Mike Willdridge’s thoughts on using a sketchbook: 3. Personal and obsessive

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

Three pages (of several) drawn in a Fishmarket in Portsmouth. The men worked quickly, filleting fish, and Mike worked quickly drawing them

Our talented 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 to do the same. Mike says: “I highly recommend not only using a sketchbook on a regular basis but also making the sketchbook the primary surface on which to create your art.”

In the first essay Mike highlighted the value of a sketchbook as a “visual diary” and as a way of gathering information. We posted it on our Friends of the Watermill website and you can enjoy it by clicking here. In the second, he looked at using a sketchbook to experiment and to attempt to solve visual problems. Please click here to look at it.

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

Today’s essay is about the personal (and obsessive!) use of a sketchbook. Mike says: For any artist, the sketchbook is probably the most personal surface on which to work. Because it’s a personal item, each person’s use of a sketchbook will be different – personal to them! For me the sketchbook ’ticks’ a number of intimate boxes. I recognise that I’m a little obsessive about recording/responding to the world around me and have many sketchbooks with drawings of the same subject, looked at again and again.”

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

Gondoliers in Venice

A Thames Barge called Alice in Portsmouth Harbour..

A Thames Barge called Alice in Portsmouth Harbour..

And another confession from Mike: “Also, for me the sketchbook is a way of withdrawing/hiding away. As a child I loved to be on my own drawing and still do to this day. Observing people as if a ‘fly on the wall’ offers many opportunities – such as periods waiting in airports:

Mike sketchbook 3.6

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

Mike says: “That’s it folks! But, in conclusion, a final thought for the amateur artist: Why are you doing this ‘arting stuff’ anyway? Is it for you or is it for someone else?

“If the answer is the former, then I hope you’ll agree that having a sense of authorship of your own work (feeling that what you’ve created has been done so largely by you) is so important to your long-term enjoyment of this amazing activity. I can think of no better place to achieve that “sense of authorship” than in the privacy of a sketchbook.”

Mike 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.

Blog Mike beginners 3

Mike works and 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 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 pic

8-15 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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