Archives for December 2019

Only two days left to be a Watermill Early Bird

Painting by Sandra Strohschein, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
A painting lesson in the Watermill walled garden

How time flies! You have only two more days to take advantage of t our Early Bird offer, of £GBP 75 off any of our Watermill creative courses creative course, which expires at the end of the year.

In deep midwinter (in the northern hemisphere at least) why not plan some Summer relaxation and inspiration on one of our world-famous relaxing and inspiring creative courses? Warm yourself with the thought of a week enjoying the Watermill hospitality with like-minded people, delicious food and wine and sympathetic tuition.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, yoga holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Sunshine on the rose pergola: something to look forward to.

As you will see below, a fair proportion of our courses are already fully booked. If there is a particular tutor or week that you would prefer, and it is currently fully booked, don’t hesitate to get in touch: there are often cancellations and we will put you on a waiting list and let you know as soon as there is a vacancy. Here is a list of our courses and the current availability,

Our inspiring painting courses

Carl March

Carl March
18 – 25 April 2020 – one or two places
Drawing and watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Grahame Booth

Grahame Booth
25 April – 2 May 2020 – fully booked, waing list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Grahame and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Brienne M Brown

Brienne M Brown – fully booked, waiting list open
16 – 23 May 2020
Watercolours
To learn more about Brienne and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Sandra Strohschein

Sandra Strohschein
30 May – 6 June 2020 – fully booked, waiting list open
6 – 13 June 2020 – fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Sandra and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Randy Hale

Randy Hale
13 – 20 June 2020 – fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours
To learn more about Randy and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Vicki Norman

Vicki Norman
20 – 27 June 2020 – still a few places
Oils and watercolours (and other mediums)
To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Chris Hughes

Chris Hughes
27 June – 4 July 2020 – still plenty of places
Watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Chris and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Mark Warner

Mark Warner
11 – 18 July 2020 – still plenty of places
Colourful Acrylics, Drawing, Pen & Wash
To learn more about Mark and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Mike Willdridge

Mike Willdridge
29 August – 5 September 2020 – still a few places
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Rebecca de Mendonça

Rebecca de Mendonça
5 – 12 September 2020 – still a few places
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Maggie Renner Hellmann

Maggie Renner Hellmann
12 – 19 September 2020 – still plenty of places
19 – 26 September 2020 – still plenty of places
Courageous Color Workshop’ in oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn more about Maggie and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mary Padgett

Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020 – still plenty of places
Pastels (and other portable media) en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Milind Mulick

Milind Mulick
3 – 10 October 2020 – still a few places
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Tim Wilmot

Tim Wilmot
10 – 17 October 2020 – still a few places
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


Our enticing knitting courses

Louisa Harding

Louisa Harding
23 – 30 May 2020 – fully booked, waiting list open
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Louisa and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Knitting retreat

Knitting Retreat
4 – 11 July 2020 – two knitting places left
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about this retreat, please visit our 2020 Retreat Overview Page.


Renée Callahan

Renée Callahan
15 – 22 August 2020 – still plenty of places
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Renée and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Our enriching 2020 writing courses

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
2 – 9 May 2020 – fully booked, waiting list open
Scriptwriting
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please visit their 2020 Profile Page.


Jo Parfitt

Jo Parfitt
2 – 9 May 2020 – still one place
Write the stories of your life
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Our illuminating Italian language course

Francesca la Sala

Langues Services and Francesca la Sala
22 – 29 August 2020 – still a few places
Learning Italian with the Italians
To learn more about Francesca and her
2020 course at the mill, please click here.

Value, Intensity, Hue… How to turn the spotlight on the star of your picture

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

Our talented and sympathetic Californian painting tutor Maggie Renner Hellmann has sent us these fabulous tips on how to make your pictures even better.

She says: “As a painter and composer of paintings, you will want to direct the viewers eye to your ‘focal areas’ (i.e.: focal point, star, or what delighted you about this particular view to want to paint it!) Here are some useful tools to help you ‘push back’ and ‘pull forward’ areas in your work.

 “Not everything gets to be the ‘star’. Think in terms of music: You want a chorus background and a lead singer. The ‘star’ in your painting is that lead singer.”

To bring the viewer to the star of your painting, you can use three techniques:

Color Value Contrast: Place your lightest light next to your darkest dark to bring the viewer’s eye here. Other areas will have lower value contrast. *Maggie is American, so in this blog we are spelling color her way!

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

Color value contrast is a method noticeably used by many ‘Realism’ painters, like Jean-François Millet:

***

Color Intensity Contrast: Use your most vibrant or intense color at the focal point to bring the viewer’s eye here. Other areas are more muted in color intensity.

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

This is a method noticeably used by many ‘Tonalism’ painters, like George Inness:

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

***

Color Hue Contrast: Use complementary hues at the focal point to bring
the viewer’s eye here. (i.e.: Purple next to yellow, or red next to green.)

This is a method noticeably used by many ‘Modern’ painters, like Vincent van Gogh.

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

***

Maggie says: “Feel free to use one of these methods, or varying amounts of all three to ‘push’ and ‘pull’ areas in composing your paintings, according to your sensibilities”

We are looking forward to welcoming Maggie (and her charming husband Lou) for not one, but two, of her inspiring ‘Courageous Color Workshops’ at the Watermill next year. We’d be delighted if you were to join us on either, or both.

Maggie’s week-long courses in oils, acrylics, watercolors* and pastels will run from 12 September to 19 September 2020 and from 19 September to 26 September 2020.   

If you’d like to join us, now really is the time to book: you only have a few days left to take advantage of our Early Bird Discount Offer: £75 (English pounds, about $90) per person off either of Maggie’s weeks, if you reserve your place before the end of this year.

As well as leaving as a much better painter than when you came, you will also have great fun with like-minded people and enjoying the unique ambience of the Watermill. As one of our guests on this year’s painting course with Maggie said: I just want to express my thanks and appreciation for such a wonderful experience staying at your beautiful Watermill! I loved my room and the meals were fabulous.

“Maggie and Lou were a delight and as the novice painter in the group, I always felt supported and encourage by both of them, as well as the rest of the group. I left with many warm and wonderful memories.  The Watermill is a very special place that will always be a part of me now.” 

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

Maggie’s oil painting above is of sunlight on a Tuscan vineyardwhile below is a vibrant watercolour demonstration of the Watermill courtyard.

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

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

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

And of the Watermill she says: Tuscan heaven: Sumptuous multi-course meals, neighbouring village trattorias, ultra-comfortable accommodations and painting instruction with demos! And sharing and stories, some history and some just plain fun! Oh, and the wine.”

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation, pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

You can see more about Maggie and her course of the Watermill by clicking here.

Finally, one of my favourite Maggie Renner oil paintings of this year. You can guess where it is!

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

More glorious Tuscan vines

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

Yesterday, we published a wonderful picture by Maggie Renner Hellmann of a vineyard basking under the Tuscan Sun. It reminded me of some similar pictures created by our inspiring oil and watercolour painting tutor, Vicki Norman, and I thought I would share them with you. The one above is called Vineyard: first light. And the oil painting below is called Morning Sun and the Vineyard.

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

Why not join Vicki for her course here next year and enjoying the delights of Tuscany in early summer? Vicki will be with us from Saturday 20 June to Saturday 27 June, teaching in oils and watercolours en plein air. Here’s a comment from one of our guests on Vicki’s week 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.”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, 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. You can find out more about Vicki and her course at the mill by clicking here. 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.

Why not join Vicki and paint the glorious Tuscan countryside bathed in sunlight? (To say nothing of the rose pergola!) 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. So you have a few days left.

Just to remind you, the Maggie Renner Hellmann vineyard painting we published yesterday is below. She asked for help in giving it a title and we had many suggestions already Why not add your ideas by going to our Facebook post? You can see it by clicking here.

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

Can you help Maggie and give her picture a name?

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

Here’s a colourful oil painting made en plein air by our Watermill tutor Maggie Renner Hellmann. But she can’t think of a title for it. Can you help?

And while you’re thinking of a name, why not think of coming on one of Maggie’s delightful painting courses at the Watermill next year? She is tutor on two ‘Courageous Color Workshops’ at the Watermill next Autumn (Fall). We’d be delighted if you were to join us on either, or both.

You still have a few days to take advantage of our Early Bird Discount Offer: £75 (English pounds, about $90) per person discount on either of Maggie’s inspiring 2020 painting courses, if you book before the end of 2019

Maggie’s week-long courses in oils, acrylics, watercolors* and pastels will run from 12 September to 19 September 2020 and from 19 September to 26 September 2020   *Maggie is American, so in this blog we are spelling color her way! Her courses will again be ‘Tuscan Magic’, the title of the Maggie picture below.

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

As well as leaving as a much better painter than when you came, you will also have great fun with like-minded people and enjoy the unique ambience of the Watermill. As one of our guests on this year’s painting course with Maggie said: “I just want to express my thanks and appreciation for such a wonderful experience staying at your beautiful Watermill! I loved my room and the meals were fabulous. Maggie and Lou were a delight and as the novice painter in the group, I always felt supported and encouraged by both of them, as well as the rest of the group. I left with many warm and wonderful memories.  The Watermill is a very special place that will always be a part of me now.” 

Here’s another a vibrant watercolour demonstration painting by Maggie, of the Watermill courtyard.

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

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

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

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation, pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest! You can see more about Maggie and her course at the Watermill by clicking here.

Another Tuscan landscape by Maggie

Deck the hall, by Carl March

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

Here’s a topical painting by Watermill tutor Carl March. It shows the grand entrance hall (and a Christmas tree) at St Brides Castle in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and it’s painted in ink and watercolour.

Carl will be with us next April (Saturday 18 April to Saturday, 25 April 2020). His course is called ‘Drawing and Painting for Pleasure’ and we are sure it will be just that! We already have nine people booked in, so we only have room for three or four more. Why not treat yourself to a week with Carl the spring? If you book now you can take advantage of our Early Bird Discount Offer: £75 (English Pounds) off this inspiring 2020 painting holiday if you book before the end of this year.

We love Carl’s distinctive style and we think you will enjoy painting with him too. Here’s another of his watercolour sketches, of a Greek-style chapel on the island of Cyprus.

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

You can find out all about Carl and his course at the Watermill by clicking here. Come and join us and participate in the pleasure. Here is another of Carl’s distinctive watercolours, with not-so-topical trees.

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

How to avoid the perils of overworking, by Grahame Booth

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

Watermill tutor Grahame Booth has cold weather to thank for the excellence of this painting. He says: “Had I not been so cold I would have painted on for some time and probably added much more detailed plants, particularly in the lower right corner.” But he adds: “Now that I look at it in the warmth of my studio, I realise that would have been rather foolish. As it stands, the flowers lead nicely to the gardener, the shed and the tree, quite a good diagonal composition. Detail in the lower right would have fought with the flowers and would have held the eye down in the lower part of the painting.”

It all prompted Grahame to come up with a few tips to avoid overpainting, a problem many painters face. He says: “It really is so easy to keep adding more paint. After all, paint creates the painting and so logically adding more of it creates a better painting. Right? No, wrong.

“Choosing a point at which to stop is incredibly difficult, and is almost always too late. The old joke about the best time to stop being 30 minutes before you actually do stop is so true. A forced stop works quite well. Here I was cold and at other times I have limited time in which to paint so I simply have to stop, but how do I know I have finished if I have plenty of time available? Generally, I always have a plan – an image of the finished painting in my head but more often than not I have to change the plan, so the final image is no longer quite as clear as it was.”

Grahame has a few thoughts to help you stop when you should:

  • When you are struggling to think of something to add, don’t do anything
  • Step back frequently from your painting. This helps you to see it as a whole and can often help to avoid unnecessary additions.
  • Limit your time. If you have a tendency to overwork, and you usually take two hours to paint, then plan to stop after 90 minutes.
  • Use as big a brush as you can. A big brush can’t produce the detail that overworking involves.
Don’t overdo the detail!

Last chance to join Jo and add spice to your life story

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
A collage of conversation on Jo’s last course, compiled by Sue Reed.

Jo Parfitt’s Writing Your Life Stories courses at the Watermill have provided some of the most inspiring and creative weeks in our calendar, with dozens of people learning new writing skills to help them capture the stories of their lives. As proof of their popularity, her course with us next May is already just about full. In fact, we have just one place left in our beautiful Vasari Suite. You will have your own bedroom, but you will share the bathroom with another lady. Please click here to see details of the Vasari Suite. The cost of the course for your own room, sharing the bathroom, is £1685 (English pounds).

If you’d like to come, we would highly recommend booking now – and if you do so you’ll be able to take advantage of our Early Bird Discount Offer: £75 (English pounds) discount on this inspiring 2020 course if you book before the end of 2019.

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

Jo’s creative writing course is designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories and making them leap off the page. You learn how to:

  • Let it flow
  • Write about childhood
  • Write about people
  • Write about places
  • Write on a theme
  • Write humour
  • Write complete stories, with beginnings, middles and ends

 Jo says: “You will be empowered to write in a compelling way, bringing your experiences to life.”

As one of our previous guests said: “It is a very special and beautiful place, and everything was organised so perfectly. Jo is a great tutor and we all had an amazing time.” Another said: “It was a great week: “Beautiful setting, perfect weather, delicious food and some super outings, who could ask for anything more — and I did quite a bit of writing!”

Here are some members of Jo Parfitt’s writing group earlier this year sharing snippets from their lives One of the group, Sue Reed, tells us: “The vine verandah at The Watermill has been the perfect place to gather to write and share our stories. Last night we all shared a funny story, and the laughter rang out. My life feels so much richer for having met and shared stories with these wonderful people.”

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

Of course, there’s not only laughter, but tears, too, as members of the group share emotional experiences from their lives, but in the secure and sympathetic surroundings of the Watermill, this sharing can become life-enhancing. As Jo says: “The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft”. And there’s more laughter than tears, with the warm camaraderie of like-minded people

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

So, come and add spice to your life stories and learn the secrets of compelling writing, when Jo returns next year. Her Write Your Life Stories course will run from Saturday 9 May to Saturday 16 May 2020. You can learn more by clicking here.

And, as we said, if you book now, you can enjoy our Early Bird Discount Offer: £75 (English pounds) you reserve your place before the end of the year. But to be sure of that last space, it is probably wisest to book sooner rather than later.

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

Jo Parfitt is an author, journalist, teacher, blogger, conference speaker and poet. She has published 32 books herself, has helped more than 100 authors into print and more than 1,000 people to begin writing. Jo’s a compassionate, inspiring, and encouraging teacher: her motto is ‘sharing what I know to help others to grow’.

 The workshop will include several methods and genres and is perfect for anyone wanting to write about their own lives for an effective journal, memoir or blog. If you would enjoy an injection of inspiration in a safe and supportive environment this course is for you. It is appropriate for students of any level.

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!

To recap, Jo Parfitt‘s Write Your Life Stories course will run from Saturday 9 May to Saturday 16 May 2020. You can learn more by clicking here.

The Watermill Christmas and New Year newsletter is just out

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

… with lords a leaping, pipers piping and other Christmassy things. We wish you joy for a happy Christmas and a healthy, prosperous and creative New Year. Please click here to see the newsletter.

As well as details of the availability of all our 2020 creative courses, there are also stories on:

  • Parmesan lollipops
  • A guest’s pictorial memory of a ‘breathtaking’ location
  • Monet’s bridge, with and without Monsieur Monet
  • Mind the gap: your viewers will see more
  • Advance to a knitting retreat
  • Marks and Gran: pointless celebrity
  • Things only Italians have words for
The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

And don’t forget you can take advantage of our Early Bird Discount Offer of £75 (English pounds) per person discount on all our 2020 creative courses, if you book before the end of this year. You can find out everything about everything by clicking here.

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

Imagination needed!

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

The builders are working away reroofing the frantoio, the old olive press. At present they are currently creating a concrete collar around the top of the walls, to give us protection in earthquakes. (All our buildings are similarly protected, and also have iron bars across the floors, to help keep everything stable if the earth moves…)

Everything is moving forward, but when we went to check on progress on Friday, the weather was what the Scots call dreich, dreary, wet and cold.

I took the picture above, of the inside of the frantoio and wondered if it would ever look interesting again. It certainly requires a great deal of imagination to visualise the final result. But we know that our builders, Nico and Daniele are doing a great job and we are confident that this restoration, the last of our major building works, will be up to the same high standard of all our previous renovations. Last year, you may recollect, they reroofed the 19th century mill and renovated the façade which faces the river. Here it is:

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

And the year before we restored the 17th century mill, creating two new atmospheric bedrooms, with modern en suite shower rooms:

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

So, we’re sure the frantoio works are going to be just as good. Looking at them on a wet Friday in December, however, taxes the imagination. What we need is a good cup of tea (and cappuccino and espresso come to that), which we have been particularly enjoying recently in a new pasticceria that has opened near our gym in Florence. And, of course, the brioche (integrale with honey) and the tiny home-made pastries are irresistible.

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

Our daughter Lara, home for Christmas, took the picture. Our confidence in the outcome of the restoration work was restored, though undoubtedly the pastries undid it all the good work, calorie-wise, that we had done in the gym! Still, as someone wiser than me said, at my great age it is better to eat tasty food than to look good in the nude.

Come and see how everything turns out in the frantoio by joining us on one of our famous week-long creative weeks next year. To find out all about everything, please click here.

More Italian cats from Lianne

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Kittens of Venice. Watercolour on Gessoed Paper. 15×22″. Artist Lianne Todd.

Yesterday’s blog and Facebook post featuring Lianne Todd’s painting of a corner of the ancient hilltop village of Monte dei Bianchi proved very popular, not least, I am sure, because of the little cat featured at its centre. Here she is again:

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

Lianne is rather keen on Italian cats and we thought we would share a couple more of her paintings of them. The one at the top is called Kittens of Venice, though I think you have to look very hard to see those little kittens nestling at the bottom of the grille. And here’s Cats of Lucca, one of the excursion venues during creative weeks at the Watermill.

Cats of Lucca. Watercolour on paper. 15×22″. Artist Lianne Todd.

We can promise you plenty of cats during your visit, not only in Monte dei Bianchi, but also at our other stunning painting locations: an imposing castle with the village huddled around it, market day in a walled mediaeval town and a tranquil cloistered 17th century monastery. Here’s an engrossed cat outside the fish stall on market day, for example.

Bookings are flowing in for our 2020 creative courses, so if you want to be sure of a place on a course of your choice now is the time to get that booking in. And if you book in the next few days you be able to take advantage of our Early Bird Discount Offer: £75 (English pounds) per person off any of our creative courses, if you book before the end of the year.

We would be delighted to welcome you here and, as well as providing the Watermill’s renowned hospitality, we would also love to show you the breathtaking scenery of the unspoiled region of Tuscany that surrounds the mill. You can find out more by clicking here.