Archives for April 2019

A series of strategies for successful writing. No. 1: the cat sat on the mat!

Image: fanpop

I am grateful to Nicole Bianchi for a fascinating series of tips/strategies on how famous writers overcome writer’s block and reawaken their creativity. Her work is published on mission.org, part of the medium.org online publishing platform.

Nicole, from Raleigh, North Carolina, USA  says: Some writers argue that ‘writer’s block’ isn’t real. It’s just an excuse to use when we’d rather procrastinate than get to work on our writing projects. There’s a quote attributed to William Faulkner: ‘I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.’

“Similarly, in Jack London’s 1905 essay on how to become a published writer, London observed, “Don’t loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you don’t get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it.’ Nicole says: “London believed that writing daily was the best way to rouse the sleeping Muse. He advised: ‘Set yourself a ‘stint,’ and see that you do that ‘stint’ each day; you will have more words to your credit at the end of the year.’

 Sounds fairly straightforward doesn’t it? And yet many other famous authors found that it wasn’t as simple as that, and there were often times when they were stuck. Here’s Franz Kafka, for example: ‘How time flies; another ten days and I have achieved nothing. It doesn’t come off. A page now and then is successful, but I can’t keep it up, the next day I am powerless.’

Nicole adds: “Maybe you’re like me and sometimes feel more like Kafka than Faulkner and London. You sit down at your computer to begin writing, but instead you find yourself having a stare down with the blank screen. You may type a few lines, but after several minutes you delete everything. You just can’t seem to find the right words to continue. It’s as if your inspiration inkwell has suddenly dried up. What can you do? How can you get back in your creative flow?

“Thankfully, many famous writers have shared their methods for how they overcame dry periods and became successful writers.”

We’ll look at Nicole’s strategies over the next week or so. Here’s the first:

The cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat

 Many writers, even though they will avoid the cliché, believe that ‘practice makes perfect’, and that you need to write something each day. Nicole says: The trick is not to overthink it. Write nonsense if you have to. But keep writing, no matter if you’re pleased with the final result or not.”

She quotes Maya Angelou in her book Writers Dreaming: “I suppose I do get ‘blocked’ sometimes, but I don’t like to call it that. That seems to give it more power than I want it to have. What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat,’ you know. And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’”

AThe Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.nd here’s another strategy for successful writing: join us on Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran’s uniquely inspiring Scriptwriting course at the Watermill this September.  We can offer you an extraordinary week, ‘away from it all’, so you can concentrate on learning how to write scripts for TV, films and theatre, and at the same time enjoy beautiful scenery, first-class accommodation, wonderful food and good conversation with like-minded people. We will guarantee to unblock you, inspire you and above all enjoying your writing.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran are famous for such TV hits as Birds of a Feather, Goodnight Sweetheart, The 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 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.

It’ll be extraordinarily good fun too!

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

Listening to words of wisdom on the vine verandah.

 

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

 

 

What Brunelleschi and Caillebotte have in common

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

Les Orangers, the orange trees, another tremendous painting by Gustave Caillebotte

We were talking recently about my contention that had Gustave Caillebotte had a more easily pronounceable name, he would have been much better known. How easy it was to remember the names of the other Impressionists like Monet, Dégas and Renoir.

I believe it is the same for another of my heroes, Filippo Brunelleschi, to my mind the towering genius of the early Renaissance.

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

Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome for Florence cathedral dominates the city

As well as designing and supervising the construction of the incomparable dome of Florence cathedral, Filippo invented linear perspective, designed the first new-classical building since Roman times, the Ospedale degli Innocenti and created the sublime space of the Pazzi chapel in the cloisters of Santa Croce. With his one-time apprentice Donatello (who re-created classical sculpture) and his patron Cosimo (Medici) the Elder (who led the re-discovery of Greek and Roman texts and promoted Humanism), Brunelleschi can truly be regarded as the father of the Renaissance.

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

The incomparable façade of the ospedale degli innocenti

Yet because his name is not straightforward to pronounce (Brew-nel-esk -i) you hear it mentioned far less often than, say, Fra Angelico or Botticelli.

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

The sublime interior space of the Pazzi chapel

Be that as it may, we have named one of the Watermill bedrooms after this wonderful Renaissance man. Not only does it have French windows opening on to the Watermill courtyard, there is also a large roof terrace outside its front door, from which you can see the magnificent Apennine mountains in the distance.

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

Why not come and see for yourself? We are already taking bookings for our 2020 courses and the Brunelleschi bedroom is still free on many of them. You can find out more by clicking here.

 

A smart way to bring back your oil paintings from a Watermill holiday

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

A wonderful oil painting by Vicki Norman called September in Posara

Some of our painting guests that have told us that they are a little chary of trying oil painting on a Watermill holiday, because they are concerned about how they’re going to get their wet paintings home.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Our lovely oil painting tutor Vicki Norman has sent us some very useful tips on how to safely transport wet oil paintings in your luggage and I thought it would be very useful to pass them on to you in case you were thinking of joining some of our inspiring tutors who teach in oils as well as other mediums.

At the Watermill this year the following tutors, as well as Vicki, give tuition in oil painting: Jude Scott, Varvara Neiman, Claire Warner, Maggie Renner Hellmann and Charles Sluga. More details and links to their courses below.

Here are Vicki’s tips: you will need some map pins (or panel pins) and a roll of masking tape. Don’t worry if you forget to bring them, we can provide them at the Watermill.

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

The first step is to lay your wet painting on a stable flat surface and carefully but firmly push a pin into each corner. Then, balance another wet painting of the same size face down onto the plastic caps of the panel pins to make a pair. See above. Note: you only need pins in one painting from each pair!

Next: Insert pins into the front of your third wet painting and place it back to back with the uppermost painting of the first pair, then carefully balance another wet painting face-to-face and so on until you have created a stack of pairs of wet paintings:

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

Vicki says: “Then, use the masking tape to secure all the way around the outside edge of the stack, repeat this on each of the four edges until you have nicely secured block of paintings. Place the paintings inside a plastic bag or wrap them in some way so that no other item in your luggage can slip between the wet surfaces of the paintings.”

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

She adds: “I have transported up to 20 paintings in this manner in my suitcase checked into the hold on many occasions. If you are concerned you can carry them in your hand luggage where you can keep an eye on them.”

Vicki has made a one-page, illustrated PDF of these tips and we will send you one: just ask in the comment section below. Our thanks to Vicki for providing these tips. Here’s another of her wonderful oil paintings of our local area:

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

Vicki’s course with us this year is completely booked, as are the courses of some of our other tutors who will help with oil painting. But there are often cancellations so if you’re keen to come and paint in oils, please get in touch via the links below and we will put you on a waiting list and be in touch as soon as a place becomes available.

Jude Scott
17 – 24 August 2019 Two or three places left
24 – 31 August 2019 
One or two places left

Watercolours (plus acrylics and oils)
To learn more about Jude 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.

 

Claire Warner
14 – 21 September 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours, oils and acrylics
To learn more about Claire and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Varvara Neiman
31 August – 7 September 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara 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.

 

Cross boundaries and awaken your artistic soul at the Watermill

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

Crossing boundaries: Aphrodite kidnapped. A bust of the goddess, normally in the Watermill sitting room, placed artistically in the walled garden.

“The Watermill inspires artist to cross boundaries, and to see the landscape in new ways. Looking back to those sunlit days in Posara, I have such fond memories. Getting up early, cup of fresh coffee in my hand, dew on the tips of flowers… then the Sun would begin to rise and the hills would begin to wake. Painting at the Watermill is more than an experience, it’s an awakening.”

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

A shady corner in our sunny Tuscan courtyard

The beautiful comment above is from Lou Renner, the husband of our Watermill painting tutor and good friend, Maggie Renner Hellmann.

Lou always accompanies Maggie when she comes to teach at the mill and he, like her, is wonderful company. He’ll be here again with her next September. Maggie’s course is already fully booked, but there are details below if you’d like to be on the waiting list in case of cancellations. And they will both be back with us for not one, but two, colourful and inspiring weeks next year (2020)

You can find a preview of Maggie’s 2020 courses by clicking here. And if you want to make sure of your place, you can even make an advance booking and enjoy one of (or both!) Maggie’s 2020 courses at 2019 prices. Can you resist?

Maggie’s 2019 course:

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.

Maggie’s 2020 courses:

Please go to: https://watermill.net/wmprov2019/watermill-prov20.php  and click on 2020 Painting Holidays preview. Come and join us and paint wonderful scenes like this with Maggie.

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

PS If you’s like to be sure of a place on an inspiring Watermill painting course THIS year: we still have a few places left:

What’s still available on our 2019 painting courses

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

Here is the list, with dates and contact links. As with Maggie’s course, if you see a week in which you would like to come is currently fully booked, don’t hesitate to be in touch, because there are often cancellations. We will put you on a waiting list and be in touch as soon as a place becomes available.

Sandra Strohschein
1 – 8 June 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
8 – 15 June 2019 
Sudden cancellation!: one place left

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

 

Sue Ford
13 – 20 July 2019 One or two 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 Two or three places left
24 – 31 August 2019 
One or two places left

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

 

The painting courses below are currently fully booked fully booked, BUT there are always cancellations. If you’d like to come on one of them, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: we will put you on a waiting list and let you know as soon as there is a space.

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 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Keiko 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 Fully booked, waiting list open
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.

 

Claire Warner
14 – 21 September 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours, oils and acrylics
To learn more about Claire and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Varvara Neiman
31 August – 7 September 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara 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 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

 

 

More charming watercolours from painting guest Robert Christopher

Painting by Robert Christopher, at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Watermill painting course guest Robert Christopher, who came on Andrew Geeson’s week last June, has just sent me another couple of charming pen and watercolour sketches. The one above is of the millstream cascades flowing from the 17th century mill back into the River Rosaro. And the painting below is of the pathway leading down to the ancient workings of the 17th century mill.

Robert tells me that he continues to be inspired by the Watermill and is looking forward to joining us again in October, for Charles Sluga’s course. Thank you for sharing those memories with us, Robert and we look forward to watching you create more this autumn.

We would ask you to join Robert and us on Charles’s course, but at present it is fully booked. There may be cancellations and if you’d like to come, let us know and we’ll put you on the waiting list.

We still have a few places left on our other inspiring painting courses. Here is the list, with dates and contact links. As with Charles’s course, if you see a week in which you would like to come is currently fully booked, don’t hesitate to be in touch, because there are often cancellations. We will put you on a waiting list and be in touch as soon as a place becomes available.

Sandra Strohschein
1 – 8 June 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
8 – 15 June 2019 
Sudden cancellation!: one place left

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

 

Sue Ford
13 – 20 July 2019 One or two 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 Two or three places left
24 – 31 August 2019 
One or two places left

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

 

The painting courses below are currently fully booked fully booked, BUT there are always cancellations. If you’d like to come on one of them, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: we will put you on a waiting list and let you know as soon as there is a space.

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 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Keiko 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 Fully booked, waiting list open
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.

 

Claire Warner
14 – 21 September 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours, oils and acrylics
To learn more about Claire and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Varvara Neiman
31 August – 7 September 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara 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 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

 

 

 

What’s in a name? Would Caillebotte be better known if he’d been called Manet?

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Yesterday I shared on our Facebook page (to go there, please click here) the overwhelming 19th century painting of Le Ponte de l’ Europe by the French Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte. I love the dizzying downward perspective and the celebration of engineering prowess, as well as the storytelling in the picture, of which more later.

Caillebotte exhibited with the Impressionists in the 1870s and his work has a robust vigour that perhaps many of them lacked. But ask any art lover to come up with Impressionist names and I suppose Monet, Manet, Renoir, Dégas and Cézanne would rapidly trip off the tongue and you could probably quickly add Sisley, Pissarro and, of course, Berthe Morisot. But Caillebotte? His name is difficult to pronounce (Kayibott is the best I can do) and it’s even easy to forget how to spell it. Had he been called Dubois or Blanc I am sure he would be much better remembered.

I think it’s the same for another of my heroes, Filippo Brunelleschi, who can claim to be one of the inventors of the Renaissance, but that’s a story for another day. And if you want villains instead of heroes, how about Dzerzhinsky, a mass murderer to rank alongside Stalin, Hitler and Mao? Do you remember his name and who he was? More about that later in the week

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Today I’d like to redress the balance a little and tell you more about Monsieur Caillebotte and his wonderful paintings. He was born in 1848 and died in 1890. The Europe Bridge, now in the Musée du Petit Palais in Geneva, was painted in 1876. The bulky iron bridge crossed the railway tracks leading to the station of St Lazare. Caillebotte was an engineer and you can see how his work celebrates the bulky triumph of 19th-century engineering.

A man dressed in working clothes stares down at the railway tracks while a well-dressed chap in a top hat and a woman cross the bridge together. He seems to be a flâneur, a man who saunters around observing society, and she may well be a prostitute. Others in the background of the picture go their separate ways. The dog is called Fifi and, like all French dogs goes ‘wouff’ instead of ‘wuff’ like English dogs. (I made that up. Sorry!)

Whatever the storyline, these disparate characters are each leading their own lives, oblivious to the others. Is this also a symbol of alienation in an increasingly industrialised world? I think that’s getting a little deep as far as interpretation is concerned!

Looking at Caillebotte’s bridge It reminded me that we have a print of another wonderful oil painting of his , which is currently hanging in one of the Watermill bedrooms (I forget which but here it is:)

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

Les raboteurs de parquet, usually known in English as The Floor Scrapers, was painted in 1875 and was one of the first paintings to depict the Parisian working class. The point of view is unusual, in that the observer stands above three workers on their hands and knees, scraping away at a wooden floor, in what is now believed to be Caillebotte’s own studio in room in Rue de Miromesnil. There is a motif of curls in the picture, in the ironwork, in the shavings of wood and in the arched backs of the workers. While it reintroduces the male nude in painting, these men are no heroes of antiquity such as Hercules or Odysseus, Despite their demeaning posture, however, their honest labour makes them modern heroes.

The painting was rejected by the stuffy old Academy, which criticised its ‘vulgar subject matter’. Caillebotte, deeply upset at the rejection, showed it at the second exhibition of the Impressionists in 1876. Now we can enjoy it at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, recognising that it is truly a masterpiece.

Thank you, M. Caillebotte. I wish you were better known. Here he is celebrating a rainy day in Paris in 1877.

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

A sudden opportunity to paint the vivid Tuscan countryside

Painting by Maggie Renner Hoffmann, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.A cancellation today on Maggie Renner Hellmann’s painting course here in September has given me the excuse to show you again her wonderful picture of sunflowers. Isn’t it vibrant? Why not come and join Maggie, taking up that last place and painting all the fantastic colours of unspoiled rural Tuscany in and around the Watermill?

The room that has become available is our Bronzino bedroom, a large double room overlooking the Watermill Gardens with the towering Apennine mountains beyond. It’s perfect for a couple, so you may like to bring your non-painting partner (or a painting partner, come to that!) But we are quite happy to let it out to a single person. You can find out more about Maggie’s course and all our bedrooms below, where we are also publishing the latest details on the availability of all our creative courses.

We’ve already sold some 245 places this year, but there are still a few left. And even if you see a course that you particularly like is fully booked, please get in touch with us and will put you on the waiting list. There are often cancellations.

What’s available: Painting courses

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.We’ve listed the painting courses where we still have availability first, the others that are full, but for which there is a waiting list, follow these.

Sue Ford
13 – 20 July 2019 One or two 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 Two or three places left
24 – 31 August 2019 
One or two places left

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

 

Maggie Renner Hellmann
21 – 28 September 2019 1/2 places now available
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.

 

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.

 

The painting courses below are currently fully booked fully booked, BUT there are always cancellations. If you’d like to come on one of them, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: we will put you on a waiting list and let you know as soon as there is a space.

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 Fully booked, waiting list open
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 
Sudden cancellation!: one place left

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 Fully booked, waiting list open
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.

 

Claire Warner
14 – 21 September 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours, oils and acrylics
To learn more about Claire and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Varvara Neiman
31 August – 7 September 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara 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 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

What’s available: Knitting courses

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

We’ve listed first the knitting course where we still have availability:

Carol Meldrum
4 – 11 May 2019 Four or five 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.

 

The knitting weeks below are currently fully booked fully booked, BUT there are always cancellations. If you’d like to come , please don’t hesitate to get in touch: we will put you on a waiting list and let you know as soon as there is a space.

Debbie Abrahams
25 May – 1 June 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
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

 

What’s available: Writing courses

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

Some of our guests on Jo’s 2018 creative writing course at the village of Verrucola

Jo Parfitt
15 – 22 June 2019 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 Four or five places left
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and to register an interest in their course at the mill, please visit their 2019 Profile Page.

What’s available: Italian language course

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

Due to recent cancellations, we now have two bedrooms available on our Italian language course. Let us know if you’d like to make one of them yours (and bring a partner, if you like).

Langues services and Francesca la Sala 
11 – 18 May 2019 Two or three places left
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.  Come and jump for joy  yourself!

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!

 

It’s like having two tutors for the price of one, says Maggie.

Painting by Lou Renner, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.This vibrant picture of the old demijohns in the Watermill courtyard is by Lou Renner, the husband of our Watermill painting tutor and good friend, Maggie Renner Hellmann. It is made in mixed media and oil pastels.

As well as being an intrepid mountaineer, Lou is also, as you can, see a talented artist in his own right. He says: There is something organic and very special about the gardens of ‘The Watermill’ in Tuscany. Maggie’s classes here are inspirational, fun, and full of helpful information. For me, her colour suggestions allow me to explore. As for the demijohn’s… perhaps a bit more wine would have allowed me to use even more colour!”

Lou always accompanies Maggie when she comes to teach at the mill and he, like her, is wonderful company. Maggie says: I believe students are getting ‘two for one’ with you helping to inspire and tutor too!”  Here is Maggie’s atmospheric demonstration watercolour of another corner of the Watermill courtyard: a sunny bench with comfortable cushions where you can take a few moments to enjoy the ambience of the place and perhaps listen to the swifts as they screech above you, forever on the wing.

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

Maggie (and Lou) will be with us for another inspiring week in September. This course is already fully booked, but there are details below if you’d like to be on the waiting list in case of cancellations. And they will both be back with us for not one, but two, colourful and inspiring weeks next year. You can find a preview of Maggie’s 2020 courses by clicking here. And if you want to make sure of your place, you can even make an advance booking and enjoy one of (or both!) Maggie’s 2020 courses at 2019 prices. Can you resist?

The 2019 course:

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.

The 202o courses:

Please go to: https://watermill.net/wmprov2019/watermill-prov20.php  and click on 2020 Painting Holidays preview. Come and join us and paint wonderful scenes like this with Maggie.

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

 

Lack of time helps your painting to loosen up, says Mike

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Our Watermill painting tutor and friend Mike Willdridge has just returned from seeing his family in Australia and touring in the Far East, notably in Vietnam and Cambodia. He tells me: The painting above was one of the last I made before returning home from Cambodia a couple of weeks ago. As with many other sketchbook paintings made on my tour, it was made under some pressure!

“The afternoon was very hot and humid and our tour guide had stopped briefly for the driver to buy some water. I left the vehicle, sketched the image and returned to paint the picture whilst travelling to our next location.

 “One of the best ways to learn to paint in a ‘loose’ style is to put yourself under some pressure and the best self-imposed pressure is lack of TIME. Force yourself to come out of your comfort zone and reduce significantly the time you allow yourself to make a painting. What you achieve by doing this is a focus on putting down on paper what is most important and, in the process, simplify your image.

 “In this painting I wanted to respond to the intense heat, light and colour of the scene. So it was important that I focused on the dramatic contrast between the lights and darks (shadows) and the vibrancy of the clashing complementary colours – the reds (roof and foreground) set against the cooler greens of the trees.”

Here’s another painting which demonstrates how lack of time can help you to concentrate on the essentials. It is of Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Australia.

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

In 2017 Mike walked around it just as the sun was rising. He says: At the end of the walk our guide prepared a breakfast and as he was doing that, I painted this – focusing on the important visual elements of the scene and my experience of the walk. The intense red colour and heat of the rock is emphasised by its contrast with the cool blue of the sky and vibrancy between the cool greens set against the red of the rock. It didn’t take long to paint this because, after a very early start and a 10K walk – breakfast smelled wonderful.”

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.It will not be humid when Mike comes back to the Watermill this June/July, though it should be lovely and warm. His course in watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics), from Saturday 29 June to Saturday 6 July 2019. At present his week is fully booked, but we often have cancellations and if you’re keen to come and paint and sketch with Mike (and develop a looser painting style) please click below to find out more.

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Mike Willdridge
29 June to 6 July 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
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.

Here is a cool sketch by Mike of our millstream bubbling back towards the river:

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

 

Caring, companionable, creative: come and join us for a wonderful Watermill week

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.The photograph above shows our guests on Maggie Renner Hellmann‘s painting course last year, proudly showing off some of the work they have made during the week. Their next task will be to toast each other with procsecco on the vine verandah and then enjoy a delicious Italian farewell dinner cooked by Lois. Another caring and companionable creative week at the Watermill.

If you’d like to put yourself in the picture, as a painter, a scriptwriter, a knitter, or someone keen to improve your Italian language skills, please get in touch and grab one of the last few places on one of our warmly welcoming creative courses.

Here’s the latest list of what’s available. It’s followed by details and links of the other courses that are currently fully booked. But there are invariably cancellations, so if there’s a tutor or a date in whom/which you are particularly interested, please don’t hesitate to let us know and we’ll put you on the waiting list. We are looking forward to an especially inspiring season this year and we love you to be part of it!

And why not bring your non-participating partners well? Not only is there a generous £250 reduction for them (sharing a room with you), but we have plenty of activities for them. Find out more about that by clicking here.

What’s available: Painting courses

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.We’ve listed the painting courses where we still have availability first, the others that are full, but for which there is a waiting list, follow these.

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 Two or three places left
24 – 31 August 2019 
One or two places left

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

 

The painting courses below are currently fully booked fully booked, BUT there are always cancellations. If you’d like to come on one of them, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: we will put you on a waiting list and let you know as soon as there is a space.

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 Fully booked, waiting list open
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 Fully booked, waiting list open
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.

 

Claire Warner
14 – 21 September 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours, oils and acrylics
To learn more about Claire and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.

 

Varvara Neiman
31 August – 7 September 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara 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 Fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.

 

What’s available: Knitting courses

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

We’ve listed first the knitting course where we still have availability:

Carol Meldrum
4 – 11 May 2019 Four or five 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.

 

The knitting weeks below are currently fully booked fully booked, BUT there are always cancellations. If you’d like to come , please don’t hesitate to get in touch: we will put you on a waiting list and let you know as soon as there is a space.

Debbie Abrahams
25 May – 1 June 2019 Fully booked, waiting list open
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

 

What’s available: Writing courses

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

Some of our guests on Jo’s 2018 creative writing course at the village of Verrucola

We’ve listed the creative writing course where we still have availability first, the other is fully booked, but there is a waiting list.

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
7 – 14 September 2019 Four or five places left
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and to register an interest in their course at the mill, please visit their 2019 Profile Page.
The creative writing week below is currently fully booked fully booked, BUT there are always cancellations. If you’d like to come , please don’t hesitate to get in touch: we will put you on a waiting list and let you know as soon as there is a space.

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.

Italian language course

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

Due to recent cancellations, we now have two bedrooms available on our Italian language course. Let us know if you’d like to make one of them yours (and bring a partner, if you like).

Langues services and Francesca la Sala 
11 – 18 May 2019 Two or three places left
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.  Come and enjoy it for yourself!

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!