Archives for July 2018

The Watermill through the trees

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.On a recent ‘constitutional’ walk up the steep panoramic road towards Angino, we took this picture of the Watermill through the trees. Doesn’t it look peaceful? We are enjoying our Summer break here, with British, French and Italian friends, before heading off for a few days in London and Paris.

We are delighted to say that all our creative courses for the rest of 2018 are fully booked — although we have just had a cancellation for Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça’s outstanding pastel course this September, so there’s room for one more:

Nel and Bec plus pic

Pastels

Nel Whatmore and Rebecca de Mendonça

1-8 September 2018 One place available

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

Bookings are now flowing in for our 2019 courses: nearly 100 people have already reserved their place. You have just over a month to take advantage of our tempting ‘2019 courses at 2018 prices’ , which ends at the end of August. More about all our fun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring creative courses can be found in our 2019 preview by clicking here.

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

Nel captures the magical morning light on a Watermill terrace.

The Watermill’s war on plastic

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

We’ve become increasing embarrassed at the Watermill by the amount of plastic waste we’ve been generating. We have a big green Eurobin in our carpark dedicated solely to plastic waste for recycling and every week it has been stuffed to the gunnels.

Every time we see a picture like the one below, we feel an accusatory finger pointing our way!

Our chief culprits are plastic water bottles. We’ve been providing bottled water free to our guests, conscious that in the warm weather everyone needs to be properly hydrated. In particular, our painting guests take water bottles out on location and they’ve been getting though a least a bottle a day. Creative writing, knitting and Italian language guests swig a fair number too – and so they should.

Cost is not an issue: we get special ‘loss leader’ offers from our local supermarket, so six litres of water costs us a mere one Euro. No, it’s that overflowing plastics bin that made us feel we were contributing to global environmental pollution.

So, we’ve come up with a solution to look after our guests and keep them happy waterwise. That’s Lois above demonstrating the solution in action.  We have purchased a couple of dozen robust stainless steel vacuum flasks and we’ve marked each one with a number. We loan a flask to each of our guests for their creative week. They fill them with water at the tap from our mains supply and can even cool their water with ice from our new ice-making machine. Each week the flasks are sterilised in our dishwasher, for re-use by the incoming guests.

It’s just a bit more of a faff than plucking a plastic bottle from the fridge. But we reckon it’s worth it – and our guests on last week’s knitting course, the first to try the new experiment, all thought it a great idea and worth the (slight) effort. We hope you agree!

We are becoming even more environmentally friendly here.

The Watermill is surrounded by two environmentally protected areas: the National Park of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and the Regional Park of the Apuan Alps. The air and the water are pure and unpolluted, and the area abounds in wildlife.

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

A swallowtail butterfly at the Watermill. Picture: Lara Breckon

We have undertaken sensitive restoration, seeking where possible to incorporate modern energy-saving construction methods in the upgrading process, from insulated roofs to double-glazed windows. We source all our food locally wherever possible, growing some of our own and using local suppliers and producers.

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

Tomatoes fresh from the Watermill garden.

In our next phase of development, we plan not only to restore the roofs and walls of the water-powered turbine mill (Mill 2), but also to incorporate photovoltaic panels in the restored roof structures, to generate ‘green’ electricity.

 

 

And there are (sorry!) no plastic ducks in our bathrooms…

Too many of us get lost at sea!

 

A week’s work well done. Knitting with Marie at the Watermill

We’ve just completed a lovely knitting week with Marie Wallin and here are two of the participants, Andrea Gostic and Janet Woods, holding up some examples of the finished work on one of Marie’s projects, a fairisle Tam.

Everyone seemed to have a fun time and the sun shone every day. As another guest, June McBain, said: “Thank you both for making a brilliant week of knitting even better.  As usual, the Watermill was amazing with wonderful food, great room and wall-to-wall sunshine.”

We have tremendous interest in Marie’s knitting courses, so much so that her 2019 course is already fully booked! But there’s a waiting list if you’d like to join it.

And we still have spaces with our other inspiring knitting courses with Sarah Hazell and Debbie Abrahams. Please click here to see a 2019 preview.

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

Knitting concentration on Sarah’s course, by guest Phil Wright

 

Come and enjoy a ‘fabulous’, ‘awesome’, ‘impeccable’ painting week at the Watermill with Sandra

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.We’ve just had a lovely ‘thank you note’ from Veronica Spalding, a guest on one of Sandra Strohschein’s weeks in June. She writes: “Thank you for a really fabulous week.  Your kindness and hospitably, made us all feel so relaxed and spoilt. Sandra was very charming, and I learnt a lot from her.  It really was the most wonderful week, in a most beautiful and unique setting. Thank you both again for one of the best holidays I have experienced…”

That’s Veronica above, with another of our guests on that painting week, Sandhya Todi. Sandhya also wrote to us; “I am just back from an awesomely fantastic week at the Watermill…  Sandy is a superb artist; which we all know from her works. Apart from that, she is an excellent instructor & doesn’t hold back even the tiniest secrets of how she has reached where she is now & shares all her big and small tips with her students. It was a great experience and good fun to embrace a totally new style of painting under her guidance.

“As for Bill & Lois – could there be better hosts than them? They have displayed absolutely courteous and impeccable care in looking after us – right from the smallest individual requirements to taking care of the group as a whole. I think it was flawless.
“And the Watermill – wow – what a property, the sound of the gushing stream, the hundreds of chirping birds at dawn, the church bells (not to forget their school bell), the vast spread of greens & flowers all around, the well maintained rooms & the feeling of welcome all the time.

“We were treated to lovely meals, beautifully plated at each meal & served in great style, Here I must mention that without a single error, they took care of our special dietary requirements, whether at the Watermill or at a restaurant in the villages.
Thank you Bill & Lois for a wonderful experience.”

Can you feel our blushes? But we are delighted to have spread a little happiness as we go by…

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

Come and enjoy creativity and fun. Picture Keith Strohschein

Why not come and see what all the fuss is about, on Sandra Strohschein’s or any of our other creative weeks next year. We’d love you to join us.

Sandra will be here for two weeks next year, from Saturday 1 June to Saturday 8 June 2019 and from Saturday 8 June to Saturday 15 June 2019.

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

A welcoming smile from Sandra

But it looks like you’ll have to get your skates on to be sure of a place: we already have eight bookers for her first week in 2019 and nine bookers for the second. So, as they say, ‘book now to avoid disappointment’, especially as there’s a ‘2019 courses at 2018 prices offer’ until September this year. You can find out more about Sandra’s inspiring weeks and all our other creative courses in 2019, by clicking here.

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

More about our all our  creative courses can be found in our 2019 preview by clicking here.And don’t forget that enticing offer of ‘2019 courses at 2018 prices’ if you book now.

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

 

Another use of knitting needles at the Watermill!

We’ve just started another brilliant knitting course here, with 12 ladies enjoying tackling the new projects for the week devised by our world-famous tutor Marie Wallin. (And a non-knitting partner, Håkan Wegandt, relaxing in the Summer sunshine.)

Here’s one of our guests, Andrea Gostick, on the Vine Verandah examining one of those projects, Marie’s fairisle Tam.

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

And there at the top of this story, courtesy of Gwynneth Allen, Marie’s companion and assistant, is another use for knitting needles!

My old friend and neighbour in nearby Fivizzano, David Trenerry, is helping renovate a house in the town and in the process of clearing out some of the possessions left behind by the previous owner, came across a box of old knitting needles. Where better to donate them, he though, than to a Watermill knitting course. The knitters admired the needles – and carried on knitting with their own – so Gwynneth thought it would be a good idea to add to the artistic ambiance of the Watermill by making a ‘knitting arrangement’, to add to the numerous paintings, sculptures and other artistic artefacts that grace the Watermill.

Not least among these is Marie’s wonderful fairisle square on the siting room wall. It wouldn’t be out of place in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

We have tremendous interest in Marie’s knitting courses, so much so that her 2019 course is already fully booked! But there’s a waiting list if you’d like to join it.

And we still have spaces with our other inspiring knitting courses with Sarah Hazell and Debbie Abrahams. Please click here to see a 2019 preview. And come and arrange your needles at the Watermill!

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

 

 

Arriverderci and grazie to a fun Watermill painting group

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Here are members of Terry Jarvis’s delightful painting group showing off some of their work after a final prosecco reception in the Watermill studio. Our thanks to our guests for making this a real fun-filled week. Farewell until we meet again.

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

Come and be inspired on one of our world-famous creative courses next year. You can see a preview of all our 2019 courses by clicking here https://watermill.net/wmprov2019/watermill-prov19.php and there’s an enticing ‘2019 courses at 2018 prices’ offer if you book now.

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

Picture: Michelle Kent

Come and join in the creative fun!

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

Terry demonstating in the Watermill garden

A rampart with a view… painting from the walls of Fivizzano, Tuscany

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

Picture: Michelle Kent

Some of Terry Jarvis’ students watching their tutor as he shows them how to try to capture the lovely view down the valley of the river Rosaro with the village of Posara, home of the Watermill, in the distance.

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

Terry’s picture of the valley view with Posara’s church tower in the distance

It’s not the easiest of paintings to master, but the setting couldn’t be finer, under the shade of the plane trees in the Piazza Belvedere. Especially if you’ve snapped up some bargains in Fivizzano’s Tuesday market in the main square – with lot of fun clothes and local produce on offer. And the market itself lends itself to painting and sketching too. Here’s Watermill guest Rocio Puerta immersed in the scene.

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

Fivizzano is just one of the great locations on every Watermill painting holiday: we also visit a 13th Century castle, a 17th Century monastery and a 100-year-old village with stunning views of the Apuan Alps, the marble mountains of Carrara.

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

The towering Apuan Alps

Why not come and see for yourself and capture this part of unspoilt Tuscany with your brush! You can see a preview of all our 2019 creative courses by clicking here – and there’s an enticing offer of ‘2019 courses at 2018 prices’ if you book now.

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

Painting at the Convento del Carmine

Happy painting!

‘Everything was magically suspended’ – a painting week at the Watermill

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

Picture: Sandra Strohchein

We have just received a charming card from BZ Meyers, who was a guest on one of Sandra Strohshein’s painting courses in June. She says: “Thank you for such a lovely and memorable week at the Watermill. It was although everything was magically suspended for a week and all I had to do was to show up for one delightful painting session after another with Sandra. Through your hospitality I felt part of a big family by the end of the week.”

Thank you so much for those kind words BZ. We really enjoyed your company. The picture above shows BZ enjoying friendly conversation with fellow guest Katherine Rice in the Watermill Walled Garden. And here are some members of another group of Sandra’s, showing off a painting they made together. Hsppy days!

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

Picture Keith Strohschein

Come and join us and take some magical time out of your busy lives. We’d be delighted to welcome you here. You know you deserve it.

More out our fun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring creative courses can be found in our 2019 preview by clicking here. And there’s an enticing offer of ‘2019 courses at 2018 prices’ if you book now.

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

Magical!

An unusual point of view makes a great picture

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Here’s a fascinating picture from Watermill painting guest Robert Christopher, who was with us a few weeks ago. It’s of one of our rustic picnic tables, on a terrace in the Riverside Gardens seen from above. This point of view leads to an intriguing and interesting composition.Thank you for sharing it with us, Robert

Robert is joining us again next year and we look forward to some more unusual viewpoints. And why don’t you subject the Watermill, its gardens and grounds, and the glorious surrounding scenery, to your own point of view on one of our inspiring painting courses?

There’s an enticing preview you can see by clicking here and a tempting unique offer of any of our 2019 painting courses at 2018 prices, if you book now.  Irresistible from any Point of View, we’d say!

Here’s another unusual viewpoint: erstwhile Watermill tutor Kevin Scully‘s take on a Panama hat.

And also viewed from above, students on Maggie Renner Hellman‘s course here earlier in the year show off their work:

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

Conversation and concentration while painting in the fresh Tuscan air

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

Terry Jarvis and two of our guests on a Watermill painting course, Cecilia Spence (right) and Joanne Ford (left) enjoy trying to capture the Tuscan light at the village of Verrucola.

Put yourself in the picture on one of our sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring painting courses next year. You can see an enticing preview by clicking here and there’s an enticing special offer of ‘2019 course at 2018 prices’ if you book now.

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

Terry helps another guest, Yvonne Swaney. Pictures by Michelle Kent