Archives for December 2016

A happy New Year – and many thanks to our 160 creative courses bookers

Mill courtyardWith best wishes from The Watermill for a happy, healthy, inspiring and creative New Year – and with many thanks to the 160 people who have already booked for one of our fun-filled, sun-filled creative courses for next year. That’s a record-breaking number, so out heartfelt thanks for such great support for our endeavours.

Some of our courses are already booked, but we still have overall another 60 or so places on our painting, knitting, Italian language, yoga and cookers courses and we’d be delighted to welcome you here.

You can find out all about everything by clicking here.

Tante auguri per un buon anno from all of us at The Watermill.Tom riverside photo Jun 13

Turn the video into reality: join Lea at the Watermill

Lea video Dec 16 screen shotWatermill watercolour tutor Lea Nixon has made a charming short video about painting with him at the Watermill next year. You can see it by clicking here.

Lea will be with us from Saturday 24 June to Saturday 1 July 2017. So why not join him for his sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring course. Judging by the comments from guests on his course last year, you’ll have a marvellous time. One said: “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 new-found knowledge gleaned from watching and learning Lea’s painting style.”

Another said: “I have been on at least 50 weeks of workshops in the last 12 years and I have to say that the last one with you was the best ever in terms of the organisation and the lovely food and wine we had. The local restaurants were very memorable – the sort of places you wouldn’t go to on your own, full of character and a quality experience.”

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. Better hurry!

To further 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.

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.

 

A slide show of Terry’s Watermill watercolours

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

Terry’s lovely watercolour of market day in nearby Fivizzano, where we go on location during our painting week

We’ve just posted an inspiring slide show of Terry Jarvis‘s watercolours of the Watermill and the surrounding area. Why not brighten your winter days by enjoying some artistic glimpses of Tuscan Summer sunshine? You can see the slide show by clicking here.

And why not join Terry for his sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring course next year ? Terry will be offering tuition not just in watercolours, but in oils, pastels and acrylics as well. His painting holiday here runs from Saturday 1 July to Saturday 8 July 2017. 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 creative courses.

Here’s what one guest on this year’s course (who immediately booked to return next year) had to say: “We had a fantastic week and time flew over so quickly. Terry was a great tutor had we had lots of fun with him. Looking forward to next year already.”

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

Terry demonstrating in the Watermill walled garden

Terry Jarvis is one of Australia’s leading watercolour artists. The son of a goldminer, he was inspired at an early age to draw and paint the landscape, as well as people and animals. He loves drawing and helping his students to develop their drawing skills.

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.

Terry rose demo POV

 

 

Have you heard the Early Bird news?

Blog Early Bird parrots Dec 16Yes, you only have six days left to take advantage the Watermill’s Early Bird offer, which expires at the end of the year.

If you book before 31 December 2016 there’s a £75 per person discount on each of our fabulous 2017 painting, knitting, yoga, cooking and Italian language holidays. Our courses are filling really quickly (some 145 places already taken), so now is the time to book – and receive the Early Bird bonus.

We’d love to welcome you on one of our sun-filled, fun-filled courses next year. Come and join us. You can find out more about everything by clicking here.

First, here’s the full list of our inspiring 2016 painting tutors, with links to more details about them – and more of their inspiring pictures. And after that, more details of our knitting, yoga, cooking and language courses. We hope to see you soon…

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 The Watermill, please click here.

8 to 15 July 2017 Tom J Byrne

Oils and watercolours

To learn more about Tom and 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 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 The Watermill, please click here.

Neiman H&SNeiman Daumazon promenade26 August-2 September Watercolours

with Varvara Neiman

To learn more about Varvara and 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 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 andThe Watermill, please click  here.

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

with Charles Sluga

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

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhttp://watermill.net/painting-holidays/painting-holidays-tutor-tim-wilmot17.php7-14 October 2017 Watercolours

with Tim Wilmot

To learn more about Tim and h The Watermill, please click here.

 

Here are the 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 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 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  The Watermill.

The yoga retreat:

Claire Murphy H&SYoga portrait shape 39-16 September Nourish — mind, body and soul

with Claire Murphy

To learn more about Claire and  The Watermill, please click here

Our cookery course:

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, cookery holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italypanzanella19-26 August – L’arte di mangiar bene 

with Lois Breckon, Ingrid Fabbian and The Watermill team

To learn more about this delicious cookery course, please click here

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

Language FrancescaSaturday 29 April to Saturday 6 May 2017

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

Health, happiness and inspiration

Ghirlandaio nativityHappy Christmas to everyone from all of us at The Watermill. May your holiday be peaceful and festive and your New Year healthy, happy and inspiring.

*This is Domenico Ghirlandaio’s Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds in the Sassetti chapel in the church of Santa Trintità in Florence, painted in 1485

 

10-9-8-7-6… Countdown to the end of our Early Bird offer

Blog 10 NeonLightsCountdownYes, you only have 10 days left to take advantage the Watermill’s Early Bird offer, which expires at the end of the year.

If you book before 31 December 2016 there’s a £75 per person discount on each of our fabulous 2017 painting, knitting, yoga, cooking and Italian language holidays. Our courses are filling really quickly (some 145 places already taken), so now is the time to book – and receive the Early Bird bonus.

We’d love to welcome you on one of our sun-filled, fun-filled courses next year. Come and join us. You can find out more about everything by clicking here.

First, here’s the full list of our inspiring 2016 painting tutors, with links to more details about them – and more of their inspiring pictures. And after that, more details of our knitting, yoga, cooking and language courses. We hope to see you soon…

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.

8 to 15 July 2017 Tom J Byrne

Oils and watercolours

To learn more about Tom and his 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.

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,  oils)

with Charles Sluga

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

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhttp://watermill.net/painting-holidays/painting-holidays-tutor-tim-wilmot17.php7-14 October 2017 Watercolours

with Tim Wilmot

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

 

 Here are the 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.

The yoga retreat:

Claire Murphy H&SYoga portrait shape 39-16 September Nourish — mind, body and soul

with Claire Murphy

To learn more about Claire and  The Watermill, please click here

Our cookery course:

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, cookery holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italypanzanella19-26 August – L’arte di mangiar bene 

with Lois Breckon, Ingrid Fabbian and The Watermill team

To learn more about this delicious cookery course, please click here

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

Language FrancescaSaturday 29 April to Saturday 6 May 2017

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

We are blushing and proud. Thank you for your praise Peter

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

Lea Nixon’s painting of a corner of the Watermill courtyard

We have just had a lovely seasonal greeting message from Peter Robson, who was our guest on Lea Nixon’s painting course earlier this year. It made us blush, but proud that our efforts to serve our guests are appreciated. Thank you very much, Peter.

Peter writes: I have been on at least 50 weeks of workshops in the last 12 years and I have to say that the last one with you was the best ever in terms of the organisation and the lovely food and wine we had. You are streets ahead of anywhere I have been”.

As well providing delicious home-cooked meals at the mill, we take you out to local cafés and restaurants and Peter says: The local restaurants were very memorable – the sort of places you wouldn’t go to on your own, full of character and a quality experience.”Sandra dinner Elvetico

Peter makes the point that our guests don’t just come to paint: A lot of people go for the company and the whole experience. And he applauds the fact that everything is included in a Watermill creative course, from the moment you arrive at Pisa airport to the moment we take you back there again a week later: “Once you have paid your course fees, you don’t need to part with another cent. I bought lunch in Cinque Terre and that is all I spent. Even that was my choice as you offered us a packed lunch if we wanted.”

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

Come and join us next year to find out what all the fuss is about. You can find out more about all our creative courses by clicking here — and don’t forget our Early Bird offer: there’s a £GBP 75 discount if you book on any 2017 course before the end of this year.

 

An inspiring Italian cookbook

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, cookery holidays/vacations, Tuscany, ItalyThe name of the Watermill’s first-ever cooking course, L’arte di mangiar bene, the art of eating well, was inspired by the famous Italian cookbook La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene, written by a rich retired 19th Century businessman and landowner Pellegrino Artusi. It was composed in his house in the Piazza Massimo d’Azeglio, very close to the apartment in Florence where the Breckon family live when they are not at the mill.

Artusi was 71 when he finished the cookbook in 1891. He failed to find a publisher, so he published it himself. After a slowish start the cookbook really caught the public’s imagination and sales soared. It is now a perennial Italian bestseller and has been translated into a number of languages. The recipes are classic and timeless and we’ll be sharing some with you on later blogs and in our cookery course at the Watermill next Summer (details below).

Artusi bustLike many of his class in those times, Artusi welcomed progress and embraced science — and his book can be  regarded as truly scientific ( the first part of the title), since the recipes were the result of observation and experiment. He lived alone in his house in the Piazza d’Azeglio, with a butler from his home town of Forlimpopoli and a Tuscan cook, who undoubtedly made the dishes while his master watched and tasted. (I’m sure the butler did, too.)

The book also had profound cultural significance: it was written in Italian rather than any local dialect and was the first to bring together recipes from all the various regions, so it helped to make the citizens of the Kingdom of Italy (created in 1861) feel part of a united nation. And it was not written for professional chefs, as was customary at the time, but for middle-class housewives and those servants who helped them cook family meals.

But above all the tone is friendly and reassuring, full of straightforward practical advice – and humorous comments.  I particularly like his note on apple strudel: “Do not be alarmed if this dessert looks like some ugly creature such as a giant leech or a shapeless snake after you cook it, you will like the way it tastes.”

We’ll have more from Pelegrino Artusi in coming blogs and we’ll also be celebrating his inspiration in our L’Arte di mangiar bene cookery course at The Watermill, where you’ll not only learn the secrets of healthy Italian eating but also savour la bella vita italiana.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, cookery holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italypanzanella19-26 August – L’arte di mangiar bene 

with Lois Breckon, Ingrid Fabbian and The Watermill team

To learn more about this delicious cookery course, please click here

 

 

 

Forbidden Fruit tastes wooden, but the damigiana sparkles

Blog wooden fruitThe builders continue apace restoring the 17th watermill: the carpenters have raised high the roof beams and the rafters are now in position; soon we will be replacing the ancient roof tiles and then working on our new Ghirlandaio and Uccello bedrooms.

While the men work away outside, Lois (in particular) and Bill (a little) are working on turning some old mill artefacts and other items into decorative works of art to enhance our communal areas and guests’ bedrooms.

Above you can see Bill’s creation Forbidden Fruit, which he is thinking of submitting for next year’s Turner Prize! It’s a collection of wooden fruit in a Victorian-style glass dome.

And it behind it you can see tiny electric bulbs sparkling in one of the mill’s many demijohns, used for storing wine in the old days. Nowadays winemakers, even those who produce it at home, tend to use stainless steel vats, so damigiane are becoming obsolete. Many people are throwing them out – and our gardener Flavio Terenzoni has been gathering them up. We have quite a collection in the Watermill courtyard and elsewhere. So, Lois has been experimenting with ways to make them sparkle and to use them as part of our interior décor.Humphries demijohns

They’ll be as fun (and as difficult?) to paint as our outdoor ‘installation’ of demigiane above, but you can contemplate them calmly on a yoga, cooking or knitting course. Come and see for yourself on one of our sun-filled, fun-filled creative courses next year.

Here’s a rather fine painting of them by one of our students Grace McKee, who is returning next year with her husband Phillip for her third visit to The Watermill:Grace demijohns

And don’t forget our Early Bird bonus: if you book on any of our 2017 creative weeks before the end of this year, there’s a £GBP 75 discount. Please come and enjoy the sparkling damigiana, but don’t eat the forbidden fruit.  You can find out more about everything by clicking here.

The mill courtyard and demijohns by student Doug Mackenzie

The mill courtyard and demijohns by student Doug Mackenzie

 

Announcing a unique cookery course from The Watermill team

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, cookery holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.We are proud to announce, by popular demand, an exciting, enticing and appetising cookery course. And, of course, being at The Watermill at Posara, it will be a cookery week with a difference! It’s called L’arte di mangiar bene and it will run from Saturday 19 August to Saturday 26 August 2017. 

And don’t forget our Early Bird bonus: if you book on this appetising new cookery course before the end of this year, there’s a £GBP 75 discount.

L’arte di mangiar bene, the art of eating well, lies at the heart of the Italian lifestyle — and that’s just what you’ll enjoy on The Watermill’s first-ever cookery week this Summer. We can’t promise you a big name Italian chef, nor the use of expensive chi-chi ITINERARY page Mirella in kitchen croppedingredients. Rather you’ll learn the secrets of healthy eating from Lois and The Watermill team, among them an Italian grandmother, an organic farmer and our gardener’s wife! You’ll choose freshest local ingredients (we’ll pick many of them ourselves each day) and prepare them deliciously for the table.

We’ll visit markets, vegetable gardens, olive groves and vineyards. The Italians are the healthiest people in Europe and this is due not just the quality of the food, but to la bella vita italiana, the relaxed lifestyle which means taking Panzanella 1time to talk to friends and to enjoy their company, not least in convivial meals around the dining table. You’ll be savouring all that, too.

Over the years Lois and The Watermill team have built a reputation for theThe Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, cookery holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy. quality of their food and we’re keen to share our secrets with you, from antipasti to dolci – and dozens of mouth-watering, freshly prepared, health-promoting dishes in between.

Artusi_1a_edL’arte di mangiar bene is the name of a classic Italian cookbook published more than 100 years ago and we’ll provide you with handouts for all the dishes we’ll be preparing together. These, along with your own notes from our demonstrations and discussions, will allow you to begin your very own handbook on The Art of Eating Well.

You can learn more about this sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring course by clicking here. And don’t forget that Early Bird bonus!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, cookery holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.