Archives for December 2017

Sandra is our ‘painter in residence’ for early Summer

Sandra Strohschein, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Sandra beside the rose pergola in the Watermill walled garden. Come and join our early Summer ‘artist in residence.’

We’ve never had a ‘painter in residence’ at the Watermill before, but for most of June next year we are going to be doing just that. Our delightful watercolour* tutor Sandra Strohschein will be with us for four sun-filled, inspiring painting weeks, from May 26 to June 23. They promise to be the greatest fun – and the first two weeks are completely booked up already.

Sandra says:  The Watermill is one of my favourite place to paint and the hospitality is out of this world.I  love the idea of being there for four weeks.

She adds: “I usually travel to Europe every year for a couple of months and I am looking forward to spending more time with you in Italy next year. What fun! I’ve made so many great friends over the years at the Watermill and I am looking forward to meeting many of them again as well as making new friends during our painting weeks. I enjoy painting at home or abroad with friends: it is all wonderful.

Painting by Sandra Strohshein, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays, Tuscany Italy.

A painting of the Watermill from the riverside by Sandra

*Sandra will teach in watercolour, but she says: “Students may choose to paint in acrylic or pastel as well as, or instead of, watercolour. I can instruct on how to put together a painting as far as composition, light, values etc… I cannot handle oil as I am allergic but pencil, acrylic, pastel…perfectly fine.”

A painting by Sandra Strohschein, a tutor on painting courses at The Watermill at Posara, Tuscany Italy

The square in nearby Fivizzano on market day

As I said, the weeks May 26 to June 2 and June 2 to June 9 are fully booked (you can join a waiting list if these are the only dates you can make.) We already have six guests booked in for the week June 9 to June 16 (and a couple more in the pipeline), and three for the week June 16 to June 23, so now if the time to book on these amazing courses. And don’t forget our Early Bird discount booking offer. More details on everything are below.

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

The warm and sunlit Watermill courtyard

We had a wonderful course with Sandra earlier this year and our guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves. A couple of their comments: “Sandra was full of enthusiasm and talent and made every day a joy.  To have two chances most days to paint was utter heaven and in such wonderful surroundings. I didn’t paint a masterpiece but thoroughly enjoyed my week.  I hope to remember some of the tricks Sandy taught us and use them in the future.”

 “Many thanks to you both for a fabulous week. Your forethought, hard work and professionalism are very much appreciated. Nothing was too much trouble and nothing was at fault. You have created a gem. Please pass on our sincere gratitude to all your lovely people.”

Sandra Strohschein head and shouldersSandra Strohschein from Michigan, USA, has achieved an extraordinary mastery of her medium, transparent watercolours. She works in a fast loose impressionistic style, but above all, she produces passionate, emotionally charged paintings, full of energy.

As for her teaching, people frequently tell her about how much fun they have on her workshops and how nobody ever wants them to end. Another painting guest on her course at the mill said: “Watching your demonstrations was such an education and your kind and patient individual help was invaluable.”  

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!

 Sandra plus picSandra Strohshein

Watercolours

26 May to 2 June, 2-9 June, 9-16 June AND 16-23 June 2018

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

 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 secure Booking Enquiry Form by clicking here.

Come and join us and savour the magic of The Watermill!

Painting on a balcony overlooking the garden

Painting on a balcony overlooking the garden

 

“A fabulously revitalising week.” Come and join us for Claire’s amazing yoga retreat

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

The Walled garden at The Watermill, the perfect spot for yoga and church bells.

“The air, the sun, the sound of the church bells brought a special feeling of lightness and childlike joy to the proceedings.”

That’s a comment from one of the participants on Claire Murphy’s relaxing and inspiring yoga retreat at The Watermill this year. Another said: “The Watermill is such a stunning, peaceful, green and quiet. We are pampered and well looked-after” That’s the setting and the Watermill hospitality.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.As for the yoga, here’s what another of this year’s guests had to say:  “The yoga retreat was the perfect mix of physical postures, meditation and thoughtful contemplation in glorious mountain surroundings. I particularly appreciated how you created a gentle space for all attendees no matter where they were on their yoga journey or what physical issues they were dealing with. The journaling and art prompts offered the opportunity for creative experimentation and expansion. All in all, a fabulously revitalising week.”

Yoga in the Watermill studio

Yoga in the Watermill studio

Claire will be back for another fabulous retreat next year and she and we would love you to join us. More details and links below and don’t forget our Early Bird booking discount offer: £GBP (about $100) off is you book now. Again, there’s more below.

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

Claire’s yoga retreat is inspired by the beauty of this area and by the elements and she’s been working hard on an even more inspiring itinerary for next year. She tells us: “The title of the retreat is Nourish Your Elemental Self and it will include yoga, meditation, creative writing & art journaling.”

Claire has been allotting themes for each day: Sunday: Earth; Monday: Water; Tuesday: Fire; Thursday: Air and Friday: Ether. It’s all part of our aim to nourish you mind, body and soul.  Claire’s working up the itineraries, which will include activities in the Watermill gardens, along the millstream and river and, of course, breathing in the wonderfully pure air of this environmentally protected area. And we’ll visit mountain villages, a market in a walled Medieval town and practise yoga and meditation in the peace and solitude of a 16th Century monastery.

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

Revitalise among the mountains

Claire’s unique retreat will run from Saturday 25 August to Saturday 1 September 2018. You can find out more by clicking here.  

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

 

 

 

It’s exciting to look at scenes from another point of view, says Terry Jarvis

Painting by Terry Jarvis, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Our talented and inspiring Watermill painting tutor Terry Jarvis recently sent me the picture above. “I like it,” I said. It’s obviously an Italian town square, but where exactly is it?”

Terry’s reply was unexpected: “It’s actually a view from half-way up the leaning tower of Pisa!”

Terry added:“I obviously did not have the opportunity to stop and paint with excited people coming and going up and down! So I took a photograph, and when I reached the top wrote down how I felt about the scene so that I had the image locked into my melancholic emotions, my visual memory, and my physical memory (my photograph).

“The major motive was to say something different about the tower, from a different perspective. I was pleased with the image, the concept and the painting capturing the light from that angle and perspective.”

Good thought from Terry to seek a different viewpoint from this:

Leaning tower Pisa

Mind you, thinking of a point of view, I rather like this cartoon drawn by one of our Watermill guests, Clem Danin:

Clem cartoon Pisa

Terry will be with us again next year at The Watermill, so come and enjoy new perspectives of rural Tuscany with him!

Terry in studio 2017Terry 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!

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

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

 

Looking forward to welcoming ‘fast and loose’ Andrew to Tuscany next Summer

Painting by Andrew Geeson, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Our inspiring new watercolour tutor Andrew Geeson is renowned for his fast and loose painting style and we are looking forward to watching him work around the Watermill and in our lovely Tuscan countryside when he visits us next June. In the meantime, to whet your appetite, we’d thought we’d share a few of his watercolours with you.

Andrew will be with us from Saturday 23 to Saturday 30 June 2018. There’s a link to more details about his course here below. And don’t forget our special Early Bird booking discount of £75. It expires soon. More below, too.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!”Painting by 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.”holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

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.

 

 

 

Are you dressed like an onion in this doggy weather? And watching out for the basins?

Tom Florence coldThe picture above was painted en plein air above Florence yesterday by our friend Tom Byrne. He says: “My head is beginning to thaw out. It’s really cold although there’s no snow. This afternoons light was perfect and the mist just like before, so finished this painting.”

We hope he was dressed like an onion! That’s what Italians do when it’s cold!

We are grateful to Catherine Edwards from the online English newspaper here in Italy, The Local, for explaining and providing some further thoughts about the Italian language.

She says you are really beginning to understand Italian when a sentence like “It was raining sinks and it was dog cold, so I had to dress like an onion” makes perfect sense to you. Yes, Piove catinelle, literally “It’s raining basins” means, as we say in English, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”  And when it’s really cold, it is dog cold: Fa un freddo cane.” The solution: wear lots of layers: “Vestirsi a cipolla,” dress like an onion.

These days one never knows how to dress. Speak for yourself-Image: italianochefatica.it

These days one never knows how to dress. Speak for yourself! Image: italianochefatica.it

Language GiuliaIt’s not going to be cold, for sure, during our unique language course at The Watermill, but you’ll learn lots of other unusual and useful Italian phrases with our lovely Italian teacher, Giulia Balestri We already have eight people booked in for next Summer’s course, so we only have room for a few more people.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. 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

Langues Services and 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.

 

Painting in the fresh air? WRITE yourself a note, says Terry Jarvis

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

When you are out painting en plein air – one of life’s great pleasures, says Watermill tutor Terry Jarvis – think about doing a little WRITING!

Yes, write yourself a note about what you see and your emotional reactions to it.

Terry always does so and he says: “I call these my ‘one-liners’, but I have to say they are usually more than one line! It is bit like a letter to myself: they tell me what drew me to the subject, how I feel about the scene. They jog my memory of the day/the moment.”

He adds: “Together with a small thumbnail tonal sketch and a photograph, the information I write tells me my personal take on the scene and really helps to solidify my visual memory of the subject.”

This is of the greatest help when you want to finish off your painting in the studio later,

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

Terry’s ‘picture-in-progress’ are of of a corner of the hilltop village of Monte dei Bianchi, where our Watermill groups go to paint on Fridays. Terry’s note said: The curved wall, the old weathered door speak of centuries of hardship and resilience in the same moment!   The wonderful texture of the wall and the door, connected with the beautiful light and shadows play a wonderful story in my heart.”

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

Terry also made a thumbnail sketch showing tonal values and composition opportunities, and took a photograph giving the colour. He says: “I was able to take the time later to explore and expound this age-old story visually and emotionally.”

Terry says: “A few short notes like these help me to realise what I am painting! They tell me how I am emotionally connected to the scene. These are notes that place life into the image. I have found it is such a great tool.”

Here’s the finished product:

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

Terry is a great believer in painting outdoors: “Given the choice, I will always paint from nature, from life, and all it has to offer.”

Terry would recommend taking a photograph (and, even more important, making a thumbnail sketch or two of the scene), but paint on location for as long as you can: The problem with photographs is that the image stays still, you can see tones, the light isn’t changing, and so on, and so on…”

Terry adds: Painting en plein air, with all its challenges means you will know your subject so much more intimately and you will be telling a living story! The very best of photographs will only catch a moment and an experience in time, not the essence and the atmosphere of the day as it wraps itself around you.”

There’ll be more from Terry soon on what to take when painting en plein air and how to choose what to paint in the great outdoors.

Terry will be with us again next year at The Watermill, so come and paint — and write! — with 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!

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

Mike Willdridge’s thoughts on using a sketchbook: 3. Personal and obsessive

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

Three pages (of several) drawn in a Fishmarket in Portsmouth. The men worked quickly, filleting fish, and Mike worked quickly drawing them

Our talented 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 to do the same. Mike says: “I highly recommend not only using a sketchbook on a regular basis but also making the sketchbook the primary surface on which to create your art.”

In the first essay Mike highlighted the value of a sketchbook as a “visual diary” and as a way of gathering information. We posted it on our Friends of the Watermill website and you can enjoy it by clicking here. In the second, he looked at using a sketchbook to experiment and to attempt to solve visual problems. Please click here to look at it.

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

Today’s essay is about the personal (and obsessive!) use of a sketchbook. Mike says: For any artist, the sketchbook is probably the most personal surface on which to work. Because it’s a personal item, each person’s use of a sketchbook will be different – personal to them! For me the sketchbook ’ticks’ a number of intimate boxes. I recognise that I’m a little obsessive about recording/responding to the world around me and have many sketchbooks with drawings of the same subject, looked at again and again.”

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

Gondoliers in Venice

A Thames Barge called Alice in Portsmouth Harbour..

A Thames Barge called Alice in Portsmouth Harbour..

And another confession from Mike: “Also, for me the sketchbook is a way of withdrawing/hiding away. As a child I loved to be on my own drawing and still do to this day. Observing people as if a ‘fly on the wall’ offers many opportunities – such as periods waiting in airports:

Mike sketchbook 3.6

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

Mike says: “That’s it folks! But, in conclusion, a final thought for the amateur artist: Why are you doing this ‘arting stuff’ anyway? Is it for you or is it for someone else?

“If the answer is the former, then I hope you’ll agree that having a sense of authorship of your own work (feeling that what you’ve created has been done so largely by you) is so important to your long-term enjoyment of this amazing activity. I can think of no better place to achieve that “sense of authorship” than in the privacy of a sketchbook.”

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 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

 

 

Courageous colo(u)r mixing tips from Maggie

Painting by Maggie Renner Hellman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Our lovely American painting tutor Maggie Renner Hellman calls her painting weeks at the Watermill Courageous Color Workshops. We call them sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring paintings holidays.

We also have problems, being English, that we can’t spell color (ho, ho!) and always want to slip in an intrusive ‘u’. There was a time when we called the weeks Courageous Colo(u)r Workshops, but that felt a little clunky, so we’ve capitulated to the Americans and, for this blog at least, which is very colourful (!), we’ll stick with color.

Maggie will be back for another Courageous Color Workshop next year. More details below. However you spell it, we can’t wait!

Maggie color tip 1

So here are Maggie’s tips on new ways of thinking about, looking at, and mixing color. There are four variables to take into consideration:

  • Temperature
  • Value
  • Intensity
  • Complement

Or, as Maggie puts it:

  • warmer versus cooler
  • lighter vs. darker
  • more intense vs. duller
  • complementary vs. analogous

Maggie color tip 2First, Temperature.  Maggie asks: “Is the color you need basically a warm color or a cool color? She says: Warm colors are Red, Orange & Yellow. Cool colors are Blue, Green and Purple. You can also have temperature shifts within a single color, like a cool blue versus a warm blue and so on. Colors in the sun tend to be warmer, while colors in the shade tend to be cooler. Observe these shifts in nature. Cooler colors tend to recede, warmer colors tend to come forward. This concept can be used to create depth.”

Next, Value. Maggie says: “On a scale from 1-10, if 1= black and 10= white, what is the rough value of the color you need. Is it in the light? Or is it in shadow? Group your colors in sunlight together at the higher numbers on the scale 7, 8 and 9. Group your colors in shadow at the lower numbers on the scale 3, 4 and 5. Objects have less contrast in their values as you move back into the distance. And more contrast as you move forward. This can also, used to create depth.”

Maggie color tip 4Then, Intensity. Maggie asks: “Is the color you’re mixing part of the focal area? If so, it might want to be a more vibrant or intense color. Or is the color you’re mixing part of the background, or of non-focal point areas? If so, you might choose to make this color less intense or duller.” She adds: “If the area you are painting is closer to the viewer, the color would normally appear more intense than the same colored object further away. This can also, be used to create depth.”

Finally, Complementary or Analogous Color. Maggie says: “Complementary colors, (opposites on the color wheel) when used next to each other display a higher energy. Analogous colors (colors next to each other on the color wheel) are softer in energy when used next to each other. Decide if and where you might want high energy, like at a focal point. Or if and where you want a soft energy in your painting.

Painting by Maggie Renner Hellman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Maggie says: “Always ask yourself these 4 main questions when you begin to mix a color. It is the artist’s choices here that determine the direction and style of a painting. Observe nature and make your choices with confidence! It’s your loves and energies tempered with foundational knowledge that will shine through as a result.” She adds: “Painting is a combination of observation, interpretation and creativity:

“Learn the tools of the trade and then, Go for it with passion!”

Maggie will be with us again next year, from Saturday 19 May to Saturday 26 May 2018. Come and join us. Here are some comments from our painting guestson Maggie’s course last year. 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. Maggie says: “The Foundational Concepts on color mixing are the same for Oils, Acrylics, Watercolors & Pastel. Your choice of medium! I will do demos for any of these mediums requested.” Maggie 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

19-26 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.

 

 

 

The Watermill December newsletter is just out…

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.…with reports on how to save garage space with a sketchbook, how a laugh a day keeps the doctor at bay, on why Andrew is fast and loose and how Early Birds’ days are numbered. Intrigued? Find out more by clicking here.

Have a lovely weekend!

And don’t forget our Early Bird discount:

If you book before 31 December 2017 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on all our fabulous creative holidays.

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

The warm and sunlit Watermill courtyard

 

A thought and a nudge for the first of the month

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

Two Early Birds discuss which course they’d like to go on.

December 1!  Before you get bogged down in all your Christmas  arrangements, I thought I’d just remind you that the Watermill’s Early Bird Discount offer ends at the end of this month.

In fact, why don’t you give yourself and/or your loved one an early Christmas present by booking now on one of our world-famous, sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring courses? And then spend the Winter thinking of superb tuition, Tuscan sunshine and Italian food!

Our Early Bird offer: if you book before 31 December 2017 there’s a £GBP 75 per person (about $US 100, $CAN 120, AUD 120) discount on all our 2018 creative courses. 

A photograph of the mill and the riverside gardens.

A photograph of the mill and the riverside gardens.

Booking are continuing to flow in for next year’s courses, many from people who have been with us before and want to come again. We already have more than 150 firm bookings for 2018, so if you’ve a favourite tutor, a particular week, or a special bedroom that you like, please get in touch as soon as you can, and we’ll set aside a place for you. To enquire about availability and/or to reserve your place, please click here, select the type of course you want (painting, knitting, writing, Oomph!, yoga and or language), find out more about the course and the tutor, then go to the Booking Enquiry form. Fill it in and send it to us. Or  simply call us (UK no.) +44 20 7193 6246.

And why not bring your friend or partner? They don’t have to participate in the course, but they will be able to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the mill and, whenever they want, to come out with you to our beautiful locations. We also offer a range of activities for non-participating partners. Please click here to find out more. There’s a generous £GBP 250 discount for them if they share a room with you.

Here’s the 2018 list of courses. First, painting courses:

paul plus pic28 April – 5 May 2018

Paul Talbot-Greaves

Watercolours 

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

maggie plus pic9-16 May 2018 

Maggie Renner Hellmann

Oils, acrylics, pastels watercolours

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

Sandra plus pic26 May – 2 June 2018 AND 2-9 June 2018

Sandra Strohschein 

Watercolours

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

Sarah Y plus pic9-16 June 2018 AND 16-23 June 2018

Sarah Yeoman

Watercolours

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

Andre plus pic23-30 June 2018

Andrew Geeson

Watercolours

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

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.

Nel and Bec plus pic1-8 September 2018 

Rebecca di Mendonça and Nel Whatmore

Pastels

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

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.

Painting by Claire Warner, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.15-22 September 2018 

Claire Warner

Watercolours (and oils and acrylics)

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

vicki plus pic6-13 October 2018 

Vicki Norman

Oils and watercolours

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

Tim plus pic13-20 October 2018 

Tim Wilmot

Watercolours

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

Knitting courses:

Sarah H plus pic5-12 May 2018

Sarah Hazell 

Knitting and La Bella Vita

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

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.14-21 July 2018

Marie Wallin 

Knitting and La Bella Vita

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

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.29 September – 6 October 2018 

Lisa Richardson 

Knitting and La Bella Vita

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

Italian language holiday:

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

Giulia Balestri

Italian language week

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

Creative writing holiday:

Jo plus pic22-29 September 2018 

Jo Parfitt 

Writing your Life Stories

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

Yoga retreat:

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.25 August – 1 September 2018

Claire Murphy

Nourish — mind, body and soul

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

Personal development retreat:

Claire H&S plus midweek gigles cropped

18 August – 25 August 2018

Caroline Carr

Find your Oomph! retreat

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

Don’t forget your partner!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Why not bring your friend or partner? They don’t have to participate in the course, but they will be able to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the mill and, whenever they want, to come out with you to our beautiful locations. For more details, please click here.  They also receive a generous £GBP 250 discount if they share a room with you.

And don’t forget our Early Bird offer:

New early BirdsIf 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 click here, select the type of course you are interested in (painting, knitting, writing, Oomph!, yoga and or language), find out more about your tutor, then go to the Booking Enquiry form, fill in as appropriate and send it to us. Or  simply call us (UK no.) +44 20 7193 6246.