Archives for October 2015

Seven things to think about to stop watercolour being scary, by Amanda Brett

Painting by Amanda Brett, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Watermill painting tutor Amanda Brett understands that once you are hitting your paper with watercolour painting is very scary. Here are seven things she suggests to help keep calm!

When painting: think! Like:

  1. This part is wet but it’s raw sienna and it looks stunningly luminescent and glowingly beautiful with burnt sienna dropped next to it … let them mingle. I’m using harmonious colours.
  2. This part should be a dark shadow so I’ll drop some dark cool violet or a neutral violet mixed from my palette. I’m thinking about my value range.
  3. I’ve got too many hard edges, while it’s still damp I’ll spray some water to get some of them to run. I’m thinking about Edge variety.
  4. I’m about to place my brush next to a vibrant green so I’ll need some neutral lightish red next to it … maybe alizarin with some of the vibrant green mixed into it or burnt sienna with a tiny amount of cobalt blue in it. Depends on what palette I’m using. Here I’m thinking about complementary colours.
  5. I’ve painted enough brush strokes with my 1 inch flat brush time to change to my number 16 round. I’m thinking about shape variety.
  6. This part should be in the background but is has a light yellow pulling it forward, I’ll neutralise it and make it recede into the background with a glaze of a dark coolish purple – tonal variety.
  7. I’ve got a really super shape here, I’ll repeat it 2 more times, different sizes, different directions and not exactly the same shape – shape variety.

And, says Amanda, there’s much more, as you can imagine. She says: “Watercolour painting demands your complete attention, keep focussed while you are painting and stay in the zone. But above all, have fun!!”

Why not join here here next year for fun — and concentration?

Amanda Brett’s watercolours are certainly distinctive. We love them and are delighted to welcome her to The Watermill as a new tutor next year. Amanda, from Auckland in New Zealand, says: “I’m completely committed to watercolour; other mediums just don’t do it for me so I’ve spent a lot time studying watercolour painting and art privately. There are effects that you just simply cannot get in any other medium; I love the luminosity I can achieve and I love the way I can leave the pigments to just do their thing – I love watching paint dry!!”

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

Amanda is an experienced workshop tutor, both in New Zealand and abroad — and she loves passing on her passion to her students. She says: “I never knew I would love teaching watercolour as much as I do.She adds: “It’s my job to help you develop your style and create better art.”

Here’s a comment from one of her students: “Amanda shared all her super secrets with us so freely, and gave each student equal time and attention.” Another said:: I am primarily a portrait artist but you’ve given me skills to work in other areas I want to pursue too and watching you paint was invaluable. You are a very talented and generous woman, and a wonderful tutor. Yours is only the second watercolour workshop I have ever attended – you can get good artists and you can get good art tutors but it is hard to find the two in one person, and you are gifted at both.”

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

Brett head and shoulders croppedSaturday 9 July to Saturday 16 July 2016

Amanda Brett Watercolours

To find out more about Amanda and her course at the watermill next year, please click here. And to enquire about availability and/or reserve your place, please click 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.

Lea captures the essence of Italy.

Painting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Our enthusiastic and talented watercolour tutor Lea Nixon has been showing us some of the paintings he has made in Italy in the past, notably a lovely series from the town of Amalfi, way in the South of the country, like the one above. and here’s another:

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

Lea Nixon is an exceptional watercolour painter from Wigan in the north-west of England for whom mood, character and atmosphere are particularly important.  The magic of watercolours excites him again and again. He has been a school teacher for the past 30 years in art and music, so creativity is in his blood – and he likes nothing more than to help others to achieve their artistic goals. Lea says: “There are many different styles and ways to paint a picture and your own personal style defines you as an artist. I like to spot the originality in my students and work with them to develop their skills. It is fantastic fun.” 

Lea’s course at The Watermill is for all levels of experience. He says: “We’ll learn about all the qualities to make a good watercolour and I’ll give you a procedure which will simplify the whole painting process. It’s a brilliant journey to take and I can’t wait to get started. Watercolour is a captivating medium and there are so many ways to use it to make beautiful pictures.”

Still in Italy, here’s Lea’s painting of  an early morning in Venice:Painting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

Come and join us for Lea’s first visit to the Watermill and create you own lovely Italian watercolours with him:

 Lea Nixon head and shouldersSaturday 25 June to Saturday 2 July 2016

Lea Nixon Watercolours

To find out more about Lea and his course at the watermill next year, please click here. And to enquire about availability and/or reserve your place, please click 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.

Bookings are beginning to come in now for our first-ever yoga and meditation retreat: Unplug and Unwind!

 Blog claire flyers

Our wonderful yoga and meditation teacher Claire Murphy has just posted out lots of printed flyers with details The Watermill’s first-ever yoga and meditation retreat, Unplug and Unwind! If you would like to see one of these leaflets, just let me know at info@watermill.net and I’ll send you one. And, of course, in this day and age, you can find out all about this special five-day retreat on-line, simply by clicking here.

Lunigiana panoramaBookings are already coming in from people seeking spiritual refreshment with us in the tranquil heart of rural Tuscany. We think that Claire and The Watermill are the perfect combination for a yoga and meditation retreat where you can not only ‘unplug and unwind’, but also savour the true Italian lifestyle in Lunigiana, the unspoilt region of Tuscany surrounding the mill.

Claire Murphy NEW head and shoulders 2Yoga, meditation and massage have been a way of life for Claire for more than 25 years and she’s passionate about teaching them. Together we’ve created a unique five-day programme, with fresh and inspirational yoga and meditation sessions, plus inspiring visits to local historic and scenic attractions – and beautiful home-cooked Italian food and wines! *Please Note: this retreat will start on a Monday and end on a Saturday.

Claire’s style of teaching is very eclectic, borne out of studying and training in various traditions over the years across the UK and in many other areas of Europe and extensively in the USA. She has extensive training and teaching credentials which ensure that she is able to provide a fresh approach, based on current teaching methodologies and research. She brings a sense of humour and imagination to her teaching in order to make it accessible to everyone.

The sessions at The Watermill will be friendly and welcoming and no prior experience of yoga is necessary: all levels from beginner to intermediate will be catered for and we’ll also tailor our sessions to your particular needs. The classes are secular (non-denominational).

Claire says: “My aim is to offer classes that are fresh and inspirational, always being informed by the latest developments in yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices.” She adds: “I am not aligned with any particular yoga school / tradition or teacher, as this allows me the freedom to be able to practise and teach the yoga that is respectful of who I am, which in turn, allows me to be respectful of the needs of my students.”

Why don’t you join us and Unplug and Unwind with Claire at The Watermill team next September!

Claire Murphy head and shoulders 219 September to 24 September 2016

Claire Murphy Unplug and Unwind

Please click here to learn more about Claire and her course at The Watermill.

 

How to book a 2016 yoga and meditation retreat or find out more

If you’d like to book or find out more, please visit our Yoga retreats website for more information, by clicking here,  or use our secure Yoga Enquiry Form by clicking here. Or email us on info@watermill.net or call us on (UK number) 0207 193 6246.

 

 

Second set of ‘paint first, draw second’ from Mike Willdridge

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.A few days ago we published a great tip from our friend and Watermill painting tutor Mike Willdridge on how to draw and paint more loosely. Basically, the tip is: paint first, draw second – both very quickly, to capture the atmosphere of a scene.

We showed you some pictures and later posted the blog on our Watermill Facebook page, where one of our fans, Rowland Harris, commented: I like it!… Do you have others done this way that you can show?”

Well, I asked Mike and he’s kindly send me a second set of ‘paint first, draw second’ paintings (one above, one below.) The first is another Fivizzano scene and the second from Montbrun les Bains, a little village in the Ariege region of South West France.

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

Mike says: “Just a reminder that these are not sketchbook works but have been painted/drawn in just a few minutes in order to catch something of the colour and movement of a market scene. The french one was a demonstration.”

Mike new head and shoulders FINALMike Willdridge will be with us from Saturday 27 August to Saturday 3 September 2016. He 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.

 

Share Sarah’s memories — and come and make your own!

Painting by Sarah Yeoman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays, Tuscany Italy.

The Watermill courtyard, by Sarah Yeoman

Our delightful American watercolour tutor Sarah Yeoman has made a video which captures the essence and the atmosphere of her painting course weeks at The Watermill. You can see it by clicking here.

Sarah will be with us for TWO weeks next year and you can, of course, come for one or the other  – or for both glorious weeks! More details below and of our  Early Bird discount offer.

Sarah is an enthusiastic tutor and loves The Watermill. She says: “It’s 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

And some comments from a guest last year: Many artists are successful in producing paintings, but not all are true teachers. Sarah has the ability to demonstrate confidently, withholding none of her ‘secrets’, to encourage students and gently give suggestions for improvement.” And another said:  “Don’t think I have ever been ‘spoiled’ so much! Your Retreat at the Watermill is Paradise, AND then there is the FOOD and wine, and then there are the OUTINGS, and then there is the Tutorship of Sarah, and THEN the helpfulness of you all….WOW!”

Sarah 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.

As we said above, Sarah will be here for two glorious weeks and you can come on either or both. But hurry, we already have eight booking for Sarah’s first week and three for the second, so now is the time to reserve your place.

Sarah Yeoman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays, Tuscany Italy.June to 11 June 2016 AND 11 June to 18 June 2016

Sarah Yeoman Watercolours

Please click here to learn more about Sarah, her courses at the mill and to see more of her pictures. To enquire about current 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.***

 *** 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 Sarah Yeoman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

 

Two prestigious awards for Watermill tutor Janie

Painting by Janie Pirie, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Congratulations to our sensational new painting tutor Janie Pirie, who has won two prestigious awards – in very different styles. One of her stunning botanical pictures, The Opium Poppy (above), was voted Best Botanical/Floral picture in this year’s UK Coloured Pencil Society exhibition and her portrait of a new mother with her child (below) has just won The Best Portrait/Figure in the Society for All Artists’ Artist of the Year Competition in the Professional category from over 3,000 entries.

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

Janie comments: “Needless to say I am feeling rather ‘fluffed-up’!”

Janie Pirie is leading a special course in Painting Plants with Coloured Pencils, which will run from Saturday 14 May to Saturday 21 May 2016. It is likely to prove absolutely stunning, judging by these and other examples of her work

Janie must be unique among painting tutors by being a double Gold Medallist of the UK’s Royal Horticultural Society! It reflects her love of plants, and of drawing them. Her work is now exhibited worldwide and she teaches in the UK and USA – using only coloured pencils. Although enjoying much success with her plant illustrations and botanical paintings, Janie also draws beautiful portraits and still lifes. You’ll have an opportunity to practice all this on her week-long course, as well as visiting stunning locations in the beautiful scenery around the watermill.

Janie will take you through every stage of the process to achieve the very best results, from first observation to the creation of a rich and gloriously coloured picture. Her course is ideal for beginners and intermediates. Here’s a comment from one of her students: “Everyone always finishes Janie’s courses on such a high, inspired and eager to create more beautiful paintings with real passion.” Another said: “Janie is extremely helpful, a wonderful, stimulating tutor, always ready to offer advice and support”

Janie Pirie head and shoulders14 May to 21 May 2016

Janie Pirie  Painting plants with coloured pencils

To find out more about Janie and her course at the watermill next year, please click here. And to enquire about availability and/or reserve your place, please click 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.

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

Janie’s painting All is safely gathered in.

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

Watermill tutor Amanda Brett is in line for a Gold Award.

Brett singer and stripes reducedWhen we introduced Amanda Brett, our new watercolour paining tutor from New Zealand, we featured the painting above as a fine example of her work. I am pleased to report that others agree. She’s just been told: “Congratulations! Your work has been chosen as one of the finalists in the Arts Gold Awards 2015″recently

Painting by Amanda Brett, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.The painting is called The Singer and the Chippendale. Amanda says: “ My Singer started because of the beautiful patterns on the machines themselves and the engraved front plate pattern which I have used as “wallpaper” in this painting. The pattern is where the disrepair is most obvious with paint chipping off and the tarnished metal showing.”

Painting by Amanda Brett, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.She adds: “I love painting buttons and all the bits and pieces one simply must have in order to create one’s next fashion masterpiece!!

Painting by Amanda Brett, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.And here are some solid brass pincushions from the same era as the machine.
Lovely work.

And Amanda doesn’t just confine herself to still-lifes, however vibrant. Here’s a recent picture of a café in the wonderful Italian city of Luca, one of The Watermill excursion venues.

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

AmandaBrett is an experienced workshop tutor, both in New Zealand and abroad — and she loves passing on her passion to her students. She says: “I never knew I would love teaching watercolour as much as I do.She adds: “It’s my job to help you develop your style and create better art.”

Here’s a comment from one of her students: “Amanda shared all her super secrets with us so freely, and gave each student equal time and attention.” And here’s another: “I am primarily a portrait artist but you’ve given me skills to work in other areas I want to pursue too and watching you paint was invaluable. You are a very talented and generous woman, and a wonderful tutor. Yours is only the second watercolour workshop I have ever attended – you can get good artists and you can get good art tutors but it is hard to find the two in one person, and you are gifted at both.”

Brett head and shoulders croppedSaturday 9 July to Saturday 16 July 2016

Amanda Brett Watercolours

To find out more about Amanda and her course at the watermill next year, please click here. And to enquire about availability and/or reserve your place, please click 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

Hurry to grab your place on Sandra’s wonderful Watermill watercolour course!

Painting by Sandra Strohshein, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays, Tuscany Italy.Sandra Strohschein’s watercolour painting course at The Watermill next June is already half full! Small wonder, for she is an extraordinary painter and an enthusiastic and sympathetic tutor.

Sandra in walled gardenSandra began painting just six years ago but she has achieved an extraordinary mastery of her medium. Her work has been honoured and praised in many fine art shows and exhibitions and she also has a remarkable online presence, with her daily Facebook posts followed by thousands of fans. She works in a fast loose impressionistic style, but above all, she produces passionate, emotionally charged paintings, full of energy. Her painting above was made on location at The Watermill. And that’s Sandra above in the Watermill walled garden last Summer.

As for her teaching, people frequently tell her about how much fun they have on her workshops and how nobody ever wants them to end. A painting guest on her course at the mill last year said: Watching your demonstrations was such an education. Your speed at putting together a beautiful painting while talking us through your process and answering questions was testament to your talent. Your kind and patient individual help was invaluable.”

Here’s another striking watercolour, of red poppies:

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

And talking of red, how about this wonderful red house in the square in the nearby walled Medieval town of Fivizzano, where we go to paint on market days. You can see the original hanging in pride of place in The Watermill sitting room.

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

Sandra Strohschein’s week-long painting course in watercolours will run from Saturday 18 June to Saturday 25 June 2016. She love it here. Sandra says: Your venue is the best deal ….hands down…..you are the winner of European art venues! I am convinced!”  

As we said, we already have lots of bookings on this inspiring course, so now is the time to book, especially as we have an Early Bird discount deal: If you book for Sandra’s 2016 course before the end of this years, there’s a £75 (about $US 115) discount.

For more details of Sandra’s course, please click here. And to enquire about current availability and/or reserve your place, please use our Secure Enquiry Form, by clicking 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.  For more of what partners can do, please click here.

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

A morning sketch on a Watermill balcony