Archives for November 2014

‘The best painting workshop location in Tuscany’

SARAH COURTYARD - reducedOur delightful American watercolour painting tutor Sarah Yeoman commented on my recent blog about the delicious dilemma facing watermill students over our excursion on Wednesdays: shall I go to the stunning seaside villages of the Cinque Terre or to the wonderful city of Lucca? She says: I went to Cinque Terre during my workshop and hope to paint in Lucca when I come back to teach in June next year.”

And she adds: The Watermill is a magical place to paint, the facilities, the food and wine, the glorious light and hosts Bill and Lois certainly have created the top workshop destination in Tuscany.”

Sarah group riverside 2014

Thank you, Sarah – and your inspiring teaching and enthusiasm certainly added to the magic.

Sarah head croppedSarah Yeoman is an award-wining American watercolour artist whose mastery of reflections, unique surface layers, and unusual perspective sets her apart from the crowd. Sarah is also a very talented teacher, who brings out the best in her students, recognising their unique talents.

Her next week-long painting course at the watermill, in watercolours, will run from 4 -11 June 2015.

To find out more about Sarah, her painting and her course, please click here. And to enquire about availability and/or reserve your place, please click here.

***Don’t forget our special Early Bird offer: If you book Sarah’s or any of our 2016 painting courses before 31 December 2015, there a £ (GBP) 75 discount.***Sarah group riverside 2014

Annabel’s pictures record our early Italian life

Annabel silk 2Guests on our creative courses the mill often ask about the striking, colourful silk pictures in our dining room. They were made by our English artist friend Annabel Collis and the represent various scenes from our Italian life when our children, Lydia and Lara, were very young. They’re painted with ‘barrier lines’ between areas of the silk so the colours don’t run into one section from to another.

The picture above shows in its central panel the family and friends enjoying a picnic in the olive groves above Terenzano, with the peaks of the Alpi Apuane in the background. It’s not a snapshot of one moment in time, but rather a collage of events, so the dramatis personae appear several times, notably the children, who appear from babies to toddlers. The dark-haired young man holding the football and flying the kite is Bill! The background is a typical Fivizzano scene, with Bill’s white MG, drinking in a caffé, and the children enjoying ice creams around one of the distinctive dolphins around the fountain in the Piazza Medicea .

The picture below features a diptych, with the Cinque Terre village of Vernazza on the left of the internal panel and the watermill’ bamboozery on the right, while the background captures the ‘blue Italian weather’ of the Cinque Terre coast.

Annabel silk 3

In the main Tuscan house, you’ll find a third Collis painting. This one captures the essence of the mill, the cascades and the river, the family enjoying the gardens, the bamboozery and surrounding vineyards.

Annabel silk 1Annabel VeniceWe commissioned the pictures after Bill had asked Annabel to make a silk scarf of Venice for one of Lois’ birthdays. Lois liked it so much she refused to wear it and had it framed instead. It hangs in our bedroom at the mill (viewing by request!) Lovely pictures, bringing back warm memories.

Annabel, who lives with her husband, the architect Guy Greenfield, in the West of England, is still an active artist. She also writes and illustrates children’s books and makes quirky greeting cards. You can find out more about Annabel and her work by clicking here.  Her particular passion is elephants! Here are some children with an elephant they decorated with Annabel on a school artistic project.

Annabel elephant children

And of course you can see Annabel’s Italian silk paintings if you come on one of our world-famous creative courses. To find out more, please just click here.

  ***Don’t forget our special Early Bird offer: If you book any of our 2016 sun-filled, fun-filled courses before 31 December 2015, there a £ (GBP) 75 discount.***