Archives for January 2021

A chilly village scene inspires our online artists. Now we’re going to enjoy the warmth of early morning sun on water

Mike Willdridge’s watercolour of the snowy village, painted during our latest online session

More than 100 people last week once more enjoyed our online, interactive watercolour session, painting a snowy scene in an English village. The chill was overcome by the warmth of painting together and of Mike Willdridge’s inspiring teaching.  As one guest said: “Another marvellous session.  Very well taught and enjoyable!” Another added: “It was great fun and there is always so much to learn.”

As usual, I have made a montage of just a few of the many paintings sent in by our guests for our online gallery. I just picked them at random, so I’m sorry if yours wasn’t chosen this week, it’s just the luck of the draw!

I’ve also made one of those fun, 30-second Facebook slideshows, so you can view some of the paintings a little larger. You can see that by clicking here.

Next week’s online interactive session with Mike will warm us up, as the subject is a delightful study of boats moored in tranquil water as the sun rises. Here’s Mike’s preliminary drawing of the scene. Come and enjoy the comradeship of painting along for a couple of hours with like-minded people and learning from Mike’s entertaining teaching.

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Mike’s demonstration painting for next week’s online, interactive session.

The painting boats session with Mike is on Thursday 28 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). You can register through our Eventbrite event organisers by clicking here. You can find out more by clicking here.

Come and join the adventure. We’d be delighted to have you aboard!

Paint early morning light on water in Mike’s latest online interactive session

“As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean.” My father was very fond of that phrase from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, but you will be far from idle when you paint in watercolours in the latest of our online, interactive painting sessions with Mike Willdridge.

The theme is early morning light on boats, in the county of Kent in England. That’s Mike reference photograph above. He says: “The fantastic, diffused early morning sunlight in this photograph looks so welcoming – especially after the snowy scenes we have painted in our last two sessions!

“I’ve chosen this particular photo because of the great reflected warm light. This will mean fun painting the washes (from blue to yellow) and the soft buildings in the background stretching from dark to almost invisible. Then there’s the gorgeous, reflected light on the water and the strong values of the boats themselves.” 

At first glance, the photograph may seem a little complicated, but one of the aims of this session is to show you how to simplify a complex scene. Mike’s trial demonstration picture below shows how this can be done.

The painting boats session with Mike is on Thursday 28 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). You can register through our Eventbrite event organisers by clicking here.

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

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.

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, just click here.

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 drawing of the scene (Mike would like you to make your own drawing before you meet up) 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. Here’s 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.
A still from the video Mike’s interactive session on Painting Autumn Colours.

When you’ve enjoyed working with Mike online, why not join him for real, on one of his Watermill courses next year? Mike is an energetic 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.

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

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 weeks 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.
Just click here to learn more.

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Announcing another inspiring ‘virtual’ online painting week at the Watermill with Mike Willdridge.

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Mike’s demonstration painting of a street in Pisa, for our second virtual week.

We are delighted to announce that we are creating another exciting Watermill ‘virtual’ online, interactive painting week with Mike Willdridge. It will run from Saturday 20 February to Friday 26 February inclusive.

This follows the great success of our first ‘virtual’ week at the end of last year, when more than 120 people painted along with Mike each day for seven days. They ‘visited’ the stunning locations we enjoy during our ‘real’ Watermill painting holidays: an imposing castle, market day in a walled mediaeval town, a sunlit café by the harbour in a nearby fishing village, the cloisters of a quiet convent and a hilltop village with imposing mountains in the background.

And their response was overwhelming. As one participant said: “It was a fabulous week and over all too quickly. I can’t tell you how much I am missing being in Tuscany! It was the best thing I have done all year. Mike’s demonstrations were so clear and informative. I felt I learnt more in seven days than I have in seven years!”

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Mike’s demonstration picture of the little white chapel in the village of Verrucola, which we will paint on Monday.

Encouraged by your enthusiasm, we decided to do it again, visiting the same exciting locations* but with completely different subjects to paint. If you have been before you’ll know how much fun it is, and how inspiring: join us again for more camaraderie and new exciting painting subjects. If you haven’t been before, now is the time to find out what the fuss is all about! (*Except that on Wednesday we will ‘visit’ the wonderful walled town of Lucca, rather than the Cinque Terre.)

Washing on the line in Monte dei Bianchi, the hilltop village where we will paint on Friday.

In your week you will enjoy daily live interactive sessions on Zoom. Full of fun, our sessions have become an international painting club where you can enjoy the convivial company of like-minded people. You will paint along with Mike every day from Saturday 20 February to Friday 26 February inclusive.

Each session will last two-and-a-half hours or so. It’s the next best thing to being here and it will bring Italian sunshine and memories of la Bella Vita to brighten your days.

And don’t be daunted, as well as being fun, Mike’s virtual week is very much a ‘mini course in watercolour painting’. He says: “We start easy and progress through the week and each day is related to the others, so it will benefit both the beginner and those with more experience.”

To help give you the real flavour (pardon the pun) of a Watermill painting week, as well as those live daily paint-along sessions, you will also receive mouth-watering Watermill recipes, for you to try out at home.

A montage of some of the Watermill recipes you can cook during our second ‘virtual’ painting week.

I have also made a short Facebook slide show with these images, so you can see them a little larger and tempt your palate even more. Just click here.

After each painting session there will be an exclusive video of Mike’s demonstration to refresh your memory. There will also be a daily gallery where you can post your paintings and admire the efforts of your fellow participants paintings. and you’ll even have a chance to win one of Mike’s outstanding paintings.

You could win a painting like this
Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Mike Willdridge works 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. A comment from a previous painter: “Mike Willdridge is a most inspiring tutor whose energy and enthusiasm encourages students to develop both their visual awareness and confidence. His patience and good humour create an enjoyable atmosphere in which students thrive. Another said“Mike is a superb tutor and his online, interactive painting sessions are inspiring and fun.” 

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Mike’s demonstration painting of the village lane from the Watermill, made during our first virtual week.

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. Lois Breckon will be on hand to feed your questions. Each session will last a couple of hours.

And there is more: Lois will supply you with recipes for some of the renowned mouth-watering Watermill dishes, from amaretto mouse ice cream to baked salmon with a pistachio crust.

And there is even more: At the end of the week we will put all the participants’ names into a lottery and the winner will be sent one of Mike’s original paintings from the online course. (To comply with the law there has to be an element of skill in a lottery these days, so were going to ask you a question about the Watermill and its painting locations.

The cost?

It obviously takes a good deal of time and effort to organise the sessions and in administration and personal communications with each of the participants. So we think the virtual painting week at the Watermill is incredibly good value for money: £70 (English pounds) for all seven daily sessions and all the add-ons. That’s just £10 for each one of these inspiring, interactive online sessions. (This is a block booking: If you can’t make it each day, you will still receive access to all the videos, the daily gallery and have an entry into the lottery for your chance to win Mike’s original paintings.

Here’s how to register

Please register for Mike’s virtual online, interactive painting week at the Watermill from Saturday 20 February to Friday 26 February 2021, using our online events organiser, Eventbrite. Just click here.

When you’ve enjoyed working with Mike online, why not join him for real, on his Watermill course next year?

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Mike’s watercolour of our millstream bubbling back towards the river

Mike Willdridge 

Saturday 28 August to Saturday 4 September 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!

Come and join us! For more about 2021 painting holidays, please click here.

Ten Italian habits that add to the quality of life

Fresh produce, local market: two of the secrets of Italian well-being. Picture: The Local.

One of the many frustrating aspects of the restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic has been the way in which many of the daily habits and routines that add the sum total of human health and happiness have been put on hold,

I was reminded of this reading an article by Patrick Browne in The Local, our Italian English-language newspaper. Patrick listed 10 Italian habits that lead to benessere, well-being, and I thought I’d share a couple of them each day or so in the coming week. Some we can still enjoy, despite the curtailment of our daily lives; others will have to wait a month or so before, hopefully, we are back to some semblance of normal.

So let’s begin at the market and with food shopping. Habit #1, says Patrick, is Go to the market more. He says: “Most small towns in Italy have a market at least once or twice a week, while in the larger cities you can find a market on almost any day of the week. But why make a trip to the market part of your weekly routine?

Red chili peppers on a stall at the Campo di Fiori food market in central Rome. Photo: Andreas Solaro / AFP.

“Apart from the fact that most markets offer everything you could wish for, they also get you outdoors and plunge you into natural light. The world feels like a better place when you’re not under the fluorescent glow of a supermarket bulb.

“The market can save you money too – you can buy the exact quantity of whatever item you need and even haggle over the price if you feel like it.”

A natural follow-on is Habit # 2: Eat local, eat fresh.

Fresh celery and squash (as much as you like) on sale in the Sant’Ambrogio market in Florence. Picture: Bill Breckon

“This is kind of an obvious one when you do your shopping at the market. For sure, Italy is great when it comes to fresh fruit and vegetables as it offers fantastic produce all year round and lets you keep your diet interesting by eating seasonally.”

Robert adds: “The country has also managed to turn many a tomato-hater into a tomato-lover. Who can resist all that flavour?

“A diet based on fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables is normal in Italy and being a “locavore” isn’t trendy or hip, it’s just the norm.”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, cookery holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Tomatoes fresh from the Watermill garden. Picture: Bill Breckon

Happily for us to market in Fivizzano, the walled mediaeval town near the Watermill, continues on Tuesdays and in Florence near our apartment we have the wonderful Mercato Sant’Ambrogio, still thriving in these exacting times.

A picture of the St Ambrogio market taken before the compulsory wearing of masks and social distancing.

Tomorrow we will feature two more of Robert’s tips on La Bella Vita Italiana with the sincere hope that it won’t be long before you be able to join us and enjoy La Bella Vita Italiana on one of our renowned creative courses at the Watermill. Find out what’s on offer by clicking here.

Just click here to find out all about the Watermill’s activities.

I bet this picture makes you smile! Join Charles at the Watermill and smile some more.

We have just received the latest newsletter from our friend and Watermill painting tutor Charles Sluga and I couldn’t resist passing on this wonderful picture of three boys. Charles says: “One of the things I love about my paintings is that they connect with people of all ages and backgrounds.”

These three boys were allowed to purchase a print of their choice for their bedrooms. They chose “Robot”, “Biggles” and “Batman”. They had them framed by Charles’s studio and this engaging image was taken on the day they collected their prints. Charles says: “I can’t help smiling looking at this. This kind of response makes it all worthwhile – just love it!”

Well, we couldn’t help smiling, too, and we hope you’ve done the same. I particularly like the expression on the face of the boy on the right, and the socks of the boy in the middle.

There will be plenty of smiles and much laughter, too, on Charles’s watercolour painting course at the Watermill this Autumn. Come and join us for inspiring teaching, a beautiful setting, wonderful scenery, delicious food and the convivial company of like-minded people. After a difficult year it’s time to look ahead and give yourself a treat.

Painting by Charles Sluga, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
A painting by Charles of the demijohns in the Watermill courtyard.

Charles Sluga is a highly respected and sought-after watercolour artist in Australia, who has gained a reputation for his versatility in both his technique and choice of subject matter. The paintings above are of a quiet convent, and the wine demijohns in the Watermill courtyard.

Charles is also skilled in acrylics and oils and is happy to teach in those media, too. He not only teaches technique, but also how to think and see as an artist. His friendliness, sense of humour and willingness to impart his knowledge makes his classes relaxed, informal and inspiring.

Painting by Charles Sluga, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays, Tuscany Italy.
Lunch in Lucca by Charles Sluga

A comment from a previous student: “As well as being a talented artist, Charles is an extremely capable teacher:” Another said: “The most relaxing holiday I have had for a long time: lovely accommodation, exceptional food.”

Come and join us for inspiration and laughter. (I made a little 30-second slide show of some of Charles’s work, which you can see by clicking 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.

Paint a chilly scene from the warmth of your own home

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Mike’s painted sketch for the snowy village session

 More than 90 people have already signed up for our latest Watermill interactive online painting session with Mike Willdridge next Thursday. We would be delighted if you came, too, and painted along with Mike, enjoying inspiring teaching and the camaraderie of the international painting groups that make up our sessions. And although it’s a chilly scene, you’ll be cosy and warm in your own home.

Yes, this week’s subject is a snowy village, in the charming English county of Devon. In this session you will see how the use of warm colours creates the coldness of snow, as well as practising perspective and the painting of buildings. There is no preliminary photograph in this session, just two sketches, the painted one above and the black and white sketch below.

Mike says: “Both these drawings were made in my sketchbook, balanced on the steering wheel of my car and made in just a few minutes.”

You can paint the snowy village on Thursday 21 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). Here is the link to register, with our online events organiser, Eventbrite. Just click here.

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

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. 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 either 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: click here.

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 two sketches 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. Click on video to see an example of a previous online session with Mike, an autumn walk. Here’s the reference picture for that session:

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 by clicking here.

Sue’s sunlight and shadows captured the imagination of our online guests

The picture Sue Ford painted during last week’s online, interactive session.

We are delighted to report that Sue Ford’s first online interactive session with the Watermill, painting in acrylics, was a worthy addition to the Watermill’s efforts to bring artist inspiration, camaraderie and fun in these difficult times. Our international participants painted along with Sue, capturing the sunlight and shadows of the village of Verrucola near the Watermill, one of the locations for our ‘real’ painting weeks.

Among the comments from our guests:

“Thank you for another lovely session. I learn something every time.”

“We’re so lucky to have artists like Sue available to us in our living rooms.”

“I thought Sue was excellent and her picture just beautiful. What a lovely place!”

“I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s Acrylic painting class with Sue, would it be possible to arrange some more with her please? I am finding the Zoom sessions a great escape.”

Our thanks for those comments and to everyone who took part in Sue’s session last Thursday. We shall certainly be organising more of them with her and will keep you posted.

As usual, I’ve made a montage of some of the pictures people sent into our online gallery:

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

And, so you can see the pictures a little bigger, I’ve made one of those short Facebook slideshows, which you can see by clicking here.

With Mike Willdridge and Randy Hale providing paint-along sessions in watercolour, and Rebecca de Mendonça helping us to master the techniques of pastel painting, the Watermill’s online offer is becoming broader and broader. We are also working on some sessions on oil painting. You can find out all about the Watermill’s online activities by clicking here.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
You can find out about our online sessions by clicking here

And as the pandemic begins to be resolved, how about celebrating my coming on one of our renowned painting courses at the Watermill itself? You know you deserve it! You can find out more details about our inspiring, sun-filled, fun-filled painting courses in unspoiled rural Tuscany by clicking here.

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

Get those creative juices flowing, painting with Ali

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

This is the last of our articles featuring the new inspiring tutors on the Watermill team in 2021. We are delighted to welcome an English painter, Ali Hargreaves, who will be joining us for a week-long course in watercolours and ‘mixed media’, from Saturday 9 October to Saturday 16 October 2021.

Her watercolour above, of jugs on steps, captures the sunshine by exaggerating the lovely warm colours. And of the picture below, simply called ‘Window’, Ali says: “I love trying out different techniques and, in this painting, I used an old credit card to produce the textures in the stone work and to print the window frame. I’m always experimenting and believe that this is how we evolve as artists. Therefore, I encourage my students to do the same.”

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

Ali, from Poynton in the county of Cheshire in England, started her working life as a primary school teacher, but after 20 happy years, she changed direction and followed her passion for art. Ali enjoys painting a wide range of subjects and in a range of different media. Her favourite technique is ‘mixed media’, using watercolour as a base and adding all sorts, such as collage, pastel, pen, acrylic and print.  

Ali is also very keen on sketching. She says: “A big part of painting holidays is the wonderful and exciting variety of sketching opportunities. I encourage all my students to sketch as part of the course. It makes us observe what is around us and gets our ideas flowing.”

A quick sketch by Ali of some gentlemen chatting in a town square in Spain

As well as being a great artist, Ali is also an enthusiastic teacher, running classes and workshops that are fun, vibrant and informative. Here’s a comment from a previous student: “Ali is an inspiration. I love her teaching/demonstration style. I learned so much in a short time and I continue to follow her and be inspired by her. I’ve already signed up to join her in Italy next year. Can’t wait.” And from another: “As well as having contagious enthusiasm and making the work fun, Ali also has the ability to demonstrate numerous creative multimedia painting techniques. She works tirelessly on behalf of her students to provide an informative, inspiring and thoroughly enjoyable learning experience.”

Painting by Ali Hargreaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
A vibrant watercolour of some houses in Burano, Venice.

I have made one of those fun, 30-second Facebook slideshows with more of Ali’s vibrant images. You can see it 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..

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

Ali Hargreaves  Only one place left

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.

Come and join us and make 2021 a year to remember.

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

Paint along again with Mike in the second of his snowy interactive online sessions

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Mike’s painted sketch for the snowy village session.

 In the second of his snowy, seasonal interactive online sessions, Mike Willdridge invites you to join him painting an English village scene in the depths of winter.

As before, you will see that it is the warm colours deployed in a snowy scene that create the coldness of snow. Mike says: “This time the snowy subject includes some buildings and a little more perspective to contend with. I also felt this was different as there’s no source photograph to display. Both these drawings were made in my sketchbook, balanced on the steering wheel of my car and made in just a few minutes. Mike’s sketch, with a little painting, is shown above, while below is the preliminary, unpainted, sketch of the village.

You can paint the snowy village on Thursday 21 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). Here is the link to register, with our online events organiser, Eventbrite. Just click 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. 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 either 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.

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 two sketches 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. Click on video to see an example of a previous online session with Mike, an autumn walk. Here’s the reference picture for that session:

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 by clicking here.

Much to her mother’s indignation, the young Brienne Brown owned little clothing that was not covered in paint.

Brienne Brown, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

One of the first things we learned about our new American watercolour tutor, Brienne Brown, was the quotation above about her early life. She is still passionate about watercolours and plein air painting, though she may not spatter her paint about quite as much!

Brienne, from Pennsylvania in the USA, says: “I find beauty in everyday life. Each painting reminds me of where I was, the experiences I had, the sounds, smells, and the people I met … and I enjoy sharing how I see the world.”  Brienne adds: “Painting in Italy is just a dream come true.” 

We are delighted to welcome her for her first course at the Watermill, in watercolours, which will run from Saturday 18 September to Saturday, 25 September 2021.

Painting by Brienne Brown, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Brienne calls this atmospheric watercolour Commerce Corner.

Using strong value sketches, bold washes, and quick energetic strokes, Brienne will show you how to bring excitement into your paintings. No watercolour skill is necessary, but some drawing experience is recommended.

A comment from a previous student: “Brienne goes through each step guiding you through the process clearly while demonstrating her techniques and approach. I would highly recommend her workshop to ANYONE, be it a beginner or an advanced painter.”

Painting by Brienne Brown, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
And these are rockers on the porch.

I made a fun, 30-second Facebook slideshow of some more of Brienne’s lovely paintings, 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.

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

Brienne Brown A few places left 

Saturday 18 September to Saturday 25 September 2021 

Watercolours

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

Come and join us and make 2021 a year to remember.

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