Archives for March 2016

Latest news from a historic Watermill in Tuscany

Blog March 16 newsSpring is well on its way here in Tuscany, and the mill gardens and campi are alive with primroses and daffodils. It’s not too late to give yourself a break and join us this May for Italian language, knitting or painting. And in the Summer we’ve added a new yoga retreat to nourish your soul – check it out in this month’s newsletter, by clicking here. Then come and join us in glorious Tuscany ! We’d love to welcome you here.

Tom riverside photo Jun 13

 

An unusual elephant from Janie

Painting by Janie Pirie, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.We usually associated our Watermill tutor Janie Pirie with amazing botanical drawings made in coloured pencil. Quite rightly, that’s what Janie is famous for. But from time to time she also produces wonderful pictures in other subjects, like the elephants above, amusingly entitled Keep Up!

And how about this stunning portrait of a Tibetan shepherd?Painting by Janie Pirie, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

Janie’s great strength, however, is in meticulous drawings of flowers and plants, like this hydrangea below – and it’s the botanical world we’ll be concentrating on in her week-long inspiring painting course at The Watermill this May.

 

Painting by Janie Pirie, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Looking at Janie Pirie’s wonderful coloured pencil pictures of plants, like Rainy Day Blues above, it may seem daunting to try to emulate her work.

But, says Janie, students on her course at the Watermill this May will be amazed at home much they will learn – and achieve – in a week. She says: It can take me up to three weeks to complete a complex piece of work but these are large pieces and it is quite easy to complete a finished piece in a day – it all depends on the subject.  A piece of fruit, an interesting vegetable, a small flower on a stem are all subjects that can be drawn and coloured in one day.”Janie Work page (2)

Janie adds: Working with coloured pencils isn’t as daunting as people think.  Many are under the misconception that it is a very slow process but when you consider water colour artists have to wait for their paint to dry before proceeding, coloured pencil artists don’t!  The way I look at it is this – if you want to produce a beautiful piece of work it’s going to take time.  It’s the layering that makes pencil work so vibrant and these layers give depth to the subject.  Putting the shadow colours on first, very gently and without much pressure, means the subsequent layers will look beautiful.  It is that first layer that will define the quality of the piece.”

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

During Janie’s fun-filled, sun-filled course at the Watermill next year we plan to take you out for short visits to lovely locations nearby, but we’ll spend a lot of time in the mill gardens and in the light and airy Watermill studio, with its stunning views of mountains and the river. Janie says: We’ll find something to draw – either from a market stall, a garden or the countryside – and take it back to the studio to draw and colour.”

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.”

Painting by Janie Pirie, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals (including meals with wine at charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

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

 

Why Nataly and Joanna want to bring nutrition for your soul to The Watermill

Nataly classWhen Nataly Kogan came to the mill for a week-long painting course last Summer, she had such a great time and enjoyed the mill and the surrounding countryside so much that she decided to come again – as leader of a special retreat called Nutrition for Your Soul, dedicated to the pursuit of happiness!

Nataly herself is dedicated to helping people to live happier lives – more meaningful, calmer and kinder. She’s even set up a company, Happier, with that aim in mind and she’s developed a unique program, Nutrition for Your SoulTM , to guide people towards living with more joy: to nourish their soul and live a life they truly want, versus the one they feel they should have

So Nataly and her friend Joanna Benevides, a certified yoga instructor and holistic health coach, have teamed up with The Watermill at Posara, to produce a unique week-long retreat in peaceful rural Tuscany. You can learn all about it by clicking here.

We’ll nourish your soul in the beautiful surroundings of the historic watermill and its lovely gardens and grounds; we’ll take you on rural walks and visits to ancient walled towns and hilltop villages, castles and convents. We’ll even try a little painting in The Watermill studio overlooking the river, a wonderful way to concentrate and relax simultaneously.

Tom riverside photo Jun 13

In daily Nourish Your Soul workshops you’ll let go of stress, anxiety and worries, inhale lightness, joy, and beauty – and you’ll take away with you a unique set of simple and easy techniques to help you integrate your retreat experience into your life.

And we’ll nourish your body, too, with fresh, home-cooked, nutritionally balanced meals lovingly prepared by the Watermill cooks, with many of the ingredients freshly picked from The Watermill’s own gardens. There will be vegetarian options for every meal, of course. You’ll also savour the relaxed atmosphere of la bella vita italiana in local cafes, ice cream parlours, restaurants and markets.

Dinner at mill square

“…the pursuit of happiness” was Thomas Jefferson’s evocative phrase in the Declaration of Independence. But why do so many people find it so elusive? Come and join us and learn more about the pursuit of happiness – or rather how you can change your lifestyle to let happiness come to you!

Nataly and Joanne, from Boston, Massachusetts, have already attracted a lot on interest in their week from fans and followers in the USA but to make it a truly international retreat, we still have laces left for anyone else who would like to come

Nataly courseNutrition for your Soul

Saturday 20 August to Saturday 27 August 2016

Nataly Kogan and Joanna Benevides

For more details of this life-enhancing retreat, please click here.

Macfie millstream reduced

Rules of composition – and how to break them, by Keith Hornblower. (Part Three)

Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Here’s the third and last in the series of ‘rules’ of composition in painting from our talented and inspiring English watercolour tutor Keith Hornblower. (You can see the first part by clicking here and the second part by clicking here.)

As Keith has stressed, breaking them is just as important as knowing them: “You don’t have to apply every rule to every painting, but knowing the rules means that when you break them you are doing so consciously. If you look at the examples below, they each illustrate one of the principles of composition and, in all likelihood, break most of the others.” He adds: “The most exciting things happen when rules are broken – but there are a few things to be aware of when composing a picture.”

So, here are ‘rules’ 7, 8, 9 and 10

No.7 – Sense of movement. “If your subject is people, cars, boats etc. give them space to move into. In the example below, the figures are set to left of centre because they are facing right.”Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

No.8 – The Rule of Odds. “Odd numbers tend to work more harmoniously than evens. Don’t ask me why.”Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

No.9 – Balance. “A large object on one side needs to be balanced by something on the other side. That’s all.”Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

No.10 – Framing. “I like to have something dark at the edges/ foreground to frame the picture. It helps lead the eye into the scene and also gives a feeling of aerial perspective.”Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

Keith adds: “Also look for patterns of texture, shadows, colour etc. and a sense of harmony and rhythm. These come down to your own gut feelings and judgement; in the end, it all does, so if you think it works, do it! I hope this helps and I’d love to hear your own ideas.”

We hope you enjoyed Keith’s thoughts about the ‘rules’ of painting – and the importance of breaking them. Why not come and discuss them more with Keith on his inspiring course at The Watermill this Summer?

Keith will be joining us from Saturday 13 August to Saturday 20 August 2016.

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.

Rules of composition – and how to break them, by Keith Hornblower. (Part Two)

Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Yesterday we featured three ‘rules’ of composition in painting from our talented and inspiring English watercolour tutor Keith Hornblower  — and stressed the importance of breaking them. As Keith says: The most exciting things happen when rules are broken – but there are a few things to be aware of when composing a picture.”

He adds: “You don’t have to apply every rule to every painting, but knowing the rules means that when you break them you are doing so consciously. If you look at the examples below, they each illustrate one of the principles of composition and, in all likelihood, break most of the others.”

Keith has been ruminating about nine ‘rules’, so in order not to overburden you, I’ve split his thoughts into three parts. You can see the first three by clicking here.

Here are 4, 5 and 6.

No.4 – Simplify! [See Keith’s picture of the London Embankment above.] “Think about what the painting is all about – the reason you’re painting it in the first place. The chances are that there’s a lot of surrounding clutter which would distract the viewer; get rid of it, or at least play it down. In the same vein, look for strong silhouettes. Often, this is the boundary between sky and earth and painting against the light enhances the effect beautifully. It also has the added advantage of unnecessary detail being lost in the shadows.”

No.5 – Leading Lines. “These are lines which draw the eye into and around the picture, for instance kerb lines, fences or an avenue of trees.”Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

No.6 – Diagonals. “Following on from no.5, diagonal lines add dynamism to the picture, whereas horizontals and verticals are static. Moving in closer can often enhance the effect, so where you sit, or stand, is important! Do you need to be near, far, high or low?”Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

Coming soon: Numbers 7, 8 and 9. Why not come to the Watermill this Summer to learn more from Keith? And how to break the rules! Keith will be joining us from Saturday 13 August to Saturday 20 August 2016.

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.

Rules of composition – and how to break them, by Keith Hornblower (Part One)

How many geese imply a flock?

How many geese imply a flock?

Our talented and inspiring English watercolour tutor Keith Hornblower has recently been pondering some of the ‘rules’ of painting composition. He says: “I’m not one for rules in painting – the most exciting things happen when they are broken – but there are a few things to be aware of when composing a picture.”

Keith adds: “You don’t have to apply every rule to every painting, but knowing the rules means that when you break them you are doing so consciously. If you look at the examples below, they each illustrate one of the principles of composition and, in all likelihood, break most of the others.

“A famous Chinese painter was asked by the Emperor to paint a decorative screen for him, the brief was a flock of geese. The artist painted the background landscape – and one goose, disappearing off the screen stage right. The flock was implied by the single goose. The Emperor was delighted, fortunately for the artist. He broke the rules and won – my kind of guy.”

Keith has been ruminating about nine ‘rules’, so in order not to overburden you, I’ve split his thoughts into three parts. First three today:

No.1 – The Rule of Thirds. By putting the focal point at one of the third points gives a nicely balanced asymmetrical picture. There are a myriad of classic paintings which don’t appear to have a focal point at all, so don’t get hung up on it!”Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

No.2 – The Golden Mean. There are many learned texts which extol the virtues of the magic “Golden Mean”, a rectangle with the proportions of approx.  1:1.6. They illustrate this by superimposing these rectangles, seemingly at random, all over classical paintings (see below). I take it with a pinch of salt; there is even a Golden Triangle and Spiral! I would ignore this one; in fact I do ignore it…”Blog Keith rules 2

No.3 “Think about the orientation of the paper, landscape or portrait. Landscapes don’t have to be in landscape and portraits in portrait. Gustav Klimt went through a phase of painting in square format, very successfully.”Keith rules 3Keith will tell you all about the rules of composition — and how to break them — on his week long painting course at The Watermill this Summer. He will be joining us from Saturday 13 August to Saturday 20 August 2016.

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.

 

 

A great new ‘people’ video from Amanda

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

A still from Amanda’s video

Our lovely New Zealand watercolour tutor Amanda Brett has just produced a great video on Sketching people in watercolour and you can see it by clicking here.  She says: I love to travel and paint the world watercolour!!! I’ll be back July to teach watercolour at the Watermill – come join me!!”Blog Amanda video 2You, too can enjoy painting people in Italy with Amanda. She’s is a sympathetic and experienced 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.”Painting by Amanda Brett, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.

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

Wisteria and a pink bicycle: Keith’s watercolour reminds us Spring in on the way…

Painting by Keith Hornblower, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Here’s a reminder that Spring will soon be here: a vibrant watercolour of a corner of Venice by Watermill painting tutor Keith Hornblower. He says: “It’ was of one of those wonderful little piazzas which unexpectedly sprung into view as I emerged from a dark alleyway. The red umbrella was very dominant, so I pushed the colour back a little to give the wisteria a look in.”

Keith adds: “I loved the subtle lilac hues, cool against the warm yellows of the walls. But I decided to focus attention on the tables and the little bicycle sitting in the blaze of light on the paving. The painting is, in fact, entitled Pink Bicycle. [You’ll have to hunt for it!]

“The figures are important to give scale and to show the square as a place for people, although I didn’t want them to dominate the scene so I left them as just a suggestion. The foreground lamp post gives the painting depth, an illusion of aerial perspective achieved by making it very dark”

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.

 

Shall we make a yarn bomb during one of our Watermill knitting weeks?

Blog yarn bomb busHave you heard of ‘yarn bombing’? Well, we hadn’t until we came across one of those marvellous TED talks by textile artist Magda Sayeg. She uses handmade, eye-catching yarn bombs to shake up the way we see the world and make us notice things we hadn’t seen before. Like the bus above. Or this transformation of  a fire hydrant and ugly street bollards below.

Blog yarn bomb 3 croppedMagda transforms urban landscapes into her own playground by decorating everyday objects with colorful knit and crochet works. These warm, fuzzy “yarn bombs” started small, with stop sign poles and fire hydrants in her hometown, but soon people found a connection to the craft and spread it across the world. She says: “We all live in this fast-paced, digital world, but we still crave and desire something that’s relatable,” Magda adds: “Hidden power can be found in the most unassuming places, and we all possess skills that are just waiting to be discovered.” You can see her TED talk by clicking here.Blog yarn bomb 2It got me thinking: maybe we should have a ‘yarn bomb’ during our three knitting weeks at The Watermill this year. I am not so sure that the local transport services would take too kindly to having one of their buses ‘stitched up’, but maybe a tree or two along the Watermill millstream garden. What do you think?Macfie millstream reducedYou’ll know that Watermill knitting holidays were recently rated recently by The Times of London as one of the best 50 holidays in Italy. This could make them even more fun.

In the two years since we inaugurated our Knitting and La Bella Vita Italiana courses at The Watermill, they have gone on from strength to strength. So far more than 50 people, from all over the world, have enjoyed our knitting weeks – and another 25 or so have already signed up for this year’s sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring weeks. As we only have room for about 30/32 guests in total of this year’s three knitting weeks, you can see that we only have 10 or so places left. So, yes, now really is the time to book and make sure of YOUR place,

Our lovely tutors are Sarah Hatton and Lisa Richardson, both of whom produce great designs for Rowan Yarns– and, of course, as ever, you’ll enjoy both knitting and La Bella Vita Italiana at The Watermill and its stunning Tuscan surroundings in the unspoilt area of Lunigiana.

As you know, La Bella Vita means ‘The Good Life’ in Italian and that’s just what you’ll be savouring when you take one of our wonderfully relaxing and inspiring week-long knitting holidays in the beautiful Tuscan countryside. You’ll work at The Watermill on projects from top designers and you’ll also be knitting at a privately owned ex-monastery and in the grounds of a fabulous hill-top restaurant.

You’ll be treated to an all-day excursion to the beautiful fishing villages of the Cinque Terre and enjoy a morning’s ramblings through the market at the nearby walled medieval town of Fivizzano. You will have the perfect opportunity to make new friends in the company of like-minded people learning new knitting techniques and tips from our tutors… and enjoying unspoilt Italy and, of course, fantastic food and wine: truly La Bella Vita Italiana.

A local view, thanks to the Ciao Lunigiana blog

A local view, thanks to the Ciao Lunigiana blog

Your inspiring 2016 knitting tutors

Sarah Hatton head and shouldersSarah Hatton is a designer for the Rowan Yarns and also teaches knitting classes worldwide. She learnt to knit as a child and has always been passionate about fashion. After gaining a degree in fashion design she began working in the handknit industry and has done so for over 15 years. Sarah is also an enthusiastic, sympathetic and inspirational tutor and for her week-long course at the mill she has devised two specially-designed projects for you to knit: a lace scarf and a cable classic Aran project. She will also pass on professional tips and techniques to take your knits from ‘homemade’ to ‘handmade’.

Lisa Richardson head and shouldersLisa Richardson’s name is instantly associated with the Rowan pattern house. In addition to her designer role, 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 an enthusiastic, sympathetic and inspirational 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: one inspired by Italian lace work; and the other that fully justifies her label as ‘slip stitch queen’.

How to find out more

Hatton cable projectSarah Hatton  Knitting and La Bella Vita

21 May to 28 May 2016 Course full, waiting list

AND 28 May to 4 June 2016 New course: four/five places

Please click here to learn more about Sarah and her courses at the mill.

Lisa Richardson bagLisa Richardson Knitting and La Bella Vita

10 September to 17 September 2016 Three/four places

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

 

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

Treat yourself to Knitting and La Bella Vita Italiana! and maybe we’ll ‘yarn bomb’ as well!Knit Pandora and Claudia -reduced

 

 

Among Amanda’s inspirations: a sewing machine and Gustav Klimt!

Painting by Amanda Brett, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Our lovely New Zealand watercolour painting tutor Amanda Brett is inspired, among other things, by her old Singer sewing machine, which had featured in a number of her paintings. Here’s her latest Singer, called Lace and Light. It’s a Work in Progress, with also a nod to a famous Austrian painter! Amanda says: “I love the work of Gustav Klimt, my favourite artist of the modern era, so I’ve stolen a couple of ideas from a well known portrait painting”

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


A detail: Amanda’s version of Gustav Klimt’s leadlight window.

Amanda thinks there’s still a way to go with this latest singer picture: “I’ve propped it up and will sit and gaze and think about the next right steps.”

Amanda is also inspired by the Italian landscape and townscape and has painted in this country several times. Among my favourites is this ‘washday’ picture made in Lucca:Painting by Amanda Brett, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.You, too can enjoy painting in rural Italy 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:Painting by Amanda Brett, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.