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An inspiring Italian cookbook

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, cookery holidays/vacations, Tuscany, ItalyThe name of the Watermill’s first-ever cooking course, L’arte di mangiar bene, the art of eating well, was inspired by the famous Italian cookbook La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene, written by a rich retired 19th Century businessman and landowner Pellegrino Artusi. It was composed in his house in the Piazza Massimo d’Azeglio, very close to the apartment in Florence where the Breckon family live when they are not at the mill.

Artusi was 71 when he finished the cookbook in 1891. He failed to find a publisher, so he published it himself. After a slowish start the cookbook really caught the public’s imagination and sales soared. It is now a perennial Italian bestseller and has been translated into a number of languages. The recipes are classic and timeless and we’ll be sharing some with you on later blogs and in our cookery course at the Watermill next Summer (details below).

Artusi bustLike many of his class in those times, Artusi welcomed progress and embraced science — and his book can be  regarded as truly scientific ( the first part of the title), since the recipes were the result of observation and experiment. He lived alone in his house in the Piazza d’Azeglio, with a butler from his home town of Forlimpopoli and a Tuscan cook, who undoubtedly made the dishes while his master watched and tasted. (I’m sure the butler did, too.)

The book also had profound cultural significance: it was written in Italian rather than any local dialect and was the first to bring together recipes from all the various regions, so it helped to make the citizens of the Kingdom of Italy (created in 1861) feel part of a united nation. And it was not written for professional chefs, as was customary at the time, but for middle-class housewives and those servants who helped them cook family meals.

But above all the tone is friendly and reassuring, full of straightforward practical advice – and humorous comments.  I particularly like his note on apple strudel: “Do not be alarmed if this dessert looks like some ugly creature such as a giant leech or a shapeless snake after you cook it, you will like the way it tastes.”

We’ll have more from Pelegrino Artusi in coming blogs and we’ll also be celebrating his inspiration in our L’Arte di mangiar bene cookery course at The Watermill, where you’ll not only learn the secrets of healthy Italian eating but also savour la bella vita italiana.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, cookery holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italypanzanella19-26 August – L’arte di mangiar bene 

with Lois Breckon, Ingrid Fabbian and The Watermill team

To learn more about this delicious cookery course, please click here

 

 

 

Forbidden Fruit tastes wooden, but the damigiana sparkles

Blog wooden fruitThe builders continue apace restoring the 17th watermill: the carpenters have raised high the roof beams and the rafters are now in position; soon we will be replacing the ancient roof tiles and then working on our new Ghirlandaio and Uccello bedrooms.

While the men work away outside, Lois (in particular) and Bill (a little) are working on turning some old mill artefacts and other items into decorative works of art to enhance our communal areas and guests’ bedrooms.

Above you can see Bill’s creation Forbidden Fruit, which he is thinking of submitting for next year’s Turner Prize! It’s a collection of wooden fruit in a Victorian-style glass dome.

And it behind it you can see tiny electric bulbs sparkling in one of the mill’s many demijohns, used for storing wine in the old days. Nowadays winemakers, even those who produce it at home, tend to use stainless steel vats, so damigiane are becoming obsolete. Many people are throwing them out – and our gardener Flavio Terenzoni has been gathering them up. We have quite a collection in the Watermill courtyard and elsewhere. So, Lois has been experimenting with ways to make them sparkle and to use them as part of our interior décor.Humphries demijohns

They’ll be as fun (and as difficult?) to paint as our outdoor ‘installation’ of demigiane above, but you can contemplate them calmly on a yoga, cooking or knitting course. Come and see for yourself on one of our sun-filled, fun-filled creative courses next year.

Here’s a rather fine painting of them by one of our students Grace McKee, who is returning next year with her husband Phillip for her third visit to The Watermill:Grace demijohns

And don’t forget our Early Bird bonus: if you book on any of our 2017 creative weeks before the end of this year, there’s a £GBP 75 discount. Please come and enjoy the sparkling damigiana, but don’t eat the forbidden fruit.  You can find out more about everything by clicking here.

The mill courtyard and demijohns by student Doug Mackenzie

The mill courtyard and demijohns by student Doug Mackenzie

 

Is this Santa Claus? A miller’s tale

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetIf you’ve been to The Watermill you’ll know we have two rather fine little statues in niches in the façade of the Tuscan House overlooking the courtyard. There’s a serene Madonna and child in white marble and the little terracotta chap above, gazing benignly down on us. He looks friendly, despite seemingly missing his left hand.

Trouble is, no-one seems to know who he is. We’ve asked around, but we can’t find anyone who knows when he was put there and why.  The Tuscan House was built in the 19th Century and was originally a ‘pasta factory’, with all sorts of machinery run by water power (in the walled garden you can still see one of the marble wheels used for mixing dough), so presumably the statue was put there then.

We guess he’s a saint and we’d like to think he was the patron saint of millers. The online CatholicSaints.Info page gives a list of eight of them, including two women and the delightfully named Winnoc of Wormhoult.

St Nicholas in all his splendour

St Nicholas in all his splendour

It also includes Nicholas of Myra, better known to you and me as St Nicholas, or Santa Claus. A fourth century Bishop of Myra in Lycia (now part of modern Turkey), Nicholas was renowned for his generosity to the poor and his protection of the innocent. The most famous tale told about him concerns a local man who had fallen on such hard times that, unable to raise dowries, he was planning to sell his daughters into prostitution. Nicholas went to the house at night and threw three bags of gold down the chimney from the flat roof, saving the girls from a fate worse than death. From this beginning grew the story of St Nicholas or Santa Claus and our Christmas-time gift-giving.

I am sure our terracotta saint is Nicholas: he’s certainly not a woman, nor Winnoc of Wormhoult!

But why is Nicholas the patron saint of millers? There is an Italian folk tale of a starving widow praying in an empty church with her two children and hearing a voice telling her to go to the nearby mill where there would be food for her. She was sceptical, as the miller was notoriously stingy, but she went, and yes, he turned her away. But as he was doing so, an old man appeared from nowhere and touched the miller with his staff, turning him into a donkey.

In some countries St Nicholas arrives on a donkey, not by reindeer sleigh

In some countries St Nicholas arrives on a donkey, not by reindeer sleigh

St Nicholas (for it was he) showed the woman food on the table and warm beds to sleep in — and she took over and ran the mill with a young assistant provided by the saint, while the donkey brayed in his stall. A year later Nicolas returned and changed the donkey back to the miller, who was now a transformed character, one of the kindest men around, and who even gave the mill to the widow and her family.

I think the saint in our niche looks like he could have achieved all that and I see a twinkle in his eye as he looks out over our guests and, hopefully, approves of our hospitality. Come and see him for yourself!

You can find out more about all next year’s creative courses by clicking here. And why not give yourself a Christmas present: there’s a £75 Early Bird discount if you book on any 2017 course by the end of the year.

A warm Watermill welcome to watercolourist Tim Wilmot

Painting by Tim Wilmot, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.We are delighted to welcome another sensational watercolourist to the Watermill team. He is Tim Wilmot, from Bristol in the South-west of England and he will be joining us for a week-long course in watercolours next October. More details below – and don’t forget our Early Bird special discount offer: if you book for Tim’s course before 31 December this year, there’s £GBP 75 off Tim’s fabulous 2017 painting holiday.

Tim specialises in watercolours, exploiting the medium with tone and light in a loose impressionistic style. He says: I seem to have an affinity with painting landscapes, although I have dabbled with portraits and still life in the past, but always come back to landscapes. His vibrant picture above is of the City Gate in Ancona, Italy. Here’s another lovely watercolour, Two houses in Provence.Painting by Tim Wilmot, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Tim says: “For many years I’ve taken a sketchbook on my travels and I quickly scribble scenes in a shorthand sort of way. Then, returning home, I recreate those memories with paint and brush. Watercolour is also an ideal medium for capturing those quick impressions.” 

As well as an exciting artist, Tim is also an inspiring teacher and on his course, suitable for all levels, he’ll help you to improve your drawing skills, loosen up your style, learn how to incorporate figures in a landscape as well as nurturing you own artistic ambitions. As one student of Tim’s says: I can’t help being inspired by the careful and wonderfully measured strokes of a genius.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhttp://watermill.net/painting-holidays/painting-holidays-tutor-tim-wilmot17.php7-14 October 2017 Watercolours

with Tim Wilmot

To learn more about Tim and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

Come and join us  — and enjoy the magic of the mill! (And enjoy the Early Bird discount.)Macfie millstream reduced

 

A view (or two) from the Watermill studio

Jan studio view reducedThe Watermill studio, converted from part the historic industrial complex, has amazing views from its large tall windows. On one side you look out over the riverside gardens with the River Rosaro running beside them and on the other, the view is of the Watermill walled garden, with the Apennine mountains towering in the distance. Small wonder that many of our guests have been tempted to paint (and photograph) the views. Here are just a few of the results.

Above is a studio view photo taken by one of our non-painting partners, Jan McKenzie, while below is an atmospheric watercolour from the studio by our lovely American tutor Sarah Yeoman.Painting by Sarah Yeoman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

And here’s a view the other way round: Sarah painting in the studio, taken from the roof terrace across the Watermill courtyard.Studio from outside

This is tutor Lea Nixon’s view of the garden and village from the studio:Painting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

And here’s a wonderful photo taken at night by tutor Fábio Cembranelli.

Half past nine at night from studio Fabio Jun 11 - Squarer

Why not come and see, paint and photograph for yourself on one of our inspiring painting courses? We’d be delighted to welcome you here.

At work in the studio

At work in the studio

Here’s next year’s list of inspiring painting tutors. And don’t forget our Early Bird discount: £75 off if you book a 2017 painting course before 31 December 2016.

Doranne new head and shouldersPainting by Doranne Alden, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.13-20 May: Watercolours

with Doranne Alden

To learn more about Doranne and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

Sandra Strohschein head and shouldersA painting by Sandra Strohschein, a tutor on painting courses at The Watermill at Posara, Tuscany Italy27 May – 3 June Watercolours

with Sandra Strohschein

To learn more about Sandra and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

Sarah S H&S for tutor profilePainting bysarah Spencer, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.3-10 June Oils and drawing mediums

with Sarah Spencer

To learn more about Sarah and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

Keiko painting en plein air

Painting by Keiko Tanabe, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.10-17 June Watercolours

with Keiko Tanabe

To learn more about Keiko and her course at The Watermill, please click here

 

RENNER H&SPainting by Maggie Renner Hellmann, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.17-24 June Oils, acrylics, pastels and drawing mediums

with Maggie Renner Hellmann

To learn more about Maggie and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

Lea Nixon head and shouldersPainting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.24 June- 1 July Watercolours

with Lea Nixon

To learn more about Lea and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

Terry Jarvis painting cropped morePainting by Terry Jarvis, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.1-8 July Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics)

with Terry Jarvis

To learn more about Terry and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

8 to 15 July 2017 Tom J Byrne

Oils and watercolours

To learn more about Tom and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

New Sue Ford pic croppedSue Cinque Terre demo15-22 July Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic

with Sue Ford

To learn more about Sue and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

Mark Warner H&S croppedPainting by Mark Warner, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.22 to 29 July 2017 Mark Warner

Acrylics/watercolours incorporating conte/pastel.

To learn more about Mark and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

Neiman H&SNeiman Daumazon promenade26 August-2 September Watercolours

with Varvara Neiman

To learn more about Varvara and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

Mike new head and shoulders FINALPainting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.2-9 September Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

with Mike Willdridge

To learn more about Mike and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

Janie Pirie head and shouldersPainting by Janie Pirie, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.9-16 September Painting plants with coloured pencils

with Janie Pirie

To learn more about Janie and her course at The Watermill, please click here

Nel and Rebecca head shotPainting by Nel Whatmore, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.23-30 September Pastels

with Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça

To learn more about Nel and Rebecca and their course at The Watermill, please click  here.

Charles New photo 2012Sluga Fivizzano belltower demo pic30 September-3 October Watercolours (and acrylics and oils)

with Charles Sluga

To learn more about Charles and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

Come and share the enchantment Watermill painting course! And don’t forget our Early Bird discount: £75 off if you book a 2017 painting course before 31 December 2016…Terry rose demo 1

 

Riverside magic, seascape reverence: More stunning paintings from Maggie.

Painting by Maggie Renner Hellmann, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Our lovely Californian painting tutor Maggie Renner Hellmann has just sent us some stunning paintings with a watery theme. The oil above is ‘Creekside Magic’. Maggie says: “Creeks have a magic to them! I’ll be teaching students how to simplify and capture their essence.”

And the seascape below is called ‘Reverence.’ Maggie says: “”Water has many moods and actions! We will attempt to capture its essence in whatever exciting forms we encounter. During our week at The Watermill – riverside, millstream, ancient fountains, the seaside…”Blog Maggie WestsideZen-Reverenceadjfb1200Maggie will be joining us next June for her week teaching in oils, acrylics , pastels and drawing mediums – you can choose your medium(s). There are more details below – and don’t forget our Early Bird discount: If you book before 31 December 2016 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on this fabulous 2017 painting holiday.

Maggie calls her week-long course at The Watermill a Courageous Colo(u)r Workshop and she says: “In this plein air workshop we will paint in various spectacular Tuscan locations. Our emphasis will be on learning and practicing the core elements of successful paintings – Color, composition, focal point, light source, values, positive & negative shapes, volumes, edges, brushwork & perspective, as well as how to use contrasts to give excitement and drama to your paintings and much more! All levels of experience are welcome.”

Maggie will share with you her craft & knowledge of painting. She will help you to free yourself from old patterns and move toward more exciting colour choices.

Maggie Renner Hellmann is a contemporary California painter who paints with love, passion and energy. Her work is characterized by a unique blend of loose, energetic brushwork and strong compositions of exuberant color. She says: “I love the joy of color and the poetry of brushwork.”

Maggie is also a knowledgeable and enthusiastic tutor. She’s been teaching for more than 15 years – and she loves it! Her years of experience in painting in many mediums have distilled her teaching to the core fundamentals that will help guide any painter toward success. She will encourage the beginner and challenge the more advanced.

Here’s some praise from some of her former students: “What I liked best about the workshop was Maggie’s approachable manner and encouragement, her clear understanding about color and light, her experience in simplifying landscapes and the discipline of first studying the subject in values – and how to make poetry out of a simple landscape.”

“What I particularly like about your teaching is that you seem to be able to distil the learning into meaningful chunks that are understandable and then you demonstrate the concept and have us practice it. Your methodology is very effective. I really like getting your feedback. You give it in a very helpful and constructive way and always let us observe you painting.”

RENNER H&SPainting by Maggie Renner Hellmann, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.17-24 June Oils, acrylics, pastels and drawing mediums

with Maggie Renner Hellmann

To learn more about Maggie and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

Come and take Maggie’s Colo(u)r Challenge and share the watery magic at the mill!Macfie millstream reduced

 

 

 

A novel approach to learning Italian, for all levels of ability

language shoppingHere’s a question a lot of people have been asking about The Watermill’s Italian Language course: Is it suitable for all levels of ability in speaking Italian? And the answer? An emphatic Si!

So come and join us next May (more details below). and don’t forget our Early Bird booking discount offer: If you book before end of this year, there’s a £GBP 75 discount on this exceptional language week

Language bertrand-schwartz1Our emphatic Si! is because of the special approach of our colleagues from the prestigious language school in Florence, Langues Services. Its philosophy and method are inspired by the work of Professor Bertrand Schwartz of Paris University, the educationalist who overturned the concept of teaching to adults, proposing an approach that develops not only theoretical knowledge but practical know-how as well. The aim is to enhance the personal qualities of each student, tailoring the teaching to their needs and ambitions and establishing mutual, active and confident relationships, where the student is the true protagonist in the course. The motto is ‘action first, knowledge after.’

Language FrancescaYour teacher/tutor, Francesca La Sala, explains the core of their approach: “Our aim is to make the learning process as natural as possible; so imagine, when you’re abroad and you deal with a ordinary situation – whether it’s buying something or having a lovely dinner with a group of new friends – you won’t divide people depending on their knowledge of a language: you’ll try to pick words, meanings, maybe comparing sounds; you’ll use your primary senses to try and understand; your effort to observe and listen will be at its best, you’ll use your intuition, your imagination and your memory; and if someone sitting next to you at a table doesn’t understand when you do, you’ll translate for them: and that word or that phrase will remain in your memory more than a thousand others repeated by heart reading a grammar book alone in your house.”  

Francesca vine verandahFrancesca adds: Mixing up different levels can be a powerful resource, where those who know more will be encouraged to be active andteach’ what they know to those who know less, thus becoming more confident and assimilating their skills; and those who know less are motivated to push themselves forward. Mixing up different levels/people makes the course more creative, less unyielding, more realistic! “When we do the ‘formal’ lessons (about 20 hours during the week), you’ll be divided in small homogeneous teams, so that we can cover a certain grammar issue at different levels and from different points of view, but still the lessons will be held all together.

“The lessons will be very interactive anyway, you’ll be asked to be the very protagonists in the ‘formal’ lessons too. To guarantee the highest quality of the teaching/learning process, the group won’t have more than 12 participants.”
Language restuarantHow will we find out about you and your needs? Francesca says: “Every participant on the course will be asked to fill a form, a sort of CV of your knowledge of the Italian language, to find not only about the Italian courses you took and understand your level, but also to learn about the kind of ‘relationship’ you have with the Italian language, and your interests and hobbies… so that I can prepare a course plan that suits your needs and expectations. Of course many things will be changed, improved and decided together, once we meet at The Watermill, and start to know each other.”

We can’t wait to meet everybody – and improve our Italian, too! Ci vediamo
Now really is the time to make sure of your place, especially since you can take advantage of our Early Bird discount: If you book before 31 December 2016 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on this fabulous Italian language course.

Language FrancescaSaturday 29 April to Saturday 6 May 2016

Francesca La Sala Italian Language course

Please click here to learn more about out Italian Language course at the mill, including the itinerary for the week

 

This could be you on a Watermill painting course

B;pg Visit TuscanyLuccca painterI saw this Facebook post today by Visit Tuscany and I thought: ‘This could be someone on a Watermill painting course.’  It’s of the Piazza Anfiteatro in Lucca, the wonderful walled city which is one of our excursion venues during our Watermill courses. (Photo: Domenico Rosellini.)

You too could be in the picture, by making pictures here whwn you join us on one of our sun-filled, fun-filled, painting courses.

Here’s another lovely Lucca picture, a watercolour by Watermill tutor Charles Sluga, of some of our students relaxing in another Lucca piazza.Painting by Charles Sluga, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays, Tuscany Italy.

Or how about this one by tutor Terry Jarvis of the amphitheatre piazza itself? Terry anfiteatro Lucca

Come and join us. Here’s next year’s list of inspiring tutors. And don’t forget our Early Bird discount: £75 off if you book a 2017 painting course before 31 December 2016..

Doranne new head and shouldersPainting by Doranne Alden, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.13-20 May: Watercolours

with Doranne Alden

To learn more about Doranne and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

Sandra Strohschein head and shouldersA painting by Sandra Strohschein, a tutor on painting courses at The Watermill at Posara, Tuscany Italy27 May – 3 June Watercolours

with Sandra Strohschein

To learn more about Sandra and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

Sarah S H&S for tutor profilePainting bysarah Spencer, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.3-10 June Oils and drawing mediums

with Sarah Spencer

To learn more about Sarah and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

Keiko painting en plein air

Painting by Keiko Tanabe, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.10-17 June Watercolours

with Keiko Tanabe

To learn more about Keiko and her course at The Watermill, please click here

 

RENNER H&SPainting by Maggie Renner Hellmann, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.17-24 June Oils, acrylics, pastels and drawing mediums

with Maggie Renner Hellmann

To learn more about Maggie and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

Lea Nixon head and shouldersPainting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.24 June- 1 July Watercolours

with Lea Nixon

To learn more about Lea and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

Terry Jarvis painting cropped morePainting by Terry Jarvis, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.1-8 July Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics)

with Terry Jarvis

To learn more about Terry and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

Bradley H&SBradley Orange Flamenco8-15 July Watercolours

with Sue Bradley

To learn more about Sue and her course at The Watermill, please click here,

 

New Sue Ford pic croppedSue Cinque Terre demo15-22 July Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic

with Sue Ford

To learn more about Sue and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

Mark Warner H&S croppedPainting by Mark Warner, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.22 to 29 July 2017 Mark Warner

Acrylics/watercolours incorporating conte/pastel.

To learn more about Mark and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

Neiman H&SNeiman Daumazon promenade26 August-2 September Watercolours

with Varvara Neiman

To learn more about Varvara and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

Mike new head and shoulders FINALPainting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.2-9 September Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

with Mike Willdridge

To learn more about Mike and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

Janie Pirie head and shouldersPainting by Janie Pirie, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.9-16 September Painting plants with coloured pencils

with Janie Pirie

To learn more about Janie and her course at The Watermill, please click here

Nel and Rebecca head shotPainting by Nel Whatmore, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.23-30 September Pastels

with Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça

To learn more about Nel and Rebecca and their course at The Watermill, please click  here.

Charles New photo 2012Sluga Fivizzano belltower demo pic30 September-3 October Watercolours (and acrylics and oils)

with Charles Sluga

To learn more about Charles and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

 

Come and savour the wonder of a Watermill painting course!

Jan tutor in garden

Colourful collages — and a new watercolour — from Sue Ford

Painting by Sue Ford, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Sue Ford, our delightful and talented painting tutor, has just sent me some of her recent creations, including some new colourful collages, like the Venetian scene above.

Sue is returning to the Watermill next year for an inspiring week-long painting course in watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic. Sue says: “I just love creating pictures in any medium – and I love passing on what I’ve learned to other people and to help them release their creativity.” Sue will be with us from Saturday 15 July to Saturday 22 July 2017. More details below – and don’t forget our Early Bird discount: If you book before 31 December 2016 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on any of our fabulous 2017 painting holidays.

Here’s another of Sue’s collages, with a quite different watery atmosphere: a rainy day in York in the North of England.Blog Sue Ford collage York rainy dayAnd to reflect Sue’s versatility, here’s a gentle watercolour of the river near Stokesley, also in the North of England.Blog Sue Ford Stokesley landscape watercolour and pastel

Still on a watery theme, here’s a lovely pastel by Sue of the beach at Monterosso in the Cinque Terre, one of the locations for our Wednesday excursion during our week-long creative courses. We liked this so much it’s hanging on our sitting room wall at The Watermill.Sue Cinque Terre demo

We have fond memories of Sue’s last visit. Here’s a quote from a guest: “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. Sue Ford is an exceptional tutor with a lovely manner and treats all with respect and kindness.”

Sue Ford was born in York, North Yorkshire and has experimented with almost every conceivable media in her career. She now a well recognised and admired professional artist and tutor. Here are some of her pupils at work in one of our great en plein air locations, an old monastery:Sue Ford Joy and Sanjana at Convento

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.”Here’s Sue painting demonstration at another Watermill location, the castle and village of Verrucola.Sue Ford Watercolour demo of Castello Verrucola

New Sue Ford pic croppedSue Cinque Terre demo15-22 July Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic

with Sue Ford

To learn more about Sue and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

Six people are already booked for this great course. Come and join them  — and enjoy the magic of the mill! (And enjoy the Early Bird discount.)

Enjoying painting tuition in the Watermill's walled garden

Enjoying painting tuition with Sue in the Watermill’s walled garden

 

 

Come and be part of Maggie’s plein air painting adventure

Painting by Maggie Renner Hellmann, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.I have just been looking at some of the latest paintings by the celebrated Californian artist Maggie Renner Hellmann, who is coming to for her first painting course at The Watermill next June. More details below – and don’t forget our Early Bird discount: If you book before 31 December 2016 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on this fabulous 2017 painting holiday.

They are all oil paintings – and all created en plain air – a great adventure. Above is California Pampas, while below you can enjoy Summer Reflections.Painting by Maggie Renner Hellmann, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Maggie calls her week-long course at The Watermill a Courageous Color Workshop and she says: “Come and share in the energy and inspiration of painting the Tuscan Landscape! A perfect blend of Art & Adventure!”

Maggie adds:In this plein air workshop we will paint in various spectacular Tuscan locations. Our emphasis will be on learning and practicing the core elements of successful paintings – Color, composition, focal point, light source, values, positive & negative shapes, volumes, edges, brushwork & perspective, as well as how to use contrasts to give excitement and drama to your paintings and much more!

“All levels of experience are welcome. The medium is your choice*. Maggie will share with you her craft & knowledge of painting. She will help you to free yourself from old patterns and move toward more exciting color choices.” *Oils, acrylics, pastels and drawing mediums.

Here’s another of Maggie’s en plein air oils, Three red barns:Painting by Maggie Renner Hellmann, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Maggie Renner Hellmann is a contemporary California painter who paints with love, passion and energy. Her work is characterized by a unique blend of loose, energetic brushwork and strong compositions of exuberant color. She says: “I love the joy of color and the poetry of brushwork.”

Maggie is also a knowledgeable and enthusiastic tutor. She’s been teaching for more than 15 years – and she loves it! Her years of experience in painting in many mediums have distilled her teaching to the core fundamentals that will help guide any painter toward success. She will encourage the beginner and challenge the more advanced.

Here’s some praise from some of her former students: “What I liked best about the workshop was Maggie’s approachable manner and encouragement, her clear understanding about color and light, her experience in simplifying landscapes and the discipline of first studying the subject in values – and how to make poetry out of a simple landscape.”

“What I particularly like about your teaching is that you seem to be able to distil the learning into meaningful chunks that are understandable and then you demonstrate the concept and have us practice it. Your methodology is very effective. I really like getting your feedback. You give it in a very helpful and constructive way and always let us observe you painting.”

RENNER H&SPainting by Maggie Renner Hellmann, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.17-24 June Oils, acrylics, pastels and drawing mediums

with Maggie Renner Hellmann

To learn more about Maggie and her course at The Watermill, please click here.

Come and take Maggie’s Color Challenge and share the magic at the mill!

Keiko garden 2 Jess -reduced