Don’t worry about creative block, just keep painting says Sandra Strohschein –and think of concert pianists!

A painting by Sandra Strohschein, a tutor on painting courses at The Watermill at Posara, Tuscany Italy

A stunning watercolour made during one of her Watermill courses by Sandra Strohschein

Our delightful, inspiring watercolour tutor Sandra Strohschein is always full of painting energy and enthusiasm when she’s here on one of her fun-filled, sun-filled workshops. Our guests often comment on what a great committed teacher she is. But even Sandra admits that she occasionally suffers from creative block – and she’s sent us some very philosophical and practical thoughts on how to deal with it.

Painting by Sandra Strohshein, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays, Tuscany Italy.

A painting of the Watermill from the riverside by Sandra

Sandra says: If you have painted long enough to be past the beginner’s painter “high” you eventually fall into creative slumps now and then.  The first time this happened to me it scared me to death.  

“The first part of this process is that I seem stuck for inspiration.  Inspiration is very important to me.   If I don’t see and feel something inspiring it is very difficult to put a successful painting down on paper.  Usually exhaustion is the cause but it has taken me awhile to figure this out.   Now, after painting for eight years, I am able to see the cycles and realize that the slump is simply nothing more than being tired.”  

Sandra says: “It’s hard as a watercolour artist for me to take any extensive breaks from painting because it is such a difficult medium.  I always think of a concert pianist, every day, even though they are capable of far more…they sit and begin with scales.   This is discipline that results in mastery of their keyboard.”

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

A quiet spot near Lake Michigan helps Sandra to recharge her creative batteries

“During slumps or low periods even though I am tired I will paint.  Usually instead of looking for something complicated or difficult I fall back on painting things that in the past have given me pleasure and I have already worked out how to paint them.  For me this means packing my gear and heading out to Lake Michigan.  A place I know I can paint undisturbed, I know my subject and the beach always soothes my mind if I am tired or troubled.   Doing this, I have accomplished two things at once, soul restoration and time with my brushes, essentially, playing scales to stay in practice.”   

Sandra adds: “I have also learned that it is OK to be tired, acknowledge it and honor it.  I often tell my students at The Watermill during our courses to take full advantage of the ability to rest and recharge there. The five-star cuisine and wine will help, as will the sound of the beautiful river that rushes on the back of the property.  We find the more we relax and give the mind time to unwind….by the end of the week our paintings are quite full of excitement and energy.”   

The Watermill at Posara for painting, sculpting, knitting, creative writing, Italian language, personal development and yoga holidays/vacations/retreats, Tuscany, Italy.

A weeks with Sandra at the Watermill will help you to recharge your creativity too

“In my courses, competition is never allowed.  Hopefully, my students will relax, have fun, paint badly at the beginning while they allow themselves to try new things. (I love my students who humbly set aside their brilliance to try things my way!) The point is, sometimes in order to advance we have to retreat a little.  Give ourselves a break.  I can’t think of a better way to do this than to paint what we love, put ourselves in a restorative environment and give ourselves permission to just enjoy the process.

“I hope to meet you at the Watermill in 2018 where I have two courses scheduled.  This past season I had 14 of the most wonderful students.  Instead of coming away exhausted from my teaching (I work very very hard at the workshop), I came away enthused and energized.    I look forward to such a course in 2018 and I hope you will meet me there and we can relax, have fun and paint beautiful, imperfectly perfect paintings together!”

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

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre). You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

 Sandra plus picSandra Strohsheine


26 May to 2 June AND 2-9 June 2018

Please click here to learn more about Sandra’s painting holidays at The Watermill. 

 Early Bird discount: book now!  If you book before 31 December 2017 there’s a £GBP 75 per person discount on this fabulous 2018 painting holiday.

Come and join us and savour the magic of The Watermill!

Sandra under the roses in the walled garden

Sandra under the roses in the walled garden

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