Come and enjoy the intimate atmosphere of the Watermill and paint landscapes, people and town scenes with Varvara

Cancellations had meant that we now have a few more places available on Varvara Neiman’s wonderful painting holiday at the Watermill this year – and we’d love to welcome you here.

To whet your appetite I have made a little slideshow of some of Varvara’s exciting paintings and if you’d like to see it, all you have to do is to click here. The picture above is part of the slideshow, as is this one below:

You, too, can capture the vibrancy of Tuscan life, as well as painting in the unspoiled rural scenery of Lunigiana, which surrounds the Watermill, when Varvara returns for another painting course next year. Varvara, who tutors in water-based oils, acrylics and watercolour, will be here again from Saturday 31 August to Saturday 7 September 2019. More details and links below.

As well as plein air painting, Varvara specialises in portraiture and moving figures in watercolour and she is also famous for her cityscapes, capturing fleeting moments.

Painting from nature

Varvara Neiman, who lives in Buckinghamshire, England, was born into an artistic family in St. Petersburg, Russia, where art and teaching were professions passed on from generation to generation. Her work combines classical discipline with a modern imagination. She is enthusiastic about painting en plein air and passionate about Cezanne’s famous quote: “Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one’s sensation.”  Varvara has been a popular and inspiring teacher for many years. She is skilled in oils, acrylics and watercolours and will teach in any of those mediums. (Water-based oils for easier transportation.)  During her course there will be group demonstrations as well as one-to-one guidance. Varvara likes to create a friendly atmosphere in the group, encouraging students to share their experiences. A couple of comments from Varvara’s previous students: I have been coming to classes with Varvara for almost 10 years and she never ceases to amaze me both with her artistic knowledge and range of techniques. “Not only is she excellent teacher she is also good artist… there is no-one better to teach you.”

We’ll look after you

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the Watermill: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

Varvara Neiman
31 August – 7 September 2019 five or so places
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara and her course at the mill, please click here.

 

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

How we oldies took selfies and were ready to talk on the phone

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Our Facebook friend and Watermill guest last year, Nancy Kimsey Anderson, recently posted the picture above to try to persuade her younger friends that this was the way we oldies used to take selfies. I wonder if they believed her!

Talking of phones, I thought I might share with you part of a blog post I did some time back about telephones and the Italians. Here it is.

Why do the Italians say ‘Pronto’ when they answer the phone?

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

I’m ready. Where is Bill?

If you’ve ever heard an Italian answering the phone, you may have been mildly surprised to hear that the first thing most of them say is Pronto. That means ‘Ready’ or ‘I’m ready.’ But why do they say this instead of ‘Hello’ or even just giving their number?

The answer goes back to the early days of the telephone when to make calls across Italy one had to go through an operator. You’d call him or her and give the number, then hang up. In due course your phone would ring and the operator would say: “Are to ready to accept a call to (the number)?”  And of course, you would reply: Pronto. ‘Ready.’

Somehow that response has stuck in the Italian telephonic psyche, so even in these days of instant mobile communication just about anywhere in the country (or the world) they still say Pronto when answering a call.

Watermill creative courses: find out more on the Interweb!

These days, of course, we don’t have to communicate solely on the telephone, we oldies can use what I like to call, infuriating my children, the Interweb, so I’m going to use this post to keep you up-to-date on availability on all the Watermill’s creative courses this year.

We are filling fast but still have plenty of places with different tutors. If there’s a particular tutor or a particular week you would like to come on and you find it is fully booked, don’t hesitate to get in touch. There are often cancellations and we will put you on a waiting list and get in touch as soon as a place becomes available.

Bring your partner or friend. Why not bring your friend or partner? They don’t have to participate in the course, but they will be able to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the mill and, whenever they want, to come out with you to our beautiful locations. We also offer a range of Alternative activities for partners (please click here) on all our creative courses, as well as a generous £GBP 250 discount if they share a room with you.

Painting courses

Paul Talbot-Greaves
27 April to 4 May 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Paul and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Keiko Tanabe
18 – 25 May 2019 One or two places left
Watercolours
To learn more about Keiko and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Sandra Strohschein
1 – 8 June 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
8 – 15 June 2019
 Fully booked, waiting list open

Watercolours
To learn more about Sandra and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Vicki Norman
22 – 29 June 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Oils en plein air
To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please see our 2019 Courses Preview page.

 

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Mike Willdridge
29 June – 6 July 2019 Two or three places left
Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics with an emphasis on sketching and drawing on location)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Sue Ford
13 – 20 July 2019 Three or four places left
Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylics
To learn more about Sue and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Jude Scott
17 – 24 August 2019 Four or five places left
24 – 31 August 2019
 One place left

Watercolours (plus acrylics and oils)
To learn more about Jude and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

Varvara Neiman
31 August – 7 September 2019 Four or five places left
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Claire Warner
14 – 21 September 2019 Two or three places left
Watercolours, oils and acrylics
To learn more about Claire and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Maggie Renner Hellmann
21 – 28 September 2019  Fully booked, waiting list open
Courageous Color Workshop’ in oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolors
To learn more about Maggie and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

Charles Sluga
28 September – 5 October 2019  Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours, acrylics and oils
To learn more about Charles and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Tim Wilmot
5 – 12 October 2019 One or two places left
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

David Taylor
12 – 19 October 2019  Four or five places left
Watercolours
To learn more about David and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Knitting courses

Sarah Hazell
4 – 11 May 2019 Two or three places left
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Sarah and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Debbie Abrahams
25 May – 1 June 2019 Due to cancellations: One or two places left
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Debbie and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Marie Wallin
6 – 13 July 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Marie and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page

 

Writing courses

Jo Parfitt
15 – 22 June 2019 One or two places left
Write Your Life Stories
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
7 – 14 September 2019 Still plenty of places
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and to register an interest in their course at the mill, please visit their 2019 Profile Page.

 

Italian language course

Langues services and Francesca la Sala 
11 – 18 May 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Italian language
To learn more about Francesca and her course at the mill, please click here.

We’d be delighted if you could join us. Please click here for more details about all our 2019 creative courses. We are ready for your call on (UK number +44 (20) 7193 6246) or email us oldies using the Interweb, on info@watermill.net. ) 

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

Making your paintings more exciting: some thoughts from Mike Willdridge

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Our friend and Watermill painting tutor Mike Willdridge is taking a well earned rest after completing his self-imposed task of painting 100 pictures in 100 days. He called his challenge a ‘journey towards abstraction’ and now he’s had a few days to contemplate his journey, he’s been sending me a few thoughts which we would like to share with you.

Here are his second musings, this time on the importance of ‘Line’.

Mike says: When I was working on my 100 paintings challenge, I made considerable and very conscious use of the Visual Elements of Art: colour, form, line, shape, space, texture, pattern, value. For this second “lesson learnt” instalment, I would like to give you an example where I used just one of these components, ‘Line’, as a great help in the process of making an abstract image.”

Using line to show texture

Mike adds: “I’ve always loved pure drawing and often draw in a linear way with a pen. Here are a couple of recent examples.

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

The pen and watercolour sketchbook drawing above is of some fishing huts in Indonesia. It uses Line, quickly drawn to show the aged patina of the huts. The watercolour was touched in after the drawing.

This ink drawing is of an Australian Banksia pod, mostly using Line to describe the hard texture of the plant:

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

A powerful image

At the top of the page is a more abstract painting, number 35 in Mike’s series of 100, a collage in acrylic and gold paste, inspired by the Australian coastline, viewed from on high in an aeroplane. Mike says: “I wanted to emphasise the powerful image of that coastline but do it in a simple and abstract way. So, I started with the idea of a line. In fact, the line I’ve created hasn’t been drawn at all, but it is inside the torn gold paper and has been emphasised by the two flat blocks of colour either side of it.

Lois and I liked this painting so much that we bought it and you be able to see it if you visit us for one of our creative courses at the Watermill. You can click here to see a speedier video of its creation and framing.

Mike concludes: In all these paintings, both representational and abstract, I was very conscious of using ‘line’ both as a means of making ‘marks’ and, especially in the more abstract drawing, as the main focus of the painting.” 

Meet the artist and paint with him

Mike will be sending us more thoughts that we hope will improve your painting. And you can meet the artist himself on his painting course at the Watermill this summer.

You don’t have to go abstract to enjoy Mike’s course: he paints realistic landscapes and loves sketching around the Watermill and in the glorious Tuscan scenery beyond it. He is also a wonderful teacher. Mike will be with us again next year, for a week in watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics), from Saturday 29 June to Saturday 6 July 2019. We already have eight bookings for his course, so we have room for three or four more painters and their non-painting partners, if they would like to come.

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

Mike’sketch of market day in the town of Fivizzano, near the Watermill

Mike Willdridge works in a wide range of media and is an enthusiastic and energetic tutor, often encouraging his students to be bold and to take chances. His classes are always light-hearted and fun, with the ‘teaching’ tailored to individual needs. He will concentrate on watercolours, but is also happy to help with gouache and acrylics too.

A comment from a guest on one of Mike’s previous courses at The Watermill: “A wonderful holiday. You were such generous and friendly hosts and Mike was an excellent painting tutor.”  Another said: “The food was exceptional and the mill itself is great, in such a beautiful setting. A truly wonderful week in every respect.”

Here’s another of my favourite Mike Willdridge pictures, an exuberant watercolour of the mill stream flowing beneath one of our gardener Flavio Terenzoni’s famous wooden bridges, with their curvy handrails.

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.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 and his course at the mill, please click here

Sue Ford – multitalented, multimedia, multicoloured, multi-inspiring!

Painting by Sue Ford, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Sue Ford loves creating pictures in any medium – and she loves passing on what she’s learned to other people to help them release their creativity. So, we are delighted to welcome her back for another special week-long painting course here this year. She will with us from 13-20 July 2019 and will teach in watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic. That’s one of her colourful, vibrant collages above. And here’s a pastel of Monterosso, one of the five villages of the Cinque Terre, an excursion venue during your Watermill week.

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

Relaxed, friendly, patient

As well as a multitalented, multimedia artist Sue is a very keen teacher. One of our previous guests on a previous course  at the Watermill said: Sue has a relaxed, friendly and very patient approach to tuition and encouraged us all to achieve as much as possible at our own level. She gave demo’s and one to one tuition when required. There was a wide choice of subject matter for sketching and painting both at the Watermill itself and on our excursions. All in all a most enjoyable week.”

Sue says: “Each student will be guided carefully throughout the day, from initial demonstration to getting started, followed by patient, professional tuition. I aim to help my students to create paintings which will give them the confidence in their abilities and help them to develop their own artistic vision.”

And the Watermill setting? One of our guests said: “I had a wonderful time. Everything was superb – the accommodation, the trips out and the food! Utterly wonderful. It was an experience that I will treasure.”

Put yourself in the picture

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

You can find out more about Sue and her course at the Watermill by clicking here.

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

Verrucola castle, from Sue Ford’s sketchbook

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest! 

A painting with a different point of view from Sandra

Painting by Sandra Strohschein, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Our watermill painting tutor and friend Sandra Strohschein recently posted this lovely watercolour painting of the walls of Fivizzano, the mediaeval market town where our painting guests go on location.

Normally we sketch around the market which is held in the main square of the Piazza Medicea or paint the view down the valley of the river Rosaro to Posara. Sandra says: “Usually I only see the centre of the town, but this year I finally ventured to the other side and saw this cool scene. I’m thinking we might paint there is a group this summer.”

Painting a complicated scene

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

Make a rough sketch

Here are a couple of tips on how you too can paint a more complicated scene like this. Sandra says: “First I do a very rough sketch and plan the areas of strongest value contrast that will direct the eye through the painting.

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

Look for strong values

Sandra is with us for two weeks this year and her courses are already fully booked. There are, however, often cancellations and if you’d like to join her and us, please use our Enquiry Form by clicking here.

We still have spaces on several of our other fun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring painting courses and you can find out more about them by clicking here.

 

We would love to welcome you to the Watermill and take you to some of our stunning locations, which also include a castle, a convent and a hilltop village in the mountains.

A painting by Sandra Strohschein, a tutor on painting courses at The Watermill at Posara, Tuscany Italy

Sandra’s painting of a red house in the square in nearby Fivizzano on market day. It DID rain that day!

Making your paintings really ‘work’: some thoughts from Mike Willdridge

Our friend and Watermill painting tutor Mike Willdridge is taking a well earned rest after completing his self-imposed task of painting 100 pictures in 100 days. He called his challenge a ‘journey towards abstraction’ and now he’s had a few days to contemplate his voyage, he’s been sending me a few thoughts which we would like to share with you

Representational or Abstract – where’s the difference?

Mike says:Throughout my 100 days I constantly thought about the Visual Elements of Art:  colour, form, line, shape, space, texture, pattern, value – they were so often my starting point and were always considered when assessing whether I’d made a painting that worked.

“From the point of view of the painter, I’m so much surer now that there’s very little difference between representational and abstract art. Certainly the outcome may be very different; one possibly easier to understand than the other. But from the perspective of the person making marks on a surface, it’s much the same thought process. An appreciation of the visual elements helps to determine whether your painting works or not. “Let me explain with two of my paintings. ”

A barn in sunlight

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

“In the first one, (Barn in Sunlight, above), it is the strong contrasts that draw your eyes into the painting. Not only the strong contrasting values of the dark shadows against the bright light on the wooden timbers and grass and trees, but also warm colours (reddish timbers, brown tree and splashes of brown in the foreground) against the cooler colours – blue marks in the foreground, cooler trees and cooler blues in the shadows of the barn. The values/contrasts are being pushed hard in this painting to give a sense of drama and intrigue.”

Yellow, Grey and Black

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

Mike says “When painting the more abstract painting (Yellow, Grey and Black), I had the same thoughts about values – strong darks against lights and warm yellows against cooler greys. 

 So, my message to those who paint is this. Whatever style of painting you choose, the fundamentals are nearly always the same. So often it is being aware of the visual elements that will help you in the tricky process of making a painting that ‘works’.

Meet the artist and paint with him

Mike will be sending us more thoughts that we hope will improve your painting. And you can meet the artist himself on his painting course at the Watermill this summer.

You don’t have to go abstract to enjoy Mike’s course: he paints realistic landscapes and loves sketching around the Watermill and in the glorious Tuscan scenery beyond it. He is also a wonderful teacher. Mike will be with us again next year, for a week in watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics), from Saturday 29 June to Saturday 6 July 2019. We already have eight bookings for his course, so we have room for three or four more painters and their non-painting partners, if they would like to come.

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

Mike’sketch of market day in the town of Fivizzano, near the Watermill

Mike Willdridge works in a wide range of media and is an enthusiastic and energetic tutor, often encouraging his students to be bold and to take chances. His classes are always light-hearted and fun, with the ‘teaching’ tailored to individual needs. He will concentrate on watercolours, but is also happy to help with gouache and acrylics too.

A comment from a guest on one of Mike’s previous courses at The Watermill: A wonderful holiday. You were such generous and friendly hosts and Mike was an excellent painting tutor.”  Another said: “The food was exceptional and the mill itself is great, in such a beautiful setting. A truly wonderful week in every respect.”

Here’s another of my favourite Mike Willdridge pictures, an exuberant watercolour of the mill stream flowing beneath one of our gardener Flavio Terenzoni’s famous wooden bridges, with their curvy handrails.

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.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 and his course at the mill, please click here

An impressive series of paintings from Charles Sluga

Painting by Charles Sluga, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Our Australian friend and Watermill painting tutor Charles Sluga has recently posted a series of his ‘pictures of the month’ and I thought it might be fun to share them with you. So, as well as showing you some of the best pictures here, I’ve also made a little Facebook slideshow, which you can see by clicking here.

Above you can see Charles’ painting of some of the wine demijohns in the Watermill courtyard and below, here’s an intriguing double bass player.

I particularly like the pointed shoes!

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

I don’t know whether Charles himself has pointed shoes, though I do seem to remember some rather fancy two-tone brogues the last time he was with us for one of his fun-filled, inspiring painting courses. We shall see when Charles takes his next course at the Watermill in September. He’s pretty much booked up, but we still have places for one or two more painters if you’d like to join us, fancy footwear or not. His course in watercolours (and acrylics and oils)  from 28 September to 5 October 2019.

Charles Sluga is a highly respected and sought-after watercolour artist in Australia, who has gained a reputation for his versatility in both his technique and choice of subject matter. His technique has been described by critics as “impeccable” and his vision as “brilliant” and “evocative”. He has helped elevate the status of watercolour as a major contemporary medium.Charles is also skilled in acrylics and oils and is happy to teach in those media, too. He not only teaches technique, but also how to think and see as an artist, which he considers just as important. His friendliness, sense of humour and willingness to impart his knowledge makes his classes relaxed, informal and inspiring.

Here’s what some previous students at the Watermill had to say: As well as to being a talented artist, Charles is an extremely capable and professional teacher: we all benefited from his instruction and guidance during the week.” Another said: The most relaxing holiday I have had for a long time: lovely accommodation and exceptional food.”

Charles Sluga
28 September – 5 October 2019 One or two places left
Watercolours, acrylics and oils
To learn more about Charles and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

Here is another of Charles’s ‘pictures of the month’: This is of King’s Cross station in London, part of his ‘Monopoly’ series. And don’t forget you can see this as some of his other pictures of the month on our Facebook page, by clicking here.

Residential painting holidays are an inspired choice for single travellers

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

A safe haven with like-minded people

What do you do for holidays when the children have grown up and, perhaps, you are left on your own? You really don’t want to sit around on the beach all day and you don’t look forward to lonely evening meals in the hotel dining room reading a book. And what about your fellow holiday makers? Are you going to get on with them? Will you find anyone with shared interests and enthusiasms?

For thousands of people the answer to this problem is a painting holiday. You join a group of like-minded people and you know from the moment you arrive you’ll have something to talk about.

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

And for younger people, too, a painting holiday can provide an inspiring and relaxing break from their busy, demanding lives. You deserve a rest, but don’t fancy hectic sightseeing or that boring beach. And what fun to find a new way to express yourself, a fresh enthusiasm. Learning to paint, or improving your painting skills, is one of the most relaxing pastimes. There’s just enough to do, just enough to concentrate on, that you forget your troubles.

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

The Watermill at Posara is the ideal location for such a holiday. For centuries artists have drawn their inspiration from the Tuscan landscape and you could find few better places to enjoy your art and improve your skills than this beautiful historic watermill, set beside the curving banks of a river in a gentle, wooded valley.  And the home-cooked Italian food is out of this world. Hand-picked, internationally renowned and sympathetic tutors help both beginners and experienced painters and to release their talent and most of all, enjoy their painting. The courses run from Saturday to Saturday and guests usually spend the first day or so painting around the mill, followed by excursions to the hills (olive groves and mountain views), medieval towns a castle and a convent. There’s also a visit to the walled city of Lucca or the fishing villages of the Cinque Terre.

Don’t take our word for it!

Among the many comments from single travellers about the painting holidays at the watermill, one of our guests says: “This was my first holiday travelling alone and what a wonderful place to start. Everything was so well organised from the very beginning. My room was so clean and comfortable with everything supplied, I was made to feel at ease which before I arrived was a bit of a concern because of being on my own but in the event I can only describe it as one big house party!”

Another says: “I’ve enjoyed more than a dozen painting holidays at the Watermill and I cannot praise the whole experience too highly. For a single person this is an ideal form of holiday – the groups of like-minded aspiring artists are always very enjoyable company.”

And a third adds: “Coming from Australia I took a huge risk choosing the Watermill…I had no yardstick… and this was to be my trip of a lifetime! (23 hours of flying economy class was a real test). I was not disappointed. From my first moment of being collected at Pisa I was in the best possible hands. The Watermill is in a fairytale setting in Northern Tuscany. Accommodation and meals are superb; there are trips away almost every day to local painting destinations, with meals at local restaurants. Tutors are inspirational and I met other artists of many nationalities in the group.”

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

Find out more and come and join us!

We have had dozens of similar testimonials from solo travellers who know that we will look after them from the moment they arrive at Pisa airport in Italy to the moment we drop them back there a week later. If you’d like to know more about the watermill’s unique painting holidays, please click here. You’ll be amazed how much you’ll enjoy the company.

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

Students demonstrate their work on the last day of a painting course last year.

There is a high demand for our residential painting courses and several of them are already fully booked. We update availability regularly on our watermill blog, which you can see by clicking here.

 

 

 

Make an inspiring painting course your New Year resolution

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Lois and I and all the Watermill team would like to wish you and yours a very happy, healthy and creative New Year. As we say to our guests on the first evening of our painting courses, as we sip our aperitivi on the vine verandah: ‘May all your wishes be met and all your washes be wet!’ (I suppose that really applies to watercolour painters but you still have our warm wishes if you paint in oils, acrylics or pastels…)

Whatever your medium of choice, we would be delighted to welcome you to the Watermill for one of our friendly and inspiring painting courses this year. We can promise you the very best of painting tuition, warm hospitality, wonderful food and the company of like-minded participants all enjoying fresh creative energy as they improve their painting.

We have a wonderful line-up of internationally renowned tutors who will help you to get the most out of your painting and, as your skills improve, you will find you enjoy your hobby even more.

Here are just three of the dozens of testimonials we have had from participants on our painting courses last year:

“I have never received such great treatment on a holiday. You all couldn’t have been kinder. Everything was 5 star, from the food to the bedrooms, to all of your staff. It couldn’t have been any better.”

“What a great week full of art, wonderful company and mouth-watering food & wine in a picturesque location in Tuscany!” 

“Everything was perfect, your welcome, the luxurious accommodation, the food which was always delicious and the weather, which I am sure you organised as well! The tuition was first class and it was lovely to be able to sit and paint all day…”

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

As we say, there are many more similar comments from contented painters. Come and see what all the fuss is about: we would be delighted if you joined us to improve your painting skills and enjoy a week of warm conviviality in the unspoiled heart of rural Tuscany.

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

Many of our painting courses are already fully booked but we have spaces on with the following talented, inspiring and, above all, friendly and sympathetic tutors:

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Mike Willdridge
29 June – 6 July 2019 Three or four places left
Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics with an emphasis on sketching and drawing on location)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

Sue Ford
13 – 20 July 2019 Three or four places left
Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylics
To learn more about Sue and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Jude Scott
17 – 24 August 2019 Four or five places left
24 – 31 August 2019
 One place left

Watercolours (plus acrylics and oils)
To learn more about Jude and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

Varvara Neiman
31 August – 7 September 2019 Four or five places left
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Claire Warner
14 – 21 September 2019 Three or four places left
Watercolours, oils and acrylics
To learn more about Claire and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Charles Sluga
28 September – 5 October 2019 One or two places left
Watercolours, acrylics and oils
To learn more about Charles and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Tim Wilmot
5 – 12 October 2019 One or two places left
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

David Taylor
12 – 19 October 2019 Five or six places left
Watercolours
To learn more about David and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Why not bring your friend or partner? They don’t have to participate in the course, but they will be able to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the mill and, whenever they want, to come out with you to our beautiful locations. We also offer a range of Alternative activities for partners (to find out more, please click here ), as well as a generous £GBP 250 discount if they share a room with you.

Please click here for more details about all our 2019 creative courses: writing, knitting and Italian language, as well as painting.

100 paintings in 100 days: a wonderful achievement by Mike

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Many congratulations to Mike Willdridge, who has just successfully completed his self-imposed challenge of creating 100 paintings in 100 days. You can see Painting 100 above.

Mike says: “100 days ago I set out on a Journey Towards Abstraction, making one painting a day for 100 days. Time now to sit back and try and make sense of what has been an experience of highs and lows. At times it has felt like treading through treacle and, at other times, paintings and ideas just slipped out as easy as pie. In this, my final painting, I’ve tried to convey my sense of ‘relief’ and ‘joy’ – because that’s how I’m feeling!” The painting is in acrylic, gouache and gold leaf and it is appropriately entitled The End.

Mike’s has been a wonderful journey and we are full of admiration not only of his creativity, but of his perseverance! You can see all of Mike’s 100 paintings by clicking here. And you can see Painting 100 at the Watermill. We liked it so much, we bought it and it will be hanging in pride of place here.

Of his artistic journey, Mike says: “For a long time I’ve enjoyed looking at abstract art and wanted to move in that direction myself, but I found it difficult to leave my representational style. Now that I have given up most of my teaching (except at the Watermill!), I’ve found a renewed energy towards abstraction.”

All in all, the Watermill has purchased five of Mike’s milestones on his road towards abstraction. Here’s another one of those: Picture Number 5.

You can see our five ‘Road to Abstraction’ pictures if you join us for one of our creative courses next year. And if you come in early June, you will be able to meet the artist himself.

You don’t have to go abstract to enjoy Mike’s course: he paints realistic landscapes and loves sketching around the Watermill and in the glorious Tuscan scenery beyond it. He is also a wonderful teacher. Mike will be with us again next year, for a week in watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics), from Saturday 29 June to Saturday 6 July 2019. We already have eight bookings for his course, so we have room for three or four more painters and their non-painting partners, if they would like to come.

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

Mike’sketch of market day in the town of Fivizzano, near the Watermill

Mike Willdridge works in a wide range of media and is an enthusiastic and energetic tutor, often encouraging his students to be bold and to take chances. His classes are always light-hearted and fun, with the ‘teaching’ tailored to individual needs. He will concentrate on watercolours, but is also happy to help with gouache and acrylics too.

A comment from a guest on one of Mike’s previous courses at The Watermill: “A wonderful holiday. You were such generous and friendly hosts and Mike was an excellent painting tutor.”  Another said: “The food was exceptional and the mill itself is great, in such a beautiful setting. A truly wonderful week in every respect.”

Here’s another of my favourite Mike Willdridge pictures, an exuberant watercolour of the mill stream flowing beneath one of our gardener Flavio Terenzoni’s famous wooden bridges, with their curvy handrails.

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.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 and his course at the mill, please click here