Archives for April 2017

Optional shiatsu sessions on offer on our yoga retreat

ShiatsuDuring our inspiring and relaxing yoga and meditation retreat with Claire Murphy this September (please see link below) we will be offering special shiatsu sessions with local practitioner Daniela Orpelli as an ‘optional extra.’ You will derive great benefit from a session of this ancient Japanese ‘finger pressure’ healing art *.

Shiatsu philosphy

Daniela H&SDaniela, who is 48 is a near neighbour of ours. She was born in Switzerland, but has lived here in Lunigiana (“the land of my heart”) for more than 30 years. She is married with two children. Daniela says: “I encountered shiatsu twenty years ago. I suffered from severe headaches and muscle aches. I started a course of shiatsu and soon I began to feel much better both physically and emotionally, and I was so affected by the outcome that I decided to study the art of shiatsu myself.” She adds: “I love shiatsu because it creates a strong mental and physical relaxation, activates energy and allows you to tap into the innate self-healing power, not only to those who receive it but also for those who gives it. I graduated in 2010 in the school of ‘Shiatsu and Harmony’ in La Spezia and then helped people to feel better. I feel I am ‘a mediator of well-being’ through the pressure of my hands.”

*The Japanese Ministry of Health defines shiatsu as “a form of manipulation by thumbs, fingers and palms without the use of instruments, mechanical or otherwise, to apply pressure to the human skin to correct internal malfunctions, promote and maintain health, and treat specific diseases. The techniques used in shiatsu include stretching, holding, and most commonly, leaning body weight into various points along key channels.”

Shiatsu sessions with Daniela are the only ‘optional extra’ offered during our yoga retreat. EVERYTHING else is included in the cost of the week:

  • all tuition fees, yoga and meditation sessions and accommodation
  • local transportation (including transfers to and from Pisa airport; including our mid- week excursion by train to a Tuscan beauty spot or historic town).
  • all meals including breakfast, gourmet picnics on location, pre-dinner aperitifs, dinner at the mill or at small and friendly local restaurants with regional Italian dishes and wines.

All you have to do is to get to Pisa and we do the rest!

Yoga retreat at The Watermill in Tuscany, yoga and meditation retreats

The sessions at The Watermill will be friendly and welcoming and no prior experience of yoga or meditation is necessary: all levels from beginner to intermediate will be catered for and we’ll also tailor our sessions to your particular needs. We have nine people already booked in for our retreat, so we have room only for two or three more.

Claire Murphy head and shoulders 2

Yoga portrait shape 39 -16 September Nourish — mind, body and soul 

with Claire Murphy Two or three places left

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

Only two or three place left on Lea’s inspiring watercolour course

Painting by Lea Nixon, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Nobody does awnings, canopies and umbrellas better than Lea Nixon, who will be back with us for another sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring watercolour painting course next June. I love the yellow awning above. And here’s a red one:

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

Nine people are already booked in for Lea’s watercolour course at The Watermill, so we have room for only two or three more (There are links to details of Lea’ course below.) We’d love to welcome you here. And here’s an umbrella in The Watermill courtyard to whet you appetitite.

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

And a corner of the market in Fivizzano, where we go to paint during our watercolour week.

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

Here’s what one guest said about Lea’s course here last year: “The whole experience was amazing … I loved it.” And it’s not just a painting experience. As well as Lea’s skilled and sympathetic tuition, you’ll also enjoy the Italian lifestyle, especially the food. Another guest on Lea’s last course 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 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. 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 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 Two places left

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

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

A view by Lea from The Watermill studio

Two exciting knitting projects from Marie Wallin

Marie Moss Tile Cushion WIPOur celebrated knitting tutor, internationally renowned designer Marie Wallin, has created two special knitting projects for our guests on her knitting holidays at the Watermill this year.  There are links to the courses below, but hurry – we have only one place left, on Marie’s first week here this year, from Saturday 20 to Saturday 27 May.

Marie’s Watermill projects are an introduction to Mosaic knitting and an introduction to Fairlisle, where you’ll make a sassy Tam o’ Shanter. Marie will show you how to knit Fairisle in an easy and neat way whilst keeping your yarns untwisted.  She will also be showing you the two-handed method of creating Fairisle.

The pictures are ‘work in progress’ photos of a Mosaic Tile Cushion (above) and a Ness Fairisle Tam (below). Marie says: “The photo of the cushion shows it complete except for the final row of ‘tiles’ in a dark brown and green colour. The photo of the tam shows my design swatch and is a section of the whole tam.”Marie Ness Fairisle Tam

Incidentally, we still have two place available on Lisa Richardson’s fabulous knitting course, from Saturday 6 May to Saturday 13 May, so hurry too, to bag one of those.

Here are the links to all the 2017 knitting courses.:

Lisa knit6 May to 13 May 2017 Knitting and La Bella Vita

with Lisa Richardson Two places left

To learn more about Lisa and her course at the mill, please click here 

Marie knit20 May to 27 May 2017 Knitting and La Bella Vita with Marie Wallin One place left

 

 

Marie knitAND 8 July to 15 July 2017 Knitting and La Bella Vita

with Marie Wallin Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Marie and her courses at the mill, please click here 

Sarah knit16 September to 23 September 2017 Knitting and La Bella Vita

With Sarah Hatton Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Sarah and her course at the mill, please visit click here.

Come and join us and enjoy knitting and la bella vita italiana.

Knit 2015 Where to begin

Only a few places left on Sue’s sunny Summer painting course

Sue Ford, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Our talented, charming and versatile painting tutor Sue Ford will be back with us this Summer (please see links below) — and we are looking forward to her visit just as much as she is looking forward to visiting us. Sue says: This is one of my favourite venues, with beautiful location and accommodation.  My 2015 course was a great success, with a lovely group of people. Bill and Lois Breckon made us very welcome at the Watermill. The authentic local food was beautiful. We had fabulous days out painting on locations, as well as a visit to Lucca.”

Her students enjoyed their Watermill week with Sue, too: One said: “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 Joy and Sanjana at Convento

We already have eight people booked in on this course and it will definitely run, so we have room for only theee or four more.

During her painting holidays, Sue’s aim is to ensure that all her students benefit – regardless of their experience. She says: “The idea is to create a solid foundation of artistic techniques whilst developing their own style in a relaxed and comfortable learning environment.” 

During each day Sue guides every student gently through each of the painting stages; often with an initial demonstration to get everyone started and to build confidence. These painting demonstrations are followed by patient, professional tuition throughout the holiday. Sue says: All paintings created by each student will inspire them to move forward with confidence in their own artistic direction.”

Sue with studentsSue’s inspiring week-long painting course is in watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic and will run from Saturday 15 July to Saturday 22 July. More details below. 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.”

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

sue plus pic15-22 July Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic

with Sue Ford  Three or four places left

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

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Watermill tutor Tom Byrne loves plein air painting and sketching

Painting by Tom Byrne, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.The lovely oil painting in the foreground above is by Watermill painting tutor Tom Byrne, who loves to paint en plein air at every opportunity. It is of a Judas Tree in a garden in Florence, blossoming prolifically – another bright sign of Spring. Tom also loves sketching, both indoors and outdoors. Here’s a recent sketch of the statue in the piazza of San Marco in Florence:Tom sketch Piazza San Marco

And I like these heads sketched in a cafe in Florence:Tom sketching people in Le Murate cafe

Tom will be leading a painting course at The Watermill this June – and there’ll be plenty of sketching in and around the watermill, and in the glorious surrounding countryside.

Tom J Byrne is from Ireland, where he studied and worked as an artist for 20 years, but for the last 15 years he has been living between France and Italy. In his workshop Tom will demonstrate in both oils and watercolours. He says: “The simplicity of watercolours means they are a fantastic way quickly to grasp the principles involved in seeing and painting. Oils give us a very robust and powerful painting which is more easily appreciated by an audience.”

Here’s some praise from former students. One said: “Tom Byrne is a charming host as well as a superb artist. He set up an easy and congenial atmosphere with fantastic food and plenty of wine. Tom is also an inspiring teacher. He’s serious and fun at the same time.” Another said: “Tom Byrne made the experience a special one by creating a friendly, collegial atmosphere among the guests with relaxed, interesting conversations over delicious Italian dinners. There was comprehensive tuition tailored to suit all levels of experience. I was amazed how much I actually painted while thoroughly enjoying myself.”

3 to 10 June 2017 Tom J Byrne

Oils and watercolours

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

 

Come and join us at the Watermill and paint the glorious Tuscan countryside of Lunigiana en plein air with TomLunigiana Bardellino

Sound Healing Meditation with Claire at an atmospheric convent

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
At Claire Murphy’s yoga and meditation retreat at The Watermill last year, our guests told us that their visit to the Convento del Carmine, was one of the highlights. Claire says: “We were very fortunate to have this beautiful venue to ourselves, to experience its stillness and utter beauty.”

And, of course, we will be returning to the convent this year for another private visit during Claire’s seven-day retreat, called Nourish — mind, body, and soul. There’s a link below for you to find out more details of this unique, joyful yoga and meditation retreat. Nine people have already signed up, so we have room for only two or three more.

Yoga Claire ConventWhen you arrive at the convent during the retreat, says Claire: “I shall take you through a gentle series of movements in the cloisters which are based on Tibetan Healing Exercises.

“Then you will be treated to a sound meditation, as the acoustics are wonderful there. During your stay at the Watermill, you will experience a variety of meditations, whether its mindful walking of a morning, guided practice during our yoga sessions, as well as the optional silent sitting of an evening.”The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Claire says: “Sound is a healing modality as it is based on the vibration created that is not only heard through our ears, but felt at a very subtle level by the cells within our body. I shall once again bring along my Tingshas (pictured above). These are used in many rituals within Tibetan Buddhism, as well as having a more recognised place in yoga and meditation classes. They are made of a sacred 12 metal alloy and are generally used to cleanse space before and after sessions.”

Claire will also be bringing a Tibetan singing bowl, made from consecrated 7 metal alloys that are created skilfully to produce at least five individual yet simultaneous tones. The bowls sounds are said to synchronise brain waves and encourage a therapeutic effect on the body. The seven alloys used and the principles attached to them are: Silver – Moon, time, joy, instinct; Gold – Sun, heart, spirit; Mercury – Mercury, intellect and speech; Tin – Jupiter, insight and wisdom; Lead – Saturn, conscience and discipline; Copper – Venus, love and art; Iron – Mars, action and sexuality. 

Claire says: “All you will need to do is sit (we are fortunate that the cloisters has a very low wall all round, just perfect for sitting on) and allow the sound to come to you. Even more fortunate, we shall be spending longer at the convent this year, and will enjoy a picnic lunch together, giving us longer to soak up the magical atmosphere that it offers.”

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

Yoga retreat at The Watermill in Tuscany, yoga and meditation retreats

The sessions at The Watermill will be friendly and welcoming and no prior experience of yoga or meditation is necessary: all levels from beginner to intermediate will be catered for and we’ll also tailor our sessions to your particular needs.

Claire Murphy head and shoulders 2

Yoga portrait shape 39 -16 September Nourish — mind, body and soul 

with Claire Murphy Two or three places left

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

Come and join us and nourish your mind, body and soul.The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

 

 

Still a few places left on our sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring creative courses

A colourful corner of the walled garden

A colourful Summer corner of the walled garden

Happy Easter to everone. We are celebrating at the Watermill with family and friends and we hop you are having a lovely time, too. If you have a moment, now is the time to grab a place on one of our famous creative courses. We already have a record 220+ bookings for this season and some of our courses are fully booked (there’s a waiting list in case of unforeseen cancellations), but we still have some lovely rooms on other courses. We’d be delighted to welcome you here

Here’s the latest ‘availability snapshot’. First, painting courses.


Doranne plus picDoranne Alden Two places left
13 May to 20 May 2017 
Watercolours
To learn more about Doranne, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please click here.

 


Sandra plus picSandra Strohschein Fully booked, waiting list open
27 May to 3 June 2017 
Watercolours
To learn more about Sandra, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please click here.

 


Tom and picture

Tom J Byrne Four or five places left
3 June to 10 June 2017  
Oils and Watercolours
To learn more about Tom, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please click here.

 


Keiko plus picKeiko Tanabe Fully booked, waiting list open
10 June to 17 June 2017
Watercolours
To learn more about Keiko, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please click here.

 


mmaggie plus picMaggie Renner Hellmann One or two places left
17 June to 24 June 2017
‘Courageous Color Workshop’
To learn more about Maggie, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please click here.

 


lea plus picLea Nixon Two or three places left
24 June to 1 July 2017
Watercolours
To learn more about Lea, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please click here.

 


terry plus picTerry Jarvis Fully booked, waiting list open
1 July to 8 July 2017
Watercolours
To learn more about Terry, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please click here.

 


sue plus picSue Ford Two or three places left
15 July to 22 July 2017
Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic
To learn more about Sue, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please click here.

 


mark plus picMark Warner Two or three places left
22 July to 29 July 2017
Acrylics/Watercolours incorporating conte/pastel
To learn more about Mark, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please click here.

 


varvara plus pixVarvara Neiman Fully booked, waiting list open
26 August to 2 September 2017
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolour
To learn more about Varvara, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please click here.

 


mike plus picMike Willdridge Fully booked, waiting list open
2 September to 9 September 2017
Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics with an emphasis on sketching and drawing on location)
To learn more about Mike, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please click here.

 


Nel plus picNel Whatmore & Rebecca de Mendonça
Fully booked, waiting list open
23 September to 30 September 2017
Pastels
To learn more about Nel & Rebecca, their course and to see more of their pictures, please click here.

 


charles plus picCharles Sluga Fully booked, waiting list open
30 September to 7 October 2017
Watercolours (and acrylics and oils)
To learn more about Charles, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please click here.

 


Tim plus picTim Wilmot Three or four places left
7 October to 14 October 2017
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please click here.

 


And here’s the ‘availability snapshot’ for our knitting weeks

Lisa knit6 May to 13 May 2017 Knitting and La Bella Vita

with Lisa Richardson One or two places left

To learn more about Lisa and her course at the mill, please click here


Marie knit

20 May to 27 May 2017 Knitting and La Bella Vita with Marie Wallin One place left

Marie knitAND 8 July to 15 July 2017 Knitting and La Bella Vita

with Marie Wallin Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Marie and her courses at the mill, please click here


Sarah knit

16 September to 23 September 2017 Knitting and La Bella Vita

with Sarah Hatton Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Sarah and her course at the mill, please visit click here.


And for our Italian language week:

francesca plus picSaturday 29 April to Saturday 6 May 2017 Italian Language course

with Langues Services Two or three places left 

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


And for our yoga and meditation retreat:

Claire plus pic9 -16 September Nourish — mind, body and soul 

with Claire Murphy Two or three places left

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


Make an Easter resolution and grab yourself a place!

A picture of the millstream taken by Lois last week.

Speedy Mark tackles the elements!

Painting by Mark Warner, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.I love the speedy time-lapse videos that our Watermill painting tutor Mark Warner sends us from time to time and I can’t resist sharing them with you. Here’s another one, a seascape. That’s just a screen shot above: you can see the whole video by clicking here.

And here’s another painting by Mark, of Stiperstones Ridge in Shropshire, England in acrylic and conte.  Mark says: “It was cloudy to start, then there was glorious sunshine. I have been up there when the weather has not been that kind too!”

Mark Stiperstones 7th April 2017 (002)

We’ll promise you sunny days when Mark come to Tuscany this Summer. Nine places  are already already taken for this course, so we have room for three more painters (and their partners). Details below.

lunigiana sunset

Mark at easelMark Warner is an artist and tutor who lives in Shropshire in England. He is not only a respected artist but also a highly professional tutor with many years of teaching experience. Mark is passionate about working outside, tutoring numerous day and residential plein air holidays. His sessions are very popular — and he leads by example, creating a relaxed and encouraging environment.  He says I adore using colour while interpreting the light, weather and a love for the materials. I work directly in the field (literally on many occasions!) from sketches created outside as well as notes/photographs taken on location.”

Sketching is at the heart of Mark’s work: “This is important in the development of a piece and on many occasions, forming an integral part of the painting itself.” Mark works on coloured grounds, incorporating aspects of mark-making and directional brushstrokes within the work. He says: “I continue to draw inspiration from the landscape, although subject matter can be broad and at times very different.” Here’s Mark’s ‘Harbour Boat Sketch.’Harbour Boat Sketch (4)

Mark at easelPainting 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. Three or so places left

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

Come and make marks with Mark — and savour the magic of Tuscany and The Watermill.Tom riverside photo Jun 13

 

 

 

 

 

acrylic and conte

Make you own Tuscan Summer painting memories with Lea

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

A view of the village of Verrucola, where we go to paint on Mondays during Lea’s week

Here's an atmospheric Italian street scene

Here’s an atmospheric Italian street scene

Here are some fond memories of Lea Nixon’s watercolour painting weeks with us last year. He’s back with another sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring course next June – and we still have a few places left. (More details below.) We’d love to welcome you here. Here’s what one guest said about Lea’s course here last year: “The whole experience was amazing … I loved it.”

And it’s not just a painting experience. As well as Lea’s skilled and sympathetic tuition, you’ll also enjoy the Italian lifestyle, especially the food. Another guest on Lea’s last course 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 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. 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.”

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

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 Two places left

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

Maggie’s colourful collection

Maggie paintings Apr 17I love seeing a number of examples of an artist’s work all together on one wall. And that’s just what Watermill painting tutor Maggie Renner Hellman has provided for us in a recent Facebook post. Above are some paintings she delivered to the Many Hands Gallery in Capitola, California. Colourful aren’t they?

Small wonder Maggie has called her week-long course at the Watermill a ‘Courageous Colo(u)r Workshop’. You’ll be able to capture all the glorious colours of Tuscany in her workshop here in June. And the choice of medium you use is up to you! Maggie is a proficient and an inspiring teacher in oils, acrylics, pastels and/or watercolour and ink travel sketches. There are links to more details of her course below. But yoiu’ll have to hurry, we only have one or two places left. Here’s another colourful Maggie creationBlog Maggie WestsideZen-Reverenceadjfb1200

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. One or two places left

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

This painting by Maggie is called Summer reflections

This painting by Maggie is called Summer reflections