Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness: just the time to plan your 2019 creative week at the Watermill. Read all about it!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.There’s lots to read about in this month’s Watermill newsletter, from ‘notan’ to poetic reflections, and from cool water bottles to solar panels. Eclectic, or what? You can read all about it by clicking here https://watermill.net/mill-news/millnews101/millnews101.php

With so much to say we’re already looking forward to clinking glasses with you on the vine verandah. Our 2019 creative courses, in painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language are filling fast. Time to get your booking in, especially with our enticing £75 discount Early Bird offer. Ci vediamo!

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

It may be misty now but soon there will be more glorious Tuscan sunshine for you to enjoy our stunning locations.

Carry a sketchbook and create instant memories says Mike Willdridge

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.The sketch above by our enthusiastic and inspiring watercolour painting tutor Mike Willdridge of the marketplace in the nearby mediaeval walled town of Fivizzano, where we go to on Tuesdays during our Watermill weeks. You can come and paint and sketch with Mike at the Watermill next June: there are more details about his 2019 painting course with us below. Or please click here for more details.

Mike always carries a sketchbook with him wherever he goes and considers it a vital part of his artistic life. He’d like you to do the same. He says: It’s incredible how looking back on a past sketchbook will instantly remind you not only of the subject matter but also quite personal feelings you may have experienced at the time. Try it! I don’t keep a diary but my sketchbooks (I have a lot of them) are an instant recall of many, many memories.”

Mike adds: “Maybe a good analogy is that of ‘smells’. How often does a certain smell straight-away remind you of something in your past? I suggest that It’s much the same with a sketchbook.” 

Here’s an example. Mike says: “From this paint and ink drawing I can recall vividly the wonderful old chateau we stayed at, the exact time of day, the people I spoke to whilst drawing etc. etc.”

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

Frog on a Fountain. Villa I Bossi, Arrezzo, Italy, 2014

A sketchbook can also be a great vehicle for gathering information. Mike says: “Maybe it’s for something specific – to help you with a ‘finished’ painting.  Maybe you have no idea why you’re using a sketchbook but, at a later date, it proves useful; an ‘aide-memoire’ to help you or inspire you towards another work.”

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

Two pages from visits to museums and galleries

“I don’t know whether you’ve noticed but, so far, I haven’t used the word “drawing”. This has been deliberately to emphasise that ‘anything goes’ for working in a sketchbook. Yes, most of my uses of a sketchbook involve drawing and painting but a sketchbook can also take found objects, cuttings, photos, written work, scribbled ideas, other people’s work (my grandchildren are always painting in my books), postcards etc., etc.”

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

A sketch of one of the small wooden bridges across the millstream at Posara

Mike concludes: “Sketchbooks can be very personal recorders of events in your life but there is no need to be precious about their use. You’re not likely to have to hang your sketchbook on a wall for all to see. The sketchbook can be, if you wish, a collection of memories and information for your eyes only.”Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Mike Willdridge works and teaches in a wide range of media and is an enthusiastic and energetic tutor with more than 20 years’ experience. Although his classes are always light-hearted and fun, he is experienced enough to vary the level of ‘teaching’ to individual needs. For more about Mike and his course of the Watermill, please click here.  We already have eight bookings on Mike’s course next June, two of them non-painting partners. So we still have room for five or six more painters. And don’t forget our enticing Early Bird offer: there is a £75 discount on this inspiring 2019 painting course if you book before the end of this year. Come and create your own colourful and enduring memories!

 

 

 

Memorable pictures from our Watermill painting weeks

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

We thought we just like to share with you a few pictures from our Watermill painting weeks. The one above is by our tutor and friend Terry Jarvis, of one of the villages in the Apuan Alps, one of the locations on our painting excursions from the mill.

And here’s a friendly ink and watercolour sketch by one of our students, Nancy Kimzey Anderson, bringing a bubbly personal touch to the Medician fountain in the main square of Fivizzano, where we go to paint on market days.

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

And how about this study of an ancient doorway, by student Robert Christopher?

These are just three of the delightful paintings and sketches made by our students and tutors alike: there are endless subjects to paint in and around the watermill and in the lovely unspoiled countryside of northern Tuscany which surrounds us. Come and find your own subject and enjoy inspiring tuition on a fun-filled, sun-filled painting week at the Watermill. Places are filling fast and we have an enticing Early Bird discount offer: if you book on one of our 2019 courses before the end of this year, there’s a £75 discount.

Here’s a list of our sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring 2019 painting courses:

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

Paul Talbot-Greaves
27 April to 4 May 2019 

Watercolours (and acrylics)
To learn more about Paul and his course at the mill, please click here.

 

Keiko Tanabe
18-25 May 2019

Watercolours
To learn more about Keiko and her course at the mill, please click here.

 

Sandra Strohschein
1-8 June 2019 and 8-15 June 2019 

Watercolours

To learn more about Sandra and her courses at the mill, please click here.

 

Vicki Norman
122-29 June 2019

Oils en plein air

To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please click here.

 

Mike Willdridge
29 June to 6 July 2019

Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics with an emphasis on sketching and drawing on location)

To learn more about Mike & his course, please click here.

 

Sue Ford
13-20 July 2019

Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylics

To learn more about Sue and her course at the mill, please click here.

 

Jude Scott
17-24 August 2019 and 24-31 August 2019

Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylics

To learn more about Jude and her courses at the mill, please click here.

 

Varvara Neiman
31 August to 7 September 2019

Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours

To learn more about Varvara and her course at the mill, please click here.

 

Claire Warner
14-21 September 2019

Watercolours, oils and acrylics

To learn more about Claire and her course at the mill, please click here.

 

Maggie Renner Hellmann
21-28 September 2019

Courageous Color Workshop in oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolours

To learn more about Maggie and her course at the mill, please click here.

 

Charles Sluga
28 September to 5 October 2019

Watercolours, acrylics and oils

To learn more about Charles and his course at the mill, please click here.

 

Tim Wilmot
5-12 October 2019

Watercolours

To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please click here.

 

David Taylor
12 – 19 October 2019

Watercolours

To learn more about David and his course at the mill, please click here.

You can learn more about our 2009 painting holiday programme, including a typical itinerary and the costs for our delightful bedrooms and self-contained apartment suites, by clicking here.

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

A masterly watercolour by David Taylor of the market in nearby Fivizzano, where we going to paint Tuesdays.

 

Evening light on the vine verandah: come and capture it with Keiko next year

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

Today is the last day of our 2018 season. And as we begin to pack everything away, we are reminded of sunny days, good company and much laughter. Thank you to all our guests for making it such a successful season.

We particularly remember aperitivi under the vine verandah, sipping the ice-cool house cocktail as the evening shadows lengthen. Above you can see a lovely picture by our tutor Keiko Tanabe capturing the atmosphere of that time of day.

And here’s another Keiko Tanabe atmospheric watercolour, this time the view from the hilltop village of Monte dei Bianchi, the location of our Friday painting expedition

We have already received almost 170 bookings for next year’s season, which is pretty good going for October, since we only have room for some 250 guests on our 2019 creative courses. If you’d like to come, we’d be delighted to hear from you. We have an enticing Early Bird offer: there is a £75 discount on any one of our creative courses – painting, writing, knitting or Italian language –if you book before the end of this year.

If you’d particularly like to come on Keiko’s course, we still have some places left. Her 2019 painting week will run from Saturday 18 May to Saturday 25 May 2019 and you can learn all about it by clicking here.

And you can find out about all the Watermill creative courses in 2019 by clicking here.

Come and enjoy the evening shadows – and the morning sun, and the inspiring tuition, and the wonderful countryside, and the delicious food, and the cheerful company…

 

 

They wore the green beret

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Here is the knitting group on the last evening of Lisa Richardson’s fun-filled week posing in the Watermill sitting room wearing some of the products of their week’s work, lovely green berets.

As well as the knitters, you can see our manager Karsten Muller joining in the spirit of things. Thank you very much, Lisa and all our guests for a week full of laughter and bonhomie. We really enjoyed your company and we look forward to seeing many of you next year, as you are already booked into knitting, creative writing or painting courses in 2019. Our thanks for all your support.

And thanks too, to Lea Marissen for the picture above. And for the one below. Our guests Shelley and Tim Ellison were celebrating their 22nd wedding anniversary so we ensured it was properly commemorated, with 22 candles and best wishes in the Watermill dining room.

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

We now have more than 160 bookings for next year’s creative courses, so if you’re keen to come now is the time to get your booking in, especially as we have an enticing Early Bird discount offer: £75 off any one of our 2019 creative courses, if you book your place before the end of December this year. If you have a favourite tutor or a special time of year, now is the time to reserve your place. We look forward to welcoming you here.

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

Jumping for joy on a Watermill painting course!

Walking in the misty mountains

Steve Rutherford, a non-knitting partner on Lisa Richardson’s fun-filled knitting course this week has been enjoying walking in the mighty Apennine mountains above the Watermill. Here are a couple of his atmospheric photographs as the mists and clouds gathered in.

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

 

Thank you Steve for sharing these with us.

Service with a smile

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

Picture: Lea Marissen

Here’s our lovely Girl Friday Annabelle Scott setting the table on the vine verandah ready for lunch for those of our guests who didn’t go off on the excursion to Lucca or the Cinque Terre.

We’d love to welcome you to the Watermill for one of our creative courses next year: the perfect combination of unspoiled Italy and inspiring tuition. For details of all our courses – painting, creative writing, knitting, Italian language – please click here.

There will be plenty of sunshine and plenty of smiles.

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

Having a fun time on this week’s Watermill knitting course

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Our guests on Lisa Richardson’s knitting course this week seem to be having a marvellous time. We’ve had ‘interesting’ weather, with rumbly thunderstorms, strong winds and, in between, lots of idyllic sunny periods.

This week’s guests have enjoyed much laughter and great camaraderie, not least non-knitting partner Steve Rutherford, who not only organised a highly amusing knitting quiz last night, but is also quite happy to act as model for the projects the knitters have been working through this week. Above is Steve looking rather cute in a green beret. And below is one of our knitting guests, Jules Foster, showing what it should look like. I’m no knitting expert, Jules, but I suspect it would look even better were you to take the circular knitting needles out.

Yesterday we ventured to the market in the walled mediaeval town of Fivizzano, where the stallholders braved the wind and we retired indoors in the Café Elvetico for delicious plates of ravioli and salad. Some of our guests opted to walk back to the Watermill, rather than travel down in our minibus. And on the way they augmented their lunch with wild figs growing by the wayside.

Never a dull moment on a Watermill knitting course! Our thanks to guest Lea Marissen for the pictures.

We are running three knitting weeks next year, but two of them, with Debbie Abrahams and Marie Wallin are completely full. We do, however, have a few places on Sarah Hazell’s course in May. Please click here for details.

And if you book a place on Sarah’s course, or on any of our other 2019 creative courses, there is an enticing Early Bird discount offer. If you reserve your place before 31 December 2018, you can enjoy your 2019 course with a £75 discount.

There won’t be fresh figs of course, but wonderful spring flowers and other fresh fruit and vegetables. Come and join us for knitting and La Bella Vita Italiana.

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

Knitting concentration on one of Sarah’s courses, by guest Phil Wright

It was a dark and stormy night…

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

Our thanks to Patrizia Morgan, a guest on Lisa Richardson’s knitting course here this week, for the wonderful photograph above of the view from her bedroom last evening. It has been a dark and stormy night, but it looks like we’re going to have a brighter and sunnier day for our visit to the weekly market in the nearby walled mediaeval town of Fivizzano.

Patrizia says: “I’m having a wonderful time in Tuscany on my knitting retreat. The Watermill in Posara is an amazing place !  Lisa from Rowan is teaching us how to knit cushion covers in Fair isle. Highlight of my holiday! Fabulous people, fabulous food, just magical here… I can’t get enough of this place and the surroundings…”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Patrizia has proved her point by taking a series of marvellous photographs during her first day or two here. There are a three of them here and I have made them, and others, into a Facebook slideshow, which you can see by clicking here.

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

Thank you for sharing your stunning pictures with us, Patrizia.

They remind me to remind you about the Watermill Photo Competition (the closing date is the end of this month): Portray the unique ambiance and fun-filled atmosphere of The Watermill during our inspiring creative courses, whether it’s painting, creative writing, knitting or Italian language — and win a week-long holiday here!

The competition is open to anyone who has stayed at the Watermill, this year or in previous years. We are particularly interested in shots that show our ‘students’ in action, both at ‘work’ and play, although we’d also like to see great photos of the Watermill, its grounds and the surrounding countryside, and of the flora and fauna that abound in this environmentally protected area.

The winner will be offered a free week-long creative holiday at the Watermill in 2019, of his or her choice, subject to availability. There will be five runner-up prizes, of £GBP200 off a Watermill creative holiday at The Watermill in 2019, subject to availability.

  • To enter you can submit up to five photographs. They should be sent electronically as high-resolution JPG files, with a minimum size of 1mb.
  • You should send your pictures to Bill Breckon via WeTransfer.

Their website is https://wetransfer.com. Bill’s contact email for this process is bill@medialliance.net.

  • The closing date for this year’s competition is 31 October 2018.
  • The winners will be notified in the first week of January 2019.
  • The judges will be Lois and Bill Breckon, Maggie Renner Hellman, Sandra Strohschein, Mike Willdridge and Tim Wilmot.
  • The judges’ decision is final.
  • The competition is not open to professional photographers.
  • If other people are in the picture, the entrant should have asked their permission to photograph them.
  • The Watermill reserves the right to use these pictures, with due acknowledgment, for publicity purposes.

Please send us your best photographs: would love to see them and give you the chance of a free holiday at the Watermill.

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

Write the stories of your life with Jo

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

Some of our guests on Jo’s first creative writing course here this year.

Jo Parfitt works very hard on her writing weeks here to help people find their voice and the courage to write honestly about their experiences. In the secluded setting of the Watermill and its gardens and grounds, her students are able to release their creative talent and to begin to write the stories of their lives.

We’ve just finished the second of Jo’s writing weeks this year, so now we are looking forward to her return in 2019. Joe will be with us again Saturday 15 June to Saturday 22 June — and five people have already booked in!

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

Find a quiet corner to start writing your life’s stories

Here are some comments from guests on Jo’s course at the Watermill earlier this year: Thank you so much for the most magical trip to Tuscany, which will stay with me forever!”   “The Watermill is a very special and beautiful place, and everything was organised so perfectly. Everyone was so hospitable, and Joe is a brilliant tutor. Thanks again to you and your team for such a life affirming week.” “What a joyful and inspiring world you have created there… magical days.”

The Write Your Life Stories creative writing course is designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories. Jo says: “The course at the Watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life.”

Jo Parfitt is an author, journalist, teacher, blogger, conference speaker and poet. She has published 32 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She’s an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’.

To recap: Jo will be with us again from 15-22 June 2019 and we’d be delighted to welcome you on her course. And don’t forget, if you book now you can take advantage of our enticing Early Bird offer. Yes, there’s a £75 discount if you book on this inspiring writing course before 31 December 2018.