Archives for August 2016

Wonderful hospitality, inspiring painting tuition

Painting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.We have just had a lovely ‘thank-you note’ from someone who came on Lea Nixon’s watercolour painting course here earlier this year. She writes: “Thank you for such a wonderful holiday. We enjoyed your wonderful hospitality Bill. You are a great host and left no stone unturned to ensure all your guests were well fed, happy and busy!! We have many wonderful memories, what a great week.

“In addition, Lea was a wonderful tutor. He not only encouraged us to be productive but divided his attention equally with all his students, a hard task at times to achieve. I personally felt I came home with some worthwhile artwork but mainly came away with a wealth of newfound knowledge gleaned from watching and learning Leas’ painting style.

“Thank you so much again for everything.”

You, too, could enjoy the same caring hospitality and inspiring teaching on Lea’s next course at The Watermill this October, to captur the Autumn colours and enjoy the sunshine in this lovely unspoilt part of Tuscany.

Here are some lovely watercolours made by Lea during his course here with us earlier this year. The one above is a picture of market day in main square of Fivizzano, where we go to paint on location on Tuesdays. and this is a view from the town, down the valley to Posara. We liked it so much, it is now hanging in the Watermill sitting room.Painting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.And here’s Lea’s view of our favourite restaurant in Lucca, one of our Wednesday excursion venues.Painting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

As we said, Lea will be back  at The Watermill soon for another lovely course this Autumn and you can find out more about him and and his course by clicking here  Come and join us!  We still have two or three places left on Lea’s Autumn course , which runs from Saturday 1 October to Saturday 8 October 2016  — and we’d love to welcome you here.

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.


Fennel baked in white wine, cream and parmesan. A Sunday treat.

baked fennelMany people rave about the Watermill food and we’re proud to bring you wonderful Italian dishes, which include fresh vegetables and fruit from our cook and gardener’s vegetable plots (and herbs, basil, tomatoes and zucchini from the Watermill walled garden).

Here’s a tasty dish we usually serve to our guests as part of a buffet Sunday lunch — and hear many appreciative noises!

This recipe makes enough for eight people.

  • 4 bulbs of fennel
  • 250ml cooking cream
  • 250ml white wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 100g brown bread breadcrumbs
  • 50g grated parmesan

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

Discard any discoloured outer leaves of the fennel, then cut in half longitudinally.  Cut out the hard heart, then cut each half in half again.  Arrange in a flat, oven-proof dish and pour over a well seasoned mix of the cream and wine.

Cover the dish with a lid or foil and place in the middle of the oven for 50 minutes.

Remove the lid/foil and scatter over the breadcrumbs and parmesan and return to the over without the lid/foil for another 10 minutes.

Serve and enjoy.

*This and other mouth-watering Watermill recipes can be found on our Friends page. Why not become a Friend? It’s free and as well as recipes there are painting, writing, knitting and yoga tips. Just click here and away you go! Here’s a picture of a typical Sunday lunch: come and find out for yourself what else is on offer! Details of our courses can be found by clicking here

Recipe mill-lunch