animal and painting passions by painting birds and animals. I do love the colour in flowers though so do give a few a try and see how you get on. So pleased to have helped you find a great hobby for you!

  47. MaryBeth Tank Buschmann 9 months ago

    Wow, before the age of 8 years huh? Well I had two passions: to be a nurse and to sing with my father when he practiced for the Kraft Choral Club. I pursued both and became a nurse-scientist in neurobiology, depression and dementia in older adults. Always sang in well known choral groups from 10 years until the age of 70 when my voice became totally undependable. On the advice of my spiritual director, I started classes in mandalas with colored pencils in 2013 at The Well Spirituality Center in LaGrange Park, IL USA. Then on a whim in January of 2015 I took a watercolor class at the center. I did not care for watercolor due to the “lack of detail.” But I found out differently and have not laid down my brushes ever since then. By happenchance I received an email from you, took your free pear tutorial in December of 2016 and was thrilled with the WOW of watercolor! I’ve been a member of your school ever since. Thank you so much Anna for your teaching and inspiration!

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Lovely to hear the story of how you got here MaryBeth! The mandalas sounded interesting too. Thanks for sharing.

  48. Al Fritsch 9 months ago

    Thank you for asking the question. It has been so long since I was 8 I have never given it a second thought. I would say I have been drawing and playing music since I was about five. I use to take the funny papers on Sunday and see if there was a picture that inspired me. If so, I would sit down and draw it concentrating on getting every line correct and not just simply drawing for fun. I use to be the one all through grammar school who did the art work for our bulletin boards. However, that all changed when I went to high school and college. I totally drifted away from drawing and painting. It wasn’t until I was in my late 50s that I picked it up again. However, this time it was to not only paint or draw, but it was to achieve realism. Sorry to say that if I paint or draw anything today that does not look real, I simply throw it away in the garbage can and I will not pick up a pencil or brush for quite a long time. I know that this is not correct, but I have become such a perfectionist over the years that it has stopped me from doing many things.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Thanks for sharing your story Al – at least you are aware of your perfectionism – if you’re aware you should be able to curb the excesses of it I think.

      • Al Fritsch 9 months ago

        Thank you Anna for your very kind reply. I am glad to see that the so called art world is realizing that even the great artists traced their subjects (camera obscura). and it does not mean that you are not an artist because you did not do it freehand. You still have to be an artist to fill in you tracing to look like your subject.

  49. TigerLily 9 months ago

    Whoa! That T-rex was unexpected!
    Painting at your own little easel at age 2 was phenomenal as well! I remember we had those in Kindergarten! Our trees all looked like lollipops or clouds on a stick.
    I’ve been thinking about what you said and trying to remember myself before age 8. That was a challenge for me in and of itself but I discovered, from what I can remember, that I am actually following the same lines of interest as I did then but magnified of course through training and experience gained over the years.. So, I thank you for the video and I have shared it with other members of my family. It will get them thinking too. For the most part, I think they are all on the same pursuits except for two. Maybe your video will help them to realize it and make a course change for the better?

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Ooh, I hope so – thanks for sharing it TigerLily!

  50. Rose Vermeulen 9 months ago

    Aaauwwwwhhh! Magic stuff you always create. Now a question …….what is your dinosaur’s name and when are you going to paint him?

    Your last post got me thinking about ALL the hobbies I have done. And yes, it is the looking for one particular item you can focus on. I have settled on watercolours and botanical but it would be such fun if we can all then look for one of the dinosaurs and paint them.

    Thank you for your regular emails and the effort involved. 

    Rose Vermeulen
    Indigo Landscapes
    072 268 4659

    • Author
      Anna Mason 9 months ago

      Thanks Rose – he would be fun to paint wouldn’t he!!

    • Farah Khan 9 months ago

      Painting a dinosaur will be so much fun. This T-Rex will need a lot of Payne’s Grey and Yellow Ochre and must be a 3 day project. (:

  51. Farah Khan 9 months ago

    Hi,

    As a kid, I have always loved to draw. I was very much interested in Science and loved National Geographic Channel. And at the same time I have a passion for History and Ancient Civilisations. I would like to draw an Egyptian princess or a roman. Sometimes I would draw disney characters (Simba was my favourite). I didn’t know that I have passion for painting only in the last few years when I have started to discover it. I love it!! I love painting and I would like to paint forever and ever….I have a dream to become a Natural History Illustrator and Fashion Illustrator.

    Thank you so much, I love this school and my teacher!

    Farah.

  52. Linda 9 months ago

    I’ve ALWAYS had a passion for horses and still (age 61) ride almost daily here on the ranch. It would be awesome to combine painting and horses but I’m just not quite there yet.

    If you’re ever in Canada (Alberta particularly) we live just across the river from Dinosaur Provincial Park and there are always bones to be found in our river field.

  53. Jennifer Stewart 9 months ago

    What a remarkable and eye opening question. I think I was born creating things. I recall the joy of making things very early on in life with a little help from my twin sister. And, ultimately, creating something to the best of my ability has brought me the most joy in life. I have always had a knack for rendering, but I am really enjoying delving into the depths of watercolor through your tutorials, and finally feeling like I am honing in on something. Honestly, I don’t think I have learned this much in 2 years of art school as I have in 2 months of your tutorials.. Thank you so much for your attention to detail and all of the time and energy put in behind the scenes to help us, your students, to become better artists and better people:) It is very much appreciated!!! So…to answer your question…my hobby is to create….and that is what I am going to do through your classes:)

  54. Jennie 9 months ago

    Hmmm. What I loved to do before age 8. Alas, in my sixties they just don’t let me spend my time reading and wading in the creek. But, yes, art has always been my main passion. However, settling on a medium is unsettling. I tend to work in the least messy medium at a given time.

  55. Margaret Ng 9 months ago

    Hi Anna,

    I wanted to be a vet, yes animals are still being rescued, & have always been interested in art as in painting, but have never had lessons. One day the mother of my boss invited me to her home & we got to talking about porcelain painting. The following week she was demonstrating at a porcelain painting show, I went to her demo & was thoroughly hooked. She kindly took me under her wing, started me off with some of her paints & helped me shop for a few pieces of china & two brushed! Because I worked & had to keep the home fires burning, I could only manage going over to her house once or twice a month, she very kindly introduced me to some painters, boy did I feel very inadequate, she insisted I get tuition & introduced me to a teacher, who sadly said she wasn’t taking anymore students. I was lucky enough to meet another teacher & have been painting ever since & that was about 35 years ago. We are now an ancient bunch of 4 who meet every week to paint & just for company. It was this teacher who encouraged me to try water colours, I didn’t think I had the ability to do it & also didn’t know what style I wanted to paint. I played around for a few months then decided to get my act together & bought some books, hung around the library looking for books, one day I came across your book, & decided on your style of painting. Unfortunately health issues last year meant I wasn’t able to paint & I had only just signed on to your on line classes! I”ve just done a 150km cycle trail ride just to prove to myself I’m still alive & kicking, & have put brush to paper again. I do enjoy your classes, & hope to upload one of my paintings.

  56. Lynn Ferris 9 months ago

    I have always wanted to paint and grow flowers, I had my own flower bed by the time I was 8. Later I painted flowers, it was very unconscious, I just painted what I saw without thinking about How to paint.

    Fast forward to now, I am 64. I went into graphic design and I forgot that uncomplicated way of painting. I have held back because I cannot do it properly or with the correct techniques. I have just finished my second Pear and about to start my third, they look rubbish but I am slowly unwinding and enjoying myself.

    I confess I am now going to paint the Pear as I see it and with my own instincts so fingers crossed, I’ll pick up my brushes and go

    Lynn

  57. Brian 9 months ago

    Hi Anna.

    At 60, I’m like of several of the others. I just remember little snippets of time before 8. There are a couple of things though.

    Our house was filled with science books – astronomy through zoology. I spent a lot of time looking though them and tagging along with my older brothers exploring the world around us. I’ve carried that fascination with me since.

    I did enjoy coloring and especially the paint-with-water books. I was never particularly good at it, but it was fun. Occasionally, I’d also dig out the watercolors. Never graceful with them, i just mashed them around the paper.

    Lately, I’ve set about identifying the plants growing in the yard and along a trail I walk. It’s amazing what you find when you actually look. The moccasin flowers (our native orchid) jump out since they’re so vivid, but there a so many beautiful plants so easily missed.

    With photography, I capture a plant as I see it. With painting, I explore it. I see the details I overlooked, the depth of the beauty.

    I’ve only been at it for a year or so and haven’t done much with it. I’ve read a few books and watched quite a few videos and none of them took me where I wanted to go and they often disagreed with each other. Then I came across your videos. You where showing just what I wanted to paint, they looked exactly like I wanted them to, you were encouraging me to do it and your instructions were detailed and perfectly clear. My pear is far and away the best painting I’ve done and I lost myself completely in it for a few hours. (I’ve sent a photo. I’ve sent original to the Louvre and figure it should be hanging there in a week of so if you want to check it out.)

    Thanks, Anna.

  58. Kenley 9 months ago

    I cant remember what i liked doing but i liked drawing a lot.

  59. Carole Anne Watson. 9 months ago

    Hi Anna,
    I remember painting a birds nest with blue speckled eggs in it and a Robin perched beside it. I remember vividly the joy I felt over the beautiful blue as I painted the eggs. I did this with my tiny paint box and the one brush that came with it.. The drawing was in one of my mum’s magazines and part of a contest at Eastertime. My mum sent it away and she was thrilled that I got second place in the contest. I was still more thrilled at the picture I had painted. I was five years old at the time. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have pencils and paints handy although I had to pack them away for a while when my children were babies, Getting so absorbed so you forget the people around you need feeding etc is not a good idea! I am re discovering that I am actually ok at this. So much to learn tho! and now I am going to really go for it and set aside some real time for the paints. My confidence is not great, but that thrill I remember has never really left me, and I now ‘need’ to paint! I hope I posted my attempt at your free pear tutorial successfully. (I never trust my computer skills) Thank you for great encouragement and wonderful demonstration of your own technique.
    Kind regards from Carole Anne.

  60. Kathryn 9 months ago

    Horses. From the age of six. I always wanted to grow up in the country and ride my horse. When I was twelve I was given a horse and that was the best experience of my life, even though I lived in the suburb of a large city It was taken away from me after my junior year os high school and I was directed into another career. Finally, fifty years later, I am living in the country and working on getting that horse. It is definitely hard-wired.

  61. Debbie Wayment 8 months ago

    Trying to recall my passions at 8 is quite hard at the age of 59. However I loved horses and would draw them endlessly, not too well, colouring in with felt tip pens and reading and all sorts of arts and crafts which my mother taught me. I discovered many years ago that I love gardening but did not know that at the age of 8. I am now a passionate gardener. I am lucky now that I am re-discovering my artistic side and I started with pastels but love Anna’s online tutorials and so chuffed with what I can produce with her guidance. I do the occasional art workshop with my Mum who is still painting. There are so many mediums out there it is hard to choose but once you have it is so much easier. I also have re-discovered dressmaking and loving that too along with Spanish and playing piano. I still work full time but when I retire next year I will finally have the time to pursue all the things I love doing that you get totally lost in.. It is so important to find what makes your soul happy and make the time for them. Anna’s tutorials and her blogs have really helped me to get going again and I’m loving it. Creating something beautiful, be it a painting, a garden or simply a lovely meal is so therapeutic. Thank you Anna and all you supporters on this site.

  62. Diane mcswigin 8 months ago

    Hi, I am at this stage in my life i need something i can really throw myself into. As a child my escape was animals an being fascinated with insects. Watching caterpillars movements as it crawled along. Ladybirds, butterflies. I only realised a couple of weeks ago every topic and subject at school i ever did, was on animals and insects. I love the outdoors and birds an the wonders of fairies also. When i look at an animal i see more than a dog, horse etc..i see feelings and love that run much deeper than what we could imagine to understand. My granny started painting at the age of 65 years old. It is never to late for anyone. As a child i never painted but i did draw a lot. I am looking forward to trying this new adventure into the world of water colours. Happy Painting!

  63. Diane 6 months ago

    Animals, books, coloring, movies, writing, all have been my passion since I can remember. I wrote, painted & drew, in my spare time, focusing mostly on acrylic painting although my mother instilled in me that the ‘chores must be done!’ before spending time with something as fun (aka frivolous) as art.

    Now that I’m semi-retired, I decided to take up watercolors, which irritates my husband. (I think he wants me to stick with something I’m more familiar with and try to make sales to supplement our income.) I’m torn between wanting to learn watercolors, and painting in acrylics for possible sales (frankly, my painting sales have been weak). There’s a sense of guilt when I paint in watercolors now. Don’t you wish people would butt out when you want to seek out something you’re passionate about?! So frustrating.

  64. Christine 6 months ago

    I loved to make up stories and draw, though looking back I was never very good at it. I was also passionate about gardening. We lived in a Victoria house in London which had a real old fashion garden. My parents were not into gardening but I was curious. Eventually I moved away from London and moved to Hampshire where I am passionately designing and building up my cottage garden from scratch answering that call of the wild, but now I am hungry to illustrate, just the way you do, what I have created in the garden.

    The plan is the plant in the summer and paint in the winter to keep me connected and passionate about my cottage garden creation. BTW I stumbled upon you on Craftsy looking for ways to start my passion of painting with watercolour. Can an absolute beginner, with focused attention paint the way you do? Thank you for being so amazingly inspiring. I know I can do this with the right tutor.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 6 months ago

      You’ve said it yourself here I think Christine – you know you can do it with the right instruction. I’d hesitate to say I could teach ‘anyone’ as I only really teach self-selecting people who have the desire to learn to do it. But from within that group then yes, 100% you can learn and get good if you give it the time and space it needs. Good luck!

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