Mike Willdridge’s thoughts on using a sketchbook: 2. Solving visual problems and experimenting

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Our enthusiastic and inspiring watercolour painting tutor Mike Willdridge always carries a sketchbook with him wherever he goes and considers it a vital part of his artistic life. He’s written an intriguing series of essays, of which this is the second, to persuade you do do the same.

In the first essay Mike highlighted the value of a sketchbook as a “visual diary” and as a way of gathering information. It is posted on our Friends of the Watermill website and you can enjoy it by clicking here.

In this essay he looks at the use of the sketchbook to experiment and to attempt to solve visual problems. Mike says: “Because you don’t need to be precious in a sketchbook, you can take risks and try out ideas that you might otherwise feel self-conscious about if they were finished pictures.”

Solving visual problems

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

Mike says: “This is a montage of different pages from a very early sketchbook. I was working on an idea for a set design for a slightly risqué musical that involved plenty of ‘can can’ type dancing.  I played around with several visual sources including photos of Marilyn Monroe and Toulouse Lautrec type images. Here I’ve used photos, watercolour paint, photocopies cut up etc. The set never got made – which is probably just as well!

Experimenting

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

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Mike says: “Earlier this year, on a holiday in the Marche region of Italy, I was thrilled by the sunsets. After a couple of sketches (above), I began ‘experimenting’ in my sketchbook, making more abstract images especially responding to the intense colours and darker shapes of the evening landscape.”

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

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

The painting below, says Mike, “is one of a number of finished works made after using my sketchbooks to experiment with ideas.” The oil painting is called Red, Green and Yellow.

This painting is one of a number of finished works made after using my sketchbooks to experiment with ideas.

Mike says: “There’s a lot of very varied work you can do in sketchbooks. Not only can you carry a sketchbook anywhere, but also you’ll never have the pressure to frame your sketchbooks or worry about where you’re going to find space to store finished work.

Next time Mike looks at how sketchbooks can be very personal art forms “and how they allow me to express my sometimes obsessive nature.”

Mike new head and shoulders FINALMike Willdridge will be back at The Watermill next year, from Saturday 8 September to Saturday 15 September 2018, and we’d love you to join us for his fun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring week. Mike will teach primarily in watercolours, but he is skilled in, and happy to teach in, gouache and acrylics too. Mike is particularly keen on all forms of drawing as a way of recording and responding to everyday events. As you see, he constantly uses a sketchbook and will encourage you to do the same, gathering speedy impressions and building up a visual record of your time at the Watermill and among the mountains, castles, walled towns and hilltop villages of this unspoiled region of Tuscany.

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

Sketch of market day in the town of Fivizzano, near the Watermill

Mike is an enthusiastic teacher , 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 guest on one of Mike’s previous courses at The Watermill: A wonderful holiday. You were such generous and friendly hosts and Mike was an excellent painting tutor.”  Another said: “The food was exceptional and the mill itself is great, in such a beautiful setting. A truly wonderful week in every respect.”

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitivi, 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!

mike plus pic8-15 September 2018 

Mike Willdridge

Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

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

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.  To enquire about availability and/or to reserve your place, please use our Painting Holiday Enquiry Form by clicking here.

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

Mike’s picture of the millstream rushing beneath gardener Flavio’s famous bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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