Archives for March 2021

Come and share Randy’s passion for painting

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

We are really looking forward to meeting, at last, our new watercolour painting tutor Randy Hale. We feel we know him already, since we’ve enjoyed a series of online interactive painting sessions with him, which have proved extremely popular. So it will be great to see him at the Watermill itself for his painting course later this year.

Randy is an exciting watercolourist from Colorado in United States. One of his students says: “Randy knows his stuff and he knows how to teach! The best watercolor instructor I have ever had!” Another says: “He’s an excellent artist and instructor, offering clear and positive help.”

As I say, Randy has not yet visited the Watermill, but he has already produced some wonderful watercolours, from photographs! Above is his impression of our walled garden, with the Watermill buildings behind. And here’s another impression of our village, Posara:

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

Randy will be with us for a week-long course in watercolours from Saturday 21 August to Saturday 28 August 2021. (You will be Cool and Green: all our rooms are air-conditioned, powered by photovoltaic panels which make us self-sufficient in electricity).

More wonderful Italian rooftops and façades from Randy

I have made one of those fun, 30-second Facebook slideshows, with some of Randy’s earlier paintings, which you can see by clicking here. And I couldn’t resist showing you these ‘quirky critters’ Randy painted on one of his recent online sessions.

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 remember, 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.

Randy Hale 

Saturday 21 August to Saturday 28 August 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Randy and his 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

Stay cosy at home while you paint a wet and windy Scottish isle with Mike

Here’s another gritty sketch by Mike Willdridge of a wet and windy day on the Isle of Gigha, Scotland. It’s the theme for this week’s interactive, online session with Mike. You stay cozy at home while that’s tiny cottage bears the brunt of Scottish weather. More than 80 people have already joined up and we have room for plenty more, if you like to join them.

Mike’s Zoom session is live on Thursday 1 April at 3:30 pm Italian time. Registration is through the Eventbrite platform and you can join up by clicking here. (Of course, the live session will be early in the morning in some parts of the USA and Canada, and late at night in Australia and New Zealand, but you can still register and receive an edited video of the demonstration to paint along in your own time. See below.)

Unlike many online painting programmes, Mike’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 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 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 will last a couple of hours.

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

As you may have heard, the Watermill at Posara’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 that camaraderie and a sense of purpose in these difficult times. Our guests have called them ‘morale boosting’ and ‘a wonderful distraction’.

When you register for the session you will be asked for a donation. (If you prefer to donate by direct bank transfer, please let us know.) People often ask how much is acceptable. Our answer? “It’s like a Scottish house dram of whisky: it neither offends the guest nor the host!” But the most important thing is to donate whatever makes you feel comfortable. 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. We hope that you enjoy the international, online painting community that we have created.

Once you have registered you will be provided with two links. The first is the Zoom link for you to join the session. The second link is where you will find the photograph that you will paint, an outline drawing, a practice painting, Mike’s notes, and a list of equipment and colours for your palette.

After the event, you are invited to email us with your painting to add to the online Gallery. In addition, we will send you a link to an edited video of the demonstration that will enable to you revisit Mike’s step-by-step teaching.

When you’ve painted with Mike online, why not join him for real at the Watermill in Tuscany Italy next summer? We would love to welcome you to the Watermill. You can find more details of Mike’s week-long courses at the Watermill by clicking here.

The Watermill at Posara for the very best in interactive, online painting sessions and painting holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
To register, please just click here:

That Eventbrite link again: just click here.

As things begin to open up, look to the future and book your creative week at the Watermill

The future’s bight… Picture from HotSpot Media by Italian photographer Andrea Zampatti,

As, at last, we are beginning to see the vaccinated delighted the end of the long coronavirus tunnel, now is the time to beat the rush and plan your week on a creative course at the Watermill, in painting, writing, knitting or the Italian language. Not only will you enjoy inspiring tuition, a beautiful setting, warm hospitality, delicious food and wine and the convivial company of like-minded people, you will be able to enjoy a glow of anticipation in the months before your trip.
We have revamped all our 2021 courses and we going to start with a great reawakening on 3 July. We would love you to join us and cast off your coronavirus blues. Here is what we are offering for your (and our) creative reawakening:

Warm sunshine, inspiring tuition, lovely food, great company

Our inspiring painting courses:

Here is the complete list of our painting tutors for next year. You can find out more about each of them by clicking on their Profile page link in their entries below


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

Vicki Norman
3 – 10 July 2021 
Oils and watercolours (and other mediums)
To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.

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

Carl March
10 – 17 July 2021 
Drawing and watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


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

Rebecca de Mendonça
31 July – 7 August 2021
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.

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

Randy Hale
21 – 28 August 2021 
Watercolours
To learn more about Randy and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


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

Mike Willdridge
28 August – 4 September 2021 x places left
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


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

Mike Willdridge
4 – 11 September 2021
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


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

Milind Mulick
11 – 18 September 2021 
Colourful watercolours
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


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

Brienne M Brown
18 – 25 September 2021 
Watercolours
To learn more about Brienne and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.


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

Tim Wilmot
2 – 9 October 2021 
Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.


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

Ali Hargreaves
9 – 16 October 2021 
Watercolours
To learn more about Ali and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.


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

Grahame Booth
23 – 30 October 2021 x places left
Watercolours
To learn more about Grahame and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.



Our enabling writing courses:

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

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
24 – 31 July 2021 
Scriptwriting
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill course at the mill, please visit their 2021 Tutor Profile Page.


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

Jo Parfitt
14 -21 August 2021
Writing your life stories
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Tutor Profile page.



Our relaxing knitting weeks:

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

Knitting retreat
17-24 July 2021
Knitting and la Bella Vita To learn more about our knitting retreat, please click here



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

Louisa Harding
7 – 14 August 2021
Knitting and la Bella Vita
To learn more about Louisa and her week at the Watermill, please visit her 2021 Profile page.



Our enhancing language week:

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 and her course at the mill, please visit our Language Programme Page



The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, cookery holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

A fine collection of furry friends, thanks to Rebecca

The 120 or so participants on pastellist and Watermill tutor Rebecca de Mendonça’s online session last Thursday had a fine time painting dogs, using the techniques shown to them by Rebecca. Many of them sent in their paintings to our online Gallery, not only following the demonstration dogs presented by Rebecca, but also their own household pets. I chose a few of them from the gallery, and, as ever, our thanks to everyone who sent in their work and apologies to those who I’ve left out today.

First, how do you like the little fella at the top, from Melanie Bettridge – and below, this friendly chap was sent in by Eileen Arthur.

And finally, Jennifer Bagg’s canine companion.

These were the demonstration dogs from Rebecca:

We are running our online sessions every Thursday, in lots of different mediums, with half a dozen of our inspiring Watermill tutors. Our guests have called them ‘morale boosting’ and ‘a wonderful distraction’. Come and join us.

To find out more, please go to the Online Courses page on the Watermill website, by clicking here.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Just click here to see more.

Come and spend a week at the watermill with Vicki:’Her wonderful paintings are an inspiration.’

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

With increasing confidence that we will, at last, be able to run our creative courses this summer, we-re going to be reintroducing you to our inspiring tutors. Today, may we present Vicki Norman, who is returning this summer for another of her vibrant painting weeks. Vicki will be with us for her course, in oils and watercolours (and other mediums), from Saturday 3 July to Saturday, 10 July 2021.

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

English painting tutor Vicki Norman specialises in painting on location. Her paintings seek to capture the essence of the day and the sense of place through the colour and play of the light. Vicki will teach primarily in oils and watercolours, but is happy to help with other mediums, too. She has been teaching professionally for more than 15 years and offers plenty of help and individual attention.

Here’s a comment from one of our guests on Vicki’s last course at the Watermill: “An excellent painting and holiday week. All the trips out to painting locations were well organised and Vicki was excellent as a teacher: Her wonderful paintings were an inspiration.”

Painting by Vicki Norman, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
The rose pergola in the walled garden at the Watermill, painted by Vicki.

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.

We have nine painters booked in for Vicki’s course, so we have room for three more, plus their non-painting partners, if they would like to join them.

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

Vicki Norman  Three places left

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.

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

Drawing and design are tutor Carl March’s passions

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

As we at last begin to see some vaccine-led light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel, we would like to reintroduce you to the exciting Watermill 2021 painting tutors. We have revamped our painting programme and we are looking forward, at last, to fun-filled sun-filled, inspiring painting courses this summer. (Although, don’t forget you will be Cool and Green at the Watermill: we have air-conditioning in all our rooms, powered by our photovoltaic cells.)

First up, our new Watermill watercolour tutor, Carl March, is an English painter and printmake. He has studied in Milan and lived in Dubai: a truly international artist! His week with us next year is called ‘Drawing and Painting for Pleasure’. It will run from 10-17 July 2021.

Drawing and design are Carl’s passions: he likes to experiment with various drawing mediums, combining them with traditional watercolour painting processes to create distinctively subtle works. .

The evocative watercolour above is called ‘Garden on the Coastal Walk’, painted on a holiday in Muscat, Oman. And below is Hotel Garden, painted in Paphos, in Cyprus.

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

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

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

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

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

We now have six people signed up for Carl’s 2021 course at the Watermill, so if you’d like to join us, now really is the time to book.

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

Carl March 

Saturday 10 July to Saturday 17 July 2021 

Drawing and watercolours en plein air

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

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

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

Heavy skies will bring light relief, painting online with Mike

Mike’s demonstration painting

A heavy sky louring over a cottage on the Isle of Gigha in Scotland is the theme for our next interactive, online session with renowned UK watercolour artist, Mike Willdridge. He says: “This subject is a slight change from the many sunlit/strong shadowed scenes we all love to paint and that are in abundance around the Watermill. Nevertheless, this painting should demonstrate the importance of understanding that it is the light from the sky that usually determines the atmosphere of any particular landscape.”

Mike’s Zoom session is live on Thursday 1 April at 3:30 pm Italian time (2:30 pm in the UK). Registration is through the Eventbrite platform and you can join up by clicking here. (Of course, the live session will be early in the morning in some parts of the USA and Canada, and late at night in Australia and New Zealand, but you can still register and receive an edited video of the demonstration to paint along in your own time. See below.)

The source photo for the painting

Unlike many online painting programmes, Mike’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 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 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 will last a couple of hours.

As you may have heard, the Watermill at Posara’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 that camaraderie and a sense of purpose in these difficult times. Our guests have called them ‘morale boosting’ and ‘a wonderful distraction’.

When you register for the session you will be asked for a donation. (If you prefer to donate by direct bank transfer, please let us know.) People often ask how much is acceptable. Our answer? “It’s like a Scottish house dram of whisky: it neither offends the guest nor the host!” But the most important thing is to donate whatever makes you feel comfortable. 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. We hope that you enjoy the international, online painting community that we have created.

Once you have registered you will be provided with two links. The first is the Zoom link for you to join the session. The second link is where you will find the photograph that you will paint, an outline drawing, a practice painting, Mike’s notes, and a list of equipment and colours for your palette.

One of Mike’s sketches on the island

After the event, you are invited to email us with your painting to add to the online Gallery. In addition, we will send you a link to an edited video of the demonstration that will enable to you revisit Mike’s step-by-step teaching.

When you’ve painted with Mike online, why not join him for real at the Watermill in Tuscany Italy next summer? We would love to welcome you to the Watermill. You can find more details of Mike’s week-long courses at the Watermill by clicking here.

That Eventbrite link again: just click here.

Just click here to register

How Lunigiana came by its name

A view of part of our inspiring landscape by Ciao Lunigiana

A view of part of our inspiring landscape by Ciao Lunigiana

Another interesting blog rediscovered during my clear out. This one is from 2016:

The Watermill lies in the unspoilt Tuscan area of Lunigiana, which is just as far as you can go in Northern Tuscany and still be in Tuscany. In fact, this is border country, with the regions of Liguria and Emilia-Romagna on our doorstep. The scenery is magnificent, because Lunigiana is bounded by two great mountain chains: The Appennines, the backbone of Italy, and the Apuan Alps, which include the marble mountains of Carrara.

Snow on the Apuan Alps. Photo by Andrea Pellini

Snow on the Apuan Alps. Photo by Andrea Pellini

But why is it called Lunigiana? The answer lies in Luni. No, not that we are all loony, although there is an etymological link with lunatics and the moon, but because of the ancient town of Luni, founded by the Romans in 177 BC at the mouth of the river Magra, linked to Rome by the famous Aurelian Way.

Artist's impression of roman Luni

Artist’s impression of Roman Luni

Originally a military outpost to keep the rebellious Liguri tribes under control, it soon flourished as the export harbour for the white marble from the Imperial quarries in Carrara. As the Emperor Augustus said of his Rome: “Urbem latericium invenit, marmorae reliquit.” He found a city of brick and left a city of marble.

Greek Selene became roman Luna

Greek Selene became Roman Luna

Why was the town called Luni? Well, long before the Romans, the ancient Greeks frequented the port and it was dedicated to Selene, goddess of the moon, known to the Romans as Luna, who kept her as protector of the city and gave it her name. Only later did it change to Luni. It was a thriving colonia, with a busy harbour, well-planned streets and an imposing elliptical amphitheatre.

The town was still important in the 5th Century AD, when it became the episcopal see of the Bishop of Luni, but began to decline from then on. Captured successively by the Goths, the Byzantines and the Lombards, its importance declined, hastened by the silting up of the harbour. (Today its remains are some distance from the sea across the alluvial plain.) These disasters were compounded by the surrounding malarial marshes and a wholesale sacking by the Moors from Andalusia in 1015. So, in 1058 most of the population moved to nearby Sarzana, while others formed new settlements in Ortonovo and Nicola.

As Petrarch said in the 14th Century, Luni was “once famous and powerful and now only a naked and useless name.” In fact it was only in 1442 that the visible remains were again identified with Luni and the local Cardinal and the Pope sought to protect it from the depredations of local builders, with only limited success: , a considerable amount of the stone in the Palazzo del Commune in Sarzana, built in 1471, came from Luni.

blog luni anfiteatroLuni’s remains were excavated in the 1970s and while you can visit the site and the museum, it is a little disappointing, although the amphitheatre (when it is open) remains impressive. We, however, remember the days in the 1990s before the latter was fenced off and you could scramble freely over the ruins and hear in your imagination echoes of the Roman crowds roaring as they enjoyed the spectacle. Sic transit gloria mundi.

Nonetheless Luni’s ‘naked and useless’ name lives on in glorious Lunigiana, a wonderful, unspoilt area of Tuscany, a gem for you to enjoy on your painting, creative writing, knitting, language holidays. For more about everything, please click here.

lunigiana sunset

The unswaddled bambino revisited

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

blog bambini 6

Amid all the encircling Covid gloom, I thought we needed an inspiring story today. I really like this one which I told you in a blog way back in 2014,  re-discovered during my recent clear out:

One of my favourite buildings in Florence is the Ospedale degli Innocenti, the Foundlings Hospital, designed by my hero Filippo Brunelleschi, architect of the miraculous dome of the cathedral of Florence. It is one of the first, if not the first, classical building of the Renaissance. Calm, beautifully proportioned, brilliant.

Blog bambini 5When it was finished in the 1440s, there were 12 blank roundels in the spandrels, the spaces between the arches, and in 1487, forty or so years after Brunelleschi’s death, these were filled with the famous ceramic bambini of Andrea della Robbia (Well, ten of them were; the final two, copies of the originals, weren’t put in place until 1845!)

Each bambino is unique. Seven are tightly swaddled , while in two the swaddling clothes are sagging below the waist or knees.

But in bambino number 7 (pictured above, and top left of the four to the left here) the swaddling clothes are untied and falling away; the infant’s feet are unbound. Nobody knows why Andrea della Robbia did this, but there’s a theory, to which I like to subscribe, that the unbound clothes represent the child’s transition from the stigma of being an unwanted foundling to the liberation of a new life provided by the hospital. Incidentally , it still cares for children more than five centuries after its inauguration.)

The inner courtyard. Picture: Firenze-Online.

Another delightful dog for your delectation. Capture more of them in pastels with Rebecca this week

Dogs seem to have loomed large in our posts this week. We’ve seen beautiful lurchers and spaniels, and a very fed-up looking bulldog. Today’s fine-looking fella above is Barb Adamski’s dog. Barb is a regular participant on our online painting sessions and her portrait was inspired by the demonstrations of Randy Hale, using techniques akin to calligraphy.

And on Thursday it is Rebecca de Mendonça’s turn. Using a mixture of charcoal, soft pastel, hard pastel and pastel pencil, Rebecca will show you how you can capture the character and life of dogs, in particular, and the textures of their coats. Can you resist? More than 70 people have already signed up and we would be delighted if you could join them.

Painting by Rebecca de Mendonça, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Rebecca’s Zoom session is live on Thursday 25 March at 3:30 pm Italian time. (2:30 pm UK time. Even if, because of your time zone, you can’t make the live session, you can still register and receive an edited video of the demonstration to paint along in your own time. See below.) Registration is through the Eventbrite platform and you can join up by clicking here.

Rebecca will do one main painting in her demo, but will also have two other examples to work on, showing different techniques for short, patterned coats through to the soft and shiny hair of a spaniel, and the rough hair of a lurcher. See the picture above.

This session is suitable for beginners and more experienced students, whether you have used pastels before or not. A reference photograph is provided.

You can ask questions during the demonstration, and the video will be available to watch afterwards, so that you can have a go yourself.

As the demonstration will be full of tips and information, we would advise you to watch the session first, before doing the piece in your own time.

If you plan to follow along with Rebecca, however, then you might want to sketch the main subject out first. But be warned – she does work quickly!

When you register for the session you will be asked for a donation. 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. We hope that you enjoy the international, online painting community that we have created.

After successful registration you will be provided with two links. One is the Zoom link for you to join the session. The other link is to a copy of the photograph that you will paint, and a couple of demonstration pastel paintings, and to Rebecca’s notes which include a list of equipment and colours for your palette.

After the event, you are invited to email us with your painting to add to the gallery. We will also send you a link to a video that will enable to you revisit Rebecca’s step-by-step teaching.

If you would like to register, here’s that link again. Just click here.

Looks fun to me. Picture: The Atlantic.

To give you an idea of Rebecca’s wonderful artist skills and teaching style, please watch the video below of one of her recent workshops.