Archives for October 2018

Carry a sketchbook and create instant memories says Mike Willdridge

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.The sketch above by our enthusiastic and inspiring watercolour painting tutor Mike Willdridge of the marketplace in the nearby mediaeval walled town of Fivizzano, where we go to on Tuesdays during our Watermill weeks. You can come and paint and sketch with Mike at the Watermill next June: there are more details about his 2019 painting course with us below. Or please click here for more details.

Mike always carries a sketchbook with him wherever he goes and considers it a vital part of his artistic life. He’d like you to do the same. He says: It’s incredible how looking back on a past sketchbook will instantly remind you not only of the subject matter but also quite personal feelings you may have experienced at the time. Try it! I don’t keep a diary but my sketchbooks (I have a lot of them) are an instant recall of many, many memories.”

Mike adds: “Maybe a good analogy is that of ‘smells’. How often does a certain smell straight-away remind you of something in your past? I suggest that It’s much the same with a sketchbook.” 

Here’s an example. Mike says: “From this paint and ink drawing I can recall vividly the wonderful old chateau we stayed at, the exact time of day, the people I spoke to whilst drawing etc. etc.”

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

Frog on a Fountain. Villa I Bossi, Arrezzo, Italy, 2014

A sketchbook can also be a great vehicle for gathering information. Mike says: “Maybe it’s for something specific – to help you with a ‘finished’ painting.  Maybe you have no idea why you’re using a sketchbook but, at a later date, it proves useful; an ‘aide-memoire’ to help you or inspire you towards another work.”

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

Two pages from visits to museums and galleries

“I don’t know whether you’ve noticed but, so far, I haven’t used the word “drawing”. This has been deliberately to emphasise that ‘anything goes’ for working in a sketchbook. Yes, most of my uses of a sketchbook involve drawing and painting but a sketchbook can also take found objects, cuttings, photos, written work, scribbled ideas, other people’s work (my grandchildren are always painting in my books), postcards etc., etc.”

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

A sketch of one of the small wooden bridges across the millstream at Posara

Mike concludes: “Sketchbooks can be very personal recorders of events in your life but there is no need to be precious about their use. You’re not likely to have to hang your sketchbook on a wall for all to see. The sketchbook can be, if you wish, a collection of memories and information for your eyes only.”Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Mike Willdridge works and teaches in a wide range of media and is an enthusiastic and energetic tutor with more than 20 years’ experience. Although his classes are always light-hearted and fun, he is experienced enough to vary the level of ‘teaching’ to individual needs. For more about Mike and his course of the Watermill, please click here.  We already have eight bookings on Mike’s course next June, two of them non-painting partners. So we still have room for five or six more painters. And don’t forget our enticing Early Bird offer: there is a £75 discount on this inspiring 2019 painting course if you book before the end of this year. Come and create your own colourful and enduring memories!

 

 

 

Memorable pictures from our Watermill painting weeks

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

We thought we just like to share with you a few pictures from our Watermill painting weeks. The one above is by our tutor and friend Terry Jarvis, of one of the villages in the Apuan Alps, one of the locations on our painting excursions from the mill.

And here’s a friendly ink and watercolour sketch by one of our students, Nancy Kimzey Anderson, bringing a bubbly personal touch to the Medician fountain in the main square of Fivizzano, where we go to paint on market days.

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

And how about this study of an ancient doorway, by student Robert Christopher?

These are just three of the delightful paintings and sketches made by our students and tutors alike: there are endless subjects to paint in and around the watermill and in the lovely unspoiled countryside of northern Tuscany which surrounds us. Come and find your own subject and enjoy inspiring tuition on a fun-filled, sun-filled painting week at the Watermill. Places are filling fast and we have an enticing Early Bird discount offer: if you book on one of our 2019 courses before the end of this year, there’s a £75 discount.

Here’s a list of our sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring 2019 painting courses:

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

Paul Talbot-Greaves
27 April to 4 May 2019 

Watercolours (and acrylics)
To learn more about Paul and his course at the mill, please click here.

 

Keiko Tanabe
18-25 May 2019

Watercolours
To learn more about Keiko and her course at the mill, please click here.

 

Sandra Strohschein
1-8 June 2019 and 8-15 June 2019 

Watercolours

To learn more about Sandra and her courses at the mill, please click here.

 

Vicki Norman
122-29 June 2019

Oils en plein air

To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please click here.

 

Mike Willdridge
29 June to 6 July 2019

Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics with an emphasis on sketching and drawing on location)

To learn more about Mike & his course, please click here.

 

Sue Ford
13-20 July 2019

Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylics

To learn more about Sue and her course at the mill, please click here.

 

Jude Scott
17-24 August 2019 and 24-31 August 2019

Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylics

To learn more about Jude and her courses at the mill, please click here.

 

Varvara Neiman
31 August to 7 September 2019

Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours

To learn more about Varvara and her course at the mill, please click here.

 

Claire Warner
14-21 September 2019

Watercolours, oils and acrylics

To learn more about Claire and her course at the mill, please click here.

 

Maggie Renner Hellmann
21-28 September 2019

Courageous Color Workshop in oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolours

To learn more about Maggie and her course at the mill, please click here.

 

Charles Sluga
28 September to 5 October 2019

Watercolours, acrylics and oils

To learn more about Charles and his course at the mill, please click here.

 

Tim Wilmot
5-12 October 2019

Watercolours

To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please click here.

 

David Taylor
12 – 19 October 2019

Watercolours

To learn more about David and his course at the mill, please click here.

You can learn more about our 2009 painting holiday programme, including a typical itinerary and the costs for our delightful bedrooms and self-contained apartment suites, by clicking here.

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

A masterly watercolour by David Taylor of the market in nearby Fivizzano, where we going to paint Tuesdays.

 

Painting with Sue could be hard on your fingers!

Painting by Sue Ford, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.I’ve always loved this pastel painting by our charming and inspiring watermill tutor Sue Ford. And, believe it or not, it’s painted on sandpaper! She says: “The gritty tooth of this paper makes it an ideal support for pastel paintings as it grips the pastel. However, it’s hard going on your fingers especially if you like to rub pastel in!”

Sue loves creating pictures in any medium – and she loves passing on what she’s learned to other people to help them release their creativity. So, we are delighted to welcome her back for another special week-long painting course. She will with us from 13-20 July 2019 and will teach in watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic. I’ve just made a short Facebook slideshow about Sue and the Watermill and you can see it by clicking here.

Here is a watercolour demonstration by Sue of the village and castle of Verrucola, where we go to paint on Mondays during her week.Painting by Sue Ford, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

As well as a multitalented, multimedia artist Sue is a very keen teacher. One previous guests one of her courses at the Watermill said: “Sue Ford is an exceptional tutor with a lovely manner and treats all with respect and kindness.” Sue says: “Each student will be guided carefully throughout the day, from initial demonstration to getting started, followed by patient, professional tuition. I aim to help my students to create paintings which will give them the confidence in their abilities and help them to develop their own artistic vision.”

One of our guests on Sue’s previous painting course at the mill said: “I had a wonderful time. Everything was superb – the accommodation, the trips out and the food! Utterly wonderful. It was an experience that I will treasure.”

Enjoying painting tuition with Sue in the Watermill’s walled garden

You can find out more about Sue and her course at the Watermill by clicking here.

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! 

And don’t forget our enticing Early Bird discount offer: If you book before 31 December 2018 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on this fabulous 2019 painting holiday.

And here are a couple of practical tips from Sue to get the best out of working in the exciting medium of pastels. Sue says: “It’s best to work pastel paintings upright, on an easel, allowing the pastel to fall down the paper; otherwise you’ll be blowing dust around if worked flat.  I also place a folded piece of paper at the base of the drawing board to catch the falling dust.

 “And, before putting your pastels back into the box, clean them by putting the used pastels into ground rice in a plastic box with lid. Give them a shake and they’ll come out pristine clean.”

And finally, there’s another wonderful Sue Ford pastel, of the beach at Monterosso in the Cinque Terre, one of the venues for our excursion day on Wednesdays during our painting weeks.

 

Evening light on the vine verandah: come and capture it with Keiko next year

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

Today is the last day of our 2018 season. And as we begin to pack everything away, we are reminded of sunny days, good company and much laughter. Thank you to all our guests for making it such a successful season.

We particularly remember aperitivi under the vine verandah, sipping the ice-cool house cocktail as the evening shadows lengthen. Above you can see a lovely picture by our tutor Keiko Tanabe capturing the atmosphere of that time of day.

And here’s another Keiko Tanabe atmospheric watercolour, this time the view from the hilltop village of Monte dei Bianchi, the location of our Friday painting expedition

We have already received almost 170 bookings for next year’s season, which is pretty good going for October, since we only have room for some 250 guests on our 2019 creative courses. If you’d like to come, we’d be delighted to hear from you. We have an enticing Early Bird offer: there is a £75 discount on any one of our creative courses – painting, writing, knitting or Italian language –if you book before the end of this year.

If you’d particularly like to come on Keiko’s course, we still have some places left. Her 2019 painting week will run from Saturday 18 May to Saturday 25 May 2019 and you can learn all about it by clicking here.

And you can find out about all the Watermill creative courses in 2019 by clicking here.

Come and enjoy the evening shadows – and the morning sun, and the inspiring tuition, and the wonderful countryside, and the delicious food, and the cheerful company…

 

 

Grace captures the bubbly Rosaro

Here’s a rather fine painting of the river Rosaro, which bubbles and rushes beside the Watermill, by one of our regular painting course guests Grace McKee. The viewpoint is from the Watermill studio, which looks out over the river on one side and the gardens, with the towering Apennine mountains beyond, on the other. Thank you, Grace, for sharing that with us.

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

The mill’s walled garden from the studio window. Picture: Megan Crane.

Grace and her husband Phillip will be with us again next year. They are coming on Sandra Strohschein’s first painting week, from Saturday 1 June to Saturday 8 June 2019 and we are looking forward to welcoming them back.

Sandra is coming to us again for two weeks next year and her second week is already fully booked. But on her first week, from 1-8 June 2019, we still have a few places left. We have nine painters booked in and two non-painting partners. There are three bedrooms left and therefore room for three more painters.

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

You can be sure of a warm welcome from Sandra and the Watermil team.

We’d love you to join us (and Sandra and Grace and Philip!), so why not come and enjoy expert painting tuition, beautiful scenery, delicious food and warm Watermill hospitality. You can find out more about Sandra and her course at the mill by clicking here. And don’t forget our enticing Early Bird discount offer: if you book before the end of this year you will enjoy a £75 discount on this inspiring painting holiday.

Listening to our guests: Sarah’s new project will help you to knit stylish garments that fit you perfectly

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.The renowned knitting designer Sarah Hazell will be with us next May for her third inspiring course at the watermill. And she’s been listening to the feedback of our previous guests and devised a new project which takes into account their comments. Sarah says: “I am aware that lots of knitters want to understand how they can alter an existing pattern to get a better fit. I’ve devised a project to do just that ”

Sarah’s project will show you how to make a simple garment to fit your size and body shape. It is based on one of Sarah’s most successful designs, the Phoebe Poncho. That’s her daughter Phoebe modelling it above.

The project will show how a simple folded poncho can be altered to consider different heights, body shape, arm length and necklines. Sarah says: This will involve recording measurements, making decisions about sleeve and body length, selecting a stitch pattern and working on a neckline. The project is worked from side to side with a simple moss (seed) stitch border with front and back alike. The shoulders are then seamed and stitches picked up in the round for the funnel neck.”

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

Our guests on Sarah’s course will have the opportunity to select their own stitch pattern for the body of the garment and Sarah adds: “I will also be talking to you about the best way to finish and block your project. We will be working with a cotton-mix Aran and you will each receive 8 x 100g balls in a colour of your choice. The accompanying notes will have general tips on how to alter the fit of a knitted garment for future use.

“This is a relaxing knit that will help you to acquire some technical expertise along the way!”

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.

We call Sarah’s week ‘Knitting and La Bella Vita’ and you will have a really relaxing holiday in the beautiful Tuscan countryside, with leisurely knitting days, wonderful food and wine, as well as learning new skills from Sarah. Her course next year will run from Saturday 4 May to Saturday 11 May.

Sarah Hazell is an English knitting and crochet designer, and author of several books. She is also a sympathetic and inspiring knitting tutor and, as well as benefiting from Sarah’s expertise, you will also have the perfect opportunity to make new friends in the company of like-minded people. Here’s a comment from a guest on Sarah’s course in 2018: “Thanks for such a wonderful week!  It had everything: fun, knowledge, good food and drink.  Like a week out of time!”

You can find out more about Sarah’s sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring week by clicking here. https://watermill.net/knitting-holidays/knitting-holidays-tutor-sarah-hazell19.php

We’d love you to join us. And don’t forget our tempting Early Bird discount offer: if you book a place on Sarah’s week (or any of our other creative weeks) before 31 December 2018, there is a generous £75 discount. We already have seven people booked into this course, so if you want to be sure of a place, now is the time to book.

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

Knitting concentration on one of Sarah’s courses, by guest Phil Wright

Autumn in Yorkshire, Spring in Tuscany: idyllic painting

Painting by Paul Talbot-Greaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Watermill painting tutor Paul Talbot-Greaves ran a wonderful painting course here last spring and we’re looking forward to welcoming him here again next year. Back home, he’s just finished painting a celebration of autumn in Yorkshire, in the north of England, where he lives. That’s it above, fresh off the brush. It’s called The Old Gateway.

When Paul joins us next year, from Saturday 27 April to Saturday 4 May 2019, we will be able to celebrate the Tuscan spring together, and enjoy a host of golden daffodils! Paul is quite an expert in painting these glorious flowers and you can join him here in Tuscany to do the same yourself! (Incidentally, you can see a fascinating tip from Paul on how best to paint daffodils on our Friends of the Watermill page (please click here to sign in or register).

Painting by Paul Talbot-Greaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Soft paper, dampened to start with, seems to be one of the secrets, but visit Paul’s Painting Tip on our Friends of the Watermill page (click hereto learn more from a professional! And come and paint daffodils yourself with Paul, as well as our glorious Tuscan wildflowers.

Painting by Paul Talbot-Greaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Paul Talbot-Greaves is a professional English painter who works primarily in watercolour. He says: “I seek out compositions employing patterns of light, shade and contrast and I aim to achieve vibrancy in the colours that I use.” As well as receiving many accolades for his work, Paul is also an inspiring and sympathetic tutor. As one of his students said: You are immaculately prepared, but more than this you understand intuitively how people learn. All this added to the fact that you are an amazing artist makes you an inspirational teacher.” Paul says: “I get an enormous amount of pleasure seeing people improve and enjoy their own work.”

The Watermill and Paul are a perfect collaboration. One of his students on his painting week here last year said: The combination of the place, the excellent art course with Paul Talbot-Greaves and the care from you and your staff made a really lovely experience.” Another added: “I have never received such great treatment on a holiday. You all couldn’t have been kinder. Everything was 5-star.”

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!

Please click here to learn more about Paul and his course of the Watermill. We have six people booked in already for Paul’s spring course here next year, so we have room for quite a few more painters and would be delighted to welcome you to the Watermill at this beautiful time of year. And don’t forget, if you reserve your place before the end of this year enjoy our £75 Early Bird discount. We be delighted to welcome you here to celebrate our Tuscan spring.

Painting tutor of the day: David Taylor – saying more with less

David’s watercolour of the castle and village of Verrucola, a painting location near the mill

We are delighted to welcome back, for his fifth visit, David Taylor, one of Australia’s outstanding watercolour artists. David, who has received international recognition for his services to painting and teaching, is an expert in colour and composition. He says: “It is of high importance for me to say more with less…to discard the inessential…to be simple and poetic not only in the treatment of the subject but in the technical manner of the painting.”

David is a truly inspiring teacher. Here are some comments from guests on his previous courses at the watermill: “David Taylor is in a class all of his own when it comes to teaching others his techniques.” “What a week we all had! Quite fantastic! I congratulate you on creating, certainly for an artist, a paradise. The course was so well organised, David was exceptional, the staff worked tirelessly on our behalf, the food and the wine were mouth-watering and the trips out were to delightful venues.”

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

A masterly watercolour by David of the market in nearby Fivizzano, where we go to paint on Tuesdays.

David will be with us from Saturday 12 October to Saturday 19 October 2019. We now have seven people booked on his course, two of them non-painting partners, so we have room for six or so more painters (and their non-painting partners, if they would like to come). You can find out more about David and his course of the watermill in 2019 by clicking here.

And don’t forget our enticing Early Bird discount offer: if you book on David’s inspiring 2019 course before the end of this year, there is a £75 discount. Now is the time to book. Come and join us for a truly inspiring painting experience.

A pathway by the walls in nearby Fivizzano: another David Taylor watercolour masterpiece.

 

Painting tutor of the day: Tim Wilmot – impressionistic landscapes

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

Tim Wilmot’s impression of the riverside by The Watermill

As I write this blog we’ve just welcomed our guests on Tim Wilmot’s week-long watercolour painting course. We know it’s going to be a sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring week as Tim and his students capture the autumnal Tuscan colours with their brushes.

But as well as anticipating the week ahead, we are also looking further forward, to Tim’s course in October 2019! Tim’s 2019 week-long course in watercolours will run from Saturday 5 October to Saturday 12 October. We already have eight people booked in, one of them a non-painting partner, so we only have room for four or five more painters (and their non-painting partners, if they’d like to come). We thought we ought to tell you now about this course, so that those who  want to come can get their reservations in before we are sold out!

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

Tim’s watercolour of a vineyard and the Apuan Alps near the Watermill

We had a lovely course with Tim last year, ably assisted by his wife Sheila. Here’s what one of our guests had to say about it: “We really enjoyed ourselves and learnt so much.” And another commented: “It was a terrific week. Thank you both and all the staff for a wonderful and very spoiling holiday at The Watermill.”

Tim Wilmot is an artist from Bristol in the UK, specialising in watercolours, exploiting the medium with tone and light. Tim says: I seem to have an affinity with painting landscapes, although I have dabbled with portraits and still life in the past, but always come back to landscapes. I prefer a loose or impressionistic style when I paint my watercolour landscapes, and I hope you like their informality. 

As well as an exciting artist, Tim is also an inspiring teacher and on his course, suitable for all levels, he’ll help you to improve your drawing skills, loosen up your style, learn how to incorporate figures in a landscape as well as nurturing you own artistic ambitions. As one student of Tim’s says: I can’t help being inspired by the careful and wonderfully measured strokes of a genius”

The Cinque Terre village of Vernazza, one of the venues on our Wednesday excursion.

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation, 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!

To learn more about Tim and his 2019 watercolours course of the Watermill, please click here. And if you like to grab one of those few remaining places, don’t forget there’s an enticing Early Bird offer: if you book before 31 December 2018, there’s £75 per person discount. Come and join us next year for another fabulous Tuscan autumn.

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

The main road through Posara

Cardboard gazing could help your art too!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Were a passing Martian to have gazed down on the courtyard of the Watermill this week, he might have been intrigued at the strange antics of Homo sapiens. For there they were, gazing through rectangular holes in little pieces of cardboard. What strange behaviour! What an earth could the human species be up to?

The answer is very simple, though somewhat unusual. They were students on Vicki Norman’s inspiring oil painting course here at the Watermill. And they were using the cardboard cut-outs to assess the tonal balances in the scene before them, before going on to produce sketches of the arrangement of light and dark in the pictures they were planning. It’s a Japanese technique called Notan.

Vicki says: “Notan are simple tonal thumbnail sketches used to plan artworks en plein air. They help you to assess the balance of light and shade in a design and they’re really useful when choosing your subject.”

We had a fun time with a great group on Vicki’s course and, of course, great tuition. And and we’re already looking forward to Vicki’s return visit next year. She will be with us for another tremendous week of tuition in oil painting, from Saturday 22 June to Saturday, 29 June 2019.

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

Vicki’s atmospheric oil of the Apuan Alps near the Watermill. You, too, could be painting them from one of our great en plein air locations:

We’d love you to join us: you can find out more about Vicki and her course at the Watermill by clicking here. But  you’ll have to hurry: we already have 10 people booked in for Vicki’s 2019 course. One of them is a non-painting partner, so we have room for three more painters (and their non-painting partners if they like to come). So, now’s the time to book, especially with our enticing Early Bird offer: if you book on Vicki’s 2019 course before the end of this year, there is a £75 discount.

Come and enjoy superb tuition in oil painting (and get to look through little rectangular squares cut out of cardboard!)