Archives for January 2019

There’s plenty to talk about if you are a Watermill Friend

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

Time for a little friendly conversation in the Watermill Walled Garden. Picture: Sandra Strohchein

As part of our efforts to look after our customers and to treat them as honoured guests and friends, we not only coddle you from the moment you arrive in Pisa airport and the beginning of your creative course, to the moment we drop you back there seven days later, with warm hospitality, delicious food, stunning scenery and sympathetic and inspiring tutors in between, we also like to give you ‘customer service’ before and after your visit to us as well.

To that end, we provide regular newsletters of all our activities and also produce a daily blog. We have a Facebook page and we Tweet, to say nothing of Instagramming, if that’s a word! But today I want to tell you about our Friends of the Watermill website page.

By signing up as a Friend, you’ll enjoy many exclusive benefits:

  • dozens of painting, creative writing and knitting tips from our internationally renowned tutors
  • recipes from the watermill’s mouth-watering menus
  • special offers exclusively for Friends
  • regular updates on availability of all our creative courses

Please sign up as a Friend of the Watermill: it’s easy and it’s free. Just click here to register and away you go.  We are sure you will enjoy your visit to our Friends page and, if you’ve already been to the Watermill, re-kindle happy memories and, if you haven’t yet sampled the delights of being looked after for a week in unspoiled rural Tuscany, perhaps it will whet your appetite…

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

Jumping for joy on a Watermill painting course!

 

Due to cancellations: two places left on Debbie Abrahams’ amazing knitting course

Two people have had to pull out of Debbie Abrahams‘ exciting knitting week at the Watermill in May, so now it’s your chance to grab a place on this new knitting venture of ours. There are more details and links below.

Debbie Abrahams will be joining us from Saturday 25 May 2019 to Saturday, 1 June 2019. We are delighted to welcome her here.

Debbie has been designing and teaching handknitted textiles for more than 20 years and is a specialist in the field of colour work and beading. Throughout her entire career she has worked alongside renowned handknit company Rowan Yarns, both as a Designer and a Design Consultant for the brand. She has tutored workshops across the UK, Europe and USA.

Debbie is best known for her Mystery Blanket and Cushion Clubs which have been become a global success with more than 1,000 knitters from all over the world signed up to her annual projects. “Blanket squares are the perfect vehicle for my designing, giving me the freedom to explore colour, texture and embellishment within a set number of stitches and rows for each block – it’s just pure adventure!”

On her 2019 Watermill course Debbie will be working on on a specially designed project, incorporating several different knitting techniques, including intarsia, knitting with beads, surface embroidery and textured stitches.

Debbie Abrahams
25 May – 1 June 2019 Due to cancellations: two places available
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Debbie and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

 

Jump for joy on a Watermill creative holiday: fantastic tuition in a safe and caring environment

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

Jumping for joy on a Watermill painting course!

That is one of our guests last year, Emily Muhlberger, expressing her exuberant delight on a painting course. We don’t expect you to jump for joy, but we are sure you will love our inspiring creative courses. There is not only superb tuition and wonderful scenery, but we will look after your every need from the moment we pick you up at Pisa airport on the first Saturday, until we drop you off again at the airport at the end of your week.

Watermill creative courses: jump at the chance to book

If there’s a particular tutor or a particular week you would like to come on and you find it is fully booked, don’t hesitate to get in touch. There are often cancellations and we will put you on a waiting list and get in touch as soon as a place becomes available.

Bring your partner or friend. Why not bring your friend or partner? They don’t have to participate in the course, but they will be able to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the mill and, whenever they want, to come out with you to our beautiful locations. We also offer a range of Alternative activities for partners (please click here) on all our creative courses, as well as a generous £GBP 250 discount if they share a room with you.

Painting courses

Paul Talbot-Greaves
27 April to 4 May 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Paul and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Keiko Tanabe
18 – 25 May 2019 One or two places left
Watercolours
To learn more about Keiko and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Sandra Strohschein
1 – 8 June 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
8 – 15 June 2019
 Fully booked, waiting list open

Watercolours
To learn more about Sandra and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Vicki Norman
22 – 29 June 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Oils en plein air
To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please see our 2019 Courses Preview page.

 

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Mike Willdridge
29 June – 6 July 2019 Two or three places left
Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics with an emphasis on sketching and drawing on location)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Sue Ford
13 – 20 July 2019 Two or three places left
Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylics
To learn more about Sue and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Jude Scott
17 – 24 August 2019 Four or five places left
24 – 31 August 2019
 One place left

Watercolours (plus acrylics and oils)
To learn more about Jude and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

Varvara Neiman
31 August – 7 September 2019 Four or five places left
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Claire Warner
14 – 21 September 2019 One or two places left
Watercolours, oils and acrylics
To learn more about Claire and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Maggie Renner Hellmann
21 – 28 September 2019  Fully booked, waiting list open
Courageous Color Workshop’ in oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolors
To learn more about Maggie and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

Charles Sluga
28 September – 5 October 2019  Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours, acrylics and oils
To learn more about Charles and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Tim Wilmot
5 – 12 October 2019 One or two places left
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

David Taylor
12 – 19 October 2019  Two or three places left
Watercolours
To learn more about David and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Knitting courses

Sarah Hazell
4 – 11 May 2019 Two or three places left
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Sarah and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Debbie Abrahams
25 May – 1 June 2019 Due to cancellations: One or two places left
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Debbie and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Marie Wallin
6 – 13 July 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Marie and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page

 

Writing courses

Jo Parfitt
15 – 22 June 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Write Your Life Stories
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
7 – 14 September 2019 Still plenty of places
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and to register an interest in their course at the mill, please visit their 2019 Profile Page.

 

Italian language course

Langues services and Francesca la Sala 
11 – 18 May 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Italian language
To learn more about Francesca and her course at the mill, please click here.

We’d be delighted if you could join us. Please click here for more details about all our 2019 creative courses. We are ready for your call on (UK number +44 (20) 7193 6246) or email us at info@watermill.net. ) 

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

Come and enjoy the intimate atmosphere of the Watermill and paint landscapes, people and town scenes with Varvara

Cancellations had meant that we now have a few more places available on Varvara Neiman’s wonderful painting holiday at the Watermill this year – and we’d love to welcome you here.

To whet your appetite I have made a little slideshow of some of Varvara’s exciting paintings and if you’d like to see it, all you have to do is to click here. The picture above is part of the slideshow, as is this one below:

You, too, can capture the vibrancy of Tuscan life, as well as painting in the unspoiled rural scenery of Lunigiana, which surrounds the Watermill, when Varvara returns for another painting course next year. Varvara, who tutors in water-based oils, acrylics and watercolour, will be here again from Saturday 31 August to Saturday 7 September 2019. More details and links below.

As well as plein air painting, Varvara specialises in portraiture and moving figures in watercolour and she is also famous for her cityscapes, capturing fleeting moments.

Painting from nature

Varvara Neiman, who 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.”  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.”

We’ll look after 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!

Varvara Neiman
31 August – 7 September 2019 five or so places
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara and her course at the mill, please click here.

 

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

There won’t be snow but you will be a cool scriptwriting dude!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.These two ‘cool dudes’ (according to my daughter Lara Breckon, at least) were recently snapped at the top of the funicular in Champéry in Switzerland. In case you hadn’t recognised us, it is Lois and me – and we were not about to whizz down the black slopes: we were here for an après ski lunch, even though we hadn’t skied. And very tasty it was too: cheesy fondue washed down by a glass or two of Sancerre.

We were indulging in the high life with Laurence and Brigitte Marks, taking a few days break to keep Laurence company as he watched dozens of films in his role as a judge for BAFTA.  In the four or five days that we were there we watched 16 films: good bad and indifferent. It’ll be interesting to see which of them wins the BAFTA awards this year. We were very taken with Cold War, a black-and-white Polish film which capture the atmosphere of Poland behind the Iron Curtain, with stunning cinematography. We also liked Green Book, charting a journey of a black musician and a white Italian driver through the deep South the worst days of segregation. And I liked The Favourite, even though Laurence and Lois didn’t warm to it at all.

A fearsome threesome of femmes in The Favourite.

Become a better scriptwriter

In between our watching, eating, drinking and great conversation, we also discussed this year’s special unique week-long Scriptwriting course, which is to be run in September by Laurence and his long-time writing partner Maurice Gran.  We think this is going to be one of the great creative courses at the Watermill this year. If you aspire to join the scriptwriting greats, particularly writing comedy drama for television, now is the time to bag your place on Laurence and Maurice’s course.

We can’t offer you snow, but we can offer beautiful scenery, first-class accommodation, wonderful food, good conversation and above all advice from the experts on how to become a successful scriptwriter for TV, films and the theatre.

Comedy and drama legends

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran are famous for such TV hits as Birds of a FeatherGoodnight SweetheartThe New Statesman and Shine on Harvey Moon. And in a new incarnation, they’ve written hit stage musicals, such as Dreamboats and Petticoats and Save the Last Dance for Me, as well as film scripts and award-winning stage, TV and radio plays. It’s not just comedy: Marks and Gran are producing serious dramatic works as well.

Laurence and Maurice’s week-long course will show you how to craft your work from your original idea through structure, character, plot and finally, script. They will lead you slowly through what makes classic television comedy, using one-to-one tutorials, team writing sessions, and most enlightening of all, studying films and TV series that have become ‘classics’.

They cannot guarantee success, of course, but they promise that you will leave the Watermill a considerably better scriptwriter than when you arrived.

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

7-14 September 2019

Scriptwriting

To find out more about this unique course please click here

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

Tessa at another student to listen to words of wisdom on the vine verandah.

How Laurence and Maurice helped Tessa to scriptwriting success

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Our congratulations to Tessa Coates, who is currently writing a pilot comedy show for the ABC television network in America. She is being tipped by the trade papers over there as ‘the discovery of the 2018-2019 development season.’

Tessa, who was one of our students on a Scriptwriting course at the Watermill, gained the prestigious ABC contract after wowing a Hollywood audience with her one-woman show, called Primates and inspired by her college degree in anthropology.

Tessa tells me that she attributes no small part of her success to the support and advice of Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, the ‘comedy writing legends’ who run the Watermill scriptwriting course.

Tessa says: “I had the most fantastic week at the Watermill, the food, location and sheer hospitality are second to none and you could not ask to be better looked after. To sit under the vines and learn from Living Legends is an opportunity that does not come round very often. They truly are not only two of the best writers around, but enormously generous with their knowledge. I’m incredibly lucky to say I now write comedy for a living, and I do that in no small part because of the support and wisdom for Laurence and Maurice.”

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

Tessa at another student to listen to words of wisdom on the vine verandah.

From Edinburgh to London to Los Angeles

Tessa describes herself as a ‘writer, performer, freelance journalist, enthusiastic teller of anecdotes that may or may not have happened.’ She was one-third of the sketch group Massive Dad and performed Primates,  her debut solo show, at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, followed by a run at the Soho Theatre in London early 2018.

Last June, ahead of the 2018-19 US TV development season, Tessa flew in to Los Angeles to perform her show at the Lyric Theatre and Improv Lab and, thanks to wildfire word-of-mouth, the later performances of the show where a sell-out and Tessa found herself performing to a room full of Hollywood executives. It all led to her being commissioned to writing the pilot for ABC. Again, our many congratulations to Tessa. We shall be watching her progress with interest and admiration.

If your ambition is to become a successful scriptwriter like Tessa, you could do no better than to attend Laurence and Maurice’s inspiring Scriptwriting course at the Watermill this September.

Comedy legends

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran are famous for such TV hits as Birds of a FeatherGoodnight SweetheartThe New Statesman and Shine on Harvey Moon. And in a new incarnation, they’ve written hit stage musicals, such as Dreamboats and Petticoats and Save the Last Dance for Me, as well as film scripts and award-winning stage, TV and radio plays. It’s not just comedy: Marks and Gran are producing serious dramatic works as well.

Laurence and Maurice’s week-long course will show you how to craft your work from your original idea through structure, character, plot and finally, script. They will lead you slowly through what makes classic television comedy, using one-to-one tutorials, team writing sessions, and most enlightening of all, studying films and TV series that have become ‘classics’.

They cannot guarantee success, of course, but they promise that you will leave the Watermill a considerably better scriptwriter than when you arrived.

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

7-14 September 2019

Scriptwriting

To find out more about this unique course please click here.  

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

Tessa in full Sound of Music mode in the mountains near the Watermill

How we oldies took selfies and were ready to talk on the phone

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Our Facebook friend and Watermill guest last year, Nancy Kimsey Anderson, recently posted the picture above to try to persuade her younger friends that this was the way we oldies used to take selfies. I wonder if they believed her!

Talking of phones, I thought I might share with you part of a blog post I did some time back about telephones and the Italians. Here it is.

Why do the Italians say ‘Pronto’ when they answer the phone?

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

I’m ready. Where is Bill?

If you’ve ever heard an Italian answering the phone, you may have been mildly surprised to hear that the first thing most of them say is Pronto. That means ‘Ready’ or ‘I’m ready.’ But why do they say this instead of ‘Hello’ or even just giving their number?

The answer goes back to the early days of the telephone when to make calls across Italy one had to go through an operator. You’d call him or her and give the number, then hang up. In due course your phone would ring and the operator would say: “Are to ready to accept a call to (the number)?”  And of course, you would reply: Pronto. ‘Ready.’

Somehow that response has stuck in the Italian telephonic psyche, so even in these days of instant mobile communication just about anywhere in the country (or the world) they still say Pronto when answering a call.

Watermill creative courses: find out more on the Interweb!

These days, of course, we don’t have to communicate solely on the telephone, we oldies can use what I like to call, infuriating my children, the Interweb, so I’m going to use this post to keep you up-to-date on availability on all the Watermill’s creative courses this year.

We are filling fast but still have plenty of places with different tutors. If there’s a particular tutor or a particular week you would like to come on and you find it is fully booked, don’t hesitate to get in touch. There are often cancellations and we will put you on a waiting list and get in touch as soon as a place becomes available.

Bring your partner or friend. Why not bring your friend or partner? They don’t have to participate in the course, but they will be able to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the mill and, whenever they want, to come out with you to our beautiful locations. We also offer a range of Alternative activities for partners (please click here) on all our creative courses, as well as a generous £GBP 250 discount if they share a room with you.

Painting courses

Paul Talbot-Greaves
27 April to 4 May 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Paul and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Keiko Tanabe
18 – 25 May 2019 One or two places left
Watercolours
To learn more about Keiko and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Sandra Strohschein
1 – 8 June 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
8 – 15 June 2019
 Fully booked, waiting list open

Watercolours
To learn more about Sandra and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Vicki Norman
22 – 29 June 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Oils en plein air
To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please see our 2019 Courses Preview page.

 

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Mike Willdridge
29 June – 6 July 2019 Two or three places left
Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics with an emphasis on sketching and drawing on location)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Sue Ford
13 – 20 July 2019 Three or four places left
Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylics
To learn more about Sue and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Jude Scott
17 – 24 August 2019 Four or five places left
24 – 31 August 2019
 One place left

Watercolours (plus acrylics and oils)
To learn more about Jude and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

Varvara Neiman
31 August – 7 September 2019 Four or five places left
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Claire Warner
14 – 21 September 2019 Two or three places left
Watercolours, oils and acrylics
To learn more about Claire and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Maggie Renner Hellmann
21 – 28 September 2019  Fully booked, waiting list open
Courageous Color Workshop’ in oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolors
To learn more about Maggie and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

Charles Sluga
28 September – 5 October 2019  Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours, acrylics and oils
To learn more about Charles and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Tim Wilmot
5 – 12 October 2019 One or two places left
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

David Taylor
12 – 19 October 2019  Four or five places left
Watercolours
To learn more about David and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

Knitting courses

Sarah Hazell
4 – 11 May 2019 Two or three places left
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Sarah and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Debbie Abrahams
25 May – 1 June 2019 Due to cancellations: One or two places left
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Debbie and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Marie Wallin
6 – 13 July 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Marie and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page

 

Writing courses

Jo Parfitt
15 – 22 June 2019 One or two places left
Write Your Life Stories
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
7 – 14 September 2019 Still plenty of places
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and to register an interest in their course at the mill, please visit their 2019 Profile Page.

 

Italian language course

Langues services and Francesca la Sala 
11 – 18 May 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Italian language
To learn more about Francesca and her course at the mill, please click here.

We’d be delighted if you could join us. Please click here for more details about all our 2019 creative courses. We are ready for your call on (UK number +44 (20) 7193 6246) or email us oldies using the Interweb, on info@watermill.net. ) 

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

Making your paintings more exciting: some thoughts from Mike Willdridge

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Our friend and Watermill painting tutor Mike Willdridge is taking a well earned rest after completing his self-imposed task of painting 100 pictures in 100 days. He called his challenge a ‘journey towards abstraction’ and now he’s had a few days to contemplate his journey, he’s been sending me a few thoughts which we would like to share with you.

Here are his second musings, this time on the importance of ‘Line’.

Mike says: When I was working on my 100 paintings challenge, I made considerable and very conscious use of the Visual Elements of Art: colour, form, line, shape, space, texture, pattern, value. For this second “lesson learnt” instalment, I would like to give you an example where I used just one of these components, ‘Line’, as a great help in the process of making an abstract image.”

Using line to show texture

Mike adds: “I’ve always loved pure drawing and often draw in a linear way with a pen. Here are a couple of recent examples.

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

The pen and watercolour sketchbook drawing above is of some fishing huts in Indonesia. It uses Line, quickly drawn to show the aged patina of the huts. The watercolour was touched in after the drawing.

This ink drawing is of an Australian Banksia pod, mostly using Line to describe the hard texture of the plant:

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

A powerful image

At the top of the page is a more abstract painting, number 35 in Mike’s series of 100, a collage in acrylic and gold paste, inspired by the Australian coastline, viewed from on high in an aeroplane. Mike says: “I wanted to emphasise the powerful image of that coastline but do it in a simple and abstract way. So, I started with the idea of a line. In fact, the line I’ve created hasn’t been drawn at all, but it is inside the torn gold paper and has been emphasised by the two flat blocks of colour either side of it.

Lois and I liked this painting so much that we bought it and you be able to see it if you visit us for one of our creative courses at the Watermill. You can click here to see a speedier video of its creation and framing.

Mike concludes: In all these paintings, both representational and abstract, I was very conscious of using ‘line’ both as a means of making ‘marks’ and, especially in the more abstract drawing, as the main focus of the painting.” 

Meet the artist and paint with him

Mike will be sending us more thoughts that we hope will improve your painting. And you can meet the artist himself on his painting course at the Watermill this summer.

You don’t have to go abstract to enjoy Mike’s course: he paints realistic landscapes and loves sketching around the Watermill and in the glorious Tuscan scenery beyond it. He is also a wonderful teacher. Mike will be with us again next year, for a week in watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics), from Saturday 29 June to Saturday 6 July 2019. We already have eight bookings for his course, so we have room for three or four more painters and their non-painting partners, if they would like to come.

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

Mike’sketch of market day in the town of Fivizzano, near the Watermill

Mike Willdridge works in a wide range of media and is an enthusiastic and energetic tutor, often encouraging his students to be bold and to take chances. His classes are always light-hearted and fun, with the ‘teaching’ tailored to individual needs. He will concentrate on watercolours, but is also happy to help with gouache and acrylics too.

A comment from a guest on one of Mike’s previous courses at The Watermill: “A wonderful holiday. You were such generous and friendly hosts and Mike was an excellent painting tutor.”  Another said: “The food was exceptional and the mill itself is great, in such a beautiful setting. A truly wonderful week in every respect.”

Here’s another of my favourite Mike Willdridge pictures, an exuberant watercolour of the mill stream flowing beneath one of our gardener Flavio Terenzoni’s famous wooden bridges, with their curvy handrails.

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.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 and his course at the mill, please click here

Sue Ford – multitalented, multimedia, multicoloured, multi-inspiring!

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 this 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.

Relaxed, friendly, patient

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 has a relaxed, friendly and very patient approach to tuition and encouraged us all to achieve as much as possible at our own level. She gave demo’s and one to one tuition when required. There was a wide choice of subject matter for sketching and painting both at the Watermill itself and on our excursions. All in all a most enjoyable week.”

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.”

And the Watermill setting? One of our guests 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.”

Put yourself in the picture

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.

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

Verrucola castle, from Sue Ford’s sketchbook

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! 

A painting with a different point of view from Sandra

Painting by Sandra Strohschein, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Our watermill painting tutor and friend Sandra Strohschein recently posted this lovely watercolour painting of the walls of Fivizzano, the mediaeval market town where our painting guests go on location.

Normally we sketch around the market which is held in the main square of the Piazza Medicea or paint the view down the valley of the river Rosaro to Posara. Sandra says: “Usually I only see the centre of the town, but this year I finally ventured to the other side and saw this cool scene. I’m thinking we might paint there is a group this summer.”

Painting a complicated scene

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

Make a rough sketch

Here are a couple of tips on how you too can paint a more complicated scene like this. Sandra says: “First I do a very rough sketch and plan the areas of strongest value contrast that will direct the eye through the painting.

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

Look for strong values

Sandra is with us for two weeks this year and her courses are already fully booked. There are, however, often cancellations and if you’d like to join her and us, please use our Enquiry Form by clicking here.

We still have spaces on several of our other fun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring painting courses and you can find out more about them by clicking here.

 

We would love to welcome you to the Watermill and take you to some of our stunning locations, which also include a castle, a convent and a hilltop village in the mountains.

A painting by Sandra Strohschein, a tutor on painting courses at The Watermill at Posara, Tuscany Italy

Sandra’s painting of a red house in the square in nearby Fivizzano on market day. It DID rain that day!