The Gentileschi bedroom: celebrating a 17th century female painter who achieved fame in a man’s world

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Self-portrait as the allegory of painting

Our Facebook tours of Watermill bedrooms continue today with the Gentileschi: celebrating the life and work of Artemisia Gentileschi, an early 17th century Baroque painter working in Florence, at a time when female painters were not easily accepted by the artistic community, nor by patrons. But she was highly successful and was the first woman ever to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Designo.

Artemisia has become a feminist’s favourite and while I appreciate her skill, I’m not the greatest of fans of Baroque painting in general. But in the naming of our bedrooms, it is good to celebrate women artists as well as the more well-known men of the Renaissance and Early Modern period. Below is Gentileschi’s rather horrific Judith slaying Holofernes, which you can see in the Uffizi gallery in Florence. It is also considered a self-portrait and carrying a feminist message, way before the #me too movement.

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Picture: the Uffizi gallery, Florence

We should celebrate two other artistic women, too: Vivienne White, our friend and interior designer, and Lois Breckon, who together chose the colours and painted the animated frieze of dandelion puffballs you can see up top.  The paintings above the bed are by a contemporary male artist, our friend and Watermill tutor Michael Willdridge, and are part of a series of 100 paintings he painted in 100 days in 2018. (Number 100 is on our sitting room wall.)

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

I’ve made one of those fun, 30-second Facebook slideshows, with more pictures of the Gentileschi bedroom, which you can see by clicking here,

We’d be delighted to welcome you here for one of our caring and inspiring creative holiday weeks – painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language. Come and choose your favourite bedroom. You can find out more about all our fun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring creative courses by clicking here

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

Capture Italian light and shade with Paul

Painting by Paul Talbot-Greaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy
A vibrant watercolour by Paul of the road outside Posara.

We are delighted to welcome back Paul Talbot-Greaves to the Watermill for another of his inspiring watercolour courses. Paul’s week with us next year will run from Saturday 19 June – Saturday 26 June 2021 .

Painting by Paul Talbot-Greaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Paul is a professional English painter who works primarily in watercolour. He says: “I seek out compositions employing patterns of light, shade and contrast and I aim to achieve vibrancy in the colours that I use.”  His picture above is of the road just outside the village of Posara, in which the Watermill is located.

And here is another dynamic watercolour by Paul, called Through the Woods. Paul says: “I like to find interesting subjects in the least expected places. In this picture, I used simple dynamic shadows combined with contrast and appealing colours to create a quick impression of light streaming through the woodland.”

ainting by Paul Talbot Greaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Below is yet another stunning watercolour from Paul, of the main square in the French town of Roussillon, painted from an unusual angle.

Painting by Paul Talbot Greaves, tutor at the Watermill at Posara, painting holidays/vacations in rural Tuscany.

I have made one of those short fun Facebook slideshows with these and some other vibrant watercolours from Paul, which you can see by clicking here.

As well as receiving many accolades for his work, Paul is also an inspiring and sympathetic tutor. He says: “I get an enormous amount of pleasure seeing people improve and enjoy their own work.” As one of the students on Paul’s last course here said: “The combination of the place, the excellent art course with Paul Talbot-Greaves and the care from you and your staff made a really lovely experience.”

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 (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!

And you will be Cool and Green: all our rooms are air-conditioned, powered by photovoltaic panels which make us self-sufficient in electricity.

Paul Talbot-Greaves 

Saturday 19 June to Saturday 26 June 2021 

Watercolours

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

Come and join us and make 2021 a year to remember.

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

Availability of Watermill 2021 creative courses at 10 October 2020: time to book your place

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

It’s only the beginning of October 2020, but the Watermill’s world-renowned creative courses – painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language – are filling up. We already have more than 200 reservations for next year’s courses, out of a potential maximum of some 260 or so places.

So, as we never tire of saying, now really is the time to reserve your place on one of our fun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring weeks next year. Cast off the coronavirus blues and give yourself months of warm anticipation of a week at the Watermill in 2021. (And don’t forget, just in case it’s not all over, we have a generous coronavirus cancellation scheme, which you can see by clicking here.)

Here is the latest availability on all our creative courses. Book now to avoid disappointment!

Our inspiring painting weeks

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

Keiko Tanabe Places available

Saturday 17 April to Saturday 24 April 2021 

Watercolours 

To learn more about Keiko and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Mary Padgett Fully booked, waiting list open

Saturday 1 May to Saturday 8 May 2021 

Pastels (and other portable media) en plein air

To learn more about Mary and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Carl March  One or two places remaining

Saturday 15 May to Saturday 22 May 2021 

Drawing and watercolours en plein air

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

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

Grahame Booth  Fully booked, waiting list open

Saturday 22 May to Saturday 29 May 2021 

Watercolours

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

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

Sandra Strohschein (1)  One or two places remaining

Saturday 5 June to Saturday 12 June 2021 

Watercolours

 To learn more about Sandra and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Sandra Strohschein (2) Three or four places remaining

Saturday 12 June to Saturday 19 June 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Sandra and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Paul Talbot-Greaves Places available

Saturday 19 June to Saturday 26 June 2021 

Watercolours

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

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

Rebecca de Mendonça  Three or four places remaining

Saturday 26 June to Saturday 3 July 2021 

Pastels and mixed media

To learn more about Rebecca and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Vicki Norman  One or two places remaining

Saturday 3 July to Saturday 10 July 2021 

Oils and watercolours (and other mediums)

To learn more about Vicki and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Sue Ford Places available

Saturday 10 July to Saturday 17 July 2021 

Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic

To learn more about Sue and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Caroline Deeble Places available

Saturday 7 August to Saturday 14 August 2021 

Watercolours

To learn more about Caroline and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Randy Hale Places available

Saturday 21 August to Saturday 28 August 2021 

Watercolours

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

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

Jude Scott  Places available

Saturday 28 August to Saturday 4 September 2021 

Watercolours

 To learn more about Jude and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

Mike Willdridge Three or four places remaining

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.

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

Milind Mulick  Places available

Saturday 11 September to Saturday 18 September 2021 

‘Colourful Watercolours’

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

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

Brienne Brown Four or five places remaining

Saturday 18 September to Saturday 25 September 2021 

Watercolours

 To learn more about Brienne and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

Charles Sluga  Places available

Saturday 25 September to Saturday 2 October 2021 

Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)

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

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

Tim Wilmot One or two places remaining

Saturday 2 October to Saturday 9 October 2021 

Watercolours

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

Ali Hargreaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Ali Hargreaves Two places available

Saturday 9 October to Saturday 16 October 2021 

Watercolour and mixed media

To learn more about Ali and her week at the Watermill, please please click here.


Our elevating knitting weeks

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

Norah Gaughan Places available

24 April – 1 May 2021 

Knitting and la Bella Vita

To learn more about Norah and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Louisa Harding Fully booed, waiting list open

29 May – 5 June 2021 

Knitting and la Bella Vita

To learn more about Louisa and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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

Knitting retreat Three or flour places remaining

17-24 July 2021 

Knitting and la Bella Vita

To learn more about our knitting retreat week at the mill, please click here.


Our illuminating creative writing weeks

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

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran Places available

8 -15 May 2021

Scriptwriting

To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please click here.

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

Jo Parfitt Four or five places remaining

14 -21 August 2021

Writing your life stories

To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please click here.


Our impassioned Italian week

Francesca La Sala Places available

16-23 October 2021

A novel approach to learning Italian

To learn more about Francesca an her course at the mill, please click here.



View Post

No Botticelli’s on the walls of this bedroom!

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
Picture: the Uffizi gallery, Florence

Our virtual tour of the Watermill’s bedrooms, named after famous Italian artists, arrives today at Botticelli.

Of all the painters we celebrate, Sandro Botticelli needs least introduction. Two of his paintings, Primavera and The Birth of Venus (above) are artistic icons, instantly recognisable.

We are sorry to say we have no Botticelli’s on the walls of the bedroom named after him, but we do have some alluring original pictures by modern masters (mistresses?)

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

As you come into the bedroom you will see two delightful collages by Susan Winfield, which we purchased many years ago and which still causes us to smile every time we entered the bedroom. You can see one of them above.

And then there is the extraordinary painting on silk of Venice, by our friend Annabel Collis:

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

This started life as a silk scarf, commissioned by Bill as a birthday present to Lois, but she liked it so much that she didn’t want to wear it, but rather had it framed. The colours are wonderful.

Just some of the delights of the Botticelli bedroom, which also has wonderful views from the balcony over the Watermill walled garden and the Apennine mountains beyond. Another perfect setting for a Watermill creative week.

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

I’ve made one of those fun, 30-second Facebook slideshows, with more pictures of the Botticelli bedroom, which you can see by clicking here.

We’d be delighted to welcome you here for one of our caring and inspiring creative holiday weeks – painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language. Come and choose your favourite bedroom. You can find out more about all our fun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring creative courses by clicking here

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

Mike’s latest inspiring, free, interactive inspiring painting session: next week we take to the skies!

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

Yes, now is the time to reserve your place on the latest of Mike Willdridge’s fun-filled online painting sessions. This time the subject is skies, like the striking one above. The session will take place on Zoom next Thursday, 15 October. As usual it will start at 2:30 in the afternoon, British time. Already more than 100 people have booked in, but we have room for more, so banish the coronavirus blues and sign up to enjoy a carefree couple of hours painting along with Mike and like-minded friends.

Mike’s inspiring sessions are designed to help you brush up your painting skills, and they are completely free, though many of our guests have generously sent us donations, for which many thanks. If you would like to donate (it is purely voluntary), Lois will tell you how to do so when you sign up for one or more of the sessions.

When you register with Lois, she will send you more images, and a drawing of the scene, to inspire you. Please register by using the Watermill contact form, which you can find by clicking here. Mark the topic as ‘Mike’s free interactive sessions.

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 will be on hand to feed your questions. The session will last a couple of hours.

Before each session Mike supplies a photograph and a drawing of what is going to be painted, and a list of equipment and colours for your palette. We will send these beforehand 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.

The subject of the last session was an Italian street café and here are some of the paintings made by our online participants. I wonder what you will all make of the sky?

holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy

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


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

Mike Willdridge 

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 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

Stunning Italian scenes from Watermill tutor Keiko Tanabe

Painting by Keiko Tanabe, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Dinnertime, Rome Italy

We are delighted to welcome back the inspirational Japanese watercolourist Keiko Tanabe to the Watermill next spring. We have had some wonderful workshops here with her in the past and we are looking forward to another next year. Keiko will be with us for her week-long workshop in watercolours from Saturday 17 April to Saturday 24 April 2021.

In eager anticipation of her week with us, I’ve been looking at some of her wonderful watercolours of Italian scenes, not just in and around the Watermill, but elsewhere the country too. The atmospheric painting above is of dinnertime in Rome while below is the striking redness of the fish market by the Rialto in Venice.

Painting by Keiko Tanabe, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Reflections – Red. Keiko’s impression of the Rialto fish market

Nearer home, I have always loved this of the view from the village of Monte dei Bianchi, one of the stunning locations during our Watermill painting weeks:

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
The view from the hilltop village of Monte di Blanchi, where we go to paint during our Watermill weeks

And even closer to home, you could be sipping aperitivi with Keiko on the Watermill’s vine verandah as the evening shadows lengthen…

Painting by Keiko Tanabe, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Evening shadows on the Watermill vine verandah, by Keiko Tanabe.

Keiko Tanabe was born in Kyoto, Japan but now lives in San Diego, California. She says: “I use watercolour painting is a vehicle to communicate my artistic vision on the joy of living and the ingenuity of human creations. When I am true to my inspiration, my brushstrokes sometimes surprise me by exposing something of my inner spirit I was not even aware of.”

Keiko is also an enthusiastic and sympathetic tutor. Her workshop at the Watermill is designed to provide a better understanding of the methods and techniques that make watercolour paintings full of light and atmosphere.

Here’s what a student on one of her previous courses here had to say: “What a wonderful and memorable week I have had!! The ambiance was just perfect and Keiko was a wonderful teacher.”  Another added: “Keiko is a fabulous artist and I learned a lot with her… I had a truly wonderful week at the Watermill. It was perfect in every sense… a magical experience.”

I have made one of those fun, 30-second Facebook slideshows with more of Keiko’s stunning watercolours,, which you can see by clicking here.

We would love you to come and join us. Here are the dates again and the link for you to see about Keiko’s course here next year.

Keiko Tanabe

Saturday 17 April to Saturday 24 April 2021 

Watercolours 

To learn more about Keiko and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

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 (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!

And you will be Cool and Green: all our rooms are air-conditioned, powered by photovoltaic panels which make us self-sufficient in electricity.

Come and join us and make 2021 a year to remember.

Painting by Keiko Tanabe, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Another atmospheric Italian image from Keiko: a misty morning on Lake Como

The Watermill bedrooms: celebrating Fra Angelico, ‘a rare and perfect talent’

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

Our ‘virtual’ tours of Watermill bedrooms continue today with Fra Angelico. Painting in the early 15th century, this Dominican friar is perhaps most famous for his sublime frescoes in the monks’ cells in the monastery of San Marco in the centre of Florence.

Vasari describes him as having “a rare and perfect talent,” adding: “It is impossible to bestow too much praise on this holy father, who was so humble and modest in all that he did and said and whose pictures were painted with such facility and piety.”

Picture: Francesco Lastrucci
Fra Angelico Annunciation, Convento di San Marco, Florence

Our bright and airy bedroom is rather less pious and rather more fun than the monks’ cells in San Marco, which didn’t have modern en suite bathrooms, either!

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

And we are not quite sure what Dominican Friars would have made of this watercolour by a friend of ours, David Jones, which shows the 19th century Impressionist painter Toulouse-Lautrec at work in his studio, with a 1960s girl in a mini dress sitting in front, looking out at us.

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

What does it mean? Come and see for yourself and let us know your thoughts.

I have made one of those fun, 30-second Facebook slideshows with more of Francesco Lastrucci’s photographs of the Fra Angelico bedroom, which you can see by clicking here.

We’d be delighted to welcome you here for one of our caring and inspiring creative holiday weeks – painting, creative writing, knitting and Italian language. Come and choose your favourite bedroom. You can find out more about all our fun-filled, sun-filled, inspiring creative courses by clicking here. https://watermill.net/

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

Inspirational pastels on Rebecca’s online class

Painting by Rebecca de Mendonça, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy

Our heartfelt thanks to Rebecca de Mendonça for a lovely online session last week on the art of pastel painting. More than 100 people participated, many of them trying pastels for the first time.

The subject was a view (above) from the nearby walled mediaeval town of Fivizzano, looking down the Valley of the River Rosaro towards Posara in the distance. That’s Rebecca’s demonstration above and below is a montage of a few of the paintings sent in by participants at the end of the session. I am afraid I haven’t room for all of them, but many thanks to those who sent them in.

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

So you can see them a little larger, I made one of those fun, 30-second Facebook slideshows with these and a few other images. You can see it by clicking here.

Here are a few comments from participants:

This was wonderful, I learned a lot from Rebecca today.

As a complete beginner at any art, and never having done pastels, ever, I enjoyed this zoom demo by Rebecca.  

Thank you both for a fabulous workshop. I haven’t picked up a pastel for about 12 months, I thoroughly enjoyed this afternoon.

I really enjoyed Rebecca’s delivery and style.

I so enjoyed Rebecca’s tuition today. She’s tutored us several times here in Devon, and she is so inspirational, and so talented. I’ve so appreciated doing these classes, they’ve helped to keep me relatively sane…sort of!

We are hoping to persuade Rebecca to do more online sessions, and will let you know when we have been able to arrange something.

But why not try the ‘real’ thing and join Rebecca for her week-long course in pastels at the Watermill next year. We would love to welcome you here.

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

Rebecca de Mendonça  

Saturday 26 June to Saturday 3 July 2021 

Pastels and mixed media

To learn more about Rebecca and her week at the Watermill, please click here.

And, in anticipation of joining us next year, why not enjoy more ‘warmup’ sessions with Mike Willdridge? His free, online, interactive watercolour classes have also proved very popular not least in engendering a sense of ‘togetherness’ among the hundreds of people who have painted along with Mike.

We have organised several more of Mike’s convivial and inspiring sessions, each of which can now take up to 500 people. They are designed to help you brush up your painting skills, and they are completely free, though many of our guests have generously sent us donations, for which many thanks. If you would like to donate (it is purely voluntary), Lois will tell you how to do so when you sign up for one or more of the sessions. (Details below.)

The next session will run on Thursday 15 October and, as usual, will be at 2.30 in the afternoon, British time. The next topic is ‘painting skies’. Here is a reference photograph:

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

The following weeks’ subjects are ‘flowers’ and an ‘autumnal scene with couple walking a dog’. The dates are 29 October and 12 November. You can register for all three, or one at a time.

When you register with Lois, she will send you more images, and a drawing of the scene, to inspire you.

Please register by using the Watermill contact form, which you can find by clicking here. Mark the topic as ‘Mike’s free interactive sessions.

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 will be on hand to feed your questions. The session will last a couple of hours.

Before each session Mike supplies a photograph and a drawing of what is going to be painted, and a list of equipment and colours for your palette. We will send these beforehand 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.

Painting by Mike Willdridge, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
A previous striking subject for our online painters: the fish market by the Rialto Bridge in Venice: challenging but fun.

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


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

Mike Willdridge 

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 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

Come and enjoy Ali’s painting enthusiasm: it’s contagious!

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

We are delighted to welcome a new English painter, Ali Hargreaves, to the Watermill team of renowned international artists. She will be joining us for a week-long course in watercolours and ‘mixed media’, from Saturday 9 October to Saturday 16 October 2021.

Her watercolour above, of jugs on steps, captures the sunshine by exaggerating the lovely warm colours. And of the picture below, simply called ‘Window’, Ali says: “I love trying out different techniques and, in this painting, I used an old credit card to produce the textures in the stone work and to print the window frame. I’m always experimenting and believe that this is how we evolve as artists. Therefore, I encourage my students to do the same.”

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

Ali, from Poynton in the county of Cheshire in England, started her working life as a primary school teacher, but after 20 happy years, she changed direction and followed her passion for art. Ali enjoys painting a wide range of subjects and in a range of different media. Her favourite technique is ‘mixed media’, using watercolour as a base and adding all sorts, such as collage, pastel, pen, acrylic and print.  

Ali is also very keen on sketching. She says: “A big part of painting holidays is the wonderful and exciting variety of sketching opportunities. I encourage all my students to sketch as part of the course. It makes us observe what is around us and gets our ideas flowing.”

A quick sketch by Ali of some gentlemen chatting in a town square in Spain

As well as being a great artist, Ali is also an enthusiastic teacher, running classes and workshops that are fun, vibrant and informative. Here’s a comment from a previous student: “Ali is an inspiration. I love her teaching/demonstration style. I learned so much in a short time and I continue to follow her and be inspired by her. I’ve already signed up to join her in Italy next year. Can’t wait.” And from another: “As well as having contagious enthusiasm and making the work fun, Ali also has the ability to demonstrate numerous creative multimedia painting techniques. She works tirelessly on behalf of her students to provide an informative, inspiring and thoroughly enjoyable learning experience.”

Painting by Ali Hargreaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
A vibrant watercolour of some houses in Burano, Venice.

I have just made one of those fun, 30-second Facebook slideshows with more of Ali’s vibrant images. You can see it by clicking here.

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 (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!

And you will be Cool and Green: all our rooms are air-conditioned, powered by photovoltaic panels which make us self-sufficient in electricity..

Ali Hargreaves, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.

Ali Hargreaves 

Saturday 9 October to Saturday 16 October 2021 

Watercolour and mixed media

To learn more about Ali and her week at the Watermill, please please click here.

Come and join us and make 2021 a year to remember.

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

Tim Wilmot: an affinity for painting landscapes

Painting by Tim Wilmot a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Tim: painting in the Watermill walled garden.

Tim Wilmot‘s watercolours are a delight and we are looking forward to welcoming again to the Watermill for another stimulating painting course this autumn.

Painting by Tim Wilmot, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
An atmospheric watercolour by Tim of one of the ancient watermills at Posara.

We are looking forward to meeting up again with Tim for his course in watercolours, which will run from Saturday 2 October to Saturday, 9 October 2021.

Painting by Tim Wilmot, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
A vibrant watercolour of an old vineyard by Tim Wilmot.

I have made one of those fun, 30-second Facebook slideshows with these and other of Tim’s evocative watercolours, which you can see by clicking here.

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

Tim Wilmot is an artist from Bristol in the UK, specialising in watercolours, exploiting the medium with tone and light. Tim says: “I seem to have an affinity with painting landscapes, although I have dabbled with portraits and still life in the past, but always come back to landscapes. I prefer a loose or impressionistic style when I paint my watercolour landscapes, and I hope you like their informality.His vibrant picture above is of The Watermill and river.

As well as an exciting artist, Tim is also an inspiring teacher and on his course, suitable for all levels, he’ll help you to improve your drawing skills, loosen up your style, learn how to incorporate figures in a landscape as well as nurturing you own artistic ambitions.

Painting by Tim Wilmot, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
A tranquil nearby convent, one of our painting venues.

Here’s a comment from a student on Tim’s course here last year: Everything was perfect, your welcome, the luxurious accommodation, and the delicious food, Tim’s tuition was first-class and it was lovely to be able to sit and paint all day.”

Painting by Tim Wilmot, a tutor at The Watermill at Posara painting holidays/vacations, Tuscany, Italy.
Tim Wilmot’s impression of the riverside by The Watermill

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 (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!

And you will be Cool and Green: all our rooms are air-conditioned, powered by photovoltaic panels which make us self-sufficient in electricity.

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

Tim Wilmot 

Saturday 2 October to Saturday 9 October 2021 

Watercolours

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

Come and join us and make 2021 a year to remember.

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