Archives for December 2020

Happy New Year from the Watermill: time to escape to a better normality

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

Very best wishes from the Watermill team for a tranquil and regenerative New Year. It is time to look forward to a brighter future and what better way to see off the 2020 blues than an inspiring, relaxing, creative week at the Watermill in 2021? We are confident that, come the spring, we will all be getting back to normal. Mark the transition by getting away from it all for a week in the glorious Tuscan countryside, and enjoy first-class tuition, delicious Italian food and the convivial company of like-minded people.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
The sun breaks through into the Watermill walled garden on a morning last September…

We would love to welcome you here and we have made a little slideshow to try to capture the atmosphere the Watermill. You can view it by clicking here. And below you will find details of all our painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language weeks. Some 250 people are already signed up, but we have room for 40/50 more. Come and join us: it will be a wonderful way of celebrating a new beginning.

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

Our inspiring painting weeks

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

Keiko Tanabe Places available

Saturday 17 April to Saturday 24 April 2021 

Watercolours 

To learn more about Keiko and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Mary Padgett Fully booked, waiting list open

Saturday 1 May to Saturday 8 May 2021 

Pastels (and other portable media) en plein air

To learn more about Mary and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Carl March  Fully booked, waiting list open

Saturday 15 May to Saturday 22 May 2021 

Drawing and watercolours en plein air

To learn more about Carl and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Grahame Booth  Fully booked, waiting list open

Saturday 22 May to Saturday 29 May 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Grahame and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Sandra Strohschein (1)  One or two places remaining

Saturday 5 June to Saturday 12 June 2021 

Watercolours

 To learn more about Sandra and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Sandra Strohschein (2)  Fully booked, waiting list open

Saturday 12 June to Saturday 19 June 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Sandra and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

Paul Talbot-Greaves Places available

Saturday 19 June to Saturday 26 June 2021 

Watercolours

 To learn more about Paul and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Rebecca de Mendonça  Three or four places remaining

Saturday 26 June to Saturday 3 July 2021 

Pastels and mixed media

To learn more about Rebecca and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Vicki Norman  One or two places remaining

Saturday 3 July to Saturday 10 July 2021 

Oils and watercolours (and other mediums)

To learn more about Vicki and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Sue Ford Places available

Saturday 10 July to Saturday 17 July 2021 

Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic

To learn more about Sue and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Caroline Deeble Places available

Saturday 7 August to Saturday 14 August 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Caroline and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Randy Hale Places available

Saturday 21 August to Saturday 28 August 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Randy and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Mike Willdridge  Recently opened, places available

Saturday 28 August to Saturday 4 September 2021 

Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics.)

  To learn more about Mike and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

Mike Willdridge One place available

Saturday 4 September to Saturday 11 September 2021 

Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

To learn more about Mike and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Milind Mulick  Places available

Saturday 11 September to Saturday 18 September 2021 

‘Colourful Watercolours’

 To learn more about Milind and his week at the Watermill please click here.

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

Brienne Brown one or two places remaining

Saturday 18 September to Saturday 25 September 2021 

Watercolours

 To learn more about Brienne and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

Charles Sluga  Places available

Saturday 25 September to Saturday 2 October 2021 

Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

To learn more about Charles and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Tim Wilmot One or two places remaining

Saturday 2 October to Saturday 9 October 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Tim and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

Ali Hargreaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Ali Hargreaves Two places available

Saturday 9 October to Saturday 16 October 2021 

Watercolour and mixed media

To learn more about Ali and her week at the Watermill, please please click here.


Our elevating knitting weeks

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

Norah Gaughan Places available

24 April – 1 May 2021 

Knitting and la Bella Vita

To learn more about Norah and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Louisa Harding Fully booked, waiting list open

29 May – 5 June 2021 

Knitting and la Bella Vita

To learn more about Louisa and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Knitting retreat Three or flour places remaining

17-24 July 2021 

Knitting and la Bella Vita

To learn more about our knitting retreat week at the mill, please click here.


Our illuminating creative writing weeks

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

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran Places available

8 -15 May 2021

Scriptwriting

To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please click here.

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

Jo Parfitt Two or three places remaining

14 -21 August 2021

Writing your life stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please click here.


Our impassioned Italian week

Francesca La Sala Two or three places remaining

16-23 October 2021

A novel approach to learning Italian

To learn more about Francesca an her course at the mill, please click here.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.
Cool culture under the Tuscan sun

An early delivery: The Watermill’s January 2021 newsletter is just out

Painting by John Christian, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Painting: John Christian

Yes, we are a little ahead of schedule: the Watermill’s January 2021 newsletter has just been published. It is in anticipation of a much brighter, more tranquil and excitingly creative New Year. Buon anno, Happy New Year.

There are stories on our interactive online sessions, as well as details of ‘the real thing’, our exhilarating programme of creative courses, in painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language. And there are plenty more intriguing and quirky stories to read, not least asking whether you have read The High-Bouncing Lover by F Scott Fitzgerald. Or Jane Austen’s First Impressions? We think you probably have. Please click here to find out more and to hear all the latest Watermill news.

The picture at the top is an atmospheric watercolour of the village of Posara, made many years ago by our friend and former Watermill painting tutor, John Christian.

Moving from the shadows 2020 to (we hope) the sunlight of 2021

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

Here’s an allegorical photograph from Lara Breckon of the staircase in the Tuscan House at the Watermill. The wall is venerable, dating, I reckon, from the middle of the 17th century; the ancient fresco of olive branches, which now looks as if it’s been that long, too, was actually painted this year by Lois Breckon and our friend Vivienne White.

We think Lara’s picture illustrates our aspiration that the shadows of 2020 may turn into the sunlight of 2021.

We reckon that everything will be back to normal early next year and we are confident of running our renowned creative courses in 2021.These are already filling up: we have more than 210 bookings out of a theoretical total of 250/260 places.

In this bleak midwinter why not banish the shadows and brighten your days with sunlit anticipation of a creative week at the Watermill? Here’s a list of all our inspiring courses, in painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language. We would love to welcome you here.

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

Our inspiring painting weeks

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

Keiko Tanabe Places available

Saturday 17 April to Saturday 24 April 2021 

Watercolours 

To learn more about Keiko and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Mary Padgett Fully booked, waiting list open

Saturday 1 May to Saturday 8 May 2021 

Pastels (and other portable media) en plein air

To learn more about Mary and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Carl March  Fully booked, waiting list open

Saturday 15 May to Saturday 22 May 2021 

Drawing and watercolours en plein air

To learn more about Carl and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Grahame Booth  Fully booked, waiting list open

Saturday 22 May to Saturday 29 May 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Grahame and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Sandra Strohschein (1)  One or two places remaining

Saturday 5 June to Saturday 12 June 2021 

Watercolours

 To learn more about Sandra and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Sandra Strohschein (2)  Fully booked, waiting list open

Saturday 12 June to Saturday 19 June 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Sandra and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

Paul Talbot-Greaves Places available

Saturday 19 June to Saturday 26 June 2021 

Watercolours

 To learn more about Paul and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Rebecca de Mendonça  Three or four places remaining

Saturday 26 June to Saturday 3 July 2021 

Pastels and mixed media

To learn more about Rebecca and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Vicki Norman  One or two places remaining

Saturday 3 July to Saturday 10 July 2021 

Oils and watercolours (and other mediums)

To learn more about Vicki and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Sue Ford Places available

Saturday 10 July to Saturday 17 July 2021 

Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic

To learn more about Sue and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Caroline Deeble Places available

Saturday 7 August to Saturday 14 August 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Caroline and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Randy Hale Places available

Saturday 21 August to Saturday 28 August 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Randy and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Mike Willdridge  Recently opened, places available

Saturday 28 August to Saturday 4 September 2021 

Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics.)

  To learn more about Mike and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

Mike Willdridge One place available

Saturday 4 September to Saturday 11 September 2021 

Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

To learn more about Mike and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Milind Mulick  Places available

Saturday 11 September to Saturday 18 September 2021 

‘Colourful Watercolours’

 To learn more about Milind and his week at the Watermill please click here.

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

Brienne Brown one or two places remaining

Saturday 18 September to Saturday 25 September 2021 

Watercolours

 To learn more about Brienne and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

Charles Sluga  Places available

Saturday 25 September to Saturday 2 October 2021 

Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

To learn more about Charles and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Tim Wilmot One or two places remaining

Saturday 2 October to Saturday 9 October 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Tim and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

Ali Hargreaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Ali Hargreaves Two places available

Saturday 9 October to Saturday 16 October 2021 

Watercolour and mixed media

To learn more about Ali and her week at the Watermill, please please click here.


Our elevating knitting weeks

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

Norah Gaughan Places available

24 April – 1 May 2021 

Knitting and la Bella Vita

To learn more about Norah and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Louisa Harding Fully booked, waiting list open

29 May – 5 June 2021 

Knitting and la Bella Vita

To learn more about Louisa and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Knitting retreat Three or flour places remaining

17-24 July 2021 

Knitting and la Bella Vita

To learn more about our knitting retreat week at the mill, please click here.


Our illuminating creative writing weeks

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

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran Places available

8 -15 May 2021

Scriptwriting

To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please click here.

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

Jo Parfitt Two or three places remaining

14 -21 August 2021

Writing your life stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please click here.


Our impassioned Italian week

Francesca La Sala Two or three places remaining

16-23 October 2021

A novel approach to learning Italian

To learn more about Francesca an her course at the mill, please click here.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.
Cool culture under the Tuscan sun

“Who sent you to me? God?” Puccini on Caruso’s singing

Original La Boheme poster 1896 by Adolfo Hohenstein. Allposters

Sharing a Facebook post a couple of days ago on a remastered recording of Enrico Caruso singing Holy Night prompted me to revisit a blog I made some time ago of another extraordinary recording of the renowned tenor. It was Che gelida manina, from Giacomo Puccini’s La Boheme, made in 1906.

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

The story is that Puccini was reluctant to have Caruso audition for the lead role of Rodolfo in the opera. The singer was not prepossessing: “short and tubby, with an undistinguished moustache and an undesirable Neapolitan accent,” according to one report. But so remarkable was his voice, tha t immediately after hearing him Puccini gave him the part, saying: “Who has sent you to me? God?”   You can listen to a digitally remastered version by clicking here. Hearing that voice more than a hundred years later, you can see what Puccini meant.

In the same blog last spring, I also included a link to a marvellous contemporary voice, Kiri Te Kanawa, singing Puccini’s O mio babbino caro. The link also has a built-in romantic ‘Ahh’ factor (perhaps to the point of soppiness, but indulge yourself, it’s Christmas) as it is accompanied by scenes from A Room with a View, as Lucy Honeychurch falls in love. Just click here.

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

Sunshine and shadows: Sue’s online session will show you how to capture them in acrylics.

Painting by Sue Ford, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

We are delighted to welcome one of our most versatile and most loved painting tutors, Sue Ford to the Watermill online team. Sue has experimented with almost every conceivable media in her career. Sue says: “I just love creating pictures in any medium – and I love passing on what I’ve learned to other people, helping them to release their creativity.”  

For her first online, interactive session, Sue is going to concentrate on acrylics, and you will be painting along with her capturing sunlight and shadows. Your work will be based on sketches and paintings that Sue made at the castle and village of Verrucola, a few kilometres from the Watermill, when she last tutored a painting week here for ‘real’. That’s her demonstration painting above. And below, a preliminary sketch.

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

As you probably know, the Watermill’s series of online, interactive painting sessions has proved a great success, with more than a hundred participants painting along with our inspiring tutors every Thursday afternoon. We really do seem to have created an international community of like-minded people, who spend a couple of hours or more in each session, not only painting along and learning new skills, but also establishing a camaraderie and a sense of purpose in these difficult times. 

Sue’s ‘sunshine and shadows’ session is on Thursday 14 January at 2:30 pm British time (3:30 in the afternoon European time; 09:30 in the morning Eastern Time Zone in the USA). Registration for this exciting online, interactive session is through the Eventbrite platform and you can join up by clicking here.

Unlike many online painting programmes, Sue’s will not expect you to ‘look over her shoulder’ for a long demonstration, and perhaps be allowed to ask the odd question or two. No, you will be painting along at more or less the same time, trying out the acrylic techniques that Sue has shown you, step-by-step. She will demonstrate some basic techniques for only a few minutes before you start painting the same subject at home. Then, after you have had your turn, Sue will move on to the next part of the process. Lois Breckon from The Watermill at Posara will be on hand during the session to feed your questions. The session, on Zoom, will last a couple of hours or so.

When you register for the session you will be asked for a donation. How much you give is entirely up to you. We like to think it should be like the dram of whisky you receive when visiting a Scotsman’s home: the size should neither offend the host nor the guest! Our Zoom painting demonstrations do take quite a bit of time in preparation and administration and your support is very much appreciated. With your generosity we can plan and run further sessions and, more importantly, provide a regular meeting place for creativity, camaraderie and fun. That link again

When you have registered, you will be provided with two internet links. The first is the Zoom link for you to join the session. The second link is where you will find a source photograph of the subject that you will paint, a sketch and a demonstration painting by Sue, to show you where you are heading, and a list of equipment and colours for your palette.

On registration you will be given the information you need to prepare for Sue’s session. In particular, she would like you to draw the scene, and to cover it with a weak orange wash. Sue says: “I like to use orange as an under painting, rather than work on a white surface”. During the session, she will then show you how to block in the colour.

After the event, you will be invited to email us with your painting to add to a participants’ gallery. We will also send you a link to an edited video of the session that will enable to you revisit Sue’s step-by-step teaching.

***When you’ve enjoyed working with Sue online, why not join her for real, on her Watermill course next year? Sue’s week-long course, in watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic, will run from Saturday 10 July to Saturday 17 July 2021. As a guest on one of Sue’s previous painting course here said: “Sue Ford is an exceptional tutor with a lovely manner and treats all with respect and kindness.”

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

I have made one of those fun Facebook slideshows with more of Sue’s paintings in different mediums, which you can see 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 (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!

And you will be Cool and Green: all our rooms are air-conditioned, powered by photovoltaic panels which make us self-sufficient in electricity.

Sue Ford 

Saturday 10 July to Saturday 17 July 2021 

Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic

To learn more about Sue and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

Warm, cool and white: our popular Watermill interactive online sessions start again with a snowy road.

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

As you probably know, the Watermill’s series of online, interactive painting sessions has proved a great success, with more than a hundred participants painting along with our inspiring tutors every Thursday afternoon. We really do seem to have created an international community of like-minded people, who spend a couple of hours or more in each session, not only painting along and learning new skills, but also establishing a camaraderie and a sense of purpose in these difficult times. 

The next session is with the renowned English watercolourist and Watermill tutor Mike Willdridge on Thursday 7 January at 2:30 pm British time (3:30 in the afternoon European time; 09:30 in the morning Eastern Time Zone in the USA). The session will be an exercise in using warm and cool colours, together with the white of the paper, to suggest snow. That’s Mike’s sketchbook demonstration picture, of a snowy English road, above.

Mike says: “Apart from being just a tiny bit homesick for Devon (this was the small road at the bottom of our lane when we lived in Devon), I wanted to keep seasonal with my first couple of sessions. Snowy scenes are always a popular subject and normally benefit from a ‘light touch’ when using watercolour. So lots of learn and practice therefore and two attempts (with different subjects) I felt would be beneficial. Curiously, it’s often the warm colours deployed in a snowy scene that create the coldness of snow. I wanted to demonstrate that point and show some examples of that knowledge being used by other artists – which I intend doing during the session.”

Registration for this exciting online, interactive session is through the Eventbrite platform and you can join up by clicking here.

Unlike many online painting programmes, Mike’s will not expect you to ‘look over his shoulder’ for a long demonstration, and perhaps be allowed to ask the odd question or two. No, you will be painting along at more or less the same time, trying out the watercolour techniques that Mike has shown you, step-by-step. He will demonstrate some basic techniques for only a few minutes before you start painting the same subject at home. Then, after you have had your turn, Mike will move onto the next part of the process.

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
The source photograph for Mike’s snowy road.

Lois Breckon from The Watermill at Posara will be on hand during the session to feed your questions. The session, on Zoom, will last a couple of hours or so.

When you register for the session you will be asked for a donation. How much you give is entirely up to you. We like to think it should be like the dram of whisky you receive when visiting a Scotsman’s home: the size should neither offend the host nor the guest! Our Zoom painting demonstrations do take quite a bit of time in preparation and administration and your support is very much appreciated. With your generosity we can plan and run further sessions and, more importantly, provide a regular meeting place for creativity, camaraderie and fun. Here’s that link again:

When you have registered, you will be provided with two internet links. The first is the Zoom link for you to join the session. The second link is where you will find a source photograph of the subject that you will paint, a demonstration painting by Mike, to show you where you are heading, and a list of equipment and colours for your palette.

After the event, you will be invited to email us with your painting to add to a participants’ gallery. We will also send you a link to an edited video of the session that will enable to you revisit Mike’s step-by-step teaching. For an example of a video from a previous online session with Mike. (Just click here.)

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Mike’s autumn scene, the subject of a video demonstration you can view.

When you’ve enjoyed working with Mike online, why not join him for real, on one of his Watermill courses next year? Mike is a sympathetic and enthusiastic teacher who often persuades his students to be bold/take chances. He is particularly keen on all forms of drawing and constantly uses a sketchbook: he will encourage you to do the same.

Mike Willdridge 

Saturday 7 August to Saturday 14 August 2021 AND Saturday 4 September to Saturday 11 September 2021 

Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

To learn more about Mike and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

You can also learn about all our renowned creative courses, in painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language, by clicking here. We would love you to join us!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Painters in the Watermill walled garden. Picture: Francesco Lastrucci

To all our Watermill friends

A kumquat Christmas tree

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

In recent years, the Breckon family have eschewed the traditional Christmas tree as being environmentally unfriendly. After Lois drew the line at the black and silver artificial tree that Bill had purchased, we’ve been decorating houseplants instead. We had a Yuletide yucca in Florence last year, for example.

This year, we are at the Watermill, and our Christmas tree is this handsome kumquat, which has been gracing our riverside terrace through the summer months. We have decked it out with Christmas lights and baubles, but if you look closely at Lara Breckon’s picture, you can also see the little orange fruits.

We are watering it carefully and will return it to its over-wintering home in the 19th century Watermill building, before bringing it out of the spring, once again to enjoy the sunshine and the gurgling of the river.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
The kumquat enjoys the summer months on our riverside terrace.

Wherever you are, and whatever your tree, we wish you a tranquil Christmas and a creative New Year. And we would love to welcome you one of our creative courses in 2021. Come and see the kumquat – and the oranges and lemons.

The Italian festive cake battle: panettone or pandoro?

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

I don’t know whether you are aware of the great Italian Christmas cake debate: the battle between panettone (left above) and pandoro (on the right)? Bills a panettone man, but Lois and Lara favour pandoro. Guess which one was purchased and graced the Breckon’s Christmas table? Bill is hoping that a gourmet friend will bring some panettone when they come visiting, though given the current rules, it is unlikely that many friends will be knocking on our door.

What’s the difference? The dome-shaped panettone is from Milan, a sourdough-type sponge with citrus peel and candied fruit embedded in it. Delicious! Pandoro originated in Verona and is rather taller and star-shaped. Eggs beaten into the batter give it its yellow colour. There is a hint of vanilla, but the real flavour comes from liberally dusting the whole thing in icing sugar.

These cakes are very much festive season specialities, so we doubt whether there will be any about during our Italian language course here in October, for you to join in the debate. We can, however, promise you delicious home-cooked Watermill Italian food as well as a chance to get your tongue around one of the world’s most delightful languages. (Did you see what I did there?)

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

Francesca La Sala

16-23 October 2021

A novel approach to learning Italian

To learn more about Francesca mill, please visit our Language Programme Page, by clicking here.

Thanks to Italian sunshine, we’ve done it again!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Our handy little app shows that we have generated more than 14,000 kWh of electricity from our photovoltaic panels this year.

We commissioned our photovoltaic electricity-producing system on 12 June 2019, and in its first year of operation it produced no fewer than 14,000 kilowatt hours of electricity – a wonderful achievement . Yesterday, we are pleased to announce, in the first full calendar year of operation, we have achieved our goal yet again. We made 14,000 kWh between 1 January 2020 and 21 December 2020. Something to celebrate in these difficult times. Overall, our electricity manufacturer is now more than 21,000, kilowatt hours, and in the process, we have also saved 15 tonnes of carbon dioxide production. Something to celebrate in these difficult times.

Our arrays of photovoltaic panels, hidden away on our south-facing roofs overlooking the river make us totally self-sufficient in electricity generation, even powering the new air-conditioning units in all our bedrooms and public rooms. We’ve commissioned the air-conditioning system, and we now have another little app which enables us to control each unit remotely, even from Florence!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Solar power to keep you cool. Some of our panel embedded in the roof of the 19th century Mill 2.

As you know, the Watermill is renowned for its inspiring teaching, its beautiful setting, its delicious food and wine, and its warm and welcoming hospitality. Now, whatever the weather, you will be Cool and Green with us.

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

At the moment we have no guests at the Watermill to enjoy the fruits of our photovoltaic labours. Still, we are putting the bulk of our production back into the electricity grid, giving us plenty of credit for when we are able to keep you cool. Very soon, we hope.

We reckon that everything will be back to normal next year and we are confident of running our renowned creative courses in 2021.These are already filling up: we have nearly 220 bookings at the theoretical total of 250/260 places.

In this bleak midwinter why not warm yourself with a glow of anticipation of a creative week at the Watermill and also know that you will be Cool and Green? Here’s a list of all our inspiring creative courses, in painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language. We would love to welcome you here.

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

Our inspiring painting weeks

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

Keiko Tanabe Places available

Saturday 17 April to Saturday 24 April 2021 

Watercolours 

To learn more about Keiko and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Mary Padgett Fully booked, waiting list open

Saturday 1 May to Saturday 8 May 2021 

Pastels (and other portable media) en plein air

To learn more about Mary and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Carl March  Fully booked, waiting list open

Saturday 15 May to Saturday 22 May 2021 

Drawing and watercolours en plein air

To learn more about Carl and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Grahame Booth  Fully booked, waiting list open

Saturday 22 May to Saturday 29 May 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Grahame and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Sandra Strohschein (1)  One or two places remaining

Saturday 5 June to Saturday 12 June 2021 

Watercolours

 To learn more about Sandra and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Sandra Strohschein (2)  Fully booked, waiting list open

Saturday 12 June to Saturday 19 June 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Sandra and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

Paul Talbot-Greaves Places available

Saturday 19 June to Saturday 26 June 2021 

Watercolours

 To learn more about Paul and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Rebecca de Mendonça  Three or four places remaining

Saturday 26 June to Saturday 3 July 2021 

Pastels and mixed media

To learn more about Rebecca and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Vicki Norman  One or two places remaining

Saturday 3 July to Saturday 10 July 2021 

Oils and watercolours (and other mediums)

To learn more about Vicki and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Sue Ford Places available

Saturday 10 July to Saturday 17 July 2021 

Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic

To learn more about Sue and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Caroline Deeble Places available

Saturday 7 August to Saturday 14 August 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Caroline and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Randy Hale Places available

Saturday 21 August to Saturday 28 August 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Randy and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Mike Willdridge  Recently opened, places available

Saturday 28 August to Saturday 4 September 2021 

Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics.)

  To learn more about Mike and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

Mike Willdridge One place available

Saturday 4 September to Saturday 11 September 2021 

Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

To learn more about Mike and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Milind Mulick  Places available

Saturday 11 September to Saturday 18 September 2021 

‘Colourful Watercolours’

 To learn more about Milind and his week at the Watermill please click here.

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

Brienne Brown one or two places remaining

Saturday 18 September to Saturday 25 September 2021 

Watercolours

 To learn more about Brienne and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

Charles Sluga  Places available

Saturday 25 September to Saturday 2 October 2021 

Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

To learn more about Charles and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Tim Wilmot One or two places remaining

Saturday 2 October to Saturday 9 October 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Tim and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

Ali Hargreaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Ali Hargreaves Two places available

Saturday 9 October to Saturday 16 October 2021 

Watercolour and mixed media

To learn more about Ali and her week at the Watermill, please please click here.


Our elevating knitting weeks

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

Norah Gaughan Places available

24 April – 1 May 2021 

Knitting and la Bella Vita

To learn more about Norah and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Louisa Harding Fully booked, waiting list open

29 May – 5 June 2021 

Knitting and la Bella Vita

To learn more about Louisa and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Knitting retreat Three or flour places remaining

17-24 July 2021 

Knitting and la Bella Vita

To learn more about our knitting retreat week at the mill, please click here.


Our illuminating creative writing weeks

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

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran Places available

8 -15 May 2021

Scriptwriting

To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please click here.

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

Jo Parfitt Two or three places remaining

14 -21 August 2021

Writing your life stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please click here.


Our impassioned Italian week

Francesca La Sala Two or three places remaining

16-23 October 2021

A novel approach to learning Italian

To learn more about Francesca an her course at the mill, please click here.


The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.
Cool culture under the Tuscan sun