Archives for November 2017

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 for the amateur artist 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.”

The beauty of pastels, by Nel Whatmore

box of pastels“The beauty of pastels is that you hold pure pigment in your hand,” says Watermill painting tutor Nel Whatmore. Nel, who ran a wonderful pastel course at the Watermill this year with her colleague Rebecca de Mendonça, says: “The unadulterated colour has an intensity I can’t match in any other medium. The textures you can achieve and the gorgeous array of colour is just fabulous.”

Come and see Nel at work – and try pastels for yourself. Nel and Rebecca will be back next year for another colourful pastels course, from Saturday 1 September to Saturday 8 September 2018. There are more details below.

Painting by Nel Whatmore, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.We already have eight bookings on this course, so now is the time to book your place, especially with our Early Bird discount offer. (See below.) To whet your appetite, here are some pictures from Nel of last week’s course. Isn’t the one above incredible? It is Nel painting on a Watermill terrace early in the morning as the sun burns off the mist.

Later on, some of the group joined her:

Painting by Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

And here’s a picture of Rebecca demonstrating in the ancient village of Verrucola, where we go to paint on location on Mondays.

Painting by Rebecca de Mendonça, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

 Talking of locations, here’s a view of the Apuan Alps, where we go to paint on Fridays:

Nel and Bec mountain view - reduced

You can even pick our grapes, like Bec: Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça, tutors at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça have created The New Pastel School after years of friendship and mutual respect for each other’s work. These two experienced pastel artists share the tuition, combining their expertise and great enthusiasm for this versatile and exciting medium. See www.rebeccademendonca.co.uk and www.nelwhatmore.com for more about them).

They’ll help you to see that there are always diverse ways to do things, even when working with the same pastels. Of their first visit to The Watermill, they say: We and our students were made so welcome. It was really lovely to savour so many aspects of Italy, including lots of delicious food!”

The course will include some plein air painting, studio based work and also trips out. Nel and Rebecca say: “We want to offer a new experience of using pastels outside and to introduce the joys of exploring how inspiring another country’s landscape and countryside can be. The atmosphere will be relaxed with one-to-one help, demonstrations. Join us and try something different.”

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!

Nel and Bec mountains cropped

Pastels

Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça

1-8 September 2018

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

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

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

Nel’s wonderful pastel ‘Star of the garden.’

Painting by Rebecca de Mendonca, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

A dynamic pastel called ‘Freedom’ by Rebecca

Memories of a beautiful yoga course with Claire

Clair yoga videoClaire Murphy, our lovely yoga teacher recently sent me an inspiring video of her wonderful yoga course here last year, which I’d like to share with you. I’ve downloaded it to You Tube and you can see it by clicking here.

We have had some excellent feedback from guests on this year’s yoga retreat. Some were returning for another revitalizing week at The Watermill, while others, like Sylvia, were arriving for the first time. As you can see, she’s coming back next year, too.

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

And this is from one of the returnees, Alessandra:

Alessandra feedbackAnd from another returnee:

Anita feedback

Claire will be back next year to nourish your mind, body and soul in another unique seven-day yoga and meditation retreat. It will run from Saturday 25 August to Saturday 1 September 2018.

We’ll nourish your soul on rural walks and visits to ancient walled towns and hilltop villages, castles and convents. You’ll also savour the relaxed atmosphere of la bella vita italiana in local cafes, shops, restaurants and markets.

We’ll venture a little journal writing and painting in The Watermill studio overlooking the river or under the shade of the vine verandah to nourish your mind.

And we’ll nourish your body with fresh, home-cooked, nutritionally balanced meals lovingly prepared by the Watermill cooks, with many of the ingredients freshly picked from The Watermill’s own gardens. There will be vegetarian options for every meal, of course. Private sessions with a local Shiatsu practitioner are also available, at cost, on request

Yoga, meditation and massage have been a way of life for Claire Murphy for more than 25 years and she’s passionate about teaching them. Together we’ve created a unique seven-day programme, which we’ll update and augment as time goes on.

Claire plus picNourish — mind, body and soul

Claire Murphy

25 August – 1 September 2018

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

Clair yoga video 2

 

Join our language course. It’s bellissimo said Good Housekeeping

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, cookery holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.We already have eight people booked into our unique Italian language course next Summer and I have just been talking to two other people who are thinking of coming. That got me thinking of previous courses and the excellent article published earlier this year in Britain’s prestigious Good Housekeeping magazine, written by the magazine’s Travel Editor David Wickers.

David was full of praise for our course, not just the teaching at the Watermill, but the ability to practice the language and savour the true Italian lifestyle. He said: “Wherever we went, we had encounters with real Italians in the hopes of making ourselves understood in the real world as well as in class.” Here is the page from the magazine:

March 2017 Good Housekeeping Italian course

With all those bookings, we only have room for a few more people, so now is the time to reserve your place, especially since we also have an Early Bird discount offer (see below). We’d love you to join us. It’ll be rocambolesco: You’ll learn more of the beautiful language from the Italians themselves and also savour la bella vita italiana.

There will not only be formal lessons under the vine verandah (some 20 hours in the week), but we’ll also be making trips and excursions to enjoy the natural beauty of Lunigiana, the area surrounding the mill, to explore its history and culture, to sample its traditional foods – and above all, to meet the people, speaking Italian, practising what we’ve learned.

Language restuarant

We’ve teamed up again with the prestigious Florence language school, Langues Services, to design a week in which people can learn Italian in the most natural and enjoyable way ever. With our wonderful tutor Giulia Balestri, you’ll meet Italian people and interact with their daily lives.

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

A couple of comments from this year’s language course:

“We would like you to know how much we appreciated our stay with you at Posara. As hosts, you made us feel most welcome; and the combination of language lessons, food and excursions was excellently balanced. We were unaware of the Apuan mountain region – it is spectacularly beautiful. Altogether a unique and delightful experience. With fond memories of your lovely home and very personal hospitality.”

“What an amazing week. Thank you, Bill, Lois and your excellent team. Guilia was great and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip. Can’t wait to do it all again…”

Your immersion into the language and culture of real Italians will be customised for you, to suit your curiosity and your interests (we’ll talk to you about them before the course), helping you to treasure everything you learn and make it a seamless part of who you are. You will have the perfect opportunity to make new friends in the company of like-minded people learning and improving their Italian language skills… and enjoying unspoilt Italy and, of course, fantastic food and wine.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Saturday 30 June to Saturday 7 July 2018

Giulia Balestri

Italian Language course

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

*** Don’t forget the Watermill’s great Early Bird discount offer: If you book before 31 December 2017 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount.

Rocambolesco! 

Picture credit: The Huffington Post

Picture credit: The Huffington Post

NOW is the time to start writing your life story says Jo Parfitt

The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Our skilled and highly experienced writing tutor Jo Parfitt has been sharing a few more secrets about how to write your life stories. Here are some positive tips to get you started.

Write as soon as you can. Jo says: “They say you need to write ‘while you are bleeding’, so if it is at all possible, start writing while you feel the emotions strongly. The more emotional you feel while you write, the more effective your writing will be. You can polish it up later, but please don’t wait until your past is well and truly behind you before putting pen to paper.”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.‘Edit’ in your head before you start. Jo says: “Don’t tell us everything that happened. No, a memoir needs to include only stories that ‘need’ to be included. Sadly, you have to miss out a lot of material.” 

Think about the present tense. Jo says: “You don’t have to write in the past tense because, well, it happened in the past. No, if you read other memoirs you will notice that many authors write in the present tense, which makes the story more immediate and compelling.”

Write right now!

Write right now!

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

Add SPICE to your writing!

You can learn more about these and other tips on Jo’s unique workshop at The Watermill this September, not least the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories — and put them into practice right away. This is the ultimate workshop on how to write the stories of your life, with journalist, teacher, editor and publisher Jo Parfitt. Brilliant teaching and exquisite Italy all wrapped up in one fantastic week!

The Write Your Life Stories creative writing course is designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. The course will run from 22 to 29 September 2018.

Jo Parfitt has published 31 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 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.” 

She 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

And a tongue-in-cheek writing tip from Mark Twain:

chalkboard_quotes_twain

 

 

 

Swift impressions of timeless Venice by Mike Willdridge

Mike Venice 1We’ve just returned from Venice (for Lois’ birthday treat) and although we’ve been many times before, we never tire of the extraordinary buildings – and the light, something which also inspired Watermill painting tutor Mike Willdridge on his recent trip there to see the Biennale. Mike likes to capture light, and emotions, in his sketchbook and he’s sent me a few Venetian impressions, some very abstract.

Mike says: “These were all completed very quickly (a few minutes each) using only a paintbrush and watercolour.  Above is the Grand Canal in early morning light. Here’s another of the same subject:

Mike Venice 2

And here’s a figurative one of a musician playing at Florian’s Cafe in St Mark’s Square late at night to anyone prepared to pay 30 euros for a small cocktail.”Mike Venice 4

Mike says: “My primary interest in these and many other drawings made over my couple of days was to capture something of the atmosphere and movement of Venice.”

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 seem, 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. Below are a couple of his ‘Posara’ sketches, which were demonstrations made when out ‘on location’.Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

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