‘Everything was magically suspended’ – a painting week at the Watermill

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Picture: Sandra Strohchein

We have just received a charming card from BZ Meyers, who was a guest on one of Sandra Strohshein’s painting courses in June. She says: “Thank you for such a lovely and memorable week at the Watermill. It was although everything was magically suspended for a week and all I had to do was to show up for one delightful painting session after another with Sandra. Through your hospitality I felt part of a big family by the end of the week.”

Thank you so much for those kind words BZ. We really enjoyed your company. The picture above shows BZ enjoying friendly conversation with fellow guest Katherine Rice in the Watermill Walled Garden. And here are some members of another group of Sandra’s, showing off a painting they made together. Hsppy days!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Picture Keith Strohschein

Come and join us and take some magical time out of your busy lives. We’d be delighted to welcome you here. You know you deserve it.

More out our fun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring creative courses can be found in our 2019 preview by clicking here. And there’s an enticing offer of ‘2019 courses at 2018 prices’ if you book now.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

Magical!

An enchanting Tuscan weekend: a Medieval competition, a wedding and inspired painting

We’ve been having a wonderfully warm Italian weekend here at the Watermill.

First, on Saturday we went to the wedding of our old friend Roberto Vegnuti and the lovely Angela Spiexia at the town hall of nearby Sarzana (that’s the elegant couple above), then to their reception, in the seaside village of Fiascherino, overlooking the Bay of Poets and Portovenere. Here’s the view from the hotel terrace.

And here’s a picture of me, which can only be captioned the Old Man and The Sea!

Today, to Fivizzano, where they were preparing for the climax of the Disfida, an archery competition dating from Medieval times, during which much of the town dress in historical costumes. Here’s another elegant Italian, taking a coffee break before the festivities begin.

And we shouldn’t forget that we have just started another fun-filled, sun-filled painting week here at the Watermill with our old mate Terry Jarvis from Australia. Here he is sharing his know-how with two of our guests, Elaine Ptasznik and Meg Houston.

There’s always something going on during our Watermill creative courses. Come and join in the fun and put yourself in the picture! Please click here to learn more.

The Watermill July 2018 newsletter is just out…

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.This month’s newsletter is jam-packed with updates on local places to see, the glorious local food, fun painting projects, insights into writing techniques and – of course – what spots are still available for 2018 as well as the courses scheduled for 2019. Ci vediamo!

Read it all by clicking here.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Picture Keith Strohschein

Artichokes and swallowtails mark the Watermill seasons

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.One of the delightful aspects of living at the Watermill is to watch the changing seasons:  the deafening Spring Dawn Chorus, for example, or the June fireflies. At this time of year of particular interest are the flowering of the artichokes and the incredible swallowtail butterflies fluttering in the lavender.

Above is a picture of some of our artichoke flowers, taken by our Girl Friday Chloe Taylor and below, a swallowtail on the lavender, taken by guest Leslie Kay.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Now we are all looking out for the incredible humming bird moth which at this time of year can be seen enjoying the nectar in the flowers in the Watermill courtyard. It has a long proboscis, just like a humming bird and can even fly backwards.  We haven’t seen one recently, but they should be here soon…

Here’s one captured on camera a couple of years ago by another of our guests, Ron Ploeg.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Come and see the changing season for yourselves. We’ve a few places left on our 2018 creative courses. Among other things, you can enjoy the uva fragole, ‘strawberry grapes’ ripening on the Vine Verandah and sweet juicy figs fresh from the tree…

(Since we are just starting an Italian language week, I thought this picture was appropriate.)

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

Picture credit: The Huffington Post

2018 places left:

Painting:

terry plus picTerry Jarvis
7 July to 14 July 2018 one or two places
Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics)

To learn more about Terry, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page

 

Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça
1-8 September 2018 one or two places
Pastels 

To learn more about Nel and Rebecca and their course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

On our Writing your Life’s Stories week:

Jo plus pic

 Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 two or three places
Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here

On a knitting course:

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Lisa Richardson
9 September to 6 October 2018 
one place
Knitting and La Bella Vita

To learn more about Lisa and her course at the mill, please visit her Profile Page

** We are already taking bookings for our 2019 creative courses, with a special offer of any 2019 creative week at 2018 prices. Please go to our 2019 courses preview section, by clicking here

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Another swallowtail butterfly at the Watermill, by Lara Breckon

 

 

Symbolic spaghetti sums up the atmosphere of a Watermill creative week

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Our thanks to guest Emily Muhlberger for the picture.

Here’s a picture of a bowl of spaghetti all pomorodoro, simply made with fresh ingredients, cooked perfectly al dente. Behind it, a glass of crisp white local wine. Behind that, unseen, 15 guests on a Watermill painting course savouring the tastes, sights and sounds of a traditional Italian trattoria, the Locanda al Castello, in Verrucola, where we go to paint the castle and the village on Mondays.  Beyond them, Italian workmen enjoying their pranzo di lavoro: fresh ingredients, simple recipes, perfectly cooked.

We’re looking forward to our spezzatino alla Romana, a beef casserole Roman style, accompanied by the masterpiece of Mauro, the chef: a puree of fava beans with butter and parmesan cheese.

Yes, good food looms large on our Watermill weeks, whether it is in traditional local restaurants and cafes or in the dining room at the Watermill, as well as good company and inspiring teaching from internationally renowned tutors.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, cookery holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Come and join us and savour the magic of the Watermill.

We’ve only a few places left in 2018 (see below) and we’re already taking bookings for 2019: we’ve sold some 85 places out of a potential 250, so if you want a particular course, a specific week or your favourite bedroom, no is the time to book for next year. (and there’s a 2019 at 2018 prices’ offer.) Again, links below.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, cookery holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

2018 places left:

Painting:

terry plus picTerry Jarvis
7 July to 14 July 2018 one or two places
Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics)

To learn more about Terry, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page

 

Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça
1-8 September 2018 one or two places
Pastels 

To learn more about Nel and Rebecca and their course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

On our Writing your Life’s Stories week:

Jo plus pic

 Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 two or three places
Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here

On a knitting course:

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Lisa Richardson
9 September to 6 October 2018 
one place
Knitting and La Bella Vita

To learn more about Lisa and her course at the mill, please visit her Profile Page

** We are already taking bookings for our 2019 creative courses, with a special offer of any 2019 creative week at 2018 prices. Please go to our 2019 courses preview section, by clicking here.

 

A trip to the marble quarries of Carrara: brace yourself and have fun!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Picture: Ray Warren

Watermill non-painting partner Ray Warren fancied a trip to the marble mountains of Carrara while his wife Carole was enjoying her painting course with Andrew Geeson. We fixed him a trip to the marble quarries with the Cave di Marmo tour company which, he says, was “excellent and expertly done.”

Here’s his report: From Carrara Avenza Station the trip in the Landrover Defender weaves through the streets past the 17 individual factories that shape and polish the marble. They operate individually but cooperate when large orders need to be filled. A sort of strange broken family who begrudgingly help each other out as often as they step on each other to win the business in the first place. In typical Italian style our driver described it as a mother in law to daughter in law relationship where cooperation is needed but contact not sought. 

“It takes about 15 minutes to reach the shop, the starting place for the tour proper and where our vehicles were allocated. The journey up starts with steep hairpin bends on firm roads but soon we were on rough marble and rocks. The road getting ever steeper and the drop off over the side ever more sheer. The Landrover is the best tool for this terrain and eats up the ground quickly and noisily. Then you remember that the lorries with tons of marble use the same roads. This is dangerous work and surely very skilful. 

“At the first stop we saw the village below that once housed the workers. Some still live there but it is now open to others and seems to be a thriving place. The views down the valley were wonderful with the green of vegetation split by huge white fissures of marble quarry. 

Picture: Ray Warren

“The second stop allowed our guide to explain the cutting and harvesting process. Drilling and diamond encrusted cables are used to saw and separate the blocks which are then hauled down by huge earth shifting tractors operated by drivers with the skills of surgeons. Intricate moves and precise grabs have the block falling into soft dust beds to then be dragged away and trucked down to the factories. The process runs 24/7 and demands skill and judgement from seasoned quarry foremen.

Picture: Ray Warren

“Our guide is an expert driver as well as an experienced and knowledgeable person. She needs to be as the slope down seems more steep, more rocky and more sheer than on the way up. The Landrover laps it all up.” 

“A great trip. A definite choice if you love a little science mixed with some adrenaline inducing driving. Worth the time to understand the history, economics and importance of Carrara in Italy as well as the world of marble distribution. Brace yourself and have fun.”

Thank you for your intriguing report, Ray. This is just one of the many activities we offer non-participating partners on watermill creative courses. Find out more by clicking here.

Why not join us next year for one of our fun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring courses? If you book now, there’s a special offer (until 1 September): book a place on any of our 2019 creative courses at 2018 prices. For a preview of our 2019 courses, please click here.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, yoga holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

A wonderful picture by Watermill guest Ron Ploeg

Tai Chi on the terrace: just the way to start the painting day

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.With all the diverse talents and interests of our guests at the Watermill there is never a dull moment conversation-wise – and from time-to-time, activity-wise as well.

That was certainly true this week, when painting guest Pam Paszke, ably assisted by another guest, Lesley Dench, organised impromptu pre-breakfast Tai Chi sessions on the roof terrace above the courtyard dining doom. Above are some of the group in gentle action. Our thanks to Steve Harger, a non-painting partner, for the picture. Not a bad way to start the day, especially with stunning views of the Apennine mountains, the backbone of Italy, in the distance…

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.We can’t promise you Tai Chi every week, but we can promise you sun-filled, fun-filled, stimulating and inspiring creative weeks, whether it’s painting, writing, knitting or learning Italian. Come and join us this year or next: We’ve a (very) few places left this year, and we’re also taking bookings for 2019: there’s a link below, too.

Painting:

terry plus picTerry Jarvis
7 July to 14 July 2018 Two or three places
Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics)
To learn more about Terry, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page

 

Nel and Bec mountains cropped

Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça

1-8 September 2018 One place or two sharing          Pastels

To learn more about Nel and Rebecca and their course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

On our Writing your Life’s Stories week:

Jo plus pic

 Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 Two or three places
Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here

On a knitting course:

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Lisa Richardson
9 September to 6 October 2018 One place
Knitting and La Bella Vita

To learn more about Lisa and her course at the mill, please visit her Profile Page

** We are already taking bookings for our 2019 creative courses, with a special offer of any 2019 creative week at 2018 prices. Please go to our 2019 courses preview section, by clicking here.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Picture Keith Strohschein

 

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Find out why William returns to the Watermill again and again – and again!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.This man deep in concentration on his painting is William Shand, a retired eminent surgeon, an English gentleman and a true friend to the Watermill. He has been on painting courses with us no fewer than 15 times and this week he is with Sandra Strohschein. We must be doing something he likes. And we love his unfailing enthusiasm and impeccable courtesy.

Not only that, he shares a passion with me for the poems of Hilaire Belloc and, suitably prompted, we can be prevailed upon to recite after dinner some of the master’s witty and amusing poems, which are old-fashioned in having both meter and rhyme.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Picture Keith Strohschein

Why not come and see for yourself why William loves the Watermill so much. We’re now taking bookings for 2019.The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

***STOP PRESS: William has just booked for Sandra Strohschein’s week from Saturday 8 June to Saturday 15 June 2019! Come and join him for a fun-filled inspiring painting week – and probably Hilaire Belloc, too.

Only half a dozen places left on our 2018 creative courses

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, yoga holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Off to the mountinas this morning to paint the Apuan Alps at Monte dei Bianchi, then a gourmet lunch at the Al Vecchio Tino restuarant — another day in Lunigiana paradise!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

If you’d like to join us for one of our famous creative courses — painting, writing your memoir, knitting — we’ve a (very) few places left this year, and we’re also taking bookings for 2019: there’s a link below, too.

Painting:

Andrew plus pic

Andrew Geeson
23 June to 30 June 2018 1 place or 2 sharing

Watercolours
To learn more about Andrew, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page

 

terry plus picTerry Jarvis
7 July to 14 July 2018 Two or three places
Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics)
To learn more about Terry, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page

 

On our Writing your Life’s Stories week:

Jo plus pic

 Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 Two or three places
Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here

On a knitting course:

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Lisa Richardson
9 September to 6 October 2018 One place
Knitting and La Bella Vita

To learn more about Lisa and her course at the mill, please visit her Profile Page

** We are already taking bookings for our 2019 creative courses, with a special offer of any 2019 creative week at 2018 prices. Please go to our 2019 courses preview section, by clicking here.

Sunrise at Posara: Sandra Strohschein captures the moment

Painting by Sandra Strohschein, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Watermill painter in residence Sandra Strohschein created this lovely watercolour as the early sun caught the church tower at Posara. And here’s Approaching storm inspired by a walk in the nearby countryside.

Painting by Sandra Strohschein, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

We have another delightful group of students for Sandra’s third week with us this Summer and we’re looking forward today to paint the ancient castle and village of Verrucola before an authentic Italian trattoria lunch at the Locanda al castello.

Here are some of the group painting yesterday in the Watermill’s Walled Garden:The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

If you’d like to join us, we’ve one bedroom left on Sandra’s fourth week, starting next Saturday, and a (very) few other places on creative course this year. We’re taking bookings for 2019, too: details below.

Painting:

Sandra plus picSandra Strohschein
16 June to 23 June 2018 1 place or 2 sharing
Watercolours

To learn more about Sandra, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page

 

Andrew plus pic

Andrew Geeson
23 June to 30 June 2018 1 place or 2 sharing

Watercolours
To learn more about Andrew, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page

 

terry plus picTerry Jarvis
7 July to 14 July 2018 Two or three places
Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics)
To learn more about Terry, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page

 

On our Writing your Life’s Stories week:

Jo plus pic

 Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 Two or three places
Write Your Life Stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please click here

On a knitting course:

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Lisa Richardson
9 September to 6 October 2018 One place
Knitting and La Bella Vita

To learn more about Lisa and her course at the mill, please visit her Profile Page

** We are already taking bookings for our 2019 creative courses, with a special offer of any 2019 creative week at 2018 prices. Please go to our 2019 courses preview section, by clicking here.