A picture is worth a thousand words…

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

As a wordsmith who likes pictures, I particularly savour pictures that tell a story. Or rather, pictures that invite you to make up your own story. I was reminded of this while browsing recently through the website gallery of Watermill tutor Chris Hughes, when I stumbled across his atmospheric oil painting of Claude Monet’s garden and lake at Giverny. If you look carefully at the bridge in the background you will see Claude painting away.

I wonder what happened next? Do you think Madame Monet called him in for lunch, but he was so engrossed trying to capture his waterlilies that he didn’t hear her? It took three shouts, each becoming louder and less patient, to rouse him. He pottered slowly, enlivened by the smell of cassoulet drifting across the garden, and, taking off his hat, entered his tranquil blue kitchen…

See what I mean? Here’s the bridge sans Monet. (He couldn’t be in the picture, since he was painting it, replete with cassoulet perhaps.)

I feel the same way about the watercolour below by my friend David Jones, which shows Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec at work in his studio in 1890, with a 1960s girl in a mini dress sitting in front, looking out at us. You can see the original in the Watermill’s Fra Angelico bedroom.

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

What does it mean? Had Henri been drinking too much absinthe? Or is it a comment, comparing and contrasting the joys of fin de siècle Paris and 1960s swinging London? One thing’s for certain, were Toulouse-Lautrec’s lover, Suzanne Valadon to have come in at this moment, she would not have been at all pleased. Here’s the studio with Henri on his own:

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
(Photo by adoc-photos/Corbis via Getty Images)

Enough of this musing. Why not come and make pictures – and words – of your own? Chris Hughes, who imagined Monet on his Japanese bridge, will be with us for a course on watercolours en plein air. His course will run from Saturday, 27 June to Saturday 4 July 2020 and we would be delighted to welcome you here. You can find out more about Chris and his course by clicking here.

Chris says: “During the week, I will show the watercolour painting and drawing techniques that I’ve developed as a professional artist over the last 40 years. I believe in a laid-back, non-nonpressurised approach – and being in the Tuscan countryside will make the experience even better.”

And who knows, we may find Leonardo da Vinci taking a great interest in the water gushing from the mill cascades and incorporate him in one of our pictures!

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

Don’t forget if you book now you can take advantage of our Early Bird Discount Offer: £75 (English pounds) per person reduction if you book before the end of the year. (But as our bookings for next year’s courses are flowing in, it would be wise to reserve your place as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.) And bring your enthusiasm — and your imagination.

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