Archives for February 2016

A warm welcome back to Trevor Lingard

Painting by Trevor Lingard, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.We are delighted to announce that our good friend and highly sympathetic and talented English watercolourist Trevor Lingard is returning to The Watermill this Autumn for another inspirational watercolour painting week. Trevor has been to the mill several times before and loves the area and our painting locations. That’s his watercolour, above, of the fountain in the village of Verrucola, where we go to paint on Monday’s during our week-long courses. And here’s another of his paintings, below, of the hilltop village of Monte dei Bianchi, where we paint on Fridays, before a gourmet lunch!Painting by Trevor Lingard, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Trevor Lingard has won international acclaim for his unique style, in which spontaneity, immediacy and suggestion rather than detail are hallmarks, as well as the presence of directional light.

Trevor helps a student on a Watermill painting course

Trevor helps a student on a Watermill painting course

During his week-long course Trevor will encourage students to adopt a loose approach to watercolours and will help to build up their confidence in using the medium. On location, in the beautiful landscapes surrounding the mill, and in the studio, he’ll demonstrate architectural, figurative, townscape and landscape compositions to completion. These will help students to gain knowledge of perspective, tone, balance, light direction and composition.

Some comments from previous guests: “Trevor’s paintings are always an inspiration to me and I loved spend lots of time painting and sketching with his expert help.” “Trevor was a wonderful tutor. Your organization as usual was superb, the food was delicious!” “The painting venues were perfect as was the food and accommodation as well as the company. Trevor spent lots of time with each of us giving kindly advice.”

Trevor headSaturday 24 September to Saturday 1 October 2016

Trevor Lingard Watercolours

To find out more about Trevor and his course at the watermill next year, please click here. And to enquire about availability and/or reserve your place, please click here. We think this course will be very popular, so if you’d like to come, please get in touch as soon as you can.

*** 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.

An atmospheric (and mysterious) London street scene from Watermill painting tutor Lea Nixon

Painting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Our friendly and talented watercolour painting tutor Lea Nixon has just sent me this interesting watercolour of a London, England, street scene.

Lea says: It wasn’t a very pleasant day, off and on rain, but when the sun came out for 5 minutes I kept that image in my head to put into the picture. I started it in London but finished it off at home in my studio. Hopefully it isn’t an illustrative painting – I hope there is some atmosphere in there.

“Trying to capture a mood helps to make a story and it’s what I aim to do in every picture. In this case it’s a working day, not too busy and that people are going about their business as usual.   I’ve used purples and oranges which nicely counter each other. Losing detail in the background creates mystery – who knows what’s down that street!!

“My students are learning a lot about lost and found edges; they know those edges capture a moment in time, a brief glance which leaves you guessing.  I hope to convey these points and many more to my students when I come to teach at the Watermill.”

I think we can guarantee more sunshine for Lea’s two week-long courses with us at The Watermill this year — and we are looking forward to Lea and his students creating background mysteries at the mill and in the surrounding, sunlit, countryside of Tuscany.

lunigiana sunset

Lea’s first week-long watercolour painting course here in June/July is now completely full, so we have opened up a second week for him later in the year. It will run from Saturday October to Saturday 8 October 2016.

Lea Nixon head and shouldersLea 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.”

 Painting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Saturday 1 October to Saturday 8 October 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.

*** 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.

 

 

To the Cinque Terre or not? What do YOU think?

Vernazza goodOn Wednesdays during our week-long creative courses, we offer our guests a choice of excursion from The Watermill, EITHER to the wonderful city of Lucca or to the stunning seaside villages of the Cinque Terre (you can choose which one you prefer; that’s our favourite village, Vernazza, above).

Another view of Vernazza

Another view of Vernazza

But in recent years we have noticed the Cinque Terre, magnificent as those five fishing villages perched on the water’s edge are, has become increasingly crowded with tourists (mainly day-trippers) who make catching the train, taking the boat or walking along the breath-taking clifftop paths more and more difficult and generally taking away from the magnificence of the views and the age-old ambiance of the villages,

We are not alone in these concerns: even the villagers and the hotels, restaurants and cafes, who enjoy a thriving trade, are beginning to think that they are being overwhelmed. So much so that they are planning to impose limits on visitors to Cinque Terre with a tourist ‘ticket’ system.

Manarola Italy II

Manarola, another village, painted by Watermill tutor Keiko Tanabe

As the UK newspaper The Guardian reports: “About 2.5 million tourists poured into the picturesque park in north-west Italy’s Liguria region last year to visit the five small fishing villages, which are connected by narrow cliffside trails.

“Residents say day-trippers from cruise ships docking at nearby ports have overwhelmed their communities and the head of the Cinque Terre park said no more than 1.5 million visitors would be let in this year.

“We will certainly be criticised for this, but for us it is a question of survival,” Vittorio Alessandro told La Repubblica newspaper.

“Roads leading to the area are being fitted with devices to gauge the number of people heading to the villages and once a certain number has been reached, access will be closed.

“Tickets will be sold ahead of time online and an app created for tourists to show which of the villages are most congested.

“Accessed by steep, winding roads, the Cinque Terre, with their brightly coloured houses, used to be a remote backwater.

“However, tourist numbers have risen sharply in recent years partly as a result of cruise companies adding more Italian destinations to their itineraries as other Mediterranean ports, such as Tunisia, lost their appeal following militant attacks.”

Well, we think this is a good idea — the CT is becoming too crowded. If the plan comes into force, We’ll still have the option of a Wednesday excursion there, but some sort of quota system will really help all who go to enjoy the place.

We’ll be happy to book our guests’ places online in advance. Just means a bit more planning on our part. What are your thoughts?

 

Here’s a lovely picture of another village, Riomaggiore, painted by a Watermill student, Chris Franklin

Blog Frankline Riomaggiore

Enhance your plein air skills with Amanda

Painting by Amanda Brett, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Our lovely and inspiring watercolour tutor Amanda Brett has been showing off her skills in plein air painting in her native New Zealand recently, producing the lovely watercolour above for a local Art in a Day event. It’s a study of a local famer’s market. Here’s a detail: Painting by Amanda Brett, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

You, too can enjoy painting en plain air with Amanda – and enhancing your own skills – as we paint together at a castle, a monastery, a market in a Medieval walled town and a hilltop village, as well as in the Watermill gardens and along the riverside, during her week-long painting holiday with us this July.

Amanda is an experienced workshop tutor— 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.”

Amanda painting LuccaSaturday 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.

*** 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.

Here’s another fun plein air painting by Amanda, this time in Lucca, Italy:

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

 

Time to look down in Florence’s cathedral

Blog duomo floor 1I don’t know about you, but every time I go into Florence’s wonderful cathedral I want to look up – at the truly amazing massive dome designed by my great hero Filippo Brunelleschi. (It features a great deal in that intriguing detective story A Matter of Perspective! Please click here to learn more.!)

But next time I go I am determined to look down – at the wonderful 16th Century marble floor. As you can see above, it is an intricate geometric design, in different coloured stone echoing the cathedral façade and Giotto‘s spectacular bell-tower. Here’s another shot, taken from the gallery of the cupola:Blog duomo floor 3

But what really inspired me was the extraordinary three-dimensional effect you get when you view the floor from a central point at the top of the cupola. Isn’t it amazing:Blog duomo floor 2

It feels like the visitors are being sucked into a great vortex or a Black Hole.

You can come and see the cathedral floor and dome with us (and some other famous Florentine buildings!) on our beguiling three-day Florence Add-on before your week-long creative course at The Watermill. You can find out more about it by clicking here.

The interior of the dome of Florence cathedral

Looking up: the interior of the dome of Florence cathedral

 

Elephants and rhinos: Watermill tutor Mike Willdridge is just back from Africa.

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Our friend and Watermill painting tutor Mike Willdridge and his wife Sue have just returned from a holiday in South Africa. Mike says: We found the country so visually stunning with such a variety of landscapes and we only just scrapped the surface. We particularly enjoyed the safaris and the Karoo deserts.”

The elephants, above, are from Mike’s sketchbooks, as are these white rhinos below:

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Mike says: “Most of the drawings were made on site (from the back of an open top Landrover type vehicle with a canvas top for protection against the sun) during short pauses whilst we ‘hunted’ for sight of the animals. Sue took photographs (as did everybody else) whilst I scribbled into my books. I asked the ‘ranger’ driving the vehicle not wait for me to finish a drawing (I didn’t want to annoy the others with cameras) so drawings often had to be made in seconds. Some of the drawings were completed in between trips out to the ‘bush’.”

Well, we can’t promise you elephants in Posara (In fact, we can promise you ‘No elephants, nor rhinos either!’) But we can provide a sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring week with Mike (and Sue).

Mike new head and shoulders FINALMike Willdridge will be with us again this year 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.

 *** 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.

Mike Willdridge’s wonderful watercolour of Flavio’s bridge and millstream gushing towards the river.

And some ‘wildlife’, sketched by Mike on a previous Watermill painting course!

Mike 2013 sketchbook 10

Celebrating Italian lace: now you can also knit your own unique soft scarf with Lisa Richardson

Lisa R new knit projectBy popular demand our lovely knitting tutor Lisa Richardson has just added an extra dimension to her specially designed projects for her week-long holiday with us this Autumn: knitting a soft lace scarf using Rowan fine lace yarn. And the design of the scarf you make will be unique to you!

Lisa says: “I wanted to create something influenced by the area we are to take part in the workshop and I chose the beautiful Italian lace. I thought it would be wonderful for you to design your own lace scarf.” She adds: We’ll use the super-soft Rowan fine lace yarn– and then you have a choice: you can either knit or crochet with it! “

Lisa will show you five different lace patterns and from these you can incorporate as many or few as you wish into your own lace scarf design. As each lace pattern has a slightly different stitch pattern repeat you will be shown how to adapt these, which should help you with any lace knitting going forward. You can make the scarf as complex or as simple as you wish, it will be unique to you.

For knitting: All you will require is a pair of 3.25mm needles. Lisa says: “I prefer bamboo for this project.” And if you fancy crochet rather than knitting, you will just need a 2mm crochet hook. If you have little crochet experience, it may be worth bringing a larger hook and some slightly chunkier yarn to practice with. If the scarf project is not for you, the lace motifs can also make a wonderful table runner or ‘cafe curtain’.

Lisa Richardson’s name is instantly associated with the Rowan pattern house. In addition to her designer role there, she manages the pattern editing process and mentors newer members of the design team. She says, “My biggest drive is to people create something that they will cherish for years to come.”

Lisa is also an enthusiastic  tutor, winning much praise from her workshop participants. For her week-long course at the mill she has devised two specially designed projects for you to knit: the one above inspired by Italian lace work (now available as a knitting or crochet project ; and the other, a beautiful, colourful bag that fully justifies her label as ‘slip stitch queen’.LISA_R knit new slip stitch bag pic

Lisa Richardson head and shoulders10 September to 17 September 2016

Lisa Richardson Knitting and La Bella Vita

Please click here to learn more about Lisa and her course at the mill.

 

How to book a 2016 knitting holiday or find out more

If you’d like to book or find out more, please visit our Knitting Holidays website by clicking here. Or use our secure Knitting holidays Enquiry Form by clicking here.

 *** Why not bring your non-knitting 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.

Knit Judy and Jean show their work - square

Keith’s kitchen door opens into London gallery!

Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Congratulations to Watermill tutor Keith Hornblower, whose painting Kitchen Door has just been accepted into the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 2016 exhibition in the Mall Galleries in London, England.

Keith says: “It’s the first time I have entered, so feeling particularly chuffed! The painting is a slightly unusual choice; I used very thick paint, laying it on, lifting it off and scratching through it to achieve the desired effect. Hope you like it.”

We do like it, Keith and we like your work in general.

Keith will be joining us for a week-long watercolour course from Saturday 13 August to Saturday 20 August 2016 and we look forward to creating some more memorable paintings. Why not join him and do the same?

Keith painting picKeith Hornblower is an acclaimed English painter in watercolour, teaching and demonstrating to art societies and universities in the UK with enthusiasm and great humour. His approach is dynamic and spontaneous, dispelling the fear of white paper and encouraging people to let go and have fun. He stresses the importance of capturing the light and observation of tonal values, often using a very limited palette of colours to make things easier for his students.

Some comments from some of Keith’s previous students: “A magician with paint, your paintings always have the most wonderful light.” “Brilliant! This is what watercolour is all about for me — so free and fresh. What fun for you and your very lucky audience.” “A great tutor and so very helpful with techniques and tips.” You can find more details about Keith’s exciting 2016 course by clicking here. And if you would like to enquire about availability and/or reserve a 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 — and there’s plenty for them to do. Have a look at our Partner’s Activities suggestions by clicking here.Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

 

Come and capture Tuscan shadows and light with Sarah

Painting by Sarah Yeoman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.This lovely watercolour, called Shadows and Light, Tuscany, is by Watermill painting tutor Sarah Yeoman, who will be with us again this Summer for two painting weeks

Sarah’s courses are pretty well full up, but we have one place left on either of them. Come and join Sarah and capture Tuscan shadows and light yourself!

Here’s another Sarah watercolour, called appropriately Summer Shade,  of umbrellas in the village of Vernazza in the Cinque Terre, one of the excursion options during our painting weeks.

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

Sarah Yeoman is an award-winning 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. 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, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays, Tuscany Italy.Sarah Yeoman Watercolours

4 June to 11 June 2016 One place left

AND 11 June to 18 June 2016 One place left

Please click here to learn more about Sarah, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures. To enquire about current 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 Sarah Yeoman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays, Tuscany Italy.

The Watermill courtyard, by Sarah Yeoman

 

You can’t hang around…

chameleon…you need to reserve your place on a Watermill painting course before they’re fully booked.

Thanks to Igor Siwanowicz for a wonderful photograph.

Come and enjoy the sun-filled, fun-filled, inspirational atmosphere of a Watermill painting course. Here’s the list and current availability:

*** 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 Pirie Painting plants with coloured pencils.

14 May to 21 May 2016 Three places left

Please click here to learn more about Janie, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures.

 

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

4 June to 11 June 2016 One place left AND 11 June to 18 June 2016 One place left

Please click here to learn more about Sarah, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures.

 

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

18 June to 25 June 2016 Course full; waiting list

Please click here to learn more about Sandra, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures.

 

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

25 June to 2 July 2016 Course full; waiting list

Please click here to learn more about Lea, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures.

 

Painting by Terry Jarvis, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Terry Jarvis Watercolours

2 July to 9 July 2016 Two/three places left

Please click here to learn more about Terry, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures.

 

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

9 July to 16 July 2016 Three/four places left

Please click here to learn more about Amanda, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures.

 

Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Keith Hornblower Watercolours

13 August to 20 August 2016 Four/five places left

Please click here to learn more about Keith, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures.

 

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Mike Willdridge Watercolours, oils and acrylics, drawing, sketching

27 August to 3 September 2016 Four/five places places left

Please click here to learn more about Mike, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures.

 

Sarah S Gubbio reducedSarah Spencer Oils and acrylics, drawing

3 September to 10 September 2016 Three/four places left

Please click here to learn more about Sarah, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures.

 

Painting by Lisa Fu, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Lisa Fu Watercolours

24 September to 1 October 2016 Still plenty of places left

Please click here to learn more about Lisa, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures.

 

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

1 October to 8 October 2016 New course: Still plenty of places left

Please click here to learn more about Lea, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures.

 

David Lucca anfiteatroDavid Taylor Watercolours

8 October to 15 October 2016 One/two places left

Please click here to learn more about David, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures.