Do you want to improve your paintings’ composition? Ask a child — and Mike!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.Our friend and Watermill painting tutor Mike Willdridge, who will be with us again this summer, tells me that he’s always been amazed by the natural ability that small children have mastering composition. He says: “Maybe we adults try too hard?”

 Mike says: “Imagine a standard child’s painting of a house in a landscape. The house is often placed near the bottom of the painting and has underneath it a green line for the grass and alongside the house: trees, fences, family pets etc. There’s often a line above the house which is painted blue (the sky) and then a yellow ball which is the Sun. This so often results in a pleasing and well balanced picture. Try taking any single object out of the painting (e.g. block out the Sun or remove a tree) and the balance of the painting suffers. For years I’ve been fascinated by this!”

Above is a child’s picture from the Internet. Mike says “It seems to me that if you were to take out the tree or get rid of the car or maybe the animal, not only would there be less of a story but also the composition of the drawing would be weaker.”

Evelyn (3) shows the way

And how about this one? It was painted by Mike’s granddaughter Evelyn last year when she was three.

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

Mike says: A beautifully composed picture – take away any part of this painting and it wouldn’t work as well. What a master stroke is that splash of green – how well it works against the red and it’s perfectly positioned.” Mike adds: “I spent 100 days last year trying to produce something as vibrant, loose and so completely natural as this – Grrrrr!”

Meet Mike and paint with him

You don’t have to be childish to paint well but perhaps a childlike approach might help in releasing your inner talent. Why not come on Mike’s course at the Watermill and try it out for yourself? He will be with us for a week, teaching watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics), from Saturday 29 June to Saturday 6 July 2019. We already have nine bookings for his course, so we have room for three or four more painters and their non-painting partners, if they would like to come.

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. He will concentrate on watercolours, but is also happy to help with gouache and acrylics too.

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.”

Here’s one of my favourite Mike Willdridge pictures, an exuberant watercolour of the mill stream flowing beneath one of our gardener Flavio Terenzoni’s famous wooden bridges, with their curvy handrails.

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.Mike Willdridge
29 June to 6 July 2019
Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics with an emphasis on sketching and drawing on location)

To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please click here.




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