Favourite painting books from our online guests – and an invitation to a ‘virtual’ painting week at the Watermill

A still from the video of Mike’s latest online, interactive painting session.

One of the participants on Mike Willdridge’s latest online, interactive painting session asked for recommendations about painting books, and a couple of the participants have kindly emailed us with their suggestions.

Rachel Derr ‘highly recommends’:

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

The Watercolor Course You’ve Always Wanted by Leslie Frontz and Watercolor Techniques: Painting Light and Color in Landscapes and Cityscapes by Michael Reardon. Rachel says: “Both are not only good artists. but are very good teachers in their approach to painting.”

Another online guest, Perdi Goldsmith recommends any of Hazel Soane’s books, and also suggests Making Color Sing by Jean Dobbie and World of Watercolour by Jean Haines. Of the former, Perdi says: “Gorgeous, but possibly not for beginners,” and of the latter she says: “A very good technical book and really informative on getting colours right.”

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

Thank you for your suggestions Rachel and Perdi. We will pass them on to the others.

In the meantime, how about learning even more about the art and technique of painting from another great artist and inspiring tutor, our very own Mike Willdridge. Why don’t you join him for our exciting ‘virtual’ online painting week at the Watermill at the end of this month. A chance to “get away from it all” and enjoy la Bella Vita Italiana (vicariously at least) painting every day with Mike at the Watermill and in the glorious scenery surrounding us. More than 50 people have already signed up and we would be delighted if you would like to join them.

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Mike’s watercolour of our millstream bubbling back towards the river

Every day for a week you’ll join Mike Willdridge online and paint along with him live as we make ‘virtual’ visits to the stunning locations we enjoy during our Watermill painting holidays: an imposing castle, market day in a walled mediaeval town, a sunlit café by the harbour in a nearby fishing village, the cloisters of a quiet convent and a hilltop village with imposing mountains in the background. Again, I have made one of those fun, 30-second Facebook slideshows with pictures of these lovely locations, which you can see by clicking here.

You’ll enjoy daily interactive sessions on Zoom. Full of fun, it’s just like an international painting club where you can enjoy the convivial company of like-minded people. You will paint along with Mike every day from Saturday 28 November to Friday 4 December inclusive. Each session will last a couple of hours or so. It’s the next best thing to being here and it will bring Italian sunshine and memories of la Bella Vita to brighten your days.

And don’t be daunted, as well as being fun, Mike’s virtual week is very much a ‘mini course in watercolour painting’. He says: “I have laid out to assist the beginner: we start easy and progress through the week and each day is related to the others, so it will benefit both the beginner and those with more experience.”

To help give you the real flavour of a Watermill painting week, as well as those live daily paint-along sessions, you will also receive mouth-watering Watermill recipes, for you to try out at home. After each painting session there will be an exclusive video of Mike’s demonstration to refresh your memory. There will also be a daily gallery where you can post your paintings and admire the efforts of your fellow participants paintings. and you’ll even have a chance to win one of Mike’s outstanding paintings.

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Fivizzano market, where you will pay a ‘virtual’ visit on Tuesday.
Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

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. A comment from a previous painter: “Mike Willdridge is a most inspiring tutor whose energy and enthusiasm encourages students to develop both their visual awareness and confidence. His patience and good humour create an enjoyable atmosphere in which students thrive. Another said: “Mike is a superb tutor and his online, interactive painting sessions our inspiring and fun.” 

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

Unlike many online painting programmes, Mike’s will not expect you to ‘look over his shoulder’ for a long demonstration, and perhaps be allowed to ask the odd question or two. No, you will be painting along at more or less the same time, trying out the watercolour techniques that Mike has shown you, step-by-step. He will demonstrate some basic techniques for only a few minutes before you start painting the same subject at home. Then, after you have had your turn, Mike will move onto the next part of the process. Lois Breckon will be on hand to feed your questions. Each session will last a couple of hours.

Before each session Mike will supply a photograph, a practice painting, and, if appropriate, a drawing of what is going to be painted, plus a list of equipment and colours for your palette. We will send these to all the participants in the session. After the session we will send you a link that will enable to you revisit Mike’s step-by-step teaching, and you will also be able to see the paintings sent in by the participants.

he Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
A montage of mouth-watering Watermill dishes. Picture: Pam Smart

And there is more: Lois will supply you with recipes for some of the renowned mouth-watering Watermill dishes, from Gorgonzola soufflés to Capri chocolate cake; from tasty appetisers to succulent chicken involtini.

And there is even more: At the end of the week we will put all the participants’ names into a lottery and the winner will be sent one of Mike’s original paintings from the online course. (To comply with the law there has to be an element of skill in a lottery these days, so were going to ask you a question about the Watermill and its painting locations. Readers of this newsletter will have a head start: the question is what is the name of the walled mediaeval town where we go to paint on market days on Tuesdays?)

The cost?

It obviously takes a good deal of time and effort to organise the sessions and in administration and personal communications with each of the participants. So we think the virtual painting week at the Watermill is incredibly good value for money: £70 (English pounds) for all seven daily sessions and all the add-ons. That’s just £10 for each one of these inspiring, interactive online sessions. (This is a block booking:If you can’t make it each day, you will still receive access to all the videos, the daily gallery and have an entry into the lottery for your chance to win Mike’s original paintings.

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
You could win a painting like this.

Here’s how to register

Please register for Mike’s virtual online, interactive painting week at the Watermill from Saturday 28 November to Friday 4 December 2020 by using the Watermill Contact Form, which you can find by clicking here. Select: Week’s online course, Mike Willdridge 28 Nov – 4 Dec.

After a week online, why not also paint with Mike at the Watermill for real next year?

When you’ve enjoyed working with Mike online, why not join him for real, on his Watermill course next year?

Mike Willdridge 

Saturday 7 August to Saturday 14 August 2021 AND Saturday 4 September to Saturday 11 September 2021 

Watercolours and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

To learn more about Mike and his week at the Watermill, please click here.

You can also learn about all our renowned creative courses, in painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language, by clicking here. We would love you to join us!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Painters in the Watermill walled garden. Picture: Francesco Lastrucci

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