Archives for April 2016

Imaginary monks enliven Keiko’s convent

Painting by Keiko Tanabe, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.If the headline above sounds like a clue in The Times crossword, let me explain. The picture is of a watercolour (with the real scene behind) by our lovely Japanese painting tutor, Keiko Tanabe, done on location at the Convento del Carmine, a 16th Century monastery where we go to paint on Thursdays. And there haven’t been monks there since 1872 – so they are entirely a figment of Keiko’s imagination.

The convent is a peaceful place, surrounded by lovely gardens and 17 secluded hectares of pines, walnut, chestnut, cypress and fruit trees, meadows and streams. There are views over the town of Fivizzano and the surrounding hills. Here it is:Convento approach]

The convent (that’s what they call it, although the inmates were monks, not nuns) is of the Carmelite order (Ordo Fratrum Beatissimæ Virginis Mariæ de Monte Carmelo) and dates back to 1568. The Renaissance-style building has cloisters with sandstone columns and lunettes decorated with murals attributed to Stefano Lemmi of the Bolognese school of artists.. Around 1970 the convent was partly restored by Ennio Adreani, one of Italy’s first and most-famous acupuncturists, who went to live and set up his practice there. He died in 2000 and left the convent to his nephew, our friend Giovanni Adreani, who, together with his wife Giovanna, has undertaken further restoration work. In 2008 they commissioned artists from the Botticino School and the Belle Arti Academy in Brescia to restore beautiful frescoes within the cloister. The convent is now a setting for romantic weddings.Convento courtyard empty

Our painting guests enjoy the exclusive use of the convent and grounds on Thursdays, together with a delicious picnic lunch.

Sue Ford Joy and Sanjana at Convento

You, too, can enjoy exclusive delights of the Convento del Carmine on a Watermill painting holiday. We’ve had unprecedented demand this year, so now is the time to ensure YOUR place on one of our 2016 painting courses. Come and join us and see what all the fuss is about! Here’s the current availability, but it is changing rapidly, do please contact us if you have a favourite tutor or favourite week and we’ll reserve your place.

Janie plus paintingJanie Pirie

14 May to 21 May 2016 Two places left

Painting plants with coloured pencils To learn more about Janie, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please click here.

Sarah Y plus paintingSarah Yeoman 4 June to 11 June 2016 One place left AND 11 June to 18 June 2016 One place left

Watercolours

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

Sandra plus paintingSandra Strohschein 18 June to 25 June 2016 Course Full: Waiting List

Watercolours

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

Lea plus pictureLea Nixon 25 June to 2 July 2016 Course Full: Waiting List

Watercolours

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

Terry plus pictureTerry Jarvis 2 July to 9 July 2016 One place left

Watercolours

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

Amanda plus pictureAmanda Brett 9 July to 16 July 2016 Three places left

Watercolours

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

Keith plus pictureKeith Hornblower 13 August to 20 August 2016 Five places left

Watercolours

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

Mike plus pictureMike Willdridge 27 August to 3 September 2016 One place left

Watercolours, oils and acrylics, drawing, sketching.

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

Sarah S plus pictureSarah Spencer 3 September to 10 September 2016 One place left

Oils and acrylics, drawing

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

Trevor plus pictureTrevor Lingard 24 September to 1 October 2016 Four places left

Watercolours

To learn more about Trevor, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please click here

Lea plus pictureLea Nixon 1 October to 8 October 2016 Five/six places left

Watercolours

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

David plus pictureDavid Taylor 8 October to 15 October 2016 One place left

Watercolours

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

***PS Keiko Tanabe will be back with us in 2017, from Saturday 10 June to Saturday 17 June 2017 — and we will take early bookings NOW if you get in touch using the Watermill Contact Form, by clicking here.

A typically English street scene by Keith Hornblower

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

This brings back memories – a typical leafy small-town/suburban street scene that is so typically English. It was painted by Watermill watercolour painting tutor Keith Hornblower as a demonstration for Stevenage Art club in the South of England.

Keith says: “I took a fairly simple street scene and decided from the outset that my focus would be on the two central figures. If you look at the painting, the sharpest contrasts, darkest darks, lightest lights (white paper) and hardest edges are all in this area; that’s what attracts the eye. I treated everything else as a backdrop to the main characters, simplifying detail or omitting it completely.

“Did it work? Let me know what you think!”

I think it works very well and is truly atmospheric. We are looking forward to seeing typical Tuscan allege and countryside paintings from Keith and his students during his fun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring week-long course this Summer. We can’t promise you a suburban street, but we will provide inspiring Italian scenes, such as market day in a walled Medieval town, an imposing castle, a quiet convent and a 1000-year old hilltop village with the Apuan Alps towering above.

Fabio Fiv market Jun 13  SUE Convent Caroline Chapman Monte 2Come and capture them all with Keith on his week-long painting course at The Watermill this Summer. He will be here 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.”

Keith plus pictureKeith Hornblower 13 August to 20 August 2016 

Watercolours

To learn more about Keith, his course at the mill and to see some of his pictures, 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.

A lovely room suddenly available for Sandra’s course

Painting by Sandra Strohschein, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Due to a cancellation we suddenly have available our delightful Bedroom 1 for Sandra Strohchein ’s inspiring watercolour painting week from Saturday 18 June to Saturday 25 June 2016.

This bedroom, overlooking the Watermill courtyard, and with an en suite bathroom, is ideal for a couple, but we are happy to let it out for single occupancy. Please click here for more details.

Sandra in walled gardenSandra Strohschein has achieved an extraordinary mastery of watercolour and her work has been honoured and praised in many fine art shows and exhibitions. She works in a fast loose impressionistic style, but above all, she produces passionate, emotionally charged paintings, full of energy. Her painting above was made on location at The Watermill. And that’s Sandra on the left in the Watermill walled garden last Summer.

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

Here’s another striking watercolour, of red poppies:

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

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

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

To recap, Sandra Strohschein’s week-long painting course in watercolours will run from Saturday 18 June to Saturday 25 June 2016. For more details of Sandra’s course, please click here. Sandra, for one, loves it here. She says: Your venue is the best deal ….hands down…..you are the winner of European art venues! I am convinced!”  

So, snap up that last remaining place and …Why not bring your non-painting partner as well? There’s a generous £200 discount for him/her if they share a room with you.  For more of what partners can do, please click here.

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

A morning sketch on a Watermill balcony

 

 

Try painting the same scene several times, says Sarah Yeoman (and a special offer on her Watermill course)

Painting by Sarah Yeoman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Have you ever tried painting the same scene several times? It would be a very valuable exercise, freeing you up to experiment with colour combinations, conveying different moods, reflecting the effects of the time of day or even the time of year, says Watermill painting tutor Sarah Yeoman. Sarah discusses the value of multiple paintings of the same subject in her new video, which you can view on You Tube by clicking here.

So, to paraphrase (inaccurately) Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca: “Paint it again, Sam.”

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

A Watercolour by Sarah Yeoman of the river Rosaro, which flows beside the Watermill. Worth painting again and again!

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.

And, to fill those last two remaining places, we’ve a Special Offer: £GBP 200 off the cost of a fabulous week-long painting holiday with Sarah Yeoman, in our Bedroom 11 from Saturday 4 June to Saturday 11 June 2016, and in our Bedroom 6 from Saturday 11 June to Saturday 18 June 2016 (Please click here for details of our bedrooms and the costs in British pounds (£GBP)).

To take advantage of this offer, please use our Secure Contact Form, by clicking here, quoting Sarah Yeoman Offer.

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

The Watermill courtyard, by Sarah Yeoman

 

Terry’s love of this part of the world shows in his paintings

Painting by Terry Jarvis, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Glancing though the on-line gallery of Watermill painting tutor Terry Jarvis, I was struck by just how much he loves painting in this part of the world. Terry’s love of this part of the world shows in his paintings. Above is his watercolour of part the village of Terenzano near The Watermill . Terry says: “Beautiful, age-old buildings with terracotta roofs and the backdrop of the Apuan Alps, the marble mountains above Carrara. Who could ask for a better subject to paint!” And here’s a study of the nearby Medieval walled town of Fivizzano. Terry says: “A captivating part of the week during a watermill painting holiday, when you meet the locals in the square by an incredible 16th Century Fountain. Just straight out of the movies! While I am there I love to buy a big bunch of flowers for the watermill.”

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

Terry also likes to go to the Cinque Terre on our Wednesday excursion from the mill. Here a colourful picture of the beach and village of Monterosso:

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

Terry’s enthusiasm rubs off on our guests. Here’s what one guest on Terry’s previous course at the watermill had to say: “Terry Jarvis was superb with people, very positive and very relaxed. I’ve been on painting holidays before and learned nothing but Terry was great. When you got stuck he’d come along with a smile – and a brush – and bring your picture to life. He wasn’t afraid to criticise your work, but he had a really positive attitude, which helped you to improve.”  Another guest said of her painting holiday at the mill: “A truly lovely spot: having the majestic mountains all around us positively inspired us. Your brilliant staff provided a backdrop of comfort and leisure at all times.”

This is Terry demonstrating under the rose pergola in The Watermill garden:

Terry rose demo 1

Terry Jarvis is returning to The Watermill next Summer for a week-long painting course in watercolours.* It will run from Saturday 2 July to Saturday 9 July 2016. Terry is one of Australia’s leading watercolour artists and a great fan of the watermill and the surrounding area of Lunigiana. *Terry works in oils, pastels and acrylics, as well as watercolours, and is happy to teach in those media too. We have 10 painters and one non-painting partner booked in for the week and have room for two or three more people.

Terry plus picture2 July to 9 July 2016 Terry Jarvis Two or three places left

Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics)

Please click here to learn more about Terry and his course at the mill.

*** 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.

From Teddy’s scarf to internationally famous designs — Sarah’s knitting career

sarah_hatton_RowanTeddy scarfWatermill tutor Sarah Hatton has been knitting since the age of five. She’s not sure what was her first knitting project, but thinks it was a scarf for Teddy! Now she’s a well known knitwear designer for Rowan and you will often see her name against many of the beautiful garments in the Rowan magazine and in their pattern books. Her designs are aimed at all levels of knitter from beginners to the more advanced

Sarah has always had a love of textiles and had a passion for dressing up as a child. As a teenager she showed a flare for customising her own clothes and was always up to the minute with fashion in her own dress sense. Immediately after graduating with a degree in degree in Fashion Design at Bretton Hall College, part of the University of Leeds, Sarah was offered her first job as a designer with a hand knit company. She prides herself on the fact that since graduating she has always worked in the hand knitting industry. Sarah’s inspiration has a tendency to be garment shaped and she rarely works in more than one colour, yet produces amazing wearable garments that explore and push the boundaries of shape and texture.

Sarah’s first knitting holiday week at the Watermill is now full: We have 11 participants eager to learn more with Sarah, work through her lovely projects (see below) – and, of course, enjoy la bella vita italiana at the Watermill. But we do still have  a couple of places left on our second week with Sarah, from Saturday 28 May to Saturday 4 June 2016. So come and join us and share Sarah’s passion!

She will not only help you with two very special projects she has specially designed for her week’s course, but will also pass on professional tips and techniques to take all your knitting from ‘homemade’ to ‘handmade’.

Sarah’s specially designed projects for you are first, a soft lace scarf project which will help you understand how eyelet lace is formed; Sarah will also cover short-row shaping, beading and knitted-on edges.  She says: You will then design your own small lace pattern before knitting a shawl or scarf. There are three shape options as shown abelow and you can either select from charted lace patterns or include your own lace pattern.”

Note: All the yarn for these projects will be provided free of charge. You will only need to bring 3.25mm needles, pencil, eraser (and reading glasses if needed!)

Sarah Hatton head and shoulders28 May to 4 June 2016

Sarah Hatton 2 Knitting and La Bella Vita

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

*** 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.

Deceptively simple: atmospheric watercolours by Lea Nixon

Painting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.I was looking though some examples of the work of Watermill painting tutor Lea Nixon and I was struck by this compelling picture. The subject is mundane enough: a man takes a dog for a walk, but the treatment is stunning and really draws you into the picture.

We love Lea’s work and we are looking forward to welcoming him here for not one, but two, watercolour weeks this year. His first week in June is completely booked up, but we still have places on his second week in October and we’d all be delighted if you could come and join us.

Here’s another atmospheric, but deceptively simple, watercolour by Lea.Painting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

As I said,Lea’s first week-long watercolour painting course here in June 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.Painting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

The Watermill Spring newsletter in here

Mill news Apr 16

Yes, the latest edition of the Watermill Newsletter is here — and you can ‘read all about it’ by clicking here. We’ve news of the Italians’ secrets of being one of the healthiest nations in the world, we’ve tips to improve your painting and your knitting — and your lifestyle — and we’ve the latest details of all our creative courses, which are filling fast.

So read all about it by clicking here — and come and join us for La Bella Vita Italiana.

Unplug, unwind and enjoy Italian life with Claire

Yoga Claire pic 1Come and join us in the tranquil heart of rural Tuscany for spiritual refreshment on our Unplug and Unwind yoga and meditation retreat run by the lovely Claire Murphy. We think that Claire and The Watermill are the perfect combination for a yoga and meditation retreat where you can not only ‘unplug and unwind’, but also savour the true Italian lifestyle in Lunigiana, the unspoilt region of Tuscany surrounding the mill.

Yoga, meditation and massage have been a way of life for Claire for more than 25 years and she’s passionate about teaching them. Together we’ve created a unique five-day programme, with fresh and inspirational yoga and meditation sessions, plus inspiring visits to local historic and scenic attractions – and beautiful home-cooked Italian food and wines.  The five-day retreat will run from 19 September to 24 September 2016. (Please Note: this retreat will start on a Monday and end on a Saturday). You can find all about Claire and the retreat by clicking here.

Mill courtyard

Claire Murphy head and shoulders 2 Claire Murphy’s style of teaching is very eclectic, borne out of studying and training in various traditions over the years across the UK and in many other areas of Europe and extensively in the USA. She says: “My aim is to offer classes that are fresh and inspirational, always being informed by the latest developments in yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices.”

Claire has extensive training and teaching credentials which ensure that she is able to provide a fresh approach, based on current teaching methodologies and research. She brings a sense of humour and imagination to her teaching in order to make it accessible to everyone. The sessions at The Watermill will be friendly and welcoming and no prior experience of yoga is necessary: all levels from beginner to intermediate will be catered for and we’ll also tailor our sessions to your particular needs. The classes are secular (non-denominational).Claire adds: “I am not aligned with any particular yoga school / tradition or teacher, as this allows me the freedom to be able to practise and teach the yoga that is respectful of who I am, which in turn, allows me to be respectful of the needs of my students.”Yoga generic 3

Come and Unplug and Unwind with Claire at The Watermill team next September!

Claire Murphy head and shoulders19 September to 24 September 2016

Claire Murphy Unplug and Unwind

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

 

 Mike looser 3

 

 

Come and paint fountains — and much else beside — with Trevor

Painting by Trevor Lingard, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.-holidays/painting-holidays-enquiry.phpIf you’ve been on any of our creative courses at the watermill, this fountain will be very familiar to you. It’s the centrepiece of the main square in the nearby walled town of Fivizzano, where we go for delicious meals, homemade ice-cream, coffees and to browse through the stall of the Tuesday market. The fountain, complete with its lively white dolphins, is a gift from a 16th Century Medici Grand Duke of Tuscany – and it’s a favourite subject of painting students and tutors alike. The painting above is one of our favourites, by watercolour tutor Trevor Lingard. We like it so much, we’ve had it framed and it is hanging in the ‘Hall of Fame’ in the mill sitting room, along with a dozen or so great pictures from our tutors.

Trevor really likes fountains. Here’s another one, in nearby Verrucola, where we go to paint the village and the castle on Mondays during our painting weeks.Painting by Trevor Lingard, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.And another study by Trevor of the Fivizzano fountain. Trevor Fivizzano fountainOf course it’s not all fountains: This is Trevor’s atmospheric watercolour of the hilltop village of Monte dei Bianchi, where we go to 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 plus pictureSaturday 24 September to Saturday 1 October 2016

Trevor Lingard Watercolours

To find out more about Trevor and his course at the watermill , 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.

Trevor Verrucola