Selby Gardens Rainforest Mask Painting Class: Educational and Enchanting!

Painting Class

The sunlight flooded through the windows of the Carriage House at Selby Gardens; the room was full of excited, chatting artists (first-timers and well-seasoned). Paint brushes were passed around and adored colors shared between tables and pallets while Marcos, the Borucan artist leading the class, lingered around the front of the room, waiting for the right moment to begin his demonstrations.

At 10 a.m., the painters settled, waiting for their instructor, and translator, to begin. And the painting began. Huddled around one table sat three Lucuma Designs team members, determined to learn from one of the best mask painters and to try mask painting first-hand. All a little nervous to take the plunge, they took their time and, without looking back, applied their first few strokes of paint to their own masks.

So, what did the three of us think about the experience?

Sam and Jennifer

“I’ve never really done any sort of artistic painting before, so this class was kind of like an adventure. I had a lot of fun learning and managed to do better than expected. Marcos helped by teaching me how to blend the colors together to make more realistic transitions. You could tell he had a real passion for his art. This was a one-of-a-kind experience and I’m grateful I got to take part in it.” --Jennifer

“The painting class was fun and relaxing. I was able to pick a mask I liked and make it come to life. I loved the experimentation process with these. I was able to paint anything I wanted and if I wasn’t happy with how it turned out, I could just as easily paint over on top of it. It was fun having Marcos giving pointers and comments on how our process was going. I was happy that he was able to recognize the type of orchid I was painting, but I’m looking forward to practicing so I can make my mask even better.” --Alex

“I’m not a visual artist. So, when I walked into the painting class, I didn’t have very high expectations for my mask’s outcome. I picked out my colors—cool tones of blue and green and purple, since my mask was a rough carving of a sea turtle. I dipped my brush in a pretty, light blue and dove in. Four hours later, I dropped my brush, and flopped back in my chair to marvel at the glorious green turtle staring back at me. I am proud of my deep sea not-so-disaster. Because I tried and poured my creativity into this little piece and it shows. I learned how to blend colors for beautiful backgrounds and got some good tips for next time—yes, this experience was so positive and eye-opening that I would leap at the chance to do it again.” --Sam

Four hours of stories, lessons, and laughs, most classmates walked out, proudly displaying their half-finished pieces, while a couple stared at their masks in slight despair, tinged with hope that, just maybe, they could fix it at home. A few women left, chattering excitedly about the unpainted masks they’d purchased for later use to practice. Whether we left, ready to hang our masterpieces, or knew more practice would help, it’s safe to say, everyone in the class had a relaxing, enriching adventure.

Sam Jennifer and Alex