Archives for October 2019

Olive trees, vineyards, mountains, ancient buildings: come and capture the atmosphere of unspoiled Tuscany with Vicki Norman

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

The vibrant oil painting above is of an olive tree in the gardens of the Convento di Carmine, an ancient monastery which is one of our venues during our painting weeks at the Watermill. This is just one of the stunning locations in unspoiled rural Tuscany we will be visiting with Vicki Norman during her week-long painting course, in oils and watercolours en plein air, next June.

Vicki’s paintings seek to capture the essence of the day and the sense of place through the colour and play of the light. You can see this in the Italian study below, of the Apuan Alps, the stunning marble mountains of Carrara, which you will also paint during your Watermill week with Vicki. She says; “I wanted to record the colours of the hills as they receded. The bright yellow of the ginestra at the front contrasted beautifully with the lilac of the marble- capped mountains behind. I knew if I could capture the colours of the moment, I could use them for subsequent studio paintings at home.

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

Vicki specialises in painting on location. She will teach primarily in oils and watercolours, but is happy to help with other mediums, too. Her paintings seek to capture the essence of the day and the sense of place through the colour and play of the light.

Painting by Vicki Norman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
An oil painting by Vicki called September in Posara
The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Why don’t you come and find a shady spot and paint the glorious Tuscan countryside bathed in sunlight? Vicki Norman will be with us from Saturday 20 June to Saturday 27 June 2020, tutoring in oils and watercolours (and other mediums on request). You can find out more by clicking here.

Here’s a comment from one of our guests on Vicki’s week at the Watermill last year: “An excellent painting and holiday week. All the trips out to painting locations were well organised and Vicki was very good as a teacher and an inspiration due to her wonderful paintings.”

Now is the time to book and take advantage of our Early Bird Discount Offer: £75 (English pounds) off this holiday if you book before the end of this year. But our 2020 bookings are pouring in, so if you want to be sure of a place is probably best to book as soon as you can. We would love to welcome you here.

Painting by Vicki Norman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Vicki’s vivacious painting of Laundry Day.
Painting by Vicki Norman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

A dramatic evening picture from a Watermill guest

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

Rose Diamond, who was on Charles Sluga’s painting week recently, has just sent me this lovely and unusual picture of the Watermill courtyard with a dramatic evening sky behind it. Thank you very much for that, Rose.

Rose also comments: “I want you to know how special it was to experience the Watermill at Posara. Last week was magical on so many levels…magnificent setting, accommodations and meals, day trips, and painting instructor.”

We reckon we are in the happiness business and we are delighted if we can make our guests happy. Come and share the Watermill experience yourself: our 2020 creative courses are filling fast. You can find out more by clicking here.

Exclusively designed knitting projects for you on Renee Callaghan’s week at the mill

Design by Renée Callahan, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

We are delighted to welcome Renée Callahan to the Watermill knitting tutors team! Renée is a prolific knitwear designer from London in England, who loves to combine texture and colour to create hand-knit patterns that are enjoyable to knit and remain wearable for years to come.

Renée studied Fashion Design with Knitwear at the prestigious Central Saint Martins College in London. She has always loved textiles and the technical challenge of knitting: she finds a real joy in producing something both useful and beautiful.

Renée will be with us for another of our famous Knitting and la Bella Vita Italiana weeks, from Saturday 15 August to Saturday, 22 August 2020. And she says: “I am already planning some wonderful exclusive projects for the students, which will give us the opportunity to try out new techniques, such as brioche and slipped stitch patterns.”  

As ever, your knitting week will combine expert tuition, like-minded company, wonderful food, the delightful ambience of the Watermill and outings into the surrounding unspoiled Tuscan countryside of Lunigiana.

We have just announced this new knitting week, and already there has been considerable interest, so if you are interested in coming, now really is the time to book, particularly as we have our Early Bird Discount Offer: If you book before 31 December 2019 there’s a £75 (English pounds) per person discount on this fabulous 2020 knitting holiday. (Everything is included in the cost of your holiday: tuition, accommodation, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation. You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!)

To find out more about Renée and her inspiring week at the Watermill, please click here.

Come and enjoy inspirational knitting and La Bella Vita Italiana next summer!

Design by Renée Callahan, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Natural beauty in the palm of a hand

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

This lively little chap is a member of the Hemidactylus turcicus clan, a Mediterranean house gecko. Ain’t he cute? He looks more like a jewelled brooch than a cold-blooded insect hunter. He’s held in the palm of the hand of our ‘Man Friday’, Nathaniel (‘Nate’) Szekely (who took the picture with his other hand).

Geckos are just part of the fascinating wildlife you can see around the mill buildings and gardens: there are lizards galore and, in the season, amazing hummingbird moths and elegant swallowtail butterflies. And along the river and millstream, damselflies and pond skaters… all part of the abundance of nature in this ecologically protected area.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
An amazing hummingbird moth. Picture by Watermill guest Ron Ploeg.

Come and see for yourself when you join us on one of our sun-filled, fun-filled, caring and inspiring creative courses – painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language. You can find out more details of all our activities by clicking here. Places for 2020 are filling fast so if you’d like enjoy creativity and nature, now really is the time to book, especially as you can take advantage of our Early Bird Discount Offer: £75 (English pounds) off any of our creative courses if you book before the end of this year. But to be sure of the course you want, it is probably wisest to book now.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
A swallowtail butterfly, photograph: Lara Breckon
A damselfly beside the millstream. Picture by Trevor Sanderson.

Cultural osmosis in progress?

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

I love this picture of young children tripping through the Uffizi gallery in Florence in their school smocks. I like the idea that they’re surrounded by creativity hundreds of years old and I hope that, by some process of cultural osmosis,the ideas and emotions of the previous centuries seep into their young minds and add beauty and inspiration to their lives.

But, hang the philosophy, ain’t it a great picture? Thanks to The Florentine, Florence’s English-language newspaper for publishing it this week.

Grace found her Watermill week amazing – again!

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

Grace McKee, with her husband Philip, is a regular guest on our painting courses at the Watermill.  We’ve lost count of how many times they’ve been here, but it must be four or five now, and they are both delightful company. She has just posted this comment on Facebook: “Had a wonderful week painting at the Watermill. Bill and Lois are great hosts, Charles Sluga was an entertaining and informative instructor and all the painters were fun to be with.” And as a memento of her latest visit, she also posted the delightful little watercolour above of part of the mill buildings.

Charles Sluga will not be back with us until 2021, but if you can’t wait that long to sample the delights of the Watermill painting week, we have an inspiring line-up of internationally renowned painting tutors for 2020. You can find out more by clicking here. And don’t forget, if you book before the end of this year you can take advantage of our Early Bird Discount Offer: £75 (English pounds) off any of our creative courses. Come and join in the creativity and the fun! We would be delighted to welcome you here.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Watermill tutor Maggie Renner Hellmann’s delightful demonstration watercolour of the Watermill courtyard

Spectacular locations, whatever the weather

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

Although the weather wasn’t of the kindest this week, our painting guests on Charles Sluga’s course seemed to enjoy themselves and to have learned a lot from Charles’s excellent teaching. We managed to get out on location most days and, judging by the number of paintings on show at the impromptu exhibition in the studio yesterday evening, our guests were particularly productive.

Above you can see some of our guests on the last painting day, yesterday, at the thousand-year-old hilltop village of Monte dei Bianchi, painting in the small grassy piazza outside the church, with spectacular views of the Apuan Alps, the marble mountains of Carrara. And here’s Charles, earlier in the week, demonstrating how to paint trees!

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

Come and join us next year one of our painting courses and discover for yourself that whatever the weather, your week will be fun-filled and inspiring. There are already filling fast, so if you fancy a particular tutor (painting-wise, that is!) or a particular week, or a particular bedroom or apartment suite, now is the time to reserve your place. And don’t forget that if you book now you can take advantage of our Early Bird Discount Offer: a £75 (English pounds) discount on your 2020 holiday. You can find out all about our 2020 painting courses by clicking here. We would love to welcome you here and we can promise you more sunshine than showers!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
The Watermill walled garden with the courtyard in the background: not a cloud to be seen.

From Harrods Food Hall and Phantom of the Opera to the Watermill at Posara!

Painting by Rebecca de Mendonça, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

English pastellist Rebecca de Mendonça’s teaching and painting are the result of a varied career in the arts. Having completed her degree in Theatre Design, she worked on projects ranging from Harrods Food Hall to the Phantom of the Opera and has been commissioned to paint dancers at English National Ballet and actors in West End Shows. She also loves painting buildings and landscapes – and people. The pastel above is her stunning Sitting on the Steps.

We’re delighted to welcome Rebecca back next year for another of her highly popular week-long courses in Pastels and Mixed Media. It will run from Saturday 5 September to Saturday 12 September 2020. Her atmospheric pastel below is of an archway in the walled village of Verrucola, one of the locations on our painting weeks.

Painting by Rebecca de Mendonça, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Rebecca di Mendonça, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Rebecca will help you to capture the architecture and landscape of the beautiful Watermill painting venues with a combination of materials: soft pastels, pen and ink, Conte crayons and pastel pencils, separately and in combination, to achieve lively sketches and finished pieces. You can find out more about Rebecca and her course at the Watermill by clicking here.

A comment from a previous guest: “It really was one of the best courses I’ve ever attended. No, I’ll amend that, it WAS the best. Good company, but above all, I felt Rebecca really cared that we all really achieved something during our time with her.”

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. You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

Even though it’s almost a year away, we already have nine people booked into Rebecca’s 2020 course at the Watermill. One of them is a non-painting partner, so we have room for four more painters (and their partners, if they’d like to come with them) so now is the time to avoid disappointment and book your place. And don’t forget we have an Early Bird Discount Offer: If you book before 31 December 2019 there’s a £75 (English pounds) per person discount on this fabulous 2020 painting holiday.

Rebecca, Lois and I would like to welcome you to the Watermill and tell you more about Harrods Food Hall, the Phantom of the Opera and much else beside!

Painting by Rebecca de Mendonca, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
A dynamic pastel by Rebecca called ‘Freedom’