Tai Chi to start the painting day

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 keeping a sketchbook journal of his week with us, and we both thought it would be pleasant to share it with you. Yesterday one of our painting guests, Lesley Dench, kindly organised an impromptu Tai Chi session before breakfast on one of our roof terraces. A stimulating way to start the day. Thank you, Lesley.

Here’s another sketch made by Mike yesterday, of our colourful local buildings vibrant in the sun.

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

The heatwave is still affecting a large part of Europe but with our air conditioning and our powerful fans, our guests are keeping cool and enjoying the sunny weather   — and our plunge pool and the sparkling river waters are proving very popular. Here’s a picture from a few years back of my daughter, Lara, enjoying a splash with a local friend.

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

Mike will be returning next yearfor a week-long course in watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics) from Saturday 29 August to Saturday 5 September 2020 and we are already taking bookings. If you book now you can enjoy this exciting 2020 course at 2019 prices.

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

Mike is particularly keen on all forms of drawing as a way of recording and responding to everyday events. He constantly uses a sketchbook and will encourage you to do the same, gathering speedy impressions and building up a visual record of your time at the watermill and among the mountains, castles, walled towns and hilltop villages of this unspoiled region of Tuscany.

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

A lovely watercolour by Mike Willdridge of the mill stream bubbling under one Flavio’s famous wooden bridges.

A comment from a guest on one of Mike’s previous courses here:

“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.”

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!

Mike’s 2020 course at 2019 prices

 If you book now you can enjoy this inspiring 2020 painting holiday at 2019 prices.Please click here for more.

Preliminary details of all our 2020 sun-filled, inspiring painting holidays are on our website at https://watermill.net/.  (Or just type ‘watermill.net’ into your search engine, then click on 2020 Courses Preview.)

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

The river Rosaro, whch flows past the Watermill, by Mike Willdridge

 

 

 

The Watermill is getting greener!

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

More yellow than red means green: supply easily outstrips demand

As of this week, we are proud to announce, the Watermill is becoming self-sufficient in electricity. We have just commissioned our new photovoltaic energy generation system and we are now happy to say that overall, thanks to the power of the sun, we are producing much more electricity than we are using.

Our sincere thanks to the architect Stefano Santini and his team, and our brilliant builders Nico and Danielle, who aesthetically incorporated the photovoltaic panels in our ancient roofs.The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

As well as helping to save the planet, our solar powered electricity will help to make our guests even more comfortable. We have already made a start on installing air-conditioning units in the Watermill rooms. There is now air conditioning in the studio and in the communal dining room (and in our industrial kitchen, to keep our cooks cool and calm as they prepare your delicious meals). We also now have units in the Lippi Suite and in the Brunelleschi and Donatello bedrooms. We will be working again in October to complete the whole system, so that by the beginning of the 2020 season we should have air-conditioning everywhere, all powered by the sun.

In the first couple of days of operation, as you can see from the picture at the top, we used some 90 kWh of electricity, half of which we generated ourselves and half of which we had to buy from the electricity company. But we also generated more than 100 kWh of extra electricity, which we fed back into the national grid, and for which we will be paid. (Of course, electricity companies pay less for the electricity we supply them than they charge for the electricity they supply us, but even so we think will make more money than we pay, as well as helping to save the planet. On today’s reckoning, we’ve already avoided the production of nearly 140 kg of CO2. A drop in the ocean, it’s true, but you have to start somewhere…)

Here’s a green snapshot of our photovoltaic production at the height of a sunny Tuscan afternoon:

Along with our moves to cut down on the use of plastic, notably with our reusable vacuum flasks and our delivery system for cool natural and fizzy water, we are working hard on the “greening” of the Watermill. Come and enjoy the fruits of our labours yourself!

 

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

Painting by Sue Ford, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy. We have a couple of places left on Sue Ford‘s delightful painting course in July: in the Uccello bedroom and The Lippi Suite. (We’ll let the suite out for a single occupant, but it is ideal for a couple, so why not bring your partner, whether or not he or she wants to participate in the painting course. We have lots of fun activities for partners, or they may simply want to relax in the delightful surroundings of the Watermill.) You can find out more about Sue and her course at the Watermill by clicking here.

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. 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! 

Emily jumped at the chance of returning to the Watermill for a painting holiday: so can you!

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

Picture: Robert Christopher

Here’s Emily Muhlberger jumping for joy on a Watermill painting course last year. She enjoyed herself so much that she has just bagged the last place on Sandra Strohschein’s painting week this June.

We still have a few more places left on our 2019 creative courses and we would like to suggest that you, too, should jump at the chance and come and join us and see what all the fuss is about.

This is the current availability on our painting courses:

Sue Ford
13 – 20 July 2019 One or two 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 Three or four places left
24 – 31 August 2019 
One or two places left
Watercolours (plus acrylics and oils)
To learn more about Jude and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

David Taylor
12 – 19 October 2019 Due to cancellation, three or four places left
Watercolours
To learn more about David and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

The painting courses below are currently fully booked, BUT there are always cancellations. If you’d like to come on one of them, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: we will put you on a waiting list and let you know as soon as there is a space.

Keiko Tanabe
18 – 25 May 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
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 Fully booked, waiting list open
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.

 

Claire Warner
14 – 21 September 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours, oils and acrylics
To learn more about Claire and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Varvara Neiman
31 August – 7 September 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara 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 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

And on our writing courses:

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

We’ve listed the creative writing course where we still have availability first, the other is fully booked, but there is a waiting list.

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
7 – 14 September 2019 Four or five places left
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and to register an interest in their course at the mill, please visit their 2019 Profile Page.
The creative writing week below is currently fully booked fully booked, BUT there are always cancellations. If you’d like to come , please don’t hesitate to get in touch: we will put you on a waiting list and let you know as soon as there is a space

Jo Parfitt
15 – 22 June 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Write Your Life Stories
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Why not jump at the chance and come and join us!

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

So that’s how it’s done!

 

What Brunelleschi and Caillebotte have in common

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

Les Orangers, the orange trees, another tremendous painting by Gustave Caillebotte

We were talking recently about my contention that had Gustave Caillebotte had a more easily pronounceable name, he would have been much better known. How easy it was to remember the names of the other Impressionists like Monet, Dégas and Renoir.

I believe it is the same for another of my heroes, Filippo Brunelleschi, to my mind the towering genius of the early Renaissance.

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

Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome for Florence cathedral dominates the city

As well as designing and supervising the construction of the incomparable dome of Florence cathedral, Filippo invented linear perspective, designed the first new-classical building since Roman times, the Ospedale degli Innocenti and created the sublime space of the Pazzi chapel in the cloisters of Santa Croce. With his one-time apprentice Donatello (who re-created classical sculpture) and his patron Cosimo (Medici) the Elder (who led the re-discovery of Greek and Roman texts and promoted Humanism), Brunelleschi can truly be regarded as the father of the Renaissance.

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

The incomparable façade of the ospedale degli innocenti

Yet because his name is not straightforward to pronounce (Brew-nel-esk -i) you hear it mentioned far less often than, say, Fra Angelico or Botticelli.

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

The sublime interior space of the Pazzi chapel

Be that as it may, we have named one of the Watermill bedrooms after this wonderful Renaissance man. Not only does it have French windows opening on to the Watermill courtyard, there is also a large roof terrace outside its front door, from which you can see the magnificent Apennine mountains in the distance.

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

Why not come and see for yourself? We are already taking bookings for our 2020 courses and the Brunelleschi bedroom is still free on many of them. You can find out more by clicking here.

 

A smart way to bring back your oil paintings from a Watermill holiday

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

A wonderful oil painting by Vicki Norman called September in Posara

Some of our painting guests that have told us that they are a little chary of trying oil painting on a Watermill holiday, because they are concerned about how they’re going to get their wet paintings home.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Our lovely oil painting tutor Vicki Norman has sent us some very useful tips on how to safely transport wet oil paintings in your luggage and I thought it would be very useful to pass them on to you in case you were thinking of joining some of our inspiring tutors who teach in oils as well as other mediums.

At the Watermill this year the following tutors, as well as Vicki, give tuition in oil painting: Jude Scott, Varvara Neiman, Claire Warner, Maggie Renner Hellmann and Charles Sluga. More details and links to their courses below.

Here are Vicki’s tips: you will need some map pins (or panel pins) and a roll of masking tape. Don’t worry if you forget to bring them, we can provide them at the Watermill.

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

The first step is to lay your wet painting on a stable flat surface and carefully but firmly push a pin into each corner. Then, balance another wet painting of the same size face down onto the plastic caps of the panel pins to make a pair. See above. Note: you only need pins in one painting from each pair!

Next: Insert pins into the front of your third wet painting and place it back to back with the uppermost painting of the first pair, then carefully balance another wet painting face-to-face and so on until you have created a stack of pairs of wet paintings:

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

Vicki says: “Then, use the masking tape to secure all the way around the outside edge of the stack, repeat this on each of the four edges until you have nicely secured block of paintings. Place the paintings inside a plastic bag or wrap them in some way so that no other item in your luggage can slip between the wet surfaces of the paintings.”

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

She adds: “I have transported up to 20 paintings in this manner in my suitcase checked into the hold on many occasions. If you are concerned you can carry them in your hand luggage where you can keep an eye on them.”

Vicki has made a one-page, illustrated PDF of these tips and we will send you one: just ask in the comment section below. Our thanks to Vicki for providing these tips. Here’s another of her wonderful oil paintings of our local area:

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

Vicki’s course with us this year is completely booked, as are the courses of some of our other tutors who will help with oil painting. But there are often cancellations so if you’re keen to come and paint in oils, please get in touch via the links below and we will put you on a waiting list and be in touch as soon as a place becomes available.

Jude Scott
17 – 24 August 2019 Two or three places left
24 – 31 August 2019 
One or two places left

Watercolours (plus acrylics and oils)
To learn more about Jude 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.

 

Claire Warner
14 – 21 September 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours, oils and acrylics
To learn more about Claire and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Varvara Neiman
31 August – 7 September 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara 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.

 

Watermill creative holidays: fantastic tuition in a safe and caring environment

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

Be inspired with a group of like-minded people

Now is the time to book your place on a Watermill creative holiday – painting, writing, knitting or Italian language. Inspiring tuition, wonderful scenery, delicious food, a safe and caring environment.  We will look after your every need from the moment we pick you up at Pisa airport on the first Saturday, until we drop you off again at the airport at the end of your week.

Some 230 places out of a total of 250 or so have already been booked for our 2019 creative courses, but there are still quite a few places left on some weeks. If there’s a particular tutor or a particular week you would like to come on, and you find ithe course is fully booked, don’t hesitate to get in touch. There are often cancellations and we will put you on a waiting list and contact you 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.

What’s available: 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 Fully booked, waiting list open
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 Two or three 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 Three or four 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 Three or four 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 One or two 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  Two or three places left
Watercolours
To learn more about David and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

What’s available: 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 Two or three 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 Fully booked, waiting list open
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 at info@watermill.net. ) 

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.

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

Concentration on one of Sarah Hazell’s knitting courses

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

Finding a quiet corner to start writing

Do you want to improve your paintings’ composition? Ask a child — and Mike!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Our friend and Watermill painting tutor Mike Willdridge, who will be with us again this summer, tells me that he’s always been amazed by the natural ability that small children have mastering composition. He says: “Maybe we adults try too hard?”

 Mike says: “Imagine a standard child’s painting of a house in a landscape. The house is often placed near the bottom of the painting and has underneath it a green line for the grass and alongside the house: trees, fences, family pets etc. There’s often a line above the house which is painted blue (the sky) and then a yellow ball which is the Sun. This so often results in a pleasing and well balanced picture. Try taking any single object out of the painting (e.g. block out the Sun or remove a tree) and the balance of the painting suffers. For years I’ve been fascinated by this!”

Above is a child’s picture from the Internet. Mike says “It seems to me that if you were to take out the tree or get rid of the car or maybe the animal, not only would there be less of a story but also the composition of the drawing would be weaker.”

Evelyn (3) shows the way

And how about this one? It was painted by Mike’s granddaughter Evelyn last year when she was three.

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

Mike says: A beautifully composed picture – take away any part of this painting and it wouldn’t work as well. What a master stroke is that splash of green – how well it works against the red and it’s perfectly positioned.” Mike adds: “I spent 100 days last year trying to produce something as vibrant, loose and so completely natural as this – Grrrrr!”

Meet Mike and paint with him

You don’t have to be childish to paint well but perhaps a childlike approach might help in releasing your inner talent. Why not come on Mike’s course at the Watermill and try it out for yourself? He will be with us for a week, teaching watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics), from Saturday 29 June to Saturday 6 July 2019. We already have nine 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.

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 one 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.

 

 

 

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