Archives for February 2020

Our 2020 creative courses: bookings are flowing in

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Students on one of Maggie Renner Hellman’s painting courses showing off some of their work.

Update at 15 February 2020

Our 2020 creative courses – painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language — are filling fast: we already have some 240 bookings out of projected total of 250, so now is the time to secure your place 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.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Cool and Green. Picture: Francesco Lastrucci

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.

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 – fully booked, waiting list open
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  – 2/3 places left
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 left
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 – 1/2 places left
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

Goosebumps are a sign of good writing, says Jo Parfitt

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Picture: Roberto Gomez Getty Images

“When I get goosebumps, it’s a sign of great writing.” So says Jo Parfitt, the inspiring tutor for our Write Your Life Stories weeks at the Watermill.

Jo says: “Now and again my students write something that upsets them and moves those who hear it during the feedback sessions. Of course, it can make us cry to remember painful events that we are now reliving by writing them down. But I think that is good.”

That is where those goosebumps come in: when we re-live those painful events, emotions often bubble up and scare us, even makes us cry. Jo says: “Our tears make us doubt whether our words are appropriate, whether they are that bit too real, too authentic, too revealing. When this happens, it can lead us to censor our words, hold back and protect ourselves.  I know, it happens to me too. Only I welcome those moments.”

After more than 20 years as a writer and teacher of writing, Jo knows that authentic, painful and real recording of past events produces writing that resonates with other people. That’s why she encourages her students to write from the heart: “ To write material that makes them sad, allowing them to feel the pain all over again as they write it, again when they recite it in class and again every time they dare to share it… Not only is emotion cathartic but writing material that is raw and natural has a much better chance of touching the listener or the reader.”

Jo adds: “Next time you baulk at the thought of exposing yourself and writing stuff that is too deep or too strong, ignore that inner critic and do it anyway. I think you will find you just wrote your best work.”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
He knew what he was talking about.

You can learn to create goosebump-making writing in the secure and sympathetic surroundings of the Watermill. Jo’s latest Write Your Life Stories course here is from  Saturday 9 May to Saturday 16 May 2020. You can learn more by clicking here. But we have only one place left on Jo’s course this year, so now is the the time to grab it and make a start on becoming an even better writer.

Of course, there are not only tears, but much laughter, too, as our participants enjoy the warm camaraderie of like-minded people. Below are some members of Jo’s writing group last 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
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!

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.

Lest we forget…

When Lois and I walk to the gym in the mornings, along the via Bovio, beside the gardens of our apartment, we have lately passed three small and gleaming bronze plaques set into the pavement. They appeared there a few weeks ago and are among the 50 or so pietre di inciampo, ‘stumbling stones,’ commissioned by the city to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day and to commemorate those tragic ‘lost souls’ taken by the Nazis in 1944 and sent to concentration camps.

The same size as cobblestones (about 10 cm x 10 cm), the bronze plaques have engraved on them the names of the victims and the dates of their birth, capture and death. Above is Lois’ picture of two of them, outside Number 1 via Bovio, which remember Giorgio Levi delle Trezze and Xenia Haya Poliakov, while outside Number 7, the plaque remembers Lucia Levi. It was not just Jews who were taken in those dreadful times, but also people from the Roma and Sinti communities, and homosexuals, and political dissidents. The stumbling stones were originally created by the German artist, Gunter Demnig, who envisioned a unique way to pay an enduring tribute to those so cruelly persecuted.

Perhaps the most horrifying story is highlighted by the six ‘stones’ outside 29 via del Gelsomino. The newspaper La Repubblica takes up the story: “One recalls the life of Rabbi Rodolfo Levi, who was captured by the Nazis on February 6, 1944. While meeting a friend, he was confronted by a Nazi and forced to tell where his family was. His wife Rina Procaccia and daughter Noemi, hidden by the Morandi family, were taken. Those captured in the apartment included Sinigaglia family members: Angelo, his wife (Rina’s sister Amelia Procaccia) and her 11-year-old daughter Alda. They all lost their lives at the Auschwitz and Mauthausen concentration camps that year.”

No doubt the plaques will lose their shine as time goes on. Perhaps the names will become unintelligible. But every time we and our neighbours walk past now, we will remember those other neighbours of 75 years ago, and vow that it will never happen again.

Picture: The Jewish community of Florence.

Does the best yarn in the world come from Yorkshire? Louisa Harding thinks so!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
A moor in full bloom in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, England

Knitting designer and yarn producer Louisa Harding says that she has always known that the finest yarns were to be found in Yorkshire, the largest county in England.  So, to launch her new brand, Yarntelier, she looked to Yorkshire’s yarn specialists to provide the raw material for her creative designs. The yarns are produced within a very small area of the county by companies steeped in textile heritage and history, using only the finest materials and equipment available. And Louisa is so proud of them that she will be sending her best yarns for our guests to use on her inspiring knitting courses with us this year…

She will be using two types of yarn:

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

Cashmere Lace (above) is an exquisite fine 100% Cashmere yarn, the yarn is woolen spun, which results in colours that are classic with an elegant subtlety. Cashmere Lace is available in 16 shades and is ideal for lace knitting as each 50g ball has approx. 425 metres of lofty, luxurious yarn.

Cashmere Gilli (below) is truly unique, a bespoke twisted 100% Cashmere yarn, especially made for Yarntelier by a specialist doubling company established in 1872. The colour palette of 12 shades features subtle marl mixes as well as some hotter couture combinations. The yarn is light and airy when knitted to a double knitting tension and is ideal for all types of knitting with approx. 212 metres on each 50g ball.

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.

Louisa Harding will be with us for two inspiring knitting weeks this year. Her first week, in May, is completely sold out, and seven people are already booked into her second week, from Saturday 27 June to Saturday 4 July 2020. Louisa worked for many years as an ‘in-house’ designer for Rowan Yarns. Her new brand, Yarntelier, combines the finest yarns with beautiful designs, to make each item a piece of hand-crafted couture.

If you would like to join Louisa and savour “Knitting and La Bella Vita”, now is the time to reserve your place on this relaxing holiday in the beautiful Tuscan countryside. We promise you leisurely knitting days, wonderful food and wine and we know you will make new friends and learn new skills with Louisa. Among the projects for each of her weeks here is a cashmere shawl, scarf, wrap or cowl, where you can draw on designs in the Tuscan countryside and incorporate them in your knitting.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.
Knitting under the shade of the vines in the Watermill garden. Photo: Phil Wright.

And as ever, your knitting week at the Watermill will combine expert tuition, like-minded company, wonderful food and the delightful ambience of the Watermill, it’s gardens and riverside walks, and outings into the surrounding unspoiled Tuscan countryside of Lunigiana. As one guest said: The Watermill is an idyllic setting for a knitting course – beautifully situated on the river, you are lulled to sleep in your comfortable room by the sound of the millstream. Bill and Lois are perfect hosts and your every need is catered for: good food and drink, and visits to local places of interest, including a convent, village market and a mountain-top restaurant.

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

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!

You can find out all about Louisa and her course at the mill by clicking here. And why not bring a partner or friend, even if they are non-knitters? We have plenty of activities for non-knitting partners, which you can see by clicking here, and there’s a generous £250 (English pounds) discount if they share a room with you.

Come and knit with Louisa for creativity, conviviality – and fun!

Louisa Harding

Louisa Harding
27 June – 4 July – five knitting places available
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Louisa and her course at the mill, please click here.

An archetypal Australian homestead, fresh from Mike Willdridge’s roving sketchbook

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

As you probably know by now, our friend and Watermill painting tutor Mike Willdridge carries his trusty sketchbook with him everywhere he goes. (When you come on his course at the Watermill, he will encourage you to do the same.)

Mike is currently in Australia, visiting his relatives and touring the continent. He’s just sent me this lovely sketch of a typical Queensland homestead, complete with a windmill. Mike says: “I painted this one quickly outside our camper van, waiting for the rain to come – and it did!”

We haven’t got any windmills near here, but we can promise you a beautiful watermill, surrounded by gardens and the stunning scenery of Lunigiana, in unspoiled Tuscany. Here’s a sketch Mike made of the Watermill from our walled garden:

Mike will be back with us from Saturday 29 August to Saturday 5 September 2020, and we’d love you to join us for his fun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring week. There are more details and links below. We already have 11 people booked into Mike’s course, one of whom is a non-painting partner, so we have room for two or three more painters (and their non-painting partners, if they’d like to come too).

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany Italy.
A lovely watercolour by Mike Willdridge of the mill stream bubbling under one Flavio’s famous wooden bridges.

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

Some comments from previous guests: “A wonderful holiday. You were such generous and friendly hosts and Mike was an excellent painting tutor.”  Another said: “The food was exceptional and the mill itself is great, in such a beautiful setting. A truly wonderful week in every respect.”

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!

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

29 August to 5 September 2020 

Mike Willdridge

Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

To learn more about Mike and his course at The Watermill, please click here.

Come and paint with Mike for creativity, conviviality – and fun!

Che figata! It’s rocambolesco on our Italian language course

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

We are looking forward to another Italian language course, soaking up knowledge in the dappled sunlight under the vine verandah and making forays into the towns and villages surrounding us, to learn Italian from the Italians. We’ll even try to find you some ripe figs in the garden and in the local market. And talking of cool, don’t forget the mill is fully air-conditioned, powered by our hidden photovoltaic panels, which make us self-sufficient in electricity. Che figata, indeed!

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. I have made one of those fun, 30-second slideshows on Facebook, which you can see by clicking here.

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, so we have room for three or four more. You can read all about it by clicking here. 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
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.

Another fabulous picture made from a photograph

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

A couple of days ago we shared with you a sneak preview of a page from Milind Mulick‘s soon-to-be published book on painting watercolours from photographs. And to show just how effective this can be, here’s a painting of the Watermill walled garden, with the mill buildings in the background, made by another of our tutors Randy Hale.

Randy is a great advocate of painting en plein air, but in this case, we know he can’t have done that, since he hasn’t even been here yet! He’s joining us for the first time this June, when, no doubt, he will be capturing the Watermill and its gardens and grounds, as well as the glorious scenery surrounding us, at first hand.

Randy’s watercolour course is already completely booked up, but there may be cancellations, so if you’re interested, please get in touch and will put you on a waiting list and let you know the moment the space becomes available. You can find out more about Randy and his course at the Watermill by clicking here.

Many of our other painting courses are also fully booked, or very nearly so, so if you’d like to join us now is the time to reserve your place. Here’s the latest availability of all our 2020 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 – two or three places left
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 – one or two 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 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  – one or two 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 – one or two 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 – one or two places
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.


And, thinking of the last tutor above, Tim Wilmot, here is a similar painting of the Watermill garden, made by Tim on his last visit here. Your turn next!

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

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. I made one of those fun, 30-second Facebook slideshows which you can see 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.

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.”

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

A mini-masterclass from Milind on painting from photographs

Painting by Milind Mulick a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Milind’s picture of a corner of the square of Santa Croce in Florence, Italy, painted from a photograph.

Our inspiring new watercolour painting tutor Milind Mulick is in the middle of preparing a new book on painting from photographs. If you come on his week at the Watermill, you will, of course, be out in the beautiful Tuscan countryside, painting en plein-air. But taking photographs is a great way of recording the scene, so that you can finish off your work in the Watermill studio later in the day, or even when you get home after your holiday. Many of our guests tell us that they re-live the memories of a Watermill week by painting more pictures from photographs later in the year.

Milind has given me a sneak preview of his book and I thought I would just show today one of his mini-masterclasses in how to convert a picture into a painting masterpiece. The photograph, below, is from Vernazza, a village in the Cinque Terre, one of the locations for our Wednesday excursion.

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

Milind says: “The weathered wall has a lovely texture , there is a pattern of windows and diagonal shadows, there are hanging clothes… what more can an artist ask for?” He adds: “Sometimes we get bored of those vanishing lines and aerial perspectives and prefer a straight two-dimensional design. Such scenes look simple to draw but believe me they are not, when shapes of windows and shadows are integrated, and when we want to keep a balance in design.”

Milind says that the success of the painting will be determined by the capacity to put ‘life’ into the shadows. Also, he felt the sunlit road was a little boring, so a vignette was needed. Milind says: “The man looks very lonely, so we better find him good company!”

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

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

Milind has been painting in watercolours for more than 30 years, his artistic journey beginning 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. We now have 13 people booked into this course, three of them non-painting partners. We only have one bedroom left, the Bronzino, which is ideal for a couple or two people sharing, although we are quite happy with single occupancy. You can find out more about Milind and his course at the Watermill by clicking here.

Painting by Milind Mulick a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
A shiny bicycle on a rainy day.

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!

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.

Writing ugly, a first step to beautiful prose

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

Writing tutor Jo Parfitt has a new phrase* to help you improve your writing skills: Write Ugly! (*The phrase originated from Keri, one of the people that Jo mentors, which she gratefully and graciously acknowledges.)

Writing ugly is about writing a scrappy, illegible table of contents for that book on a piece of paper you tear from the back of a book.
 
Writing ugly is about setting the timer for ten minutes and making yourself write with no particular direction in mind, again longhand, just to see where the words take you.
 
Writing ugly is about chucking random phrases down, one on each line and calling the result a poem on short lines, like novelist Catherine Cookson did.
 
Writing ugly is about ‘putting your pen on the paper and just going’, as Natalie Goldberg instructs in her seminal book on speedwriting, Writing Down the Bones.

Writing ugly is about sending your sabotaging inner perfectionist on a long hike.

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

Jo says: “Without the pressure of the knowledge that what you put down has to ultimately be useable, you can let rip. What does it matter if what you throw at the page never actually turns into a draft of something? “
 
She says that writing ugly is akin to limbering up, flexing your writing muscles, simply getting words down on paper and out of your head. Jo took the new phrase for its first outing in a recent newsletter. She asks: “What do you think? Will it catch on?”

Let us know! And you could talk more to Jo about writing ugly (and writing beautifully, of course) on her Write Your Life Stories course here, 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. Jo says: “You will be empowered to write in a compelling way, bringing your experiences to life.”

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.

As a guest on one of Jo’s previous courses at the Watermill 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.
Sharing your experiences on the vine verandah

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!

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.