Archives for October 2016

Three very different pastels from Rebecca — come and make more with her at The Watermill

Painting by Rebecca de Mendonca, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.From time to time our lovely painting tutors send us new images of their work and today we are privileged and delighted to share with you three pastels recently sent by Rebecca de Mendonça, who is coming to teach at the Watermill with her New Pastel School partner Nel Whatmore for a unique week-long course in Pastels next September.

Nel and Bec will be with us from Saturday 23 September to Saturday 30 September 2017. More details below – and don’t forget our Early Bird discount: If you book before 31 December 2016 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on any of our fabulous 2017 painting holidays.

Bec’s new pastel above is called ‘Clinging on’ (70 cm x 56 cm). She says: “I love the drama of moorlands, and I found this lone tree clinging on to the side of a rocky tor on Dartmoor. Its roots had found their way into the cracks between the rocks. The piece was done in my studio from charcoal sketches I did in situ, with photos for colour references. I used a portrait format to emphasise the steep terrain.”

And here’s another pastel (on sand paper), to remind us of sunny days. It’s called ‘Turquoise Sea’ and it’s quite small, 19 cm x 19 cm. Bec says: “This little piece was painted using a holiday photo as reference, and memories of the bright sunshine and bright blue of the sea. I like to work small sometimes, as this encourages me to be quick and decisive.”

Painting by Rebecca de Mendonca, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Finally, here’s ‘Warming Up,’ a pastel on pastel primer, 48 cm x 34 cm. Bec says: “This piece was inspired by watching riders warm up their horses for the dressage stage of a three day event. I was indoors watching them, as it was pouring with rain outside and I couldn’t sketch. Because the day was so gloomy, the dimly lit school had a great atmosphere to capture.”Painting by Rebecca de Mendonca, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Rebecca de Mendonça and Nel Whatmore will be with us from Saturday 23 September to Saturday 30 September 2017. Together they have created The New Pastel School, after years of friendship and mutual respect for each other’s work.Paintings by Nel and Rebecca, tutors at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Their course at the Watermill offers the unusual experience of having these two experienced pastel artists sharing the tuition, and combining their expertise and great enthusiasm for this versatile and exciting medium. As tutors they can help people to see that there are always different ways to do things, even when working with the same pastels. The course will include some plein air painting, studio-based work and also trips out. What Nel and Rebecca seek to offer is a new experience of using pastels outside and to introduce the joys of exploring how inspiring another country’s landscape and countryside can be. They say: “As ever the atmosphere will be relaxed with one to one help, demonstrations and lots of lovely food! We seek to inspire you all to try something different and join us.”

 Nel Whatmore loves colour and paints in a very expressive way as her focus is on light and getting emotion into a painting. She particularly adores painting flowers, landscapes and seascapes. She has been a regular exhibitor at Chelsea Flower Show for the past 10 years, where her stand has won multiple awards including a 5 star award in 2016. She has appeared on TV and celebrity collectors include Zoe Ball, Richard and Judy, Gary Neville and David Gower.

Nel's wonderful pastel 'Star of the garden.'

Nel’s wonderful pastel ‘Star of the garden.

Rebecca de Mendonças teaching and painting is the result of a varied career in the arts that has taken her from a degree at Wimbledon College of Art in Theatre Design, and working on projects ranging from Harrods Food Hall and the Phantom of the Opera to exhibiting at The Pastel Society and being a well known demonstrator. She has been commissioned to paint dancers at English National Ballet, actors in West End Shows, and has had work accepted by the Society of Equine Artists and The Pastel Society.

Come and enjoy tuition from TWO great pastellists, for the price of one! And don’t forget our Early Bird discount: If you book before 31 December 2016 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on any of our fabulous 2017 painting holidays.

As tutors they can help people to see that there are always different ways to do things, even when working with the same pastels.

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

with Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça

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

Come and join us for double pastel tuition at The Watermill!

Paintings by Nel and Rebecca, tutors at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

‘Freedom’ a pastel by Rebecca

 

 

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A wonderful painting week, whatever the weather

Blog Saghar monte die bianchiWe have to confess, it isn’t warm and sunny in Tuscany EVERY day. It usually is, but it can rain and it can be chilly, though seldom both at the same time. So it was very unusual that the weather was both wet and cold for David Taylor’s watercolour painting week this October. We rallied round with lots of umbrellas, space heaters in the studio and central heating in all the rooms — and the heat of David’s passionate teaching and the warmth of the group more than made up for any failings in the weather.

As one of our guests, Saghar Soleimani, from Canada, said: “Thank you David, Bill and Lois for an amazing workshop and thanks everyone for making it such an awesome group to spend time with, I truly enjoyed your company.”

She sent us the atmospheric picture above, of some of the group braving the elements in the hilltop village of Monte dei Bianchi in the Apuan Alps, one our painting venues. Soon afterwards we were all warm and cosy, enjoying a gourmet lunch as a storm raged outside. And here’s David showing what plein air painting is all about

Blog Saghar 2We guarantee that, whatever the weather (and it will be mostly sunny and warm) you’ll enjoy the warmth of Watermill hospitality and inspiring skills of our tutors.

Come and join us. Here’s next year’s heart-warming round-up. And don’t forget our Early Bird discount: £75 off if you book a 2017 painting course before 31 December 2016.

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

with Doranne Alden

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

 

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

with Sandra Strohschein

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

 

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

with Sarah Spencer

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

 

Keiko painting en plein air

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

with Keiko Tanabe

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

 

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

with Maggie Renner Hellmann

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

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

with Lea Nixon

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

 

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

with Terry Jarvis

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

Bradley H&SBradley Orange Flamenco8-15 July Watercolours

with Sue Bradley

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

 

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

with Sue Ford

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

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

Acrylics/watercolours incorporating conte/pastel.

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

Neiman H&SNeiman Daumazon promenade26 August-2 September Watercolours

with Varvara Neiman

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

 

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

with Mike Willdridge

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

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

with Janie Pirie

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

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

with Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça

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

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

with Charles Sluga

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

 

Come and savour the wonder of The Watermill!

Jan tutor in garden

 

 

 

Colourful collages — and a new watercolour — from Sue Ford

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

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

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

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

We have fond memories of Sue’s last visit. Here’s a quote from a guest: “I had a wonderful time. Everything was superb – the accommodation, the trips out and the food! Utterly wonderful. It was an experience that I will treasure. Sue Ford is an exceptional tutor with a lovely manner and treats all with respect and kindness.”

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

Sue says: “Each student will be guided carefully throughout the day, from initial demonstration to getting started, followed by patient, professional tuition. I aim to help my students to create paintings which will give them the confidence in their abilities and help them to develop their own artistic vision.”Here’s Sue painting demonstration at another Watermill location, the castle and village of Verrucola.Sue Ford Watercolour demo of Castello Verrucola

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

with Sue Ford

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

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

Enjoying painting tuition in the Watermill's walled garden

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

 

 

A stunning Cinque Terre scene from Lea

Painting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.The stunning watercolour above is by our talented and inspiring English watercolour tutor Lea Nixon. It is of fishing boats pulled up onto the ramp above the harbour at Riomaggiore, one of the five delightful villages of the Cinque Terre. It’s one of our options for our Wednesday excursion during our creative weeks at the Watermill.

You, too, could join Lea and capture the magic of Italy. Not just the Cinque Terre, but also the wonderful setting of the mill and the surrounding Tuscan countryside. Lea will be joining us again next year for a special week-long course in watercolours from Saturday 24 June to Saturday 1 July 2017.

More details below – and don’t forget our Early Bird discount: If you book before 31 December 2016 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on this fabulous 2017 painting holiday. To whet your appetite here’s a demonstration painting Lea made during his last course here: a gentle study of the sun umbrella in  The Watermill courtyard:Painting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

And here’s a study of the market in the nearby walled Medieval town of Fivizzano, where we go to paint on Tuesdays during our week-long courses: Painting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.We had excellent feedback from Lea’s courses with us this year. One guest said: “The whole experience was amazing … I loved it.”

And it is not just Lea’s great teaching. Another guest wrote: “I very much enjoyed my week at the Watermill. What you do is quite unique in that you get the gastronomy as well, visiting the various restaurants and your own excellent kitchen to experience the true taste of Tuscan food and wine. Furthermore , nothing is too much trouble and you have the personal attention of the owners to ensure that you have a good time.”

Lea Nixon is an exceptional watercolour painter from Wigan in the north-west of England for whom mood, character and atmosphere are particularly important. Lea specialises in watercolours, the magic of which 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. Watercolour is a captivating medium and there are so many ways to use it to make beautiful pictures.”

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

with Lea Nixon

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

 

Come and savour the magic of The Watermill!

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

Follow the signs for the best creative weeks in Italy

Humphries road signsThe Watermill is in the quiet Tuscan comune (administrative district) of Fivizzano, a walled Medieval town surrounded by 100 villages and two special environmentally protected areas: the National Park of the Tuscan-Emilian Appennines, the backbone of Italy, and the Regional Park of the Apuan Alps, home of the marble mountains of Carrara.

The air and the water are pure and unpolluted and the area abounds in wildlife. The people are friendly; the food – with fresh local produce – is delicious and nutritious; and the pace of life is such that it feels like going back decades in time to a more peaceful era.

The traffic is light, so we were all amused when one of our non-participating partner guests, Bob Humphries, who accompanied his wife Eileen on Lisa Richardson’s knitting course last September sent us this picture of the road signs on one of the hairpin bends leading to the walls of Fivizzano. They tell us to halt in 150 metres, that the road is repaired and maintained by the province (thank you!), that it can be slippery when wet, that deer may leap out (on a hairpin beneath Medieval city wall?) and the times of Mass. All useful information, but perhaps a little overdone!

One thing’s for sure, however, is that all the signs point to the fact that The Watermill at Posara’s creative weeks – painting, knitting, yoga, Italian language – are among the best you will find in Italy, or Europe come to that.

Don’t take our word for it. Here are some comments from this year’s guests: “I had a wonderful time at The Watermill and Bill and his ‘team’ looked after us brilliantly.  The food was delicious and The Watermill is such a special place in beautiful countryside.  I am already looking forward to coming again next May. Thank you so much for all that you did to make this a special holiday.”

Enjoying painting tuition in the Watermill's walled garden

Enjoying painting tuition in the Watermill’s walled garden

“Just returned from an outstanding holiday in this most beautiful place. I have been looked after for a whole week and feel really spoilt. The whole experience has been such a wonderful treat. I was apprehensive as I have never travelled on my own before, but all fears were banished from the moment I arrived in the Mill. Bill and Lois are marvellous hosts and made all the group feel at home. Everyone had a lovely room. The food is delicious and prepared from home-grown and local produce. I’ve made some beautiful projects which I can complete at home, made some new friends, and I’ve seen and experienced the breathtaking Tuscan countryside. I think I need to go again!!”

“I want to thank you for the most wonderful week of painting, company and delicious food.  In the Watermill you have a piece of heaven.  To be surrounded by the beauty of Italy with its villages on hills with red-topped roofs was enough to take one out of one’s world, but adding to that the wonderful hosts you were made the week very special indeed.”

And there are many more in similar vein.

Putting theory into practice: I wonder what fish we should have! A language group enjoy an Italian lunch

Putting theory into practice: A language group enjoys an Italian lunch

Why not follow the signs and join us next year! Already some 120 have reserved their places for 2017, so now really is the time to make sure of your place, especially since you can take advantage of our Early Bird discount: If you book before 31 December 2016 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on all our fabulous 2017 creative holidays.

Here’s the list of all our sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring creative weeks next year.

Painting holidays

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

with Doranne Alden

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

 

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

with Sandra Strohschein

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

 

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

with Sarah Spencer

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

 

Keiko painting en plein air

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

with Keiko Tanabe

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

 

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

with Maggie Renner Hellmann

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

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

with Lea Nixon

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

 

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

with Terry Jarvis

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

Bradley H&SBradley Orange Flamenco8-15 July Watercolours

with Sue Bradley

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

 

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

with Sue Ford

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

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

Acrylics/watercolours incorporating conte/pastel.

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

Neiman H&SNeiman Daumazon promenade26 August-2 September Watercolours

with Varvara Neiman

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

 

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

with Mike Willdridge

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

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

with Janie Pirie

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

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

with Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça

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

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

with Charles Sluga

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

 

Knitting holidays (but hurry, we’re almost full for our knitting weeks)

Lisa Richardson head and shouldersLisa Richardson Saturday 6 May to Saturday 13 May 2017

Knitting and La Bella Vita 

Please click here for more about Lisa and her course at The Watermill.

 

Marie Wallin head and shoulder croppedMarie Wallin

Saturday 20 May to Saturday 27 May 2017

Knitting and La Bella Vita

Please click here for more about Marie and her course at The Watermill.

Sarah Hatton head and shouldersSarah Hatton

Saturday 16 September to Saturday 23 September 2017

Knitting and La Bella Vita

Please click here for more about Sarah and her course at The Watermill.

And last, but by no means least, our unique Italian language course:

Language FrancescaSaturday 729 April to Saturday 6 May 2016

Francesca La Sala Italian Language course

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

 

Come and share the magic of The Watermill

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 themillstream gushing towards the river.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

with Maggie Renner Hellmann

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

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

Keiko garden 2 Jess -reduced

 

 

Before you paint: stop and think why, says Keiko Tanabe

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

Keiko’s wonderful watercolour from the hilltop village of Monte dei Bianchi, one of our Watermill painting locations

Our delightful Japanese watercolour tutor Keiko Tanabe is returning next June for her third visit to the Watermill: she will be with us for a special week-long course in watercolours from Saturday 10 June to Saturday 17 June 2017 — – and don’t forget our Early Bird discount: If you book before 31 December 2016 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on any of our fabulous 2017 painting holidays.

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

An atmospheric watercolour of the Watermill

When people come on a Watermill painting holiday they are always keen to put brush to paper quickly, to begin to capture the glorious scenery of the mill and the surrounding Tuscan countryside. But, says Keiko in a recent painting tip, just take a moment’s pause before you start. She says: “Of all the choices we could make in our lives, we painters choose to spend a lot of time painting.  There’s got to be a very strong reason why we make that choice if time is indeed money.  Of course before anything, there is or would have to be innate passion about the act of painting.  That cannot be taught or forced upon because that being non-existence wouldn’t most likely sustain us for a long time. For most of us, it’s really that passion, not the aspect of it being a task, which keeps motivating or driving us.  

“So let’s make the time spent painting really worthwhile before we actually do it by thinking why: Why do we choose a particular subject?  Why is it so appealing?  Why do we think it’s worth our time (or life, really)?  The reason why we paint may be different, depending on who you ask, but we all can, or should, take a moment before putting anything on paper or canvas, to think what is really inspiring us to spend the next hours of our life with.  

“Knowing that also helps us make an even stronger statement in our painting as it should be a focal aspect of our visual expression.”

Boats in Vernazza, Cinque Terre, one of our excursion venues

Boats in Vernazza, Cinque Terre, one of our excursion venues

keiko tanabe head and shoulders reducedKeiko Tanabe was born in Kyoto, Japan but now lives in San Diego, California. Her paintings show stories of everyday life in different corners of the world. Keiko is a much sought-after instructor and has led more than 130 workshops around the world. She says:Watercolour painting is a vehicle to communicate my artistic vision on the joy of living and the ingenuity of human creations.”

Keiko is also an inspiring and sympathetic tutor. Her workshops at The Watermill are designed for students who would like to gain a better understanding of methods and techniques to make watercolour paintings that are full of light and atmosphere. Here’s what one student had to say about one of her previous courses: “What a wonderful and memorable week I have had!! The ambiance was just perfect and Keiko was a wonderful teacher: it’s really been a perfect painting holiday.” Another said: “I loved once again my stay in your gorgeous mill as well as your fantastic hospitality and the company of new friends and such a talented teacher and guide.” atmosphere.

Keiko painting en plein air

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

with Keiko Tanabe

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

Come and join us and savour the magic of the mill.Keiko garden 2 Jess -reduced

 

 

Remembering Sarah’s painting course this year – and looking forward to next

Animated conversation at dinner

Animated conversation at dinner

I’ve just been looking through some of the photographs taken by our guests on Sarah Spencer’s delightful painting course here last month. Our thanks to Geraldine Walley, Claudia Logan, Lynne McKay and John Rogers for sharing their memories with us.

At work in the studio

At work in the studio

Admiring the Bignonia in the courtyard

Admiring the Bignonia in the courtyard

About to venture into the bamboozery

About to venture into the bamboozery

As I said, we had a lovely time last week with Sarah last month. As one guest said: “Thank you for taking such good care of us. The group was lovely and Sarah Spencer was very helpful with the tips on techniques.”   So, we are looking forward to creating more happy memories when Sarah joins us for another sun-filled, fun-filled course next year – and don’t forget our Early Bird discount: If you book before 31 December 2016 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on any of our fabulous 2017 painting holidays.

Award-winning English artist Sarah Spencer RAS, NEAC* is internationally known for her landscapes, portraits and still lifes. She has had no fewer than 10 solo exhibitions in London since graduating from the Royal Academy Schools. Her work has won national and international acclaim. (*Alumnus of the Royal Academy Schools, elected member of the New English Art Club and Federation of British Artists)

She also tutors painting courses and leads masterclasses for, among others, the UK Royal Academy and the University of the Creative Arts. She is a passionate and inspiring tutor and will take her Watermill students to paint en plein air at wonderful nearby locations, as well as teaching the art of portraiture and still-life in the Watermill studio. She will teach in oils and acrylics and in various drawing mediums.

Sarah’s course is suitable for beginners as well as more experienced painters. She says:I am really looking forward to again sharing my passion and passing on what I’ve learned about oil and acrylic painting and about drawing.”

Sarah S H&S for tutor profilePainting bysarah Spencer, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.3-10 June 2017 Oils, acrylics and drawing mediums

with Sarah Spencer

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

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

Looking forward to meeting you in the courtyard

Looking forward to meeting you in the courtyard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More lovely pictures from inspiring Watermill tutor Sue Bradley

Painting by Sue Bradley, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.I have just been looking through some of the lovely paintings by Watermill tutor Sue Bradley, who is joining us for the first time next year, and I thought I would share some of them with you. Sue will be with us from Saturday 8 July to Saturday 15 July. More details below – and don’t forget our Early Bird discount: If you book before 31 December 2016 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on this fabulous 2017 painting holiday.

That’s Sue’s lovely coastal scene,  with a solitary seagull, above, and below, on a completely different theme, ‘Small steps, for Charlie.’

Blog Sue Bradley small steps

Sue, from Kent in England, is hooked on watercolour, particularly transparent watercolour. She says: “I love its freshness and vibrancy.” She also paints in oils, acrylics and gouache.

Sue says: “I enjoy ‘traditional’ landscape scenes, but I’m also very interested in creating pattern and textural effects and experimenting with semi-abstract themes.” Her work varies between very detailed and much looser styles and she is always experimenting with new ideas and techniques. how about this stunning ‘Orange flamenco’?Painting by Sue Bradley, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

 

Sue is also a sympathetic and inspirational teacher. And her course is ideal for beginners and improvers. She says: “I can’t wait to help my students to capture the magic of the Watermill in such beautiful, historic surroundings with the spectacular beauty of Tuscany to inspire us. Our only dilemma will be how to choose from the incredible range of subjects and painting locations all around us! And you don’t have to stick to watercolours. If you prefer to work in a different medium such as pencil, oils or acrylics you are welcome to join us and use your preferred method.”

Some praise from previous students of Sue’s: We took a painting holiday with Sue Bradley last year. It was great fun: we learnt a lot and made new friends. Under Sue’s sympathetic tuition we improved our watercolour techniques. We hope to join Sue in Tuscany next July.” Tony and Di A. Thank you Sue for a wonderful week of tuition. What a happy fun week we had. The instruction was given in a relaxed and easy to follow manner, at the same time encouraging creativity and confidence in our abilities. I learned a lot thanks to your generosity in sharing all your tips and techniques of successful watercolour painting.” Annette P.

Annette P.

Bradley H&SBradley Orange Flamenco8-15 July Watercolours

with Sue Bradley

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

 

Come and share the magic at the mill!Ron humming bird moth jun 16

 

 

Nel Whatmore says: Be brave, be bold and go big!

Nel Star of the Garden (2)We are excited about welcoming the outstanding pastellists Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça for a unique week-long course next Autumn. They’ll be with us from Saturday 23 September to Saturday 30 September 2017. More details below – and don’t forget our Early Bird discount: If you book before 31 December 2016 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on any of our fabulous 2017 painting holidays.

Nel has just send us an intriguing thought about the size of the paper you work on. She says: It is very interesting altering the size that you work on, as it forces you to use your medium in a very different way. Star of the Garden (above) is a very large pastel (106cms x 88 cms) that is built up by hatching the pastel and only blending certain areas of it. This would not be possible on a very small piece. So I would say be brave, be bold and go big!”

Here’s another lovely pastel from Nel, Garden of the Rose.Painting by Nel Whatmore, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça have created The New Pastel School after years of friendship and mutual respect for each other’s work. This course offers the unusual experience of having these two experienced pastel artists sharing the tuition, and combining their expertise and great enthusiasm for this versatile and exciting medium. As tutors they can help people to see that there are always different ways to do things, even when working with the same pastels.

Paintings by Nel and Rebecca, tutors at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

The course will include some plein air painting, studio based work and also trips out. What Nel and Rebecca seek to offer is a new experience of using pastels outside and to introduce the joys of exploring how inspiring another country’s landscape and countryside can be. They say: “As ever the atmosphere will be relaxed with one to one help, demonstrations and lots of lovely food! We seek to inspire you all to try something different and join us.”

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

with Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça

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

Come and be bold  and free at The Watermill!

Paintings by Nel and Rebecca, tutors at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

‘Freedom’ a pasterl by Rebecca