What do participants have to say about the Casa Art Workshop Vacation experience?…
The Casa Experience Is A Breath of Fresh Air Among the World of Ordinary Workshops.” – Tom Lynch, renown watercolor artist and workshop instructor
A place to just “BE”. Lots of companionship and lots of alone time. A very safe, fun, exotic adventure. You will be well taken care of!” – Julia Courtney, Curator, Springfield Museums, Springfield, MA
The Casa Experience is truly unique – It touches the very soul of the artist and provides endless inspiration!” – Sterling Edwards, renown watercolor artist and workshop instructor
The Casa is not a 4 star hotel – it’s a 5 star Retreat Center!” – Evelyn, from Florida, participant in Gina Ogden Workshop
This Workshop was wonderful – 11 out of 10. The Group was great, our hosts were lovely and welcoming, the place is beautiful. This was the best of many, many workshops I’ve attended. Bob’s communication, inspiration, knowledge and mastery were excellent!”
– B.K., Bethesda, MD
As the former director of the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art & Art League, Brownsville, Texas, I highly recommend the Casa de los Artistas experience for artists and art enthusiasts…It is rare to find a place where a woman can travel by herself and feel totally secure. The Casa is a user friendly, secure destination, where traveling to and from is easy and the stay comfortable and tranquil. The Casa experience is a life enriching experience that should not be missed!” – Carol DeMoss, Brownsville, Texas
Bob – You are like a wise father, lead by example, paint by heart, make me feel very welcoming and that all can learn the art by practice. Compliments to you for running and managing this workshop.” – Dr. C. Lam, Hong Kong
It was just what I had hoped for. Everything was taken care of for us -no fuss no muss. Not the ussual “tourist” tour group deal. An authentic experience. Great ambiance, food, views – everything planned for your enjoyment. The most stress free vacation I’ve ever had!”
– S.S., Pt. Richmond, CA
I had such a wonderful experience at the Casa I’m looking forward to my next visit there. It was an all inclusive cultural, sightseeing and art experience that taught me so much about the area, and the welcoming people at the boca. Bob Masla’s incredible art instruction, and vision fulfilled my creative needs admist the most beautiful beach and tropical landscape imaginable. With fantastic meals, transportation from and to P.V., boat and land trips and art lessons along with comfortable and charming rooms, it was an incredible value. Not to be missed.” – Anne D. – Calif.
I am an art and workshop junkie of more than 25 years over our beautiful world.
-Not one of these great places made me happier every day than Casa de los Artistas. I follow Tom Lynch around the world not just because he is one of the worlds greatest watercolorists and instructors, but because he finds the greatest places ever for his classes. Thank you Tom for finding the best of the lot, Casa de los Artistas.” – Norm Stahl, Bayshore, N.Y. Participant in Tom Lynch 2011 Casa Workshop
Dear Bob and Monica,
What can I say about the Casa experience…
It is a magical place, full and I mean full of beautiful tropical land and seascapes. The people are wonderful, friendly and polite. I never felt unsafe at any moment, even in the most remote spots. The village of Boca, is a dusty stone street on a hill leading to the river and ocean. There is very little there besides a few cafes, restaurants and inns, lots of fishermen and their families and is quite quaint. At night you can hear the Mexican music playing throughout the night. Closing the patio doors to the room was all I needed to do and I slept like a baby. You wake up each morning to the sounds of the fishermen coming in with their early morning catch, the birds and roosters waking up. It is a busy time at Boca. The outlet of the river changes course each morning so you wake to see what has occurred while you slept.
Being at the Casa is like visiting a lovely home where you are made to feel welcome and honored. Monica and Bob are lovely, intelligent people and it was a pleasure to share the days with them. In order to get across the river to the casa you have to walk a little up river to cross at a cement foot bridge and then follow the path, some of it stone, some of it dirt, some with open precipice, some with cement wall… Part of the walk is in front of beautiful inns and homes, restaurants and some in front of very rustic local homes, abandoned grocery store, a little of everything… lots of dogs (watch your step), roosters & hens, lush greenery and all along the river’s edge. The other way across is to get in their ponga (small boat) and have them walk it across, or finally you simply walk across but be prepared to get wet. At high tide up to your waist.
Bob is a fine artist and good teacher and with your favorite invited artist leading the workshop, it is sure to be an enriching experience.
From Bob I learned how to treat the landscape, the difference between line and tonal drawing, how to follow the shape or volume in drawing, the use of ink pencil and wet brush for sketching, how to do and value thumb nail sketches. We did a creative “signature” exercise to loosen the creative within. The studio was phenomenal, well equipped with lots of supplies, etc.
Regarding the outings:
The boat ride to see the rock formations called “Los Tres Arcos” and then a lovely picnic on secluded beach with time for sketching was lovely. Because I am not a friend of boats I was a little frightened but not enough not to go or sorry I did it.
The night into Vallarta – I could probably have done without but I did get to see the most beautiful sunset ever. I took photos but as every artist knows it does not do it justice, colors off as the sun was as red as red can be and it came out white with orange halo… who would have known that it can be so different if I had not seen it with my own eyes I would not believe so I will have to paint it. The reason I would skip Vallarta is I am not much of a shopper, with the quantity of food served at the Casa I was not hungry, and the ride from Vallarta to the Boca is only ten miles, but the longest ten miles ever, due to bumps on the road and all of the curves as the road follows the coast and mountain… you can easily get car sick. The trip to Tuito and the Hacienda – lovely scenery but again a long, curvy ride. The hacienda lunch was magnificent and the best tequila ever – not really tequila but a cousin they make called raicilla… just delicious. For me two outings would have been enough.
Regarding the food:
Ruby, the cook at the Casa, is someone you want to take home with you. Food was delicious, plentiful and beautifully served on the terrace overlooking the river/ocean. For breakfast, there was always fresh fruit nicely cut to bite size pieces – bananas, papaya, pineapple, guava, watermelon – or whatever mixture they had for the day, along with fresh yogurt, granola, coffee or tea and fresh juice: pineapple, orange, guava, tamarind to name a few. Then came what Ruby cooked: omelets, pancakes, Chilaquiles, Huevos Rancheros, French toast, Chiles Nogales… And much more that I can’t remember or describe. Lunch was always some delicious Mexican dish that she makes vegetarian style, we even had vegetarian ceviche. Of course, homemade tortillas, all kinds of sauces… Truly excellent cuisine, better than any fine restaurant. The two restaurants they take you to offer mostly fish and shrimp dishes – all delicious. Ramones, the one on the beach, a little more rustic and noisy (loud music) and Pena’s was quieter and very good food, plus you did not have to get wet to get there so it was our favorite. – This part is really a personal preference. At all places you could drink beer, margaritas, pina coladas, tequila… whatever you desired.
-Gisela LLorens, Miami, Florida
Participant in January Pastel Workshop with Bob, 2013
One of the best attributes of the Casa is the group meals. The breakfasts and lunches right there made it easy to attend subsequent workshops and/or excursions. However, it provided an opportunity to meet fellow participants and quickly develop what I’m sure will be long lasting friendships with them and our hosts, (Bob & Monica).
The common areas of the Casa are very comfortable and the graciousness of our hosts made us feel very much “at home”. Many evenings were spent in the living room sharing our adventures of the day or laughs as we got to know one another better. The atmosphere and environment of the Casa really lends itself to community building which we value far more than just renting a hotel room or condo and spending the week by ourselves. this is the kind of week that builds lasting friendships and lasting memories. Thank you!”. – Dave & Paul
I learned so much from you Bob, your manner is open and generous. You live the spiritual art process and teach it tenderly.” – Lynn
My Casa Experience was Reflective, Restful and Rejuvenating. I came in as an empty balloon and was filled with fabulous food, friends and memories as I float home on cloud 99 – A chance to pause and regain your “sense of self” through the simple lifestyle of “less is more”.
Rustic Elegance with a terrain to tone every muscle in my body. Fabulous food and accommodations and great instruction – 10 Stars!!!
– I would encourage people to begin their “Boca Experience” before they arrive. -Walk comfortably on uneven terrains and have fun walking up inclines several times a week before arriving, hike in the woods a few times so you are sure of your footing, there are uneven trails and cobblestones in the Boca and a lot of stairs at the Casa, (studio is on the 3rd floor). Something along the lines of Bob Burridges instructions for painting in plein air – learn to deal with your equipment and the elements BEFORE you get here, easel set ups, sun hats, bug repellent, paint pallette, etc., etc., etc. – this way you’ll be ready for optimal enjoyment!
– Peggy Buchanan, Santa Barbara, CA
For a unique experience with art as a major and Mexico as a minor – Go !! … Bob’s kind and gentle way is very encouraging and positive. His many years of experience come thru – suggestions made are done diplomatically and from a point of personal experience… I want to add – it’s been a big help that essentially the total fee was “all – inclusive” – it made things a lot easier. – Mucho Gracias” – Chris, Casa workshop participant
There are no words to describe the educational/artistic experience at the Casa – it was top notch! …more than an art workshop, my week at the Casa has been an incredible life altering event that has nourished my mind, body and soul, – refreshing my creative spirit!” – Maggie O’brien, Director, Middletown Art Center Casa workshop participant
Anyone who wants a great experience, come to the Casa in Boca. Check the classes that are offered and sign up. You will never enjoy anything better -accommodations great, food great, Bob and Monica make you feel like family. Night walks were great, I never felt any fear or danger. The local people were nice and happy, always saying hello with a smile.
The Casa Experience was Great – I would not change a thing, even though my room was not directly adjacent the Casa, it was great, I loved it, plenty of room and a sunshine balcony and private bath! The studio space was also great, large room for all to work, with great views. The teachers, Bob and Jane, both made me feel very good about myself. I’d rate it a 10+ – you will have the best time you have had in a long time and you will meet two of the nicest people, (Bob and Monica), that you will never forget – I know I won’t!”
– Paulette S., North Carolina
Dear Bob, I cannot thank you enough for the incredible week I had in the Boca. It is hard to believe I had any hesitation at all. Of course I would not have known what I missed, but thankfully I got to experience the most creative, rewarding, informative week and got to share it with you, your beautiful home and your teachings. It was all so good and I can’t wait to come back and do it all again. I’ve already told a few others about it and I’m only back 12 hours!” – Judy D. – New York, N.Y. Casa workshop participant
Charles Duncan, PLano, Texas, It is very hard to think of anything that could improve the Casa Experience. Even when a participant chooses to depart from the program, the acceptance and willingness of our hosts to accommodate was wonderful. Don’t change a thing… On a scale of 1 to 10, an eleven would be too low! All was outstanding and wonderful.” – Ed Pulik, Washington, DC
It was a very positive experience that promoted growth both artistically and personally (if the two can be separated) for me it was a true adventure experiencing Boca De Tomatlan and the people who live here. The studio space couldn’t have been better – lots of beautiful things to paint and draw. Bob was beyond generous in sharing his skills and ideas. The demonstrations and verbal critiques were very helpful. I learned a lot. By the middle of the week I found myself viewing my environment with new eyes. I felt that Bob pushed me further to improve my work. My favorite aspect of the Casa experience was our gracious host Bob. He was generous with his time, knowledge and enthusiasm for the art and for this area of Mexico in general. The week felt balanced with the side trips we took, the studio time and of course eating at various places. There was also an interesting balance of people – age wise, personalities and backgrounds. Bob was very accepting of us all. In some ways we all became a family. Aiyana (Bobs’ daughter) was a creative and delicious cook, who took pride in her job this week. Thank you for this great experience!” – Jane Cassidy, Huntington, Long Island – July 2007
I can’t say enough good things about this vacation. Everything from the place, the people, the food and activities, all left me wonderful memories. It was not just a painting workshop – I felt that I really “lived” here. I’ve gotten to know some wonderful and inspiring people, both the locals and the workshop participants. I also learned some very incredible techniques and helpful insights to improve my drawing and painting skills. – Bob was very knowledgeable and skill-full. Excellent communication of technique and was always very helpful and encouraging. I learned a lot from him. – The studio space was very spacious. Good lighting and views. The staff and the food (at the Casa) was wonderful! I felt like I was being treated like a queen. Each restaurant we visited had its’ own unique charm – I loved all of them. I would definitely recommend this workshop to those who desire to learn drawing/painting techniques and want a lot feedback with attention to their artwork. It was also a nice get away with a lot of opportunities to have fun with what could be offered by the Boca and the Casa workshop. – It was a wonderful experience for the mind body and soul. I met a variety of people here, all were very friendly and with a good heart. Boca was beautiful – this was an experience that I will never forget!” – Karen, New York, N.Y.
Bob Masla is a gifted artist, generous and kind in teaching and hosting. The Casa is a delight with amazing accommodations and fabulous fresh food. On our excursions,( which were included in the price) we saw whales in the bay, blue footed booby birds, frigate birds, angel fish. We dined al fresco at a tequila plantation. We visited El Tuito (est. 1525). The Boca itself is a small fishing village. People are very friendly and welcoming. Be sure to bring a flashlight, and crocs. It’s so delightful there, you might want to wade across the shallow river to the Casa, instead of taking the cement footbridge. If you want a learning experience in Real Mexico, in a safe environment, this is it!” – Ruth, painter from Canada.
It has been a very satisfying week of relaxing and learning in a beautiful location…I had a very comfortable bedroom and loved the private balcony and the view… Bob is obviously a skillful painter himself and was effective in teaching. He is personable and was responsive to the needs and questions of the class members.” – Sandra E. -Mareeba, Australia
Outstanding!! Very good work environment with some fun too! One of the best workshops I’ve gone to. John is super knowledgable and SUPER generous. The Casa experience is a great way to improve your painting skills and also have a fun holiday and meet interesting people.” – M. Lawther, Vancouver, B.C.
Not only are the Casa and its’ hosts gracious and welcoming, but the local beauty is outstanding. Despite the impressions given in the American media, I saw no signs of violence and felt safe and welcomed everywhere we went.” – Dave, N. H. Participant in the Salsa/Art week
I don’t think anything can beat the value and incredible experience of a week with Bob and Monica and their familiy at the Casa. Their warmth and welcoming hospitality along with the fabulous art instruction by Bob made the vacation such a memorable one. The authentic Mexican food prepared each day by local women who work at the Casa was amazing…so fresh, delicious, and always a tasty array of dishes.
Bob and Monica are most accommodating hosts, who really care about each guest in their home. Upon arrival I felt immediately at home as they welcomed me to their most comfortable and charming casa. The Casa’s location is very unique and most beautiful! Staying in a fishing village by the river, emptying into the bay was absolutely incredible. The open air artist studio that overlooks the water is a backdrop of creative inspiration that feeds one’s soul and allows oneself to be enveloped in the laid back, relaxing rhythm of the village. No matter what your level of artistic skill may be, Bob (whose own work is very impressive!) is always so patient , encouraging, and supportive with his instruction.
The dinners at the local restaurants were always such fun with the hosts and other participants, and added so much to the experience of living like a local.
The side trips to hidden beautiful beaches, little villages, botanical gardens, Puerto Vallarta, and the snorkeling trip added so much to the entire experience.
I can’t say enough about how wonderful it is to spend a week at the Casa with Bob and Monica, the consummate hosts. I am so grateful that I was able to experience such a diverse, enriching, fun, and most unforgettable vacation! I hope to return again some day in the future.
If you are reading this review and trying to make up your mind about a trip to the Casa, I can assure you, the experience is well worth it! I haven’t come across anything that compares to the value of this vacation. Art instruction from a talented artist, a scenic setting off the beaten tourist trap, gourmet food, a personal guide to local highlights, comfortable and relaxing accommodations, fun commeraderie, airport transfers, a taste of living like the locals, and fabulous hosts….what else could you possible need? DO IT!!!” – J.L., Pennsylvania
It is a unique experience shared within the Boca. You live in a local community that is relaxed and enjoys a simple existence. The Masla family and staff are very accommodating and make you feel welcomed. You have “hands on” instructors who love imparting their knowledge…You leave the Casa de los Artistas, rejuvenated, inspired and ready to face the real world again.” – Maureen from Australia, Participant in Salsa/Painting wk.
I searched for a workshop with Jane Lund and was willing to travel to meet her. Boca was the only place I could find – so I signed up. So meeting Jane plus the whole Casa Experience has far exceeded my expectations. I have been on tours several times. Never experienced one where as much was included in the cost of the trip. Food, (excellent), drinks, transportation to and from the airport, excursions- were all included. I came for the workshop, but the excursions gave me a wonderful glimpse of the country and its’ people. That said, our hosts are at the top of the list of things I appreciated. Bob and Monica were gracious to one and all and made me feel welcome to their home. Thank you all.” – Participant in Creativity, Culture, Cuisine.
Robert Masla gave an excellent demonstration and explanation of the AlkydPro paints. Even as a novice, I was able to use the paints immediately and successfully. I loved the colors and ease of use. I plan to purchase some when I get home from my workshop here in Mexico” – Maura Albert, Boston, MA
It has been an exciting and productive time for me. The vacation experience was wonderful: people, places and activities. The relaxing atmosphere and surroundings, the variety of activities outside of the workshop. The accommodations were comfortable and clean, the studio space is very spacious in terms of painting space and accessibility to materials. Very competent instruction – Concepts and technique – especially the drawing exercises – I gained much in drawing and input on my work. I would recommend the Casa Art Workshop Vacation as the instruction and demos are clear and easy to follow. Thanks for a great workshop and vacation.” – Luz, Canada
Relaxing experience, everything taken care of… Great, Great, Great… keep doing what your doing!” – Stuart Lane, Teaneck, NJ
When Bob came to the Museum to do his presentation on how wonderful the Casa experience and the Boca was, I really didn’t believe a word of it, it couldn’t be that good, as incredible as it actually is! Words just can’t describe it, you just have to experience it.” – Beryl S. Springfield, MA
The Casa Experience was relaxing and fun with a Generous teacher/host, in a beautiful facility and fascinating surroundings. My room was comfortable and inviting and the common areas of the Casa are comfortable and colorful but relaxing. The studio space is excellent ! The Casa staff and food superb. I loved Ramone’s (restaurant on the beach) and his staff – Victor and Freddie –the food was very well prepared and flavorful. Both teachers were patient and sensitive. Faye and Bob both provided clear instruction and gentle support. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being excellent) I would rate it 10!
It was an excellent learning experience held in a warm and loving atmosphere in a gracious modern Casa, tucked into a tiny harbor at the mouth of a gently flowing river.” – Deborah Kutch, Penn.
The art workshop at the Boca rates among a very few experiences in our environment that can boast of a spontaneous people and a natural setting that colors and shapes an artists memory. The hospitality and generosity of Bob and his staff flavors the pallet and ambiance with a delicate mixture of art and play”. – Sister Maria Joseph Nace, SP, Chicopee, MA
I would recommend the Casa to people with a bit of adventure in their hearts. The Boca and the Casa will be in my heart forever.” – Lori M. Houston, TX
The Casa Art workshop/Vacation experience is a place and time to rest, contemplate, learn, connect with kindred spirits, all while refocusing on ones artwork and being immersed in a calm and energizing environment. The 3 things that stand out most in my mind are; the place (the Boca), being able to enjoy making art, and connecting with people (and a forth – the food!). Bob’s knowledge covers the most basic to the most advanced. The guest artist, Miso was also wonderful. Persons coming to the Casa will be able to focus on their art and enjoy the company of other artists as well as local residents. The location is very beautiful, peaceful and endearing.” – Jean V.- Boston area
Inspiring! -The 3 things that stand out most in my mind are; -I think I can do this. – People are much nicer than I’ve experienced. -I feel at home here. I see no need for improvement, the studio space is great, too much great food and a comfortable staff, restaurants were fun and good and Bob is great. It was a well rounded experience in a beautiful setting with a great artist-director. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being excellent) I would rate it 11! – Your impact on my life will always be with me.” – Jane B. Nevada
Joseph Campbell said that the key to a life well lived, with purpose and meaning was to “follow your bliss.” Great advice, but just what does that mean? Come to the Boca and meet people who are doing just that. Not just Bob and his family, but others you will encounter in the course of the week of activities embody Campbells’ advice. The things you do and see go well beyond the usual workshop experience. You will leave inspired and contemplating a return to Boca de Tomatlan.” – P.K. – Los Angeles
As a beginner among many experienced artists, I still received the individual instruction needed to accomplish a great deal. I learned much more than I had expected to, in a short period of time. While I realize I have a long way to go and a lot more to learn, I now have some important “ basic tools” to keep me from being discouraged and frustrated.
In addition to the art, the personal interactions and camaraderie made the experience worth far more than the cost of the trip. – p.s. You might include the following: – If you are an “uptight – ultra conservative” you may not be comfortable here! But, you may leave with a completely different view of the world if you come!” – Jerry Wilson, Wilbraham, MA
What a magnificent experience! The Boca and its people, Bob and his generosity of self – it’s hard to put in words what this vacation/art experience has been. Not only did I learn about composition and style, but also how to go beyond my edge or stopping point. Bob gently and graciously offered suggestions to get me just past what I could see. The day trips were invaluable, snorkeling, secluded beaches, the eclectic Puerto Vallarta, all contributed to the art making and ambience of his lovely Casa de los Artistas. The food was good and the company superb – from 20 year olds to those in their 60’s. All in all a wonderful group experience that fed my soul and my body.” – Lynn V. Michigan
The Workshop at Casa Artistas was a wonderful experience. I was really nervous to start with but the people made me so comfortable. Wonderful people who I met and 2 great teachers who knew exactly what we needed, but let us take our time finding out. I luv James (Steinberg – “Brainstorming Creativity”), he is such a special person and a great illustrator! Bob you are so patient and caring and I appreciate all your instruction. I think you both did everything you could to give me confidence in myself. Thanks!” – Doreen Walsh, New Jersey
The Casa Experience was relaxing yet full of options to explore within and without. The things that stand out most in my mind was the hike to the beach (Colomitos Cove), open studio at night, the trip to Puerto Vallarta and daily Yoga. Having a single room was fantastic with a wonderful view, the bathtub was beautiful in blue and greens (tile). The Studio space was wide open to the village and river yet secluded in being above and away from the busy fishing village. The kitchen staff and meals were delightful and delicious and the Red Snapper at Ramones was fabulous. Bob was cheerfully hosting, teaching, managing logistics and being tour guide. A lot to do but he’s a master juggler. At the Casa you can follow your own rhythm – stay at the studio or go on excursions. It’s a relaxed permissive environment.” – J.F. San Diego
The Casa Art Workshop Vacation was an educational – new experience – creative. What stands out most in my mind is: the most pleasant – non judgemental easy learning environment, with a knowledgeable, gentle spirited host who was most accommodating. The rooms were clean and neat, warm and inviting with access to all the Casa offers. The staff and meals were fabulous – excellent – Best food ever! Ramone (restaurant on the beach) was gracious – food over abundant servings. I couldn’t have started as a novice with a more patient host and instructor – Edifying and uplifting! Faye was also superb – gentle and guest sensitive!
The Casa was a fantastic cultural experience in a jungle, on a mountainside, on a river overlooking a fishing village – It was beneficial creatively, emotionally, physically (walking) with great opportunity to have quiet time for self-introspection. – Iâ€™d rate it a 10 – A Fabulous opportunity!” – Anne Bizak, Philadelphia, PA
The Casa Art Workshop/Vacation was well directed, well organized and done with care. The things that stand out in my mind are; the Casa itself, the participants and teachers, the experience of the village and interaction with the locals, the group teaching and above all I liked the sense of “one to one” learning.
If you were to rate your Casa experience on a scale of 1 to 10, (1 being terrible and 10 being excellent), how would you rate it? 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.” – Elide, NJ