Offering unique painting and drawing experiences, MasterPeace Studios are situated in Eccleston Yards - just a five-minute walk from Victoria station in London. Even with its central location, the venue is a haven from the busy city, filled with various independent cafes, shops and studios. With lots of local businesses to support, the open air ‘mall’ is definitely worth a wander around before or after your session! MasterPeace itself is a gorgeous space, complete with high ceilings, tall glass windows, and, of course, filled with beautiful art! I haven’t done any painting or drawing since my GCSE’s, so I was thrilled to hear that we were getting the chance to visit MasterPeace, and take part in a creative class ourselves.
Now you’re probably asking one question: - What is mindful art? Mindful art is an artistic practice focusing on the process of creating, rather than the outcome. Using meditative techniques, sessions help to bring the attention back to yourself for a therapeutic and creative experience. With its central location, MasterPeace brings a much needed solace to the bustling London streets, and invites artists of any age or ability to take part. The studio’s course catalogue is sure to include a little something for everyone, helping people from all walks of life get in touch with their creative side!
We were taking part in the ‘Mindful Painting Class’, which involved choosing a photo from our camera roll ahead of time in order to trace, draw, and paint it using a lightbox. Classes are coached by an amazing team of talented artists, and can vary depending on your experience. But fear not, you don’t need to be a budding Picasso to take part; beginners are more than welcome! As we arrived at the studios, we were warmly greeted by Georgie, our tutor. She is an award-winning abstract artist with over ten years of teaching experience, so we knew we were in good hands!
We settled ourselves in by popping on our kimonos (probably the most stylish aprons I’ve ever seen), placing our belongings in the storage bins provided, and sipping on our drinks. There was an array of complimentary refreshments on offer – everything from Prosecco to coffee and soft drinks. As well as drinks, there was an amazing spread of nibbles on our table for us to graze on throughout our experience. To begin our session, we played a few warm up games to get us in the mood for some creativity. This included us each having a blank sheet of paper and a pastel, closing our eyes and simply drawing what came to mind when Georgie said various different words or emotions. These exercises were a lovely way to get to know a bit more about the people in our class, and have a good giggle whilst we were doing it! Icebreaker activities aside, it was onto some meditation to set us up for the ‘mindfulness’ portion of our experience. The lights dimmed and tranquil music played. As we closed our eyes, Georgie guided us through a calming practice. Rina and I both thoroughly enjoyed the meditation, as it was an excellent way to relax and get us ready to create our pieces.
With our minds clear and our images chosen, it was time to begin our artwork! I had chosen an image of my brother and I in Italy, whilst Rina opted for an image of herself dressed in her traditional clothing and jewellery. Georgie assisted us all by hooking up our smartphones to a light box, and providing us with a canvas that lined up with the picture perfectly. With our images projected onto the canvas, it was time to get sketching! Using pencils, we lightly traced our images to create a template for our painting. Georgie was on hand throughout to offer advice, and suggested that we use a light hand to trace, as this step was really just to guide the rest of our painting. Once our templates were ready, we moved onto the painting. The back wall of the studio was home to a range of acrylic paints presented in pump bottles, meaning that when we were ready we could wander up with our palettes and help ourselves. Georgie mentioned that in her own artwork she works closely with nature and other elements that surround her, so was encouraging us to think outside the box for our own paintings throughout.
With Rina and I being novice painters, we both asked for Georgie’s help in mixing our colour palettes. As mine was a majority landscape piece, she said it would be best to blend softer colours for an almost hazy sky effect. Using what was around us, she also gave me the idea to scrunch up some kitchen roll for a cloud effect, to make the painting a little more dimensional. Rina’s main hurdle was mixing the correct colour for skin tones, something we all concluded was the toughest part about painting portraits! Despite our limited experience, Georgie was kind and helpful throughout and open to any questions, making for a really relaxed environment.
As our session came to a close and our paintings came to life, Rina and I couldn’t believe how quickly the 90 minutes had gone by. It really is true; - time flies when you’re having fun! As Rina’s was a more intricate painting, she didn’t quite get to finishing it altogether. MasterPeace also offer ‘Freestyle’ sessions, and Georgie explained that we were all more than welcome to come back to the studio to use the materials and complete/add more to our pieces. After using a hairdryer to dry off our canvases, we were provided with brown paper bags to place them inside and ensure they wouldn’t be damaged en route home. Georgie also showed us a range of frames available to purchase and keep our paintings in. These are a great addition if your painting is a gift for a loved one, or even just to display and keep for yourself to marvel at in your own home. Feeling suitably relaxed, we were leaving London with a smile on our faces and a newfound appreciation for the time and dedication of professional painters!
The Mindful Painting Class would make a thoughtful and unique gift for somebody special in your life, or even an amazing treat for yourself to enjoy some well-deserved ‘me time’. Don’t fancy painting? You can also check out the MasterPeace calligraphy courses here, and learn to create the modern alphabet beautifully! Alongside this, the studio acts as a gallery that you are welcome to visit to admire some beautiful artwork.