A dramatic evening picture from a Watermill guest

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

Rose Diamond, who was on Charles Sluga’s painting week recently, has just sent me this lovely and unusual picture of the Watermill courtyard with a dramatic evening sky behind it. Thank you very much for that, Rose.

Rose also comments: “I want you to know how special it was to experience the Watermill at Posara. Last week was magical on so many levels…magnificent setting, accommodations and meals, day trips, and painting instructor.”

We reckon we are in the happiness business and we are delighted if we can make our guests happy. Come and share the Watermill experience yourself: our 2020 creative courses are filling fast. You can find out more by clicking here.

Exclusively designed knitting projects for you on Renee Callaghan’s week at the mill

Design by Renée Callahan, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

We are delighted to welcome Renée Callahan to the Watermill knitting tutors team! Renée is a prolific knitwear designer from London in England, who loves to combine texture and colour to create hand-knit patterns that are enjoyable to knit and remain wearable for years to come.

Renée studied Fashion Design with Knitwear at the prestigious Central Saint Martins College in London. She has always loved textiles and the technical challenge of knitting: she finds a real joy in producing something both useful and beautiful.

Renée will be with us for another of our famous Knitting and la Bella Vita Italiana weeks, from Saturday 15 August to Saturday, 22 August 2020. And she says: “I am already planning some wonderful exclusive projects for the students, which will give us the opportunity to try out new techniques, such as brioche and slipped stitch patterns.”  

As ever, your knitting week will combine expert tuition, like-minded company, wonderful food, the delightful ambience of the Watermill and outings into the surrounding unspoiled Tuscan countryside of Lunigiana.

We have just announced this new knitting week, and already there has been considerable interest, so if you are interested in coming, now really is the time to book, particularly as we have our Early Bird Discount Offer: If you book before 31 December 2019 there’s a £75 (English pounds) per person discount on this fabulous 2020 knitting holiday. (Everything is included in the cost of your holiday: tuition, accommodation, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation. You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!)

To find out more about Renée and her inspiring week at the Watermill, please click here.

Come and enjoy inspirational knitting and La Bella Vita Italiana next summer!

Design by Renée Callahan, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Natural beauty in the palm of a hand

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

This lively little chap is a member of the Hemidactylus turcicus clan, a Mediterranean house gecko. Ain’t he cute? He looks more like a jewelled brooch than a cold-blooded insect hunter. He’s held in the palm of the hand of our ‘Man Friday’, Nathaniel (‘Nate’) Szekely (who took the picture with his other hand).

Geckos are just part of the fascinating wildlife you can see around the mill buildings and gardens: there are lizards galore and, in the season, amazing hummingbird moths and elegant swallowtail butterflies. And along the river and millstream, damselflies and pond skaters… all part of the abundance of nature in this ecologically protected area.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
An amazing hummingbird moth. Picture by Watermill guest Ron Ploeg.

Come and see for yourself when you join us on one of our sun-filled, fun-filled, caring and inspiring creative courses – painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language. You can find out more details of all our activities by clicking here. Places for 2020 are filling fast so if you’d like enjoy creativity and nature, now really is the time to book, especially as you can take advantage of our Early Bird Discount Offer: £75 (English pounds) off any of our creative courses if you book before the end of this year. But to be sure of the course you want, it is probably wisest to book now.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, knitting, yoga, holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
A swallowtail butterfly, photograph: Lara Breckon
A damselfly beside the millstream. Picture by Trevor Sanderson.

Cultural osmosis in progress?

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

I love this picture of young children tripping through the Uffizi gallery in Florence in their school smocks. I like the idea that they’re surrounded by creativity hundreds of years old and I hope that, by some process of cultural osmosis,the ideas and emotions of the previous centuries seep into their young minds and add beauty and inspiration to their lives.

But, hang the philosophy, ain’t it a great picture? Thanks to The Florentine, Florence’s English-language newspaper for publishing it this week.

Catch up on the latest news from the Watermill – and reserve your place on a 2020 creative course.

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

The latest Watermill newsletter is just out, telling you that our 2020 creative courses (painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language) are filling fast and that now is the time to book and take advantage of our Early Bird Discount Offer. To see the newsletter, please click here.

There are also stories on

  • panzanella del mulinoc, the Watermill’s take on a classic Florentine dish
  • introducing the first two of our new painting tutors for 2020: Carl March and Grahame Booth
  • our knockout creative writing courses: we can’t wait for the sequel
  • stitch yourself into one of the last places on our knitting retreat
  • throw yourself like a fish into to our Italian language course.

Happy reading! We hope to see you here soon.

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

“Much to her mother’s indignation, the young Brienne Brown owned little clothing that was not covered in paint…” Introducing another new, exciting Watermill painting tutor

Painting by Brienne M Brown, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

From a very young age, Brienne M Brown showed talent in art and music, but wanted to pursue a career in the sciences. She obtained a Masters degree in chemistry and then worked in a toxicology lab, but as the years wore on, she realised she wanted to have more art in her life.

After leaving work to raise her first child in 2008, Brienne had the opportunity to paint more consistently. Prioritizing painting, and taking workshops from artists she admired, paid off. Soon she was not only exhibiting and entering shows regularly, but also winning awards. She is a signature member of the US National Watercolor Society.

Her painting above is called On the Porch. Brienne says: “I love painting nostalgic scenes like this.  This is the porch of a friend of mine which is not dramatic or spectacular, but special to me and therefore nostalgic.  However, what made it a great subject to paint were the shadow shapes and patterns of the chairs.  That is what I look for in a great painting subject.”

Brienne is passionate about watercolour and plein air painting. She says: “I find beauty in everyday life. Each painting reminds me of where I was, the experiences I had, the sounds, smells, and the people I met … and I enjoy sharing how I see the world.”  Brienne adds: “Painting in Italy is just a dream come true.” 

And here is another great watercolour, this one called Commerce Corner.

Painting by Brienne M Brown, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Brienne says: I loved the sun on this building and the long shadows that crossed the street I am so grateful to have painted here because this area was hit this fall by the Hurricane Michael and the entire town of Apalachicola, FL was flooded.  This street was totally under water.  This is one reason I love to paint older, historic places.  You never know how long something sill last, so I love to experience locations by painting en plein air.  The painting has so much more meaning to me.”

During her workshop, Brienne will demonstrate and explain her painting process for plein air painting, sharing some great exercises and practices that will help you become a better artist. Using strong value sketches, bold washes, and quick energetic strokes, Brienne will show you how to bring excitement into your paintings. No experience in watercolour painting is necessary, but some drawing experience is recommended.

A comment from one of her previous students: “Brienne’s workshop is great. She goes through each step guiding you through the process clearly while demonstrating her techniques and approach. I really learned a lot from her critique, as well… I would highly recommend her workshop to ANYONE, wanting to learn watercolor, beginner or advanced painter.”

Everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the Watermill: tuition, accommodation, pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and wines (including outings to charming local restaurants) and all local transportation.

You get to Pisa, Italy, we do the rest!

You can find out more about all our inspiring creative courses by clicking here. (Or, just type ‘watermill.net’ into your search engine)

And don’t forget there is an Early Bird Discount of £75 (seventy-five English pounds, about $90) per person if you book before the end of 2019. We already have nine painters booked into Brienne’s course, so we only have room for three more painters (and their non-painting partners, if they’d like to join them). So, hurry now to reserve your place: you know it makes sense! We would love to welcome you here.

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

Fascinating Watermill photographs: reflections and after the storm

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

Isn’t this an intriguing photograph of one of the demijohns in the Watermill courtyard, with the mill buildings themselves reflected in the green glass? The picture was taken by our painting tutor Varvara Neiman, another example of her artistic skills. Thank you for sharing this with us, Varvara.

And here’s someone else showing photographic skills, our old friend and local resident Angelika, who takes our dog for a walk three times a day and generally looks after her needs. Angelika was here this morning, as usual, round about 8 o’clock, after a dramatic night in which the thunder and lightning never seem to stop, just rumbling and flashing around the valley. Angelika took this photograph as the morning light touched the sides of the Lippi Suite, the Tuscan House and the Brunelleschi and Donatello bedrooms . Our thanks again for sharing.

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

Come and look at the reflections and the changing light at the Watermill yourself one of our sun-filled fun-filled, inspiring painting courses. We would love to welcome you here next year. You can see more details of all our 2020 creative courses – painting, writing, knitting and Italian language – by clicking here.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
The Watermill courtyard, bignonia and emijohns in the sun.

And don’t forget that if you book before the end of this year, there is a special Early Bird discount offer of £75 (Seventy-five English pounds) off every creative course (booked before 31 December 2019)

Artistic creativity in action, with Varvara Neiman

It is always fascinating to watch an artist being inspired and creating something new out of what might at first sight appear to be rather mundane subjects.

So it was intriguing to see our painting tutor Varvara Neiman at work yesterday and learn of the way she created the picture above.  She incorporated features of all three of the photographs below of the ancient stone track that led to the lower floor of the 17th century mill, up which the muleteers would come with their carts laden with sacks of flour. It was impossible in one photograph to capture the way the light came from different angles, as well as the details of the village street at the top of the track, so later Varvara incorporated everything into one picture. Clever and inspiring stuff.

Come and look at the different angles of the Watermill yourself one of our sun-filled fun-filled, inspiring painting courses. We would love to welcome you here next year. You can see more details of all our 2020 creative courses – painting, writing, knitting and Italian language – by clicking here.

And don’t forget that if you book before the end of this year, there is a special Early Bird discount offer of £75 (Seventy-five English pounds) off every creative course (booked before 31 December 2019)

Come and be creative in Tuscany

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

It’s time to plan your creative holiday at the Watermill in 2020 – and we’ve just launched our new website to help you do so.

You can access the introductory page, a snapshot of which is shown above, by clicking here.

***Please note that this is a new-style secure site and does not contain www in its title. You can also access the website simply by typing watermill.net into your search engine. Please note also that if you want to view the new site you may have to get rid of all the old caches on your computer, which may take you to the old, non-updated site.

In 2020, we are 17 running painting courses, two creative writing courses, two knitting weeks and one Italian language week, details of all of which you can find by clicking here and then going to the appropriate section.

We have many wonderful painting courses lined up for 2020, with a handful of new, exciting tutors, plus the return of many of our popular, established painting teachers.

The screenshot above shows what the new painting courses programme web page looks like. You can access it simply by clicking here.

For creative writing, knitting and Italian language weeks, please click here and go to the appropriate section.

And if you’d like to see lots of shots of our beautiful bedrooms, to decide where you might like to stay, you can go to the page below by clicking here.

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

For creative writing, knitting and Italian language weeks, please click here https://watermill.net/ and go to the appropriate section.

Already more than 100 people have booked their places on a 2020 creative course. Since we only have a total capacity of some 250 or so, you can see that if you want to come with a particular tutor, or at a particular time of year, or there is a specific medium that you want to try, now is the time to reserve your place.

And, to tempt you further, there is an Early Bird discount offer of £75 (75 English pounds) off every 2020 creative course if you book before the end of 2019.

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

Please come and join us. We are sure you will have a tremendous, sun-filled, fun filled, inspiring week. But hurry to ensure that you can come with the tutor you want, in the bedroom of your choice. Places are filling fast!

Time for an aperitivo – and a selfie!

holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.

Here is our ‘Man Friday’, Nathaniel (‘Nate’) Szekely and my daughter Lara Breckon preparing the evening aperitivi for our guests in the communal kitchen. We are obviously not working hard enough, since they not only seem to be enjoying themselves but have time to break off to take a selfie!

Aperitivi on the vine verandah are a feature of all our creative courses, where we enjoy the Watermill cocktail (Aperol, white wine, tonic water) or whatever other tipple takes our fancy, before heading to the dining room for another delicious home-cooked Italian meal.

We are now taking bookings for our 2020 creative courses and already more than 100 people have booked their places. We would love you to join them and if you reserve a place by making a deposit of £250 in the next day or two, you will be able to take advantage of our ‘2020 creative courses at 2019 prices’, special offer making a saving of some £100.

You can find out more by clicking here.