Archives for April 2018

We’re waiting to welcome Sandra under our Tuscan sun: you can still join us!

Painting by Sandra Strohschein, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Here’s a fine watercolour of part of the Watermill courtyard by our early Summer ‘artist in residence’ Sandra Strohschein. She calls it Tuscan Sun and we are expecting plenty of that during Sandra’s four weeks with us in May and June.

Some 40 painters, accompanied by eight non-painting partners, are signed up for these weeks, but we do have room for a few more. Please see below.

Sandra says: The Watermill is one of my favourite place to paint and the hospitality is out of this world. “I’ve made so many great friends there over the years and I am looking forward to meeting many of them again as well as making new friends during our painting weeks.

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

Sandra teaching in the Watermill walled garden

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.”

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

Sandra under the roses

Sandra 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.”


Sandra plus picSandra Strohschein
Watercolours

26 May to 2 June 2018 Fully booked, waiting list open
2 June to 9 June 2018 
 One place left (or two sharing)

To learn more about Sandra, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page


Sandra plus picSandra Strohschein
Watercolours

9 June to 16 June 2018 Two places left 
16 June to 23 June 2018 
 One place left (or two sharing)

To learn more about Sandra, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page

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

A morning sketch on a Watermill balcony

Make sure you have a steady foundation for your standing yoga pose, says Amy

Before entering any standing pose, says our yoga guru Amy Rogg, it is important to take time grounding your feet and building your lower body foundation, before raising your upper body off the ground.

Amy says: “Too many times I see students rushing to get to a pose without caring for their connection to the ground first. And when they come up, they are more likely to wobble and lose their balance. You wouldn’t build a house without a steady foundation or else the house would not be able to withstand the test of time. The ground is a powerful thing. It is what holds us and supports us. We are always connected to the earth the entirety of our living existence, so we might as well take our time to ground into it.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.“In doing yoga postures, the key is to root down in order to lift up. So next time you’ve placed your foot between your hands from downward dog (no matter what pose you’re coming into) make sure you take time to plant your feet fully, root down, activate your core and legs, and feel your lower body balance before you raise your arms off the ground. Maybe even close your eyes to feel your steadiness for a moment. Then slowly have the experience of raising your arms up while keeping your foundation strong.”

Amy says: “When you arrive in the pose, you will feel much more empowered in your stance, giving the upper body safety to express itself. In all, the more grounding you establish, the more confidence and calm you will feel.”

Amy and her colleague Joanne Brohmer are running a wonderful yoga retreat at the Watermill this Summer. So close your eyes and dream of beautiful Tuscany, amazing food and restorative yoga. 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.

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.

Amy and Joanne H&SAmy Rogg & Joanne Brohmer
25 August to 1 September 2018 – still plenty of places
Yoga retreat
To learn more about Amy and Joanne and their course at The Watermill, please visit their Tutor Page

Yoga girl

 

Watermill creative courses: grab those last few places!

Here’s an April note to keep you up to date on current availability on the world-famous Watermill creative holidays.

As you see, quite a few courses are fully booked (but there are waiting lists if you are keen on a particular tutor and there may be cancellations). We’d love you to join us on one of our sun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring courses, so if you’d like to come, now is the time to reserve your place.

*** Why not bring your non-participating partner as well? There’s a generous £250 discount for him/her if they share a room with you – and there’s plenty for them to do. Have a look at our Partner’s Activities Page for suggestions.

Painting courses

paul plus picPaul Talbot-Greaves
28 April to 5 May 2018 
Watercolours (and acrylics)

Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Paul, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page.


maggie plus picMaggie Renner Hellmann
19 May to 26 May 2018 
‘Courageous Color Workshop’

One place left (or two sharing)

To learn more about Maggie, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page


Sandra plus picSandra Strohschein
Watercolours

26 May to 2 June 2018 Fully booked, waiting list open
2 June to 9 June 2018 
One place left (or two sharing)

To learn more about Sandra, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page


Sandra plus picSandra Strohschein
Watercolours

9 June to 16 June 2018 Two/three places left 
16 June to 23 June 2018 
 One place left (or two sharing)

To learn more about Sandra, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page


Andrew plus picAndrew Geeson
Watercolours

23 June to 30 June 2018  Two/three places left 

To learn more about Andrew, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page


terry plus picTerry Jarvis
Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics)

7 July to 14 July 2018 Still plenty of places

To learn more about Terry, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page


Nel and Bec plus picRebecca de Mendonça & Nel Whatmore
Pastels

1 September to 8 September 2018 One place left (or two sharing)

To learn more about Rebecca & Nel, their course and to see more of their pictures, please visit their Profile Page


mike plus picMike Willdridge
Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics with an emphasis on sketching and drawing on location)

8 September to 15 September 2018 Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Mike, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page


Painting by Claire Warner, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Claire Warner 
Watercolours (and oils and acrylics)
15 September to 22 September 2018 Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Claire, her course and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page


vicki plus picVicki Norman
Oils en plein air

6 October to 13 October 2018  Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Vicki, her course at the mill and to see more of her pictures, please visit her Profile Page


Tim plus picTim Wilmot
Watercolours

13 October to 20 October 2018  Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Tim, his course at the mill and to see more of his pictures, please visit his Profile Page


Knitting holidays

aperitivi and laughter

Sarah Hazell
Knitting and La Bella Vita
5 May to 12 May 2018 One place left (or two sharing) 

To learn more about Sarah and her courses at the mill, please visit her Profile Page


The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Marie Wallin – course full, waiting list open
Knitting and La Bella Vita

14 July to 21 July 2018 Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Marie and her course at the mill, please visit her Profile Page


The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Lisa Richardson 
Knitting and La Bella Vita

29 September to 6 October 2018 Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Lisa and her course at the mill, please visit her Profile Page


Writing course

Jo Parfitt
Write Your Life Stories

18 August to 25 August 2018 Four places left
22 September to 29 September 2018  Fully booked, waiting list open

To learn more about Jo and her course at The Watermill, please visit her Profile Page


Italian language course

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

30 June to 7 July 2018 Fully booked, waiting list open

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


Yoga retreat

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

Amy Rogg & Joanne Brohmer 
Nourish – mind, body and soul

25 August to 1 September 2018  Still plenty of places

To learn more about Amy and Joanne and their course at The Watermill, please visit their Tutor Page


Everything’s included in your watermill painting holiday, yoga retreat, creative writing holiday, knitting week or Italian Language course

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

Don’t forget that everything is included in the cost of your week: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport; an excursion by train to visit the ancient walled city of Lucca or the stunning seaside villages of the Cinque Terre). All you have to do is to get to Pisa airport and we do the rest.

Whether you’re travelling alone or with a partner you can be sure of a warm welcome, and that you’ll be well looked after. We have built our reputation on the comfort of the mill and the care we provide.

 

 

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A sinful monk but a sublime painter, the story behind our Lippi Suite

Continuing our tales of the Renaissance artists who have given their names to Watermill bedrooms and apartment suites, today is the turn of Filippo Lippi. Although a monk, Filippo was also a womaniser, a forger and an inveterate liar. He was also one of the great painters of his time.

Georgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists tells a typical tale: “He was taken into great favour by Cosimo de’ Medici, but being devoted to pleasure, he neglected his work for it. Cosimo therefore, when he was working for him in his house, caused him to be shut in, so that he could not go out and waste his time; but he, cutting up the sheets of the bed with a pair of scissors, made a rope and let himself down by the window. When after many days he returned to his work, Cosimo gave him his liberty, considering the peril he had run, and sought to keep him for the future by many favours, and so he served him more readily, saying that genius is a heavenly being, and not a beast of burden.”

Yes, he was a sublime painter, the teacher of Sandro Botticelli and the father (by a nun!) of the great frescoist Filippino Lippi. One of my favourite paintings is Filippo’s Virgin and childe with two angels in the Uffizi: 

Come and be inspired (artistically) by the Lippis. Our Lippi Suite has two bedrooms (the large, Filippo, the smaller Filippino!), so it is ideal for a couple or two friends sharing  That’s the sitting room above, and here’s the main bedroom — and you won’t need a knotted bed sheet to get out!

The Lippi Suite is still available for Sandra Strohschein’s painting course, from Saturday 9 June to Saturday 16 June and Terry Jarvis’ painting course from Saturday 7 July to Saturday 14 July. It is also free for Jo Parfitt’s Writing your Life’s Stories, from Saturday 18 August to Saturday 25 August and Amy Rogg and Joanne Brohmer‘s yoga retreat from Saturday 25 August to Saturday 1 September.

 Sandra plus picSandra Strohshein

Watercolours

Places left: 2-9 June AND 9-16 June 2018

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

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.

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 

Write Your Life Stories

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

Amy and Joanne H&SAmy Rogg & Joanne Brohmer
25 August to 1 September 2018 – still plenty of places
Yoga retreat
To learn more about Amy and Joanne and their course at The Watermill, please visit their Tutor Page

Be inspired by the towering genius of the Renaissance in the Brunelleschi bedroom

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Continuing our notes of the Renaissance artists whose names grace the Watermill bedrooms and apartment suites, today we come to my great hero, Filippo Brunelleschi, to my mind the towering genius of the early Renaissance.

As well as designing and supervising the construction of the incomparable dome of Florence cathedral (above), Filippo invented linear perspective, designed the first new-classical building since Roman times, the Ospedale degli Innocenti and created the sublime space of the Pazzi chapel in the cloisters of Santa Croce. With his one-time apprentice Donatello (who re-created classical sculpture) and his patron Cosimo (Medici) the Elder (who led the re-discovery of Greek and Roman texts and promoted Humanism), Brunelleschi can truly be regarded as the father of the Renaissance. He’s the presiding genius of my detective novel A Matter of Perspective set in 15th Century Florence. You can see more about that by clicking here (UK)  or here (Worldwide).

The bedroom at the Watermill which bears his name is a superior double room, also available for single occupancy, with an en suite shower room. It enjoys a large roof terrace overlooking the courtyard and gardens and with amazing views of the mountains. Like all the bedrooms for our 2019 creative courses, Brunelleschi is pretty full this year, but he’s free for Sandra Strohschein’s painting week from Saturday 2 June to Saturday 9 June, for Terry Jarvis’ painting week from Saturday 7 July to Saturday 14 July and for Amy Rogg and Joanne Brohmer’s yoga retreat from Saturday 25 August to Saturday 1 September.

Join us and Filippo and be inspired!

 Sandra plus picSandra Strohshein

Watercolours

Places left: 2-9 June AND 19-16 June 2018

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

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.

Amy and Joanne H&SAmy Rogg & Joanne Brohmer
25 August to 1 September 2018 – still plenty of places
Yoga retreat
To learn more about Amy and Joanne and their course at The Watermill, please visit their Tutor Page

 *** Why not bring your non-painting partner as well? There’s a generous £250 discount for him/her if they share a room with you — and there’s plenty for them to do. Have a look at our Partner’s Activities suggestions by clicking here.

 

Come on in through the revolving door and paint here with Sandra!

Sometimes at this time of year Watermill bookings feel like a revolving door: people come in, but the occasional one or two go out! We’re pretty full this year with all the bookings coming in, but we invariable have a few cancellations, usually for legitimate medical reasons. We quite understand, but want to encourage a few more of you to come in through that door!

This has been the case with our lovely early Summer ‘tutor in residence’ Sandra Strohschein, who will be with use for four weeks in May and June.

Due to cancellations, we now have the Brunelleschi bedroom free for Sandra’s week from Saturday 2 June to Saturday 9 June and The Lippi Suite and the Uccello bedroom free for Sandra’s week from Saturday 9 June to Saturday 16 June.

So why not take a spin through our revolving door and come and join us at the Watermill? We’d love to welcome you here.

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

Sandra teaching in the walled garden

Sandra says:  The Watermill is one of my favourite place to paint and the hospitality is out of this world. “I’ve made so many great friends there over the years and I am looking forward to meeting many of them again as well as making new friends during our painting weeks.

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.”

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

Sandra under the roses in the walled garden

Sandra 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.”  

 Sandra plus picSandra Strohshein

Watercolours

Places left: 2-9 June AND 19-16 June 2018

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

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

A morning sketch on a Watermill balcony

The rare and perfect talent of Fra Angelico to inspire your creative week at the Watermill

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.I had such fun yesterday writing about Lorenzo Ghiberti and his eponymous bedroom at the Watermill that today I thought I’d introduce you to Fra Angelico, whose bedroom is one floor below in the 19th Century Tuscan House in the main courtyard.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.Fra Angelico is one of the great early Renaissance artists (my favourite period), perhaps best known for his amazing frescoes in the Monastery of San Marco in Florence. He also had/has a sackful of names!

He started life as (in 1395) as Guido di Pietro, but was known to contemporaries as Fra Giovanni da Fiesole (Brother John from Fiesole) and, later, Fra Giovanni Angelico (Angelic Brother John). A devout man, he was/is known in Italian as il beato Angelico (the blessed Angelic One) and in 1982, Pope John Paul II made if official by beatifying him. The English usage Fra Angelico means Angelic Friar. To the left is Giuseppe Simonelli’s posthumous portrait of him in a fresco in Orvieto cathedral.

He had “rare and perfect talent,” according to Georgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists, who added: “It is impossible to bestow too much praise on this holy father, who was so humble and modest in all that he did and said and whose pictures were painted with such facility and piety.” 

This is Fra Angelico’s Annunciation in Florence’s San Marco, in all its simplicity, harmony and purity. And don’t you just love the Archangel Gabriel‘s wings?

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

We hope the angelic friar and the other Renaissance masters after whom we have named our bedrooms inspire your painting while you are with us (and your knitting, writing, yoga and Italian language speaking, too, come to that.) But if you want to bond particularly with Fra Angelico, his bedroom is having a busy season too. In fact, his bedroom is only still available for three weeks all season. He’s fully occupied the rest of the time!

You can stay in Fra Angelico on Terry Jarvis’ painting course from 7-14 July, Jo Parfitt’s first Writing your Life Stories course, from 18-25 August and on Amy and Joanne’s yoga retreat week, from 25 August to 1 September.

Come and join us!

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.

Jo plus pic

Jo Parfitt
18 August to 25 August 2018 

Write Your Life Stories

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

 Amy and Joanne H&SAmy Rogg & Joanne Brohmer

25 August to 1 September 2018 

Yoga retreat

To learn more about Amy and Joanne and their course at The Watermill, please visit their Tutor Page

Come and make Lorenzo Ghiberti happy, by knitting or painting!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.I wonder if I have done anything to upset old Lorenzo Ghiberti?  True, I suggested in my novel A Matter of Perspective that he looked like a greengrocer and was always going on about the prestige of his patrons, the importance of his commissions and the size of his fees. And he was the arch-rival of my hero Filippo Brunelleschi, creator of the breath-taking, incomparable dome of Florence cathedral.

But even I admit that Lorenzo’s capolavoro, the second set of bronze doors he created for the baptistry in Florence, is a work of exuberant genius. Michelangelo was right to describe them as worthy to be the gates of paradise. Here’s the panel with Joshua and Jericho:

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

These musings are prompted by the curious fact that while we only have two spaces left on our first four courses, both of them are in our Ghiberti bedroom. They are for Sarah Hazell’s knitting week from Saturday 5 May to Saturday 12 May 2018 and for Maggie Renner Hellmann’s painting week from Saturday 19 May to Saturday 26 May 2018.

The Ghiberti bedroom (above) is a lovely room, with en suite bathroom and wonderful views over the courtyard, the walled garden and the high Apennine mountains beyond. It’s a double bedroom, available for single occupancy. It’s precisely the same as the Fra Angelico bedroom one floor beneath, and the angelic brother is fully occupied (if you see what I mean) for the first nine creative weeks.

So why not make two old men happy, me and Lorenzo Ghiberti, and join us to knit and paint in our own paradise in Posara? We’d love to welcome you here.

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 Only Ghiberti free!

Sarah Hazell

Knitting and La Bella Vita 

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

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 plus pic

19-26 May 2018 Only Ghiberti free!

Maggie Renner Hellmann

Oils, acrylics, pastels, watercolours

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

Can you help Lydia’s musical ambitions? And win the chance of a free creative holiday at The Watermill!

My lovely elder daughter Lydia’s burning ambition for as long as she can remember is to work in musical theatre — and she’s just been accepted into New York University’s Graduate Writing Musical Theatre Programme as a Composer! This is a two-year Masters programme at the prestigious Tisch School of Arts, starting this Autumn. The school boasts many alumni with Oscars and Emmys!

Lydia says: “I’m beyond ecstatic and genuinely shook!”

Of course, it is very expensive! Lydia has won a scholarship which covers some of the fees, but now she’s now working like mad to try to raise more money for the rest of her fees and living expenses. She’s working at Zara in the UK to earn money, putting in her own savings and she’s looking everywhere for student grants and loans, And, of course, the Bank of Mum and Dad are helping all they can!

But Lydia wants to raise as much money as she can by her own efforts, so she has also set up a crowdfunding site at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/lydias-quest-help-get-me-to-nyu for anyone who can help with a donation, however small. Clicking here will take you there and you can hear Lydia singing a song for you about her dream. She’s also created a Facebook page called Lydia’s Quest, which you can visit by clicking here.

And we at The Watermill thought we’d try to enlist the help of our hundreds of friends and followers, too. We are offering the chance of a free holiday on one of our famous creative courses at the Watermill next year – painting, creative writing, Italian language or knitting — for everyone who donates £100 (or dollar or Euro equivalent)

If you donate that amount, we’ll put your name in a lottery draw for a free creative week at the Watermill in 2019. It will be for a week-long course of your choice, subject to availability.

And if you’d prefer to donate a smaller amount, Lydia will thank you with her own reward: Donate £50 and win a Commissioned Song. Lydia says: “I will work with you to create the style, range and vibe you want. I will also provide a backing track and teaching session.”

 Or donate £20 and Lydia will give you a one-hour music lesson: “It can be in piano, voice or music theory, either in person or over Skype.”

We are so proud of Lydia, not only in her achievement in being accepted by Tish and NYU, but also for her determination to make it all happen – and we’d be more than grateful for your help. So please click here to see how to make your donation and who knows, even win a free Watermill creative holiday!

With many thanks.

Lois and Bill and The Watermill team

How to paint daffodils, by Paul Talbot-Greaves

Painting by Paul Tablot-Greaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Here’s a topical painting tip from Watermill tutor Paul Talbot-Greaves, as hosts of golden daffodils are blooming to welcome the Spring. Paul has some insights on the best ways to capture their beauty.

First, Paul drew out the main shapes of the petals and flowers (above), as a guideline rather than an outline. He says: “I always prefer to draw with the brush whilst I paint. For this short painting I used Moulin du Roy, 300gm NOT surface paper, which is a soft cotton paper with a slight texture and is ideal for flower paintings or any kind of detailed work. I dampened some parts of the paper and washed Winsor lemon over the daffodils, leaving white where the most intense light could be seen. The damp paper helped to make the light shapes soft.”

Painting by Paul Tablot-Greaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.When everything was dry, Paul used a size 6 mop brush to apply the rich background. He says: A size 6 sounds small, but the sizing of mop brushes is different to normal round brushes and in fact, this is quite a big brush. I used strong applications of viridian and alizarin crimson, mixed on the paper whilst I painted the negative shapes around the petals. I’m not over careful and you can see how I haven’t meticulously painted up to pencil edges.”

Painting by Paul Talbot-Greaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Paul says: “When all the washes were dry, I applied the main shapes and colours of the daffodils using a size 3 mop brush. What is important here is to concentrate on the subtle changes of the yellow as it is affected by light. I added alizarin crimson to the Winsor lemon to make a warmer yellow for the deeper sunlit shades. For cooler shade, I used viridian with the yellow and in most other areas, just yellow.

“I allowed the shapes and colours to fuse whilst they were wet, then after they had dried I applied only a limited amount of further definition. I held off working any more detail as in my mind, simplicity works better than overly done definition.”

Paul Talbot-Greaves will be making his first trip to the Watermill in a few weeks’ time. His 2018 course is fully booked, but we have a special offer if you would like to book for his painting week here in 2019.  

We will not be publishing full details of our 2019 courses on our Watermill website until September 2018, but Paul will be with us again from Saturday 27 April – Saturday 4 May 2019.  *Book now to come on Paul’s 2019 course at 2018 prices (you can see these by clicking here) To enquire about availability and/or reserve your place, simply email Bill Breckon direct: bill@medialliance.net.