Archives for April 2018

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.

 

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

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.