I am the first to admit I definitely would not describe myself as artistic. Creative, yes; I am a keen sewer, make bespoke wedding dresses, adore photography, play piano and God knows I love to be on a stage. But put a pencil or paintbrush in my hand and you'd be forgiven for thinking I'd signed up to a primary school art class. Other than scraping my way through Life Drawing aged 17 to cobble together a portfolio to get me on to my fashion degree, I've thus far tried to avoid any kind of artistic flair, particularly after my art teacher at school actually told 'not to bother' signing up for GCSE art as I was so shockingly bad.
That is until now however, for I've just discovered MasterPeace London
and I have a sneaking suspicion it won't be my only visit.
Opened in Eccleston Yards in Belgravia in autumn, MasterPeace encourages creativity through 'mindful painting’, using it as an alternative form of meditation and wellbeing. Research shows links between creativity and wellbeing, as well as between painting and the physiological state induced by meditation. With dozens of classes available for everyone from total newbs to those who are confident to go it alone, I took the plunge and signed up to a 'coached' class, meaning there's a MasterPeace instructor - often a professional artist - there throughout the class to offer helpful tips and guidance.
Using a simple projector that connects to your phone, a photograph I took on a trip to Anguilla last summer was projected on to my canvas, like a high tech paint by numbers. I purposely chose something fairly simple given the 90 minute timeframe, and have to admit I was a little dubious of those around me selecting intricate portraits of relatives and pets; I didn't pit myself as being able to complete such detail, so went for a palm tree on a tropical beach.
I needn't have worried as turns out I was first to finish...
The projector was a godsend. If I'd gone in to that blind I never would have managed what I achieved, but as such I was absolutely gobsmacked that I actually created a piece of art that is now hanging, framed, on my wall. With the owner, Zena, glancing over my shoulder every so often and nudging me with helpful tips on which brushes to use, or how to mix a certain colour, I soon got into the swing of things and found myself embracing different techniques to master the texture of the sand or the fluffiness of clouds. I was in my element and had absolutely no inkling I would enjoy it as much as I did. I honestly thought I would have fun, try something new, and put it in the dusty box of things I've tried but am fairly rubbish at (see also most sports).
Zena founded MasterPeace last year to enable beginners to benefit from the proven restorative benefits painting offers in our increasingly busy lives. She has perfected a new technique using the best of tech, which she believes could revolutionise making painting fun and accessible to all.
Open 10am-10pm 6 days per week (closed on Monday), sessions cost £49 for 90 minutes, including bottomless prosecco and a grazing board. Mini MasterPeace (age 6-12) is £40 for 90 minutes and the studio can also be booked for private events.
Plus if you're trying Dry January, they're are also in the midst of a partnership with non alcoholic spirits brand Amplify, whereby they will be offering booze-free sessions for six weeks, starting from Monday 13th January. The 'Mindful Mondays' sessions will include delicious, alcohol-free drinks and fresh fruit platters.
For more information and to book visit www.masterpeace.studio