Archives for February 2018

Maggie, sunflower petals and an Italian mathematician

Painting by Maggie Renner Hoffmann, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.I used this wonderful sunflower painting by watermill painting tutor Maggie Renner Hellman (with due accreditation) in an article I’ve just written for the English-speaking newspaper The Florentine about an Italian mathematician called Leonardo Fibonacci.

Next time you see one, count a sunflower’s petals, and invariably you’ll find there are 34 or 55 or 89. And look at the spirals of seed pods in the head: they usually come in sets: 21 one way with 34 the other; or 34 and 55; or 55 and 89; or even 89 and 144. All these are Fibonacci Numbers, part of a sequence of numbers discovered by the 13th Century Italian mathematician. Each number in the ‘Fibonacci Sequence’ is the sum of the previous two: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377… These numbers keep cropping all over nature, not just in sunflowers. I’ll tell you more when The Florentine article is published.Sharon tuscan wild flowers

It’s going to be a little early for sunflowers during Maggie’s course here this May, but there’ll be plenty of other flowers to paint. The photograph above of Tuscan wild flowers was taken near the Watermill in May.

So why not join us? We’ve only one room left on Maggie’s sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring course, so hurry if you’d like to come. (I’ll show you Fibonacci numbers in an apple and a banana as well!)

We can promise you bright days and enthusiastic and inspiring tuition when Maggie joins us here again this May for another of her Courageous Colo(u)r workshops.

Here’s what some of her guests said about her course here last year: 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

Here’s a lovely oil painting by Maggie, of the village of Vernazza in the Cinque Terre. It is based on a sketch she made there during her week here and completed in her studio:

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

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

Maggie is also an enthusiastic tutor who has been teaching for more than 15 years – and loves it! Her workshop will cover oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolour. She will encourage the beginner and challenge the more advanced painter. Maggie says: “In this plein air workshop, we will paint in various spectacular Tuscan locations. You’ll learn about, and practise, the core elements of successful paintings – color, composition, focal point, light source, values, positive & negative shapes, volumes, edges, brushwork & perspective, as well as how to use contrasts to give excitement and drama to your paintings and much more!”

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!

maggie plus pic

9-16 May 2018 

Maggie Renner Hellmann

Oils, acrylics, pastels, watercolours

One place left (or two people sharing)

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.

 

 

Pastel happiness is dirty hands!

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

If happiness is watercolour painting, as Sandra Strohschein said yesterday, then part of pastel happiness is getting you hands dirty. That certainly seems to be the case for our pastel tutor Nel Whatmore. That’s Nel above, having just finished a floral pastel at Harlow Carr Rhs garden, the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden in North Yorkshire, England, where she is artist in residence.

Here’s Nel’s finished pastel (the flower is Iris reticulata)

Nel iris

The beauty of pastels is that you hold pure pigment in your hand,” says Nel, who ran a wonderful pastel course at the Watermill last year with her colleague Rebecca de Mendonça“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 11 bookings on this course, three of whom are non-painting partners, so we have room for three or four more painters. 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

Three or four places

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