Archives for January 2020

Follow Mark and bring some colourful harmony to your painting

Painting by Mark Warner, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
To the Malverns. Acrylic on coloured paper

Harmonious colours bring together the different elements of a composition into an efficient relationship, says Watermill painting tutor Mark Warner. He says: “It is the adhesive that ties all the elements of the painting together. Even though you may have the correct composition, the painting may not quite work because the colours don’t work together and lack vital harmony.”

Mark, who will be with us for another of his inspiring painting courses this summer, says: “I adore colour and experiment with colour application in numerous ways! I try to move the colour around the composition to bring the work together. This coupled with starting on a coloured ground or paper will aid the unity of the piece.

The acrylic painting above To the Malverns, demonstrates Mark’s point. He says: “I looked at placing complementary colours (opposite on the wheel) together. An example of this is the orange of the bracken next to the complementary blue colour. Another is the distant green with a thin layer of purple over the top. At the Watermill I will be looking to experiment with complementary colours within the landscape and this will form part of one of my daily demonstrations.”

We are delighted to welcome Mark Warner back to the international team of inspiring and sympathetic watermill painting tutors. His course next year is called Colourful Acrylics/Drawing/Pen & Wash and those are the mediums in which you will be working. Mark’s course will run from Saturday 11July to Saturday 18 July 2020.

And don’t forget that as well as its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, it’s delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality, the Watermill is also Cool and Green! All the bedrooms and public rooms have air conditioning, powered by our hidden array of photovoltaic panels, harnessing the sun’s energy to makes us self-sufficient in electricity generation.

Painting by Mark Warner, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Mark’s painting of the Watermill from the garden, made on a previous visit.
Mark Warner, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy

Mark, from Shropshire in England, loves working outside – and he leads by example, creating a relaxed and encouraging environment for his students. He developed his passion for landscapes growing up in the West Wales and then moving onto the rolling hills of Shropshire enabled him to experiment further with colour, light and line. Mark says: “I adore using colour while interpreting the light, weather and a love for the materials. I work directly in the field (literally on many occasions!) and from sketches created outside as well as notes/photographs taken on location.” Here is a lovely demonstration picture, of the River Rosaro which runs beside the Watermill, made by Mark on his last visit here.

Painting by Mark Warner, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy
Mark’s painting of the River Rosaro, which runs beside the mill.

You can learn more about Mark and his course at the Watermill by clicking here.

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!


Mark Warner

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

The latest availability on our 2020 creative courses

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

Update at 30 January 2020

Our 2020 creative courses – painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language — are filling fast: we already have some 220 bookings out of projected total of 250. So now is the time to secure your place with your favourite tutor, at your favourite time, in your favourite bedroom. You will see below that a fair number of our courses are already booked up, but if you are particularly interested in that specific week, please let us know. There are often cancellations and we will put you on a waiting list and let you know immediately if a place becomes available. We do hope we’ll be able to welcome you here on one of our sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring courses. And don’t forget that as well as a warm welcome, we are also Cool and Green! All our bedrooms and public rooms have air-conditioning, all powered by the sun: our hidden array of photovoltaic panels ensures that we are self-sufficient in electricity generation.

Here is the current availability of our 2020 creative courses.

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 – 1/2 places left
Oils and watercolours (and other mediums)
To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mark Warner

Mark Warner
11 – 18 July 2020 – places available
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 – 2/3 places left
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 – places available places AND 19 – 26 September 2020 – places available
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mary Padgett

Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020  – places available
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 – 1/2 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.


Louisa Harding

Louisa Harding
NEW week 27 June – 4 July – places available
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  – places available
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 – one place left
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.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Shady and cool along the Millstream. Picture: Alistair Macfie

The latest availability on our 2020 creative courses – updated 30 January 2020

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

Update at 30 January 2020

Our 2020 creative courses – painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language — are filling fast: we already have some 220 bookings out of projected total of 250. So now is the time to secure your place with your favourite tutor, at your favourite time, in your favourite bedroom. You will see below that a fair number of our courses are already booked up, but if you are particularly interested in that specific week, please let us know. There are often cancellations and we will put you on a waiting list and let you know immediately if a place becomes available. We do hope we’ll be able to welcome you here on one of our sun-filled, fun-filled, inspiring courses. And don’t forget that as well as a warm welcome, we are also Cool and Green! All our bedrooms and public rooms have air-conditioning, all powered by the sun: our hidden array of photovoltaic panels ensures that we are self-sufficient in electricity generation.

Here is the current availability of our 2020 creative courses.

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 – 1/2 places left
Oils and watercolours (and other mediums)
To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mark Warner

Mark Warner
11 – 18 July 2020 – places available
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 – 2/3 places left
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 – places available places AND 19 – 26 September 2020 – places available
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


Mary Padgett

Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020  – places available
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 – 1/2 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.


Louisa Harding

Louisa Harding
NEW week 27 June – 4 July – places available
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  – places available
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 – one place left
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.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Shady and cool along the Millstream. Picture: Alistair Macfie

Enjoy watching Tim painting a historic Watermill interior

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

If you enjoy watching a talented painter creating a stunning picture, look no further than Tim Wilmot’s latest YouTube posting. Tim is demonstrating how to paint indoors, often regarded as rather difficult, by creating a picture of the interior of the 19th century Watermill here in Posara.

As you can see above, the end result is a great picture, and it’s fascinating to watch the whole process of how it’s built up. So, make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, put your feet up and click here to enjoy the creation of a mini-masterpiece.

Painting by Tim Wilmot, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Work in progress

And why not join Tim and paint in and around the Watermill yourself? He will be back with us for another of his inspiring watercolour courses, from Saturday 3 October to Saturday 10 October. We would love to welcome you here. Here’s one of Tim’s paintings of the riverside gardens at the Watermill.

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

Tim Wilmot is an artist from Bristol in the South-west of the UK, specialising in vibrant watercolours, using tone and light to bring out the best in the medium. Tim paints in a loose, impressionistic style.

As well as an exciting artist, Tim is also an inspiring teacher. He demonstrates regularly in England and, has more than 15,000 followers of his demonstrations on YouTube. He loves personal interaction with his students: “There are all sorts of reasons for coming on a painting holiday — it might be to improve your drawing skills, loosen up your style, learn how to incorporate figures in a landscape — and it’s my job to try to find what your personal objectives are and help you achieve them. Oh, and have fun with like-minded people on the way.”

Painting by Tim Wilmot, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Tim’s watercolour of a vineyard and the Apuan Alps near the Watermill

Some comments from some of Tim’s previous students: “I’m quite impressed with how you transform a dull image into an impressionistic and beautiful study of light and shadow. You’re a great tutor!”  “I really like your loose style.” “Like most, I struggle with too much detail. This will help me to “loosen up”. “I can’t help being inspired by the careful and wonderfully measured strokes of a genius” 

We already have eight people booked into Tim’s course, including one non-painting partner. So, we have room for three or four more painters (and their partners if they would like to join them).

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

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.


Some more charming Watermill watercolours from Robert Christopher

The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Many of our painting guests continue to enjoy the Watermill long after their week with us! They do so by painting at home pictures of the mill and its surroundings, based on photographs or sketches they made during their stay.

One such is Robert Christopher, who has been with us for a couple of painting courses and who, of course, is coming back this year. Robert has sent me another four of his charming watercolours, and here they are.

Above is a corner of the 19th century mill in the Watermill complex, complete with a millstone and the hopper through which the grain was poured. And below is the imposing bell tower of the nearby mediaeval walled town of Fivizzano, where our groups go to paint on market day on Tuesdays:

The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Below is an out of the way corner of the town, captured by Robert’s brush.

The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

And finally, for the moment at least, a delightful study of the loggia of an ancient convent where we go for a peaceful painting day on Thursdays.

The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Thank you very much for sharing these lovely watercolours with us, Robert. We look forward to meeting up again later in the year.

You too can enjoy the charms of a Watermill painting holiday, the memories of which will last much longer than your week with us. Our 2020 painting courses are filling fast, but we still have availability for the following weeks.

Painting course availability at 28 January 2020


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

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.


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


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

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


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

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.


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

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.


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

Maggie Renner Hellmann
12 – 19 September 2020 – places available places AND 19 – 26 September 2020 – places available
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


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

Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020 –  – places available
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.


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

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.


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

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.


These are the painting courses that are currently fully booked. But there are often cancellations and if you are keen to come, please let us know and we will put you on a waiting list.

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

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


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

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.


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

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.


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

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.


You can find out all about our fun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring painting courses by clicking here. We would be delighted to welcome you here and you will find that the memory lingers on…

Permesso? Avanti! Make yourself at home on our Italian language course

Picture: TheLocal.it

When entering your house or your office, even if you have opened the door to them, polite Italians will ask permesso? before crossing your threshold. I guess you could translate this as ‘May I?’ or ‘Can I?’ and it is a way of seeking formal permission to enter somewhere.

I don’t think we are this formal in Britain or America, or in much of the rest of the world either. According to Jessica Phelan, who’s been talking about the translation of permesso in the online newspaper TheLocal.it, “it sounds a lot like ‘permission’ or ‘permit’, and that is exactly what you’re asking for when you use it.”

She says: “Imagine being invited to a new Italian friend’s apartment for lunch for the first time. You enter the building, walk upstairs, and find the apartment door left ajar for you. What would be the polite thing to do? Knock, or just walk straight in? Italians would most likely hover in the doorway for a moment while calling out ‘permesso!’”

Jessica says that some of her Italian friends now say this jokingly, knowing full well that they have permission, and adds that she’s been told that the phrase is not used widely anymore “because Italians are becoming ruder.” Well, that’s certainly not our experience both in Florence, where we live much of the time, and in rural Lunigiana, where the Watermill is located. When we open the door to our Italian friends and welcome them with an open wave of our arms, they still say a polite permesso.

What is the correct response to this, since politeness is the bedrock of social intercourse? You might just say Avanti, come in, and when they are in, it’s pleasant to say accomodati (singular) or accomodatevi (plural): make yourself comfortable. Or even faccia come se fosse a casa sua, behave as if you’re in your own home.

There’s no need to say permesso when you come on our unique Italian language course at the Watermill. You will not only learn about the vocabulary and the grammar, but also how to use Italian in everyday life. In fact, you will be learning Italian from the Italians! And we will certainly welcome you as if you are in your own home.

We have teamed up again with the Florence language school Langues Services and our old friend Francesca la Sala to bring you a unique course which is both fun and illuminating.

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

Langues Services and Francesca La Sala

22-29 August 2020

Learning Italian with the Italians Three/four places left

To learn more about Langues Services and Francesca, please visit their Tutor Profile Page by clicking here. {Check link to https://watermill.net/language-holidays/language-holidays-programme-2020.php}

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Learning the language under the shade of the vine verandah-

We already have eight students booked into our unique language course at the end of August, though we have room for three or four more. You can read all about it by clicking here. And don’t forget Watermill is Green and Cool: all our bedrooms and public rooms have air conditioning, all powered by our hidden array of photovoltaic panels, using the sun to make us self-sufficient in electricity. So, avanti and accomodatevi. It will be rocambolesco.

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

Want to improve your writing skills? Don’t listen to your mum! (But listen to Jo)

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

I stumbled recently over a good piece of writing advice from an American author Randy Ingermanson. He wrote: “You should never pay any attention to what your mother says about your writing, or what anyone who loves you says about your writing, because all those people are liars.”

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

He adds: “You should pay attention only to people who know what good writing is, and who also know how to critique bad writing. Many who know good writing don’t have any idea how to critique bad writing and will not be able to help you.

“Also be aware that many people who know how to critique bad writing would not recognise good writing if it stabbed the eye. This is tragic, but deal with it. You are looking for somebody who has both of these skills and those people are rare.”

I think that’s rather well put by Randy and, of course, it immediately made me think of Jo Parfitt, the wonderful tutor of our Writing your life stories courses at the Watermill. Jo not only knows how to critique bad writing (gently, with humour and insight) but also how to recognise good writing (with warmth and encouragement). If you come on her creative writing course at the Watermill you will have a whole week’s immersion, concentrating on your writing, enjoying Jo’s teaching and the stimulating, encouraging company of like-minded people.

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.

Oh! And one more piece of advice from Randy: “Have fun!” You’ll certainly do that Jo’s course. She will be with us in Tuscany again this spring (details and a link below), bringing her expertise, empathy and insights to stimulate and inspire your writing. She will 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!”

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

Above 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.”

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, and warm camaraderie.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Some of our guests onone of Jo’s creative writing courses 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.

We already have 11 people booked into Jo’s course, so we only have room for one more person. Now is your chance to grab the opportunity of becoming the writer you always wanted to be.

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!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Finding a quiet corner to start writing your life’s stories

You are spoilt for choice on your Watermill excursion

Painting by Chris Franklin, a guest atThe Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

It is excursion day on Wednesdays during our creative courses and we offer you the choice of either going to the quintessential Italian walled city of Lucca or to the delightful fishing villages of the Cinque Terre, linked by clifftop paths.

It’s a major dilemma, and one best solved by coming to the Watermill twice, so you can enjoy Lucca one time and the Cinque Terre on your next visit! That’s just what Watermill guest Chris Franklin has done. He has been not only on painting weeks but also on our Italian language course. Chris has just sent me some of the pictures he painted on his visits here. Above, a street scene in Lucca and below, a picture of one of the villages of the Cinque Terre. Thank you for sharing these with us, Chris.

Painting by Chris Franklin, a guest at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

You’re spoilt for choice, too, when it comes to this season’s creative courses painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language. Although many of our courses are already full, we still have spaces on a wide range of different courses.

Here are the creative courses where we still have places available at present. Following that there is a list of fully booked courses. (If you’re interested in one of these, please let us know, as there are often cancellations. We will put you on a waiting list.)

Painting course availability at 23 January 2020


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

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


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


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

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


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

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.


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

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.


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

Maggie Renner Hellmann
12 – 19 September 2020 – places available places AND 19 – 26 September 2020 – places available
Oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn about Maggie’s courses, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


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

Mary Padgett
26 September – 3 October 2020 –  – places available
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.


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

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.


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

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.


Knitting course availability at 23 January 2020

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

Louisa Harding
23–30 May 2020 — 1/2 places available
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Louisa and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


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

Louisa Harding
27 June-4 July 2020 – places available
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Louisa and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.


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

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


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

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


Creative writing course availability at 23 January 2020

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

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


Italian language course availability at 23 January 2020

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

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.



These are the courses that are currently fully booked. But if you are keen to come please let us know and we will put you on a waiting list.

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

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


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

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.


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

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.


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

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.


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

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.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Shady and cool along the Millstream. Picture: Alistair Macfie

How to paint a vibrant watercolour landscape: Step-by-step with Milind Mulick

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

Watermill watercolour painting tutor Milind Mulick, who will be joining us in glorious Tuscany, Italy this autumn, shows you how to create a stunning landscape painting, step-by-step. Milind used Daniel Smith watercolours for this picture and our thanks to them for the preparation of this blog. I also made one of those short, fun Facebook slideshows, which you can see by clicking here. The scene is the town of Valdemossa in Mallorca, Spain and the painting is a studio version of Valdemossa Light, painted from a photo reference.

Milind says: “Most of the time when I paint in-studio from a reference photo, I refer to some sketches done on the spot or rely on my memory of the feel of the place.” He adds: “As I had already almost a finished painting on the spot itself, the feel of the location was easy to recollect. The photo reference will give you all the information needed but I think the experience which we have with all our five senses … smells, sounds, etc. are also important. These things that we recall make a difference in the painting.”

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

Stage 1 – Pencil sketch

“I blocked in the major shapes of the scene. Usually my pencil work is quite random and more of a loose approximation. I am not that patient, so rather than spend a lot of time doing the pencil work, I prefer to focus on the general space division, a general movement, and interlocking of shapes in the painting.”

Stage 2 – Laying out my colours for the painting.

“Here I lay my colours in the palette…. though I have all the paints of my choice in my box , I still like to use limited shades for every painting in a separate palette. If I need any extra accents, I keep a standard box of paint alongside for easy access. The shades here are Cobalt BluePhthalo Blue (Green Shade)Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade), Permanent  Alizarin CrimsonBurnt Sienna and Hansa Yellow Light.”

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

Stage 3 – Starting with basic washes.

“The basic wash starts from the top with mix of Cobalt Blue and a touch of Phthalo Blue (GS) blending with Burnt Sienna and bit of orange created by mixing Hansa Yellow Light and Permanent Alizarin Crimson. Below that I add a fresh green, obtained by Hansa Yellow Light and Phthalo Green (YS) in different  proportions. Further down I add hints of a reddish yellow and some neutral achieved by blending Burnt Sienna and Cobalt Blue.”

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

Stage 4 – Adding the background.

“Here I’ve started with background cluster of distant buildings. If you notice it is one uniform variegated wash. I have used a transition of warm and cool colors, a warm mixture of Burnt SiennaHansa Yellow Light and Permanent Alizarin Crimson, and a cool mix mainly using Cobalt Blue and Permanent Alizarin CrimsonPermanent Alizarin Crimson being the common color in warm and cool, but not showing anywhere in an isolated hue. Care was taken in leaving the shining roof shapes alone.”

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

Stage 5 – Building up areas.

“At this stage there is a slow and deliberate build up of the shadow areas of the trees and foreground buildings and a mountain behind. While a transition of warm and cool shades, tonal variation is important here…. mostly leaving accurate negative shapes (or positive) of light areas is the most important thing here. Most of the painting is accurately built here and all that is needed further is the details.” 

Painting by Milind Mulik, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
“Valdemossa Light”, Milind Mulick

Stage 6 – Final touches

“Tiny additions of dark windows and accents, with some sharp line work. Consciously keeping the economy of details and yet not making an understatement is the challenge at this stage. The darks are created using either Burnt Sienna and Phthalo Blue (GS) which is warmer or Phthalo Green (YS) and Permanent Alizarin Crimson for strong cool dark.”

We are delighted to welcome Milind Mulick, a watercolour artist from Pune in India, to the international team of Watermill painting tutors. Milind has gained a remarkable reputation in his own country and, increasingly worldwide, for his atmospheric paintings.

That is another of them below: Wildflower Fields.

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

And here is Milind’s take on one of the sensational seaside villages of the Cinque Terre, one of the venues for our Wednesday excursion during our painting weeks.

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

Milind has been painting in watercolours for more than 30 years. His artistic journey began in childhood, following his father, also a painter. As well as being influenced by the great British watercolourists like Edward Wesson and Edward Siego, Milind has absorbed the styles of Indian artists too. He has won many awards and written a dozen books on watercolour painting.

Milind has also been teaching for many years. “Teaching gives me great pleasure: I love meeting new people and helping them realise their artistic potential.” As a previous student says: “Milind pours his heart and soul into his paintings and believes in spreading his knowledge.”

Milind will be with us for his course, which he calls Colourful Watercolours, from Saturday 3 October to Saturday 10 October and already we have seven people booked in, so we have room for four or five more painters (and their non-painting partners, if they’d like to join them) this. You can find out more about Milind and his course at the Watermill by clicking here.

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!

Make your own memories on Carl March’s pleasurable painting course this spring

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

This atmospheric painting by Watermill tutor Carl March, which we used in a blog and Facebook post a few months ago, proved so popular, especially on Facebook, that we make no excuse for using it again. It is called Gateway to memories and it certainly certainly seemed to evoke lots of fond memories among our fans and followers.

I have another, ulterior, motive for using it: tidiness! We only have one bedroom left for Carl’s course here this spring and I would love to fill it. We can take a painter on his/her own, or even more fun, you may like to bring a partner, whether or not he or she is a painter.

Carl’s course is called ‘Drawing and Painting for Pleasure’ and it will run from 18-25 April 2020. Eleven people are already booked in, so why not come and join us and make your own memories of the Watermill, its gardens and the stunning unspoiled countryside of rural Tuscany which surrounds us? Being spring, there should be plenty of daffodils:

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

Drawing and design are Carl’s passions: he likes to experiment with various drawing mediums, combining them with traditional watercolour painting processes to create distinctively subtle works. They are regularly to be seen at the Royal Academy summer exhibitions in London. Like most of our tutors, Carl likes to carry a sketchbook with him wherever he goes. Here a rural view. (I like the horse!)

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

Carl is also a great teacher. He says: “I love the genuine satisfaction in passing on my knowledge to others. For example, demonstrating a ‘step by step’ exercise, then witnessing students repeat the exercise for themselves. Suddenly the penny drops, and it all makes sense. Surely this is the real reward for any teacher.”

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

Here’s a comment from a previous student: “Carl has a gentle but effective way of teaching and we have learnt a lot from. Most importantly, however, under his guidance the class always becomes a very sociable and happy group. Quite simply, his classes are not only well planned and informative but also great fun.” 

And another says “When I went on my first painting holiday with Carl, I had never picked up a paintbrush other than to paint a ceiling. But within a day I had produced my first ever watercolour and the result was beyond my wildest dreams. Since then I have spent two further holidays under Carl’s tutelage, each time learning new skills as well as refreshing my knowledge of basic techniques. Thanks to Carl’s endless patience and encouragement I have become an enthusiastic watercolour painter and look forward to further enjoyable holidays led by this inspirational teacher.” 

Here’s a watercolour sketch by Carl, called Sarah’s Lilies, a study showing great spontaneity.

So why not help me tidy up my booking form, grab the last place(s) on Carl’s course and make your own springtime memories in glorious Tuscany?

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday: tuition, accommodation, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and local transportation. You get to Pisa, we do the rest!

You can find out more about Carl at his course at the Watermill by clicking here. We would love you to join us.

Painting by Carl March, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
This garden walk was painted by Carl on a recent visit to Muscat, Oman.