Launch of Garden Villas at Regent’s Crescent
A Contemporary Interpretation of the Classic London Mews House
14 February 2020
Close your eyes, now relax your shoulders, your stomach, your forehead. Focus on something you want to achieve in the next 90 minutes. Now, slowly bring the feeling back to your fingertips and toes, and flutter your eyes as you open them.
You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re attending a yoga class, or perhaps even a high paced ‘Psycle’ spin class, but for this mindfulness experience no leggings are necessary. All you need is yourself, your phone and a picture in mind that you’d like to recreate on canvas. This is MasterPeace, London’s first dedicated mindful art experience.
Founded by Zena El Farra, a former banker and entrepreneur with over ten years’ experience working in retail innovation, most recently for Barclays Ventures, MasterPeace encourages creativity through ‘mindful painting’ and uses the transformative powers of creativity to revitalize and boost mental wellness.
Quietly nestled within Eccleston Yards, just a short walk from Victoria Station, the studio has become a fixture of the local neighbourhood attracting regulars from parents and grandparents, to working professionals looking to unwind at the end of the day.
The MasterPeace glass-fronted studio is set across two floors, using warm woods and plenty of soft light. The banquet table with hanging flower arrangement creates an almost den like environment to help you relax, it also has the added benefit of creating a level of privacy so that you can’t see what the person opposite is painting.
The concept is to use paint as an alternative form of meditation and wellbeing. Each class begins with a short meditation whether you are booked on to the ‘fundamentals’, ‘coached’, ‘masters’, or ‘freestyle’ class.
Even beginners can enjoy the Coached classes. MasterPeace utilizes table-top light projectors that guests connect their smartphones to to project a photo of their choice onto their canvas. The light enables you to sketch an outline to then begin painting – either with or without the light on. With the assistance of an instructor you’ll be guided on how to mix colours and where to begin with your painting.
The instructors are all professional or part-time artists possessing warmth, empathy and charisma in common. While they each have deep technical knowledge – some have had the best classic training in the world – they are able to convey their skills in a way that makes it highly accessible to beginners. “We like a little goofiness, making people laugh is a real help in letting them let go and relax”, said Zena.
One of the surprises to founder Zena, is how the studio has become like a second home to families. “One of our most devoted guests is Patrick. He is a father of 3 and a barrister routinely spotted at the Supreme Court working on cases very much in the public eye. He'll visit us on a Sunday with the whole gang. They'll spend the afternoon in a 'Freestyle' session, where guests can work independently in the studio, and really just play together uninterrupted. The whole team will sit back and watch them laughing and making together and it's serious family goals - they're very talented too, the house must be full of creative treasures.”
The studio is also Eccleston Yards’ first art gallery, exhibiting curated works from award winning artists, including seascape painter Victoria Obolensky, whose work is held in the private collection of celebrities and royalty internationally. (See the images for examples of pieces featuring in the gallery).
By the time 90 minutes are up, you’ll walk away with a piece of art, but more importantly a feeling of relaxation and a sense of time having stopped still. Go on, give it a try.