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!

 

 

 

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!)

 

 

Painting tutor of the day: Charles Sluga – thinking and seeing like an artist

Painting by Charles Sluga, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.After an absence of the year, we’re delighted that Charles Sluga is returning to the Watermill for another of his inspiring watercolours (and acrylics and oils) courses next year. Charles will be with us from 28 September to 5 October 2019. That’s his painting above of the demijohns in the Watermill courtyard.

Here’s what some previous students had to say about his course last year at the Watermill: In addition to being a very talented artist, Charles is an extremely capable and professional teacher: we all benefited from his instruction and guidance during the week.” The most relaxing holiday I have had for a long time: lovely accommodation and exceptional food.”

Here’s another atmospheric Sluga watercolour, this time of the main square in Lucca, one of our excursion venues on Wednesday during our painting weeks:

Painting by Charles Sluga, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays, Tuscany Italy.

Lunch in Lucca by Charles Sluga

Charles Sluga is a highly respected and sought-after watercolour artist in Australia who has gained a reputation for his versatility in both his technique and choice of subject matter. The two paintings above were demonstrations made on location during a watermill week. Charles is also skilled in acrylics and oils and is happy to teach in those media, too. Charles not only teaches technique, but also how to think and see as an artist, which he considers just as important. His friendliness, sense of humour and willingness to impart his knowledge makes his classes relaxed, informal and inspiring.

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!

And don’t forget our enticing Early Bird discount offer: there’s a £75 (about AUD 135) per person discount if you book on Charles’ inspiring 2019 painting holiday before the end of this year. You can learn more about Charles and his course at the mill next year by clicking here. We already have seven people booked into Charles, course, one of whom is a non-painting partner, so we have room for four or five more painters (and their partners, if they would like to come). So if you’d like to reserve your place, now really is the time to do so.

Finally to prove that great art can be made from almost any subject, here is Charles’ painting of the sink in the Watermill studio!

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

 

 

 

Painting tutor of the day: Maggie Renner Hellmann – the joy of colo(u)r and the poetry of brushwork

We are delighted to welcome back Maggie Renner Hellmann (and her charming husband Lou) for another of her inspiring ‘Courageous Color Workshops’ at the Watermill next year.

Maggie special week-long course, which has drawn praise from many of her students, has tuition in in oils, acrylics, watercolors* and pastels and will run from 21 September to 28 September 2019. *Maggie is American, so in this blog we are spelling color her way!

That’s the good news! The bad news for those of you who would like to come is that, at present at least, Maggie’s course is fully booked. There may, however, be cancellations (there often are) and if you are keen to join Maggie, we will put you on a waiting list and let you know if and when a place becomes available.

That’s Maggie’s vibrant watercolour demonstration above, made in the sunny Watermill courtyard. And here’s her evocation of one of the hilltop villages nestling in the foothills of the Apuan Alps, the marble mountains of Carrara, seen from our Friday painting location.

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

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

Maggie is also an enthusiastic tutor who has been teaching for more than 15 years – and loves it! Her workshop will cover oils, acrylics, pastels and drawing, sketching mediums including wax pastels and watercolour. She will encourage the beginner and challenge the more advanced painter. Maggie says: “In this plein air Courageous Color Workshop, we will paint in various spectacular Tuscan locations. Our emphasis will be on learning and practicing the core elements of successful paintings.”

Some comments on Maggie’s course here last year: Thank you for giving me one of the best vacations I have ever had.” “Excellent accommodation, first class cuisine, wonderful company and outstanding art tuition.”

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!

You can see more about Maggie and her course of the watermill by clicking here. And, as I say, if you’re keen to come, please let us know and we’ll put you on the waiting list.

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

Students demonstrate their work on the last day of Maggie’s course this year.

 

 

Painting tutor of the day: Claire Warner. Come and paint with her — and relax!

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

We had a week filled with laughter and happy painting hours with Claire Warner last month. Here’s what one guest had to say: I had a wonderful holiday at the Watermill, one that I will never forget! I am still floating on a cloud!”

As another previous student of Claire’s commented: “Your enthusiasm is so infectious, and your encouragement very much appreciated. You are one of those rare tutors who show us your approach to a painting and then encourage us to develop our own way, such a refreshing change from the ‘paint along with me’ method that I have encountered on so many occasions.”

And it’s by no means all hard work! Here’s one of Claire’s October students relaxing after day at the watercolour ‘rockface’. The beer bottle is purely coincidental!

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

We are delighted to say that Claire is returning to the Watermill next year for another week-long painting course in watercolours. She will be with us again from Saturday 14 to Saturday 21 September 2019.

Claire Warner is a professional artist and an experienced tutor, having taught all age groups and abilities for 25 years.  She will demonstrate in watercolours on this holiday, but is happy to help with those choosing oils or acrylics as their medium. All levels of artists can benefit from her teaching, and she offers plenty of individual attention.

She says: “My aim is to teach and encourage each student gradually to build up knowledge and the confidence to create their own style. I’ll demonstrate step by step with explanations — and offer plenty of individual attention when and where needed. I like to tease out their full potential with patience and a sense of fun.”

Claire’s watercolour at the top of this post is called Early Morning, Ullswater. She says: The still calm waters of the early morning, create fascinating reflections. The silence is broken only perhaps by birds marking their daily territory.” And here’s an evocative painting of a waterfall, capturing both light and movement.

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

Please click here to learn more about Claire and her course at the Watermill. And don’t forget our enticing Early Bird discount: if you book before 31 December 2018 there’s £75 discount on this fabulous 2019 painting holiday. Come and join us for painting pleasure!

 

Painting tutor of the day: Varvara Neiman – imagination and sensation

Painting by Varvara Neiman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.We are looking forward to welcoming back our Russian painting tutor Varvara Neiman, who was with us last year and who is returning for another inspiring week-long painting course in 2019.

Varvara, who tutors in water-based oils, acrylics and watercolour, will be here again from Saturday 31 August to Saturday 7 September 2019.

Varvara Neiman, who now lives in Buckinghamshire, England, was born into an artistic family in St. Petersburg, Russia, where art and teaching were professions passed on from generation to generation. Her work combines classical discipline with a modern imagination. She is enthusiastic about painting en plein air and passionate about Cezanne’s famous quote: “Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one’s sensation.”  That’s her painting  Lavender Fields above and below, the intriguing In the Heat.

She creates a friendly atmosphere in her groups, encouraging students to share their experiences.

Varvara has been a popular and inspiring teacher for many years. She is skilled in oils, acrylics and watercolours and will teach in any of those mediums. (Water-based oils for easier transportation.)  During her course there will be group demonstrations as well as one-to-one guidance. Varvara likes to create a friendly atmosphere in the group, encouraging students to share their experiences. A couple of comments from Varvara’s previous students: I have been coming to classes with Varvara for almost 10 years and she never ceases to amaze me both with her artistic knowledge and range of techniques. “Not only is she excellent teacher she is also good artist… there is no-one better to teach you.” 

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!

You can see more of Varvara’s paintings, and learn more about her course at the Watermill, by clicking here.

And don’t forget our enticing Early Bird discount offer: if you book now you can enjoy Varvara’s inspiring week with £75 discount. The offer runs until the end of this year. Come and join us! You know it makes sense!

This is Varvara’s romantic watercolour Daumazon Promenade.

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

 

Painting tutor of the day: Jude Scott – loving new challenges

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

We are very pleased to welcome another talented Australian artist to the Watermill team. She is Jude Scott from Western Australia and she has been creating, painting and teaching for many years. The picture above is a detail from Jude’s painting of orchids.

She will be with us for two special courses in watercolours (& acrylics and oils) from Saturday 17 August to Saturday, 24 August 2019 and from Saturday 24 August to Saturday 31 August 2019.

Jude Scott, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Jude tells us that she loves watercolours for “their immediacy, unpredictability, translucency, dazzling colours and powerful tones,” but she also paints in, and is happy to teach in, acrylics and oils. She says: “I love a new challenge and paint all subjects – faces, florals, boats and landscapes.” Here is another watercolour of hers, of Winter roses from her garden, with a favourite little Chinese teapot.

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

As for teaching, Jude says: “I love sharing what I have learnt over many years of painting and it is always a thrill watching ‘the artist within’ emerge from each individual student. I strongly encourage students to develop their own unique style of brush strokes and mark making: just relax, be brave, don’t forget to breathe and the rest will surely follow.”

One of her previous students said: “Jude was truly amazing, great tempo, strong knowledge base, strong interpersonal skills, just the right mix of doing and listening.” And another added: “She catered for the individual, encouraging a personal approach of expression, whilst at the same time teaching sound techniques. Her outgoing and bright personality really made her classes fun.”

You can learn all about Jude and see more of her paintings on her Tutor Profile page on the Watermill website, by clicking here.

We have already six bookings for Jude’s first week (17-24 August 2019), two of whom are non-painting partners, so we have room for seven or eight more painters. Currently, Jude’s second week (24-31 August 2019) is fully booked, but there may be cancellations, so if you’re interested in that week please also let us know and we will put you on the waiting list.

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.

 

Painting tutor of the day: Sue Ford – multitalented, multimedia!

Painting by Sue Ford, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Sue Ford 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 here next year. She will with us from 13-20 July 2019 and will teach in watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic. That’s one of her colourful, vibrant collages above. And here’s a pastel of Monterosso, one of the five villages of the Cinque Terre, an excursion venue during your Watermill 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 of our previous guests on a previous course  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.” Below is a watercolour demonstration by Sue, of the archway from the Watermill Courtyard to the Walled Garden:

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

A demonstration painting by Sue of the arch in the Watermill courtyard

And the Watermill setting? 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.”

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

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.