Archives for November 2017

Lucca or the Cinque Terre? That is the question! Don’t ask Terry!

On Wednesdays during our painting weeks we offer you the choice of an excursion to Lucca or the Cinque Terre. It’s a difficult dilemma.

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

The amphitheatre in Lucca, painted by Terry Jarvis

Lucca is our favourite Italian city, imposing dark red brick city walls, wide enough to walk (or cycle: hire a bike) all the way round. The centre is wonderful with superb architecture, notably the San Michele church, the Cathedral, the houses of the Piazza del Anfiteatro echoing the shape of the old Roman amphitheatre, the classical splendour of the Piazza Napoleone. And there are shops where you’ll find great shoes and leather goods, particularly in the elegant pedestrian street, the Via Filungo.

The washing's out! A Cinque Terre view by Terry Jarvis

The washing’s out! A Cinque Terre view by Terry Jarvis

The Cinque Terre, the Five Lands, are five Ligurian fishing villages nestling in vertiginous valleys terraced with vines, orange and lemon trees. Amazing views, colourfully painted houses, tiny harbours, fishing boats, wonderful cliff-top walks. The villages are called Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Manarola, Vernazza and Monterosso, a roll-call of delight. Each has a slightly different character and everyone has a favourite: ours is Vernazza and what we like to do is to walk there for lunch from the furthest village, Monterosso.

For our money, however, the Cinque Terre are becoming a little too crowded and we prefer Lucca. But if you’ve never seen those five villages, a World Heritage Site, they shouldn’t be missed.  I’ll tell you the secret: come on two creative weeks at the Watermill or come back the next year. Then you’ll be able to do both and decide which is better!

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

An archway in Lucca: Terry Jarvis

To help in your decision-making, I’ve scattered a few paintings by our inspiring Australian watercolour painting tutor Terry Jarvis. He’s been to both venues several times and still can’t make up his mind!

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

Monterosso from the sea: Terry Jarvis

Terry will be with us again next year and will no doubt discuss the CT or not CT dilemma. Come and join him!

Terry rose demo POVTerry 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. Terry also works in oils, pastels and acrylics and is happy to teach in those mediums too. He loves drawing and helping his students to develop their drawing skills.

Here’s what one guest on Terry’s Watermill course this year had to say: “I wanted to thank you for a most wonderful stay at The Watermill.  Your treatment of us was terrific.  Six stars doesn’t come close!  I enjoyed every minute. Terry’s course was great.  He is an excellent teacher – very encouraging and knows how to bring out the best in his students.  He has a great personality.”

Another said: “Terry Jarvis was superb with people, very positive and very relaxed. I’ve been on painting holidays before and learned nothing but Terry was great. When you got stuck he’d come along with a smile – and a brush – and bring your picture to life. He wasn’t afraid to criticise your work, but he had a really positive attitude, which helped you to improve.”

terry plus pic7-14 July 2018 

Terry Jarvis

Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics)

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

Come and join us and enjoy a six-star, sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring week!

Terry rose demo 1

Mike Willdridge’s thoughts on using a sketchbook: 2. Solving visual problems and experimenting

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Our enthusiastic and inspiring watercolour painting tutor Mike Willdridge always carries a sketchbook with him wherever he goes and considers it a vital part of his artistic life. He’s written an intriguing series of essays, of which this is the second, to persuade you do do the same.

In the first essay Mike highlighted the value of a sketchbook as a “visual diary” and as a way of gathering information. It is posted on our Friends of the Watermill website and you can enjoy it by clicking here.

In this essay he looks at the use of the sketchbook to experiment and to attempt to solve visual problems. Mike says: “Because you don’t need to be precious in a sketchbook, you can take risks and try out ideas that you might otherwise feel self-conscious about if they were finished pictures.”

Solving visual problems

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

Mike says: “This is a montage of different pages from a very early sketchbook. I was working on an idea for a set design for a slightly risqué musical that involved plenty of ‘can can’ type dancing.  I played around with several visual sources including photos of Marilyn Monroe and Toulouse Lautrec type images. Here I’ve used photos, watercolour paint, photocopies cut up etc. The set never got made – which is probably just as well!

Experimenting

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

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Mike says: “Earlier this year, on a holiday in the Marche region of Italy, I was thrilled by the sunsets. After a couple of sketches (above), I began ‘experimenting’ in my sketchbook, making more abstract images especially responding to the intense colours and darker shapes of the evening landscape.”

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

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

The painting below, says Mike, “is one of a number of finished works made after using my sketchbooks to experiment with ideas.” The oil painting is called Red, Green and Yellow.

This painting is one of a number of finished works made after using my sketchbooks to experiment with ideas.

Mike says: “There’s a lot of very varied work you can do in sketchbooks. Not only can you carry a sketchbook anywhere, but also you’ll never have the pressure to frame your sketchbooks or worry about where you’re going to find space to store finished work.

Next time Mike looks at how sketchbooks can be very personal art forms “and how they allow me to express my sometimes obsessive nature.”

Mike new head and shoulders FINALMike Willdridge will be back at The Watermill next year, from Saturday 8 September to Saturday 15 September 2018, and we’d love you to join us for his fun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring week. Mike will teach primarily in watercolours, but he is skilled in, and happy to teach in, gouache and acrylics too. Mike is particularly keen on all forms of drawing as a way of recording and responding to everyday events. As you see, he constantly uses a sketchbook and will encourage you to do the same, gathering speedy impressions and building up a visual record of your time at the Watermill and among the mountains, castles, walled towns and hilltop villages of this unspoiled region of Tuscany.

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

Sketch of market day in the town of Fivizzano, near the Watermill

Mike is an enthusiastic teacher , often encouraging his students to be bold and to take chances. His classes are always light-hearted and fun, with the ‘teaching’ tailored to individual needs. A comment from a guest on one of Mike’s previous courses at The Watermill: A wonderful holiday. You were such generous and friendly hosts and Mike was an excellent painting tutor.”  Another said: “The food was exceptional and the mill itself is great, in such a beautiful setting. A truly wonderful week in every respect.”

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitivi, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

mike plus pic8-15 September 2018 

Mike Willdridge

Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

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

Early Bird discount: book now!

If you book before 31 December 2017 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on this fabulous 2018 painting holiday.  To enquire about availability and/or to reserve your place, please use our Painting Holiday Enquiry Form by clicking here.

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

Mike’s picture of the millstream rushing beneath gardener Flavio’s famous bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out on location with Tim Wilmot

 

Painting by Tim Wilmot, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Our charming and talented English watercolour tutor Tim Wilmot has just sent me some pictures of demonstration paintings he made during his first-ever course with us this year. We’ve put them up on his Tutor Page on the Watermill website, but I thought it would be good to share them with you here, too.

On the first Sunday, Tim had all the Watermill gardens, the riverside, the millstream, the river and more to choose from for his first location. What did he choose?: The road through the village! Quirky or what? That’s his demonstration picture above:

Tim says: “Our first day out and ease into our painting with a simple scene of the main road in Posara, just up from the Watermill.  Now, don’t worry, it’s a quiet road and we’re painting normally on a Sunday, so we only have to keep out of the way of the local church goers.  So, a simple scene looking down the street and an exercise in perspective and composition, plus deciding whether to go portrait or landscape orientation.”

The next day we go to the nearby village of Verrucola, with its imposing castle. No traffic in the street where Tim set up this day.

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

Tim says: This is a quiet little village with narrow streets and dominated by the castle.  Here I focus on the steps – repetition can work well in the composition and also placement of shadows.  And we also try to get figures into our painting to add more interest and a sense of scale.”

On Tuesday we go to the walled Medieval town of Fivizzano:

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

Tim says: “Fivizzano Market Day is Tuesday – the morning offers an open-air market spread around the Medici fountain in the centre of town.  This was a plein air demonstration, looking up towards the square and the church bell tower. I tend to not overdo the figures’ legs if they’re in deep shade.  Just a hint of them.”

Wednesday is excursion day. Tim says: “Our day out visiting the beautiful coastal area of Cinque Terre with five very pretty seaside villages.  Now you don’t have to paint on this day – relax and do some sightseeing if you want to.  I’ll be painting as usual and will try and find a relaxing place to position myself with a lovely scene in front of us.  So, this is Vernazza, looking across the bay to the lovely buildings on the other side, some nice shadows crossing the scene, and some bed linen hanging out to dry.”

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

We liked the Vernazza painting so much that it is now hanging in the Watermill.

We’ve other stunning locations for you later in the week, in a secluded convent and a hilltop village, but you’ll have to come to discover them for yourselves. And you’ll also, no doubt, be painting by the river:

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

Tim Wilmot’s impression of the riverside by The Watermill

We had a wonderful week with Tim and we are looking forward to welcoming him, and his wife Sheila, back for another inspiring week next year. As well as an exciting artist, Tim is also an inspiring teacher and on his course, suitable for all levels, he’ll help you to improve your drawing skills, loosen up your style, learn how to incorporate figures in a landscape as well as nurturing you own artistic ambitions. As one student of Tim’s says: “I can’t help being inspired by the careful and wonderfully measured strokes of a genius.”

And here’s what guests had to say about their week here with Tim: “It was a terrific week. Thank you both and all the staff for a wonderful and very spoiling holiday at The Watermill.”  “Thank you for such a lovely week. We really did enjoy ourselves and learnt so much.” 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhttp://watermill.net/painting-holidays/painting-holidays-tutor-tim-wilmot17.php13-20 October 2018 Watercolours

with Tim Wilmot

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

And don’t forget our Early Bird discount:

If you book before 31 December 2017 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on this fabulous 2018 painting holiday.  To enquire about availability and/or to reserve your place, please use our Painting Holiday Enquiry Form by clicking here.

Here’s another atmospheric demonstration painting by Tim to whet your appetite. (Clue: It’s the Friday location!)

WP_20171015_053

Another outstanding video from watercolour tutor Sarah Yeoman

Painting by Sarah Yeoman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.Our award-winning, sympathetic and inspirational watercolour tutor Sarah Yeoman AWS creates wonderfully soft and emotionally charged landscapes (among other stunning subjects.) Like the one above of the River Rosaro as it flows past the Watermill. This is Sarah working on it during one of her courses here:

Sarah river painting

You can see for yourself how Sarah creates such wonderful effects in an intriguing time-elapsed videos that speeds the process of creating a painting from a blank piece of paper to a finished masterpiece. The subject is painting wet into wet landscapes and here’s a ‘still’ from the video:

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

And you can see it all by clicking here. It takes less than five minutes. The end result:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzDjm3oUFKo

Even better than looking at a video, why not watch Sarah in person on one of her inspirational painting weeks at the Watermil? She’s here for not one, but two, sun-filled, fun-filled weeks next June. We’d love you to join us for either or both and learn some of the secrets of producing compelling, atmospheric watercolours. More detail and links below. Here are some of Sarah’s students on a previous course beside the river, watching and learning, before embarking on their own quests to capture our beautiful scenery on paper.

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

Sarah and her students painting by the riverside

As well as being an award-winning artist, Sarah is also a very talented teacher, who brings out the best in her students, recognising their unique talents. One commented: “Many artists are successful in producing paintings, but not all are true teachers. Sarah has the ability to demonstrate confidently, withholding none of her ‘secrets’, to encourage students and gently give suggestions for improvement.”

Another said of one of Sarah’s previous painting courses at The Watermill: Our week’s tuition with Sarah was awe-inspiring. Her attitude to taking on a subject and her encouragement and enthusiasm made everyone improve their painting during the week.” Another guest added: “I had a fabulous time and enjoyed everything – the scenery, meeting new people, the lovely ambiance of the Watermill and of course, the painting and Sarah.”

Painting Sarah Yeoman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany by Italy.We have many fond memories of our previous painting weeks with Sarah, so we are doubly delighted that she is coming for two weeks next year, from Saturday 9 June to Saturday 16 June 2018 and from Saturday 16 June to Saturday 23 June 2018. We’d be delighted to welcome you here, too, for one – or both – of Sarah’s sun-filled, in-filled, inspiring weeks. And don’t forget the Early Bird discount (see below.) 

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

‘Lemon tree, very pretty’ another Sarah Yeoman watercolour in a different style

Sarah Yeoman AWS is an award-wining American watercolour artist whose mastery of reflections, unique surface layers, and unusual perspective sets her apart from the crowd. She is known for her command of light and the strong narrative of her pictures.  (*AWS = a signature member of the American Watercolor Society, which is considered one of the top watercolor societies in the world.)

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

Early Bird discount: If you book before 31 December 2017 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount (about $100) on each of these fabulous 2018 painting holidays.  To enquire about availability or reserve your place, please use our  painting enquiry form by clicking here.

Sarah Y plus picSarah Yeoman

Watercolours

9-16 June 2018 AND 16-23 June 2018

Please click here to learn more about Sarah’s painting holidays at The Watermill. 

Come and share the magic!

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

Sarah’s watercolour study of a view from the Watermill studio

Look at my lovely paintings! More memories of Maggie’s courageously colo(u)rful course

Painting course with Maggie Renner Hellmann, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy..Looking today through some of the pictures Maggie Renner Hellmann sent me of her ‘Courageous Colo(u)r’ painting course here this Summer, I was reminded of what fun we all had. I particularly liked the pictures of course participants at the impromptu little exhibition we had in the Watermill courtyard on our last day. Above you can see us gathering as the shadows lengthen on the Friday evening, drinking prosecco and helping ourselves to nibbles.

And here are some of our students, proudly displaying some of their week’s work:

Bobbie          Painting by Maggie Renner Hellmann, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Painting by Maggie Renner Hellmann, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.       Sharon2

And here’s Maggie, celebrating their achievements:

Maggie

Here’s Maggie again, demonstrating on the Watermill vine verandah:

Painting with Maggie Renner Hellmann, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Here are some comments from our painting guest on Maggie’s course. One said: Maggie is good at teaching in all mediums and with all levels.   She did wonderful demos in watercolour, acrylic, pastel and oil.  Every day we did critiques together and learned from each other. I highly recommend this art workshop as well as the most wonderful accommodation with great food and wine. A little piece of heaven in experiencing Italy.”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Out on location in the glorious Tuscan countryside

Another commented: “Our experiences at the Watermill were definitely the highlights of our tours! Maggie’s gentle and helpful manner coupled with technical skill and aesthetic sense opened the gates of motivation for students, making them comfortable in their new surroundings and primed for an exciting creative experience in those beautiful hills of Tuscany. I also appreciated Maggie’s husband, Lou’s ready assists for our physical comforts. What a dream adventure, the two of you, along with Bill and Lois, prepared for all of us!”!

Maggie Monte 2

Maggie Renner Hellmann is a contemporary California artist who paints with love, passion and energy. Her work is characterized by a unique blend of loose, energetic brushwork and strong compositions of exuberant colour. She says: “I love the joy of color and the poetry of brushwork.”

Maggie is also an enthusiastic tutor who has been teaching for more than 15 years – and loves it! Her workshop will cover oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolour. She will encourage the beginner and challenge the more advanced painter.

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

Early Bird discount

*** If you book before 31 December 2017 there’s a £GBP 75 per person (about $100) discount on this fabulous 2018 painting holiday.  To enquire about availability and/or to reserve your place, please click here.

maggie plus pic

9-16 May 2018 

Maggie Renner Hellmann

Oils, acrylics, pastels watercolours

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

The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Aphrodite kidnapped. A bust of the goddess, normally in the Watermill sitting room, placed artistically in the walled garden.

Vicki’s painting philosophy summed up in 15 words!

Painting by Vicki Norman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Our exciting new painting tutor Vicki Norman, who will be with us for a week’s course in oils en plein air, can sum up what she feels about painting in a few words: “I just love paint. And I love to travel. And to teach other people to paint.” She adds: “That’s it really.

Vicki Norman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.A BA Hons graduate in Fine Art painting, in recent years Vicki has studied with master painters from Italy and the USA, all the time searching for traditional skills and methods which can be applied to paintings of a modern world. Vicki says: “My fondness for travelling and painting has naturally led me into the world of plein air painting. Working quickly on location to capture the essence of a time and place encourages a looser, more impressionist style of painting.

“This puts an emphasis on atmosphere rather than detail, and colour is the vehicle through which I seek to capture light and place. Colour is everything, the harmony of colours together on the canvas and the thick, creamy blobs of paint on the surface inspire me every time. I really do just love paint and I love making paintings.”

 Vicki’s oil painting above, called Love those trees, is on show this month at the Royal Society of Oil Painters annual open exhibition. Here’s another painting by Vicki, with an Italian flavour: a study of the Apuan Alps near the Watermill.

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

Vicki says: “The bright yellow of the ginestra at the front contrasted beautifully with the lilac of the marble- capped mountains behind. I knew if I could capture the colours of the moment, I could use them for subsequent studio paintings at home.

You, too, will be painting those sensational mountains on Vicki’s course. The week-long course is primarily in oils and watercolours, but Vicki is happy to teach in other mediums, too. It will run from Saturday 6 October to Saturday 13 October 2018. We now have eight people booked in, so we have room for three or four more painters (and their non-painting partners). Now is the time to reserve your place and take advantage of our Early Bird booking discount (see below).

Below is another great oil painting, called  Massa sunset. (Massa is the capital of the province in which The Watermill is located).

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

Vicki says: “Looking south from the coast below Fivizzano, it is possible to see the marble docks at Massa. This is where they took Michelangelo’s marble from the mountains and prepared it for transport sculptures, what an amazing place! And it’s still working now, I liked the sense of history and the colours of the industrial machinery against the sky at sunset was irresistible. The soft colours blended in the sky and I found repeating spots of orange and red along the beach that allowed me to play with mark making and small accents of colour. I’m very fond of this painting, it sums up so many things I love about Tuscany!”

As well as a great painter, Vicki is also a great teacher. She’s been teaching professionally for more than 20 years and offers plenty of help and individual attention. As one previous student said: “Vicki has a way of explaining complex ideas that makes them simple enough for a beginner to grasp easily, yet she can stretch the advanced painters in the group too.” As we said, Vicki specialises in teaching en plein air and we have many great locations for you in the unspoilt countryside of Lunigiana surrounding The Watermill.

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

vicki plus pic

6-13 October 2018 

Vicki Norman

Oils (and other mediums)

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

Early Bird discount:

If you book before 31 December 2017 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on this fabulous 2018 painting holiday.  To enquire about availability and/or to reserve your place, please use our Painting Holiday Enquiry Form by clicking here. Here’s another atmospheric Vicki Norman painting to whet your appetite:

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

Jo’s new course on writing the stories of your life evokes fond memories of a life-changing week

Jo group 2012 from Mary Mae LewisThe battered photograph above was sent to me by Mary Mae Lewis who came on Jo Parfitt’s first ‘writing you life stories’ course here five years ago. We’re still in touch with many of the participants and have been following their writing paths. Mary, for example, has just published her first novel, which she began working on when she was here. It’s called Where There’s a Will, There’s a Woman and you can buy it on Amazon.

Someone else who has been rummaging in her box of memories is Kathy Roper, who tells me: Tonight I was looking for something in my files and came across my photographic record of a wonderful week in September 2012 at the Posara Watermill. I didn’t become a writer, but it was probably my first step into something daring and different, and I still feel proud of that. I met some wonderful people and felt truly connected by the end of the week. The company, the learning and sharing, the food, the atmosphere, the laughs, the landscape all added up to an unforgettable experience.

And Terry Anne Wilson, who leads a fascinating ex-pat life and now lives in India, has blossomed as a travel writer and a blogger with a worldwide audience (https://notesonaboardingpass.wordpress.com/) comments: “A borrowed book led me to the writer’s retreat in Tuscany led by Jo Parfitt. Serendipity is not luck, it is the art of placing oneself in new situations which might just bear fruit, revealing something new about yourself. For me that was Tuscany. Was it frightening and challenging…yes! Instructive and inspiring…yes again! Life Changing…absolutely. I had taken a chance, found my voice and the belief that just perhaps, I could share my passions through my writing.

We’re so pleased Jo’s students all those years ago found so much inspiration in her course and we are looking to do the same again this year. Why not take the plunge and join Jo here? It could change your life! We already have eight people booked in (including two of the people who came five years ago) so we’ve room for only four or so more. And don’t forget our Early Bird discounoffer: £GBP 75 off if you book now.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Jo Parfitt has published more than 30 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. She’s an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’.

Jo’s Write Your Life Story creative writing course is designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories, and put this into practice right away. The course will run from 22 to 29 September 2018.

Jo says: “The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. It will also help to remove blocks to your writing. Sessions at the mill will empower students to write in a compelling way that makes real experiences come to life.”

Jo adds: “The class will include several methods and genre and is perfect for anyone wanting to write about their own lives for an effective journal, memoir or blog. If you would enjoy an injection of inspiration in a safe and supportive environment this course is for you. It is appropriate for students of any level.”

Jo plus picJo Parfitt
22 September to 29 September 2018
Write Your Life Stories

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

Early Bird discount: book now!

If you book before 31 December 2017 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on this fabulous 2018 writing holiday.  To enquire about availability and/or to reserve your place, please use our Painting Holiday Enquiry Form by clicking here.

Another, less-battered, picture of the writing 'Class of 2012'

Another, less-battered, picture of the writing ‘Class of 2012’

Mike Willdridge’s thoughts on using a sketchbook: 1. Your visual diary and information centre

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

Sketch of market day in the town of Fivizzano, near the Watermill

Our enthusiastic and inspiring watercolour painting tutor Mike Willdridge always carries a sketchbook with him wherever he goes and considers it a vital part of his artistic life. He’d like you to do the same. Mike says: “Whilst there’s absolutely no requirement to use a sketchbook (I know of several professional artists who don’t use a sketchbook), I hope you’ll find my suggestions for doing so to be thought-provoking.”

In this, the first of three blogs, Mike looks at using a sketchbook as a visual diary and for gathering information. Later he’ll look at its use in problem solving and experiment and finally, in personal and obsessive use. Sounds intriguing.

But first, Mike has three questions:

  1. Do you have a garage/spare room/drawers full of finished and unfinished work?
  2. Do you often ‘chuck-away’ work?
  3. Do you have lots of framed works, possibly crowding up your walls/stashed away in a corner?

 “If the answer to any or all these questions is “YES” then why not consider an alternative working practice — One that a) doesn’t take up a great deal of space, b) you won’t want to throw away and x) you don’t need to frame and store? Yes, the sketchbook!”

Mike adds: “I believe that the amateur artist’s joy in their craft comes from a feeling of having created something personal.  Whilst much can be gained by copying others, ultimately, true satisfaction is in knowing that what you have created has been done so largely by you and, as such, has something very personal about it.”

Reasons to use a sketchbook: No 1 Visual Diary and Information Gathering

Mike says: “It’s incredible how looking back on a past sketchbook will instantly remind you not only of the subject matter but also quite personal feelings you may have experienced at the time. Try it! I don’t keep a diary but my sketchbooks (I have a lot of them) are an instant recall of many, many memories. Clearly there’s something unique about working in a sketchbook. Maybe a good analogy is that of ‘smells’. How often does a certain smell straight-away remind you of something in your past? I suggest that It’s much the same with a sketchbook.

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

Frog on a Fountain. Villa I Bossi, Arrezzo, Italy, 2014

From this paint and ink drawing I can recall vividly the wonderful old chateau we stayed at, the exact time of day, the people I spoke to whilst drawing etc etc.

“A sketchbook can also be a great vehicle for gathering information. Maybe it’s for something specific – to help you with a ‘finished’ painting.  Maybe you have no idea why you’re using a sketchbook but, at a later date, it proves useful; an ‘aide-memoire’ to help you or inspire you towards another work.

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

Two pages from visits to museums and galleries

“I don’t know whether you’ve noticed but, so far, I haven’t used the word “drawing”. This has been deliberately to emphasise that ‘anything goes’ for working in a sketchbook. Yes, most of my uses of a sketchbook involve drawing and painting but a sketchbook can also take found objects, cuttings, photos, written work, scribbled ideas, other people’s work (my grandchildren are always painting in my books), postcards etc., etc.

“I’ll end this first blog by emphasising that sketchbooks can be very personal recorders of events in your life but there is no need to be precious about their use. You’re not likely to have to hang your sketchbook on a wall for all to see. The sketchbook can be, if you wish, a collection of memories and information for your eyes only.

“My next blog will look at using sketchbooks as a surface to experiment on and to help solve visual problems.”

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

Mike Willdridge will be back at The Watermill next year, from Saturday 8 September to Saturday 15 September 2018, and we’d love you to join us for his fun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring week. Mike will teach primarily in watercolours, but he is skilled in, and happy to teach in, gouache and acrylics too.

Mike is particularly keen on all forms of drawing as a way of recording and responding to everyday events. As you see, he constantly uses a sketchbook and will encourage you to do the same, gathering speedy impressions and building up a visual record of your time at the Watermill and among the mountains, castles, walled towns and hilltop villages of this unspoiled region of Tuscany.

Blog Mike beginners 3

Mike Willdridge works and in a wide range of media and is an enthusiastic and energetic tutor, often encouraging his students to be bold and to take chances. His classes are always light-hearted and fun, with the ‘teaching’ tailored to individual needs.

A comment from a guest on one of Mike’s previous courses at The Watermill: A wonderful holiday. You were such generous and friendly hosts and Mike was an excellent painting tutor.”  Another said: “The food was exceptional and the mill itself is great, in such a beautiful setting. A truly wonderful week in every respect.”

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitivi, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

mike plus pic

8-15 September 2018 

Mike Willdridge

Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

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

Early Bird discount: book now!

If you book before 31 December 2017 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on this fabulous 2018 painting holiday.  To enquire about availability and/or to reserve your place, please use our Painting Holiday Enquiry Form by clicking here.

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

Mike’s picture of the millstream rushing beneath gardener Flavio’s famous bridge

 

 

Welcome to Andrew Geeson, a new watercolour tutor for The Watermill

holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.We are delighted to welcome Andrew Geeson to the international team of talented and inspiring tutors at the Watermill. We love his loose and colourful watercolour style.

Andrew will be with us from Saturday 23 to Saturday 30 June 2018. There’s a link to more details about his course below. And don’t forget our Early Bird booking discount of £GBP 75 off Andrew’s course if you book before the end of this year.

Painting by Andrew Geeson, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Andrew Geeson, from Leicester in the UK, has been a professional watercolourist for more than 20 years. He has taught hundreds of students on holidays and in workshops and, increasingly, on-line were he enjoys a large following. He says: “I love the simplicity and joy of watercolours and my passion and aim is inspire and encourage students to paint in a loose a free manner. The joy it brings is unmatched and everyone should try it. I am keen to share my excitement with others.”  As one of his students says: Superb work. Beautiful loose style, this is how watercolours should be!”

Andrew Geeson, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Andrew specialises in a wet-into-wet style of watercolours: “This quick, fun and rewarding approach to watercolour painting allows you to capture your subject, whatever it may be, in the most atmospheric way without the constraints of over detailing.  Being spontaneous, immediate and atmospheric, it allows you to express more than the subject of the painting Come along and give it a try.  I think you may find a new world of painting.”

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

Early Bird discount

*** If you book before 31 December 2017 there’s a £GBP 75 per person (about $100) discount on this fabulous 2018 painting holiday.  To enquire about availability and/or to reserve your place, please click here.

Andrew Geeson, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Painting by Andrew Geeson, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.23-30 June 2018 

Andrew Geeson

Watercolours

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

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

Laughter is good for your Oomph!, says Caroline

The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Personal development guru Caroline Carr, who is running out first-ever Oomph! workshop here next year, tells me I should laugh every day.

She says: “There are huge benefits as the laughter brings about chemical changes in the body, helping you to feel good and less stressed. It boosts your immune system, increases the cells that fight cancer, increases oxygen to the body and brain, and increases circulation and flushes out toxins. It gives you great aerobic exercise and, done regularly it gives you a fresh perspective and helps you to deal more easily with challenges.”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Caroline says that a terrific way to get these benefits is to tap into Laughter Yoga, which combines deep belly laughing with deep breathing – alternating between the two. “Laughter is initiated by gentle laughter exercises, so you don’t need to rely on humour or jokes. AND – even if you don’t feel like laughing you can just pretend, because you’ll still get the same physiological and psychological benefits.  It goes even deeper than this though. Laughter Yoga taps into a delightful sense of playfulness, freedom and joy, which is the very essence of Oomph!”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.The Find your Oomph! Retreat is a unique opportunity to reconnect with your true self – the one who feels free to run barefoot through the grass, or dance like no-body’s watching, or to sing from the top of a mountain! To laugh and play imaginatively and have fun. It’s GREAT to get back to that place inside yourself again, and to witness its transformative effect.

Caroline Carr has been a successful hypnotherapist and life coach for many years. She uses a variety of transformative practices to embody joy and inner freedom into your everyday life. As well as facilitated discussions and group coaching, she works with energy states, movement, voice and posture, Laughter Yoga, and deep healing relaxation – using various techniques. Come and join us and revitalise your oomph!

Caroline Carr’s life-changing week,will run from Saturday 18 to Saturday 25 August 2018. If the words empowered, strong, fun, joy, delight, shine, sparkle, authentic, loving, warm, appreciative, enthusiastic, playful and sincere appeal to you (these are all Oomph! qualities by the way), then this is the week for you. Inspiring teaching and exquisite Italy all wrapped up in one!

Claire H&S plus midweek gigles croppedCaroline Carr
18 August – 25 August 2018
Find your Oomph! retreat
To learn more about Caroline and her retreat at The Watermill, please click here.

 

And don’t forget our Early Bird offer and a special Oomphwork! offer:

If you book before 31 December 2017 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on all our 2018 creative courses.  To enquire about availability and/or to reserve your place, please go to www.watermill.net, select your course and bedroom, then click on Booking Enquiry. Or, if you prefer, email us on info@watermill.net or call us (UK no.) +44 20 7193 6246.

Caroline is offering something special for early bookers too. If you book before the end of the year, she’ll provide special sessions of free Oomphwork…  Caroline says: The free coaching would be via Skype or WhatsApp, or on the phone if they don’t have those. I will speak with everyone prior to the retreat anyway, but for those who are having the free coaching, I will also use this initial call in order to get an idea of how I might work with them.  They’d have some sessions – two or three – or maybe even just one longer one. I can’t be more specific because everyone’s so different! But we’ll work together to find the best way of doing it.”