Archives for January 2018

The Watermill February newsletter is out today

Feb 18 newsletter— a cheery newsletter to combat the February blues. Find out about our 2018 photography competition; a new yoga week with Reiki; and, by popular demand, another ‘How to write your life stories’ during the school holidays…….

You can learn more more by clicking here

 

Write the stories only YOU can write! And learn how to do it with Jo

Write right now!

Only you can do it!

We’ve had such a demand for Jo Parfitt’s Writing your Life Stories course this year, that we’ve opened a second week for her. If you’d like to have a crack at writing some of your life stories, be it a full-blooded memoir, or a shorter journal, or even a blog, we’d be delighted to welcome you here. Jo’s new week will run from 18-25 August.

Neil GaimanIf you’ve ever had the itch to write, there’s no better advice than that of Neil Gaiman, best-selling American author (The Sandman, Stardust etc., etc.), who says: “Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you.”

 

So, learn how to write about the real you, as only you can do, with Jo this Summer.

As I said Jo’s first week with us, from 22-29 September, is now completely full, so ‘by popular demand’, we’ve opened a second course: Her new Write Your Life Stories week will run from Saturday 18 August to Saturday 25 August 2018. We’ve been told that this is an ideal time for many people, such as people who work in schools and universities, who can only take time off in the academic holidays and, of course, anyone who want to come is welcome. You won’t regret it! As one student on Jo’s last course here said: “I can honestly say it’s been life changing for me and the setting could not have been more perfect.”

We already have bookings coming in for this new week, so if you would like to join us, please let us know as soon as you can and we’ll make sure you have a place reserved.

Jo’s Write Your Life Story creative writing courses are 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 Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.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.”

Bring your experiences of life to life!

Bring your experiences of life 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 pic

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 AND 

22 September to 29 September 2018 Course full

Write Your Life Stories

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

Only two places left on Sarah’s springtime knitting week

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

Sarah and her pupils in concentration mode. Picture Phil Wright

We had a delightful knitting week with our new tutor Sarah Hazell last year and we’re looking forward to seeing her for another fun-filled inspiring course next year.

Here’s what one of our guests had to say about last year’s course: Thank you for the invigorating knitting experience last week. The weather cooperated beautifully and the food at the Watermill and the other locations was excellent and varied. It is a plus for you that Sarah will return next May. She is prepared and organized; flexible and patient with attendees of all capabilities with a good sense of humour.”

Sarah’s relishing her return, too: “A knitting holiday at The Watermill offers so much – splendid location, delicious food and opportunities to explore some of the local region. There is also a real sense of community, with Bill and Lois employing and supporting lots of local people. And then there is the knitting of course!”

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

The Watermill sitting room, an ideal place to knit and chat. Picture: Phil Wright.

Sarah cropped sweater close upSarah’s projects for her week here are both inspired by the Watermill location. Sarah says: “The first is a cabled scarf/cowl reflecting all the twist and turns that you will encounter during your stay – from the winding landscape through to the vines at the Watermill.

“The second project will be a more experimental piece, inspired by the roof tiles on the buildings. We will combine colour work and sequence knitting to evoke colour and texture as a starting point, leaving you free to decide on the final form of this piece, e.g., a bag/cushion or framed sample.”

Sarah will be joining us again for another Knitting and La Bella Vita week next year, from Saturday 5 May to Saturday 12 May 2018. Nine knitters are already booked in, so we have room for just two or three more.

Sarah Hazell is a designer in knit and crochet, and author of several books. She says, I have a passion for beautiful yarn and textiles and am endlessly fascinated by colour, pattern and texture. She loves to teach new techniques and inspire confidence in others. Sarah’s workshop at the mill will show you to elevate your knits from homemade to handmade.

New Sarah H H&S cropped5-12 May 2018

Sarah Hazell

Knitting and La Bella Vita

To find out more about Sarah and her course, please click here.

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

Knitting under the shade of the vines in the Watermill garden

 

 

A picture and a poem inspired by the Watermill vine verandah

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.After hearing from us about the Watermill Photographic Competition, Mary Ann Bradley, one of our guests on a recent painting course, wrote to Lois to say: “I thought I’d send you a painting I did from a photo of your grapes and vines above the patio by the dining room.  After I posted this photo on the internet, one of my girlfriends wrote a poem about the painting- it is lovely and I thought you and Bill would enjoy her poem about your grapes and my painting!”

We certainly did enjoy them, and thought we’d share them with you. That’s Mary Ann’s painting Cluster on Bough above and here’s the poem by her friend Mary Barnes. It’s an Ekphrastic, the Greek term for a poem giving a vivid description of a work of art

Italy’s singular light

bathes the fruit, leaves, arbors of the vineyard– bathes me, looking in at colors I’ve never seen, delicate shades, luminous shadows.

The pregnant grapes are quiet; the bough is secure.

Half-hidden, the red leaf watches me . . .

Try to find words, he whispers,

Go ahead. Try.

Words will not say it.

Forget about words.

Lovely! And our thanks to Mary Ann and Mary for sharing these fine creations with us. You can find out how you too can be inspired at the Watermill by clicking here.

Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça, tutors at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Pastel tutor Rebecca de Mendonça picks those grapes on the vine verandah.

A gentle, transforming and inspiring yoga week in peaceful rural Tuscany

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.We are delighted to welcome two amazing young American yoga teachers to the Watermill this Summer, Amy Rogg and Joanne Brohmer.

With their students using words like ‘joy’ and ‘magical about them, Amy and Joanne will help you to awaken and restore your true passion and self-worth. We are sure this is going to be one of our most inspiring retreats –a sun-filled, fun-filled week where we’ll nurture your mind, body and spirit.

Amy and Joanne’s week will run from Saturday 25 August to Saturday 1 September 2018. The theme of the retreat will be ‘Connection’ – to yourself, to others and to nature.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Amy Rogg is a yoga teacher and movement facilitator working on transforming the human spirit through holistic arts. She is based in San Francisco, California, USA.

Amy helps people to awaken and restore their passion and self-worth, inspiring them to move towards their vulnerability and authenticity. She brings people back into their innate knowledge and wisdom, through a deeper connection to their body, breath, and personal expression.

 

 

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.As a healer, Joanne Brohmer offers a range of modalities that helps others enter into their own depth and set their anchor deeper, where they can begin to claim and feel what has been hard to reach. She helps bring what has been blocked forward into the safe home of acceptance and embrace. She facilitates bringing others to that soft, open, vulnerable place in a way that feels safe.

Participants on our yoga retreat with Amy and Joanne enjoy SEVEN nights at the Watermill, with full board. Everything is included in the cost of the retreat: workshops, accommodation (including all linen and towels), tours, 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). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest! You can see a draft itinerary by clicking here.

Come and practise your yoga and meditation in the tranquil heart of rural Tuscany and let us nurture your mind, body and spirit.

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

 

 

 

 

Andrew is fast and loose with buildings, too!

Painting by Andrew Geeson, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.In recent weeks we’ve shown you quite a few of the wonderful loose watercolours of flowers and fruits by Andrew Geeson, our exciting new English painting tutor. (You can see some examples by clicking here or here.)

But you may have been wondering what he’s like with buildings and how he might capture the walled Medieval towns, castles, convents and hilltop villages we’ll visit during his week-long painting course with us in June.Andrew busy-street-with-tram

The answer is he’s just as fast and loose with architecture as he is with flora, as you can see from the examples scattered about this post.

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

So, whether you want to draw geraniums or gables, roses or roofs, Andrew’s your man. Come and join him for a fast and loose watercolour time at The Watermill. He will be with us from Saturday 23 to Saturday 30 June 2018. There’s a link to more details about his course below. There are only a few places left.

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!”

Back on fruit and flowers, here’s a pair or Andrew’s pears!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.”Painting by Andrew Geeson, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara 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!

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.

 

Seductively simple images from Andrew

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

We love the simplicity of these beguiling images from Watermill watercolour tutor Andrew Geeson and we can’t wait to see him in action for his first-ever course here in June.

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

We’d love you to join us and learn all about Andrew’s fast and loose watercolour technique to capture the world about you with your brush.

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

We are looking forward to watching Andrew work around the Watermill and in our lovely Tuscan countryside when he visits us this Summer. He will be with us from Saturday 23 to Saturday 30 June 2018. There’s a link to more details about his course here below. There are only a few places left.

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.”

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!

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 Andree Geeson, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

A Watermill Photographic competition: your chance to capture the unique atmosphere of The Watermill and win a free creative holiday

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

Many of our guests arriving at The Watermill say: It’s so beautiful and peaceful here. The photographs just don’t do it justice!”

Yes, it is difficult to portray the unique ambiance and fun-filled atmosphere of The Watermill during our inspiring creative courses, whether its painting, creative writing knitting, Italian language or yoga.Phil knitting in dining room 11

So, we thought, who better to capture the spirit of The Watermill than our guests, and we also thought, why not encourage them to do so by inaugurating an annual Watermill Photographic Competition? And why not have a cracking First Prize of a week’s free holiday at The Watermill on one of our week-long creative courses?

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

And we’ve done just that with a competition that is open to all our guests coming on creative courses in 2018*.

It’s simple really: first prize goes to the photograph we judge to be the one that most reflects the ambiance of the mill. We are particularly interested in shots that show our ‘students’ in action, both at ‘work’ and play, although we’d also like to see great photos of the Watermill, its grounds and the surrounding countryside, and of the flora and fauna that abound in this environmentally protected area.

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

The winner will be offered a free week-long creative holiday at the Watermill in 2019, of his or her choice, subject to availability.

There will be five runner-up prizes, of £GBP 200 off a creative holiday at The Watermill in 2019, subject to availability.

  • The competition is open to anyone who has stayed at the Watermill, this year or *in previous years.
  • *The competition is not open to professional photographers.
  • The closing date is 31 October 2018.
  • The winners will be notified in the first week of January 2019.
  • The judges will be Lois and Bill Breckon, Maggie Renner Hellman, Sandra Strohschein, Mike Willdridge and Tim Wilmot.
  • The judges’ decision is final.
  • If other people are in the picture, the entrant should have asked their permission to photograph them.
  • The Watermill reserves the right to use any of these pictures, with due acknowledgment, for publicity purposes.

Macfie millstreamTo enter you can submit up to five photographs. They should be sent electronically as high-resolution JPG files, with a minimum size of 1 mb. You should send your pictures to Bill Breckon via WeTransfer. Go to https://wetransfer.com/. Bill’s contact email for this process is bill@medialliance.net.

Please join in the fun and submit the best photos taken during your visit this year. We look forward to seeing them all. (We’ve scattered a few images around this blog. Our thanks to those who took them.)

To learn more about The Watermill and all our activities, please click here.

A photograph of the mill and the riverside gardens.

A photograph of the mill and the riverside gardens.

 

Artistic postcards: Here’s another from Sandra

Painting by Sandra Strohschein, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Yesterday, you may remember, we showed you some of the postcards our painting tutor Michel Willdridge makes for his grandchildren whenever he is away.  And today, I discovered another artistic postcard from our delightful artist in residence Sandra Strohschein. She’ll be with us for four weeks this May/June, so she’ll have plenty of time to make lots of cards, like the one above.

Why not come and join her? Her first two weeks here are sold out, but we’ve spaces on the week 9-16 June and 16-23 June. More details below.

Oh, and here’s yet another artistic postcard, or rather an artistic icon made into a postcard. I wonder what Michelangelo would have written?  “Ceiling taking longer than I thought. Client difficult. Wish I was at The Watermill.”

Blog Sandra michangelo postcards

Michelangelo won’t make it here, but you can!

Sandra Strohschein is our ‘painter in residence’ for most of June next year: she will be with us for four weeks, from May 26 to June 23. They promise to be the greatest fun. 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.”

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

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

We had a wonderful course with Sandra last 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 garden and painting

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.

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

 

PS. If you don’t want to make you own postcards, we’ll give you some of ours free — and provide free stamps!

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, on a free postcard!

 

Join Mike and make your own postcard memories

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 has just been visiting his daughter and grandchildren in Australia and he tells me: “For the last eight years, wherever I’ve travelled, I’ve drawn postcards for all my grandchildren (now four of them) and I was surprised to find so many of the cards posted on my daughter’s kitchen cabinets here in Australia.” Above is a card that Mike sent last year from the Isles of Scilly, off the South-west of England. And here’s another:

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

Mike says: “Both are drawn in watercolour and ink and are based on found objects from the beaches.”

And here are a few more Mike found in his daughter’s house, made on an earlier trip to Australia, all influenced by indigenous art.

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.

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

Mike says: “You may recall that I’ve often encouraged my students at the Watermill to make postcards for their loved ones. No doubt those coming to me this year will receive the same treatment!

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. 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 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

 

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.