Archives for October 2015

That yellow flower in the garden – it’s an artichoke!

Flavio pergola Oct 15

Earlier this month we posted the picture above of these lovely yellow flowers bringing Autumn colour to our garden, but we confessed that neither we nor our gardener Flavio Terenzoni (who took the photo) knew their name. Watermill guest Bob Milton has, however, provided the answer: they are Jerusalem artichokes. And they are foreign invaders, just like the bamboos that crowd by the riverside below the mill.

And, of course they don’t come from Jerusalem and they are not artichokes, although they are in the same botanical family. When first discovered by Europeans, in North America, the plant was called girasole, sunflower in Italian – and it is in the same genus as the common-or-garden sunflower. Girasole transmuted into Jerusalem.

We’ve been seeing Jerusalem artichokes in the shops and markets this Autumn – and we’ve been roasting them with other vegetables – delicious. So they are lovely to look at and good to eat, a great combination.

We can promise you wonderful flowers all season round in the Watermill gardens, lovingly maintained by Flavio – and you’ll even get to eat nasturtium and borage flowers in our salads.

Nasturtiium salad reduced

And here’s another photograph by Flavio of  the flower of a proper (globe) artichoke in our gardem, providing sustenance for the bees.

Flavio bee flower

So, please come and see for yourselves and join us on one of our creative courses — painting, knitting, Italian language, yoga and meditation – next year. We’d love to welcome you here. You can find more details of all our courses by clicking here.

Early Bird discount: book now!

If you book before 31 December 2015 there’s a £75 per person discount on this fabulous 2016 painting holiday.

 *** Why not bring your non-painting partner as well? There’s a generous £200 discount for him/her if they share a room with you — and there’s plenty for them to do. Have a look at our Partner’s Activities suggestions by clicking here.

Group in garden square 300dpi - Copy

How to be more adventurous with colour, by Charles Sluga

Our friendly and enthusiastic Australian painting tutor Charles Sluga recently finished another of his famous watercolour courses at The Watermill. And he’s just posted this illuminating tip in his monthly newsletter. Want more colour in your paintings? The answer could be one word:

Charles adventure blog

Charles says “The tip this month comes as a result of a question from one of my students in my workshop in Tuscany. In essence they wanted a painting tip about how to be more adventurous with their use of colour.

Charles New photo 2012There are many things I could suggest, but on this occasion, I will recommend that you actually give yourself permission NOT have to do “a painting”

“For those of you who have limited time to paint, there is a tendency to want to produce a finished masterpiece every time you have a chance to paint. After all your time is limited and you don’t want to waste it. However, painting a picture may not be the best use of your time.

“Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Even though it may seem counter-intuitive, it may be better not to do a painting. What do I mean by that? I mean, take the pressure off yourself and just play with your paint. Push the colours, do some experimenting, try some pale and dark washes, take note of what happens with different consistency of paint mixtures, try a new colour…..in essence…PLAY, but play with a purpose!….Read More >

Paint first, draw second to capture colour and movement, says 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 always encouraging his students to draw and paint loosely. He says: “This year I tried a slightly different way of doing so, at venues such as markets where there’s always such colour and movement.

Basically the tip is: paint first, draw second – both very quickly. The idea is to try and capture ‘something’ of the atmosphere of a market. I made this painting at Fivizzano (not in a sketchbook) by first painting in the main colours (and leaving blank spaces for the whites) and then drawing in ink with a small twig. Small additions of paint finished the painting. Time taken about 20-30 minutes.”

Mike new head and shoulders FINALMike Willdridge will be with us from Saturday 27 August to Saturday 3 September 2016, Mike will concentrate on watercolour and drawing, but is also happy also to teach in gouache and acrylics.

Mike especially values drawing as a way of recording/responding to everyday events and makes constant use of a sketchbook. He’ll encourage you to do the same and to take a sketchbook on location, building up a journal of memories of your time at the watermill and in the unspoilt countryside of Lunigiana.

Some comments from our guests on his previous courses at The Watermill, many of whom were returning for another inspiring week at the watermill:  Thank-you so much for a wonderful holiday. I enjoyed it very much. You were such generous and friendly hosts and Mike was an excellent painting tutor. The food was exceptional and, of course, the mill itself is great and in such a beautiful setting.”  “Thank you for yet another delightful holiday. So many special aspects to enjoy.  I just loved it.” 

Early Bird discount: book now! If you book before 31 December 2015 there’s a £75 per person discount on this fabulous 2016 painting holiday. To find out more about Mike and his course at the watermill next year, please click here. And to enquire about availability and/or reserve your place, please click here. 

 *** Why not bring your non-painting partner as well? There’s a generous £200 discount for him/her if they share a room with you  — and there’s plenty for them to do. Have a look at our Partner’s Activities suggestions by clicking here.

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

Another Mike Willdridge sketch of Fivizzano market