Tutor of the month: Varvara Neiman. Cities, landscapes, people...
A couple of cancellations mean that we now have a few more places available on Varvara Neiman’s wonderful painting holiday at the Watermill this year – and we’d love to welcome you here. To whet your appetite I have made a little slideshow of some of Varvara’s exciting paintings and if you’d like to see it, all you have to do is to click HERE. The pictures below are both included in the slideshow
You, too, can capture the vibrancy of Tuscan life, as well as painting in the unspoiled rural scenery of Lunigiana, which surrounds the Watermill, when Varvara returns for another painting course next year. Varvara, who tutors in water-based oils, acrylics and watercolour, will be here again from Saturday 31 August to Saturday 7 September 2019. More details and links below. As well as plein air painting, Varvara specialises in portraiture and moving figures in watercolour and she is also famous for her cityscapes, capturing fleeting moments.
Varvara Neiman, who lives in Buckinghamshire, England, was born into an artistic family in St. Petersburg, Russia, where art and teaching were professions passed on from generation to generation. Her work combines classical discipline with a modern imagination. She is enthusiastic about painting en plein air and passionate about Cezanne’s famous quote: “Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one’s sensation”.
Varvara has been a popular and inspiring teacher for many years. She is skilled in oils, acrylics and watercolours and will teach in any of those mediums. (Water-based oils for easier transportation.) During her course there will be group demonstrations as well as one-to-one guidance. Varvara likes to create a friendly atmosphere in the group, encouraging students to share their experiences.
Here are a couple of comments from Varvara’s previous students: “I have been coming to classes with Varvara for almost 10 years and she never ceases to amaze me both with her artistic knowledge and range of techniques.“ And: "Not only is she excellent teacher she is also good artist... there is no-one better to teach you”.
Our enticing 2019 painting holidays
As you will see below, we still have spaces on many of our inspiring painting courses next year. Some of our tutors, however, are already fully booked. If you would particularly like to come on one of those courses, please let us know and we will put you on the waiting list. There are often cancellations. On the other hand, to be sure of a place on a Watermill painting course, why not choose one of our other inspiring tutors where there are still places?
Here’s the 2019 painting team .....
27 April to 4 May 2019 - fully booked, waiting list open
To learn more about Paul and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.
18 - 25 May 2019 - fully booked, waiting list open
To learn more about Keiko and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.
1 - 8 June 2019 - fully booked, waiting list open
8 - 15 June 2019 - fully booked, waiting list open
To learn more about Sandra and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.
22 - 29 June 2019 - fully booked, waiting list open
Oils en plein air
To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please see our 2019 Courses Preview page.
29 June - 6 July 2019 - still two or three places
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 visit his 2019 Profile Page.
13 - 20 July 2019 - still two or three places
Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylics
To learn more about Sue and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.
17 - 24 August 2019 - still four or five places
24 - 31 August 2019 - still one place
Watercolours (plus acrylics and oils)
To learn more about Jude and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.
31 August - 7 September 2019 - still four or five places
Water-based oils, acrylics and watercolours
To learn more about Varvara and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.
14 - 21 September 2019 - still one place
Watercolours, oils and acrylics
To learn more about Claire and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.
Maggie Renner Hellmann
21 - 28 September 2019 - fully booked, waiting list open
Courageous Color Workshop' in oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolors
To learn more about Maggie and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.
28 September - 5 October 2019 - fully booked, waiting list open
Watercolours, acrylics and oils
To learn more about Charles and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.
5 - 12 October 2019 - still one place
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.
12 - 19 October 2019 - still three or four places
To learn more about David and his course at the mill, please visit his 2019 Profile Page.
Our Summer painter in residence,
Come and join us and enjoy the magic at the mill!
*** Why not bring your non-painting partner as well?
There’s a generous £250 discount for him/her if they share a room with you - and there’s plenty for them to do. Have a look at our Partner’s Activities Page for suggestions.
Use the 2019 painting programme link below to view the list of our inspiring 2019 painting tutors.
Due to cancellations: three places left on Debbie Abrahams’ amazing knitting course
Three people have had to pull out of Debbie Abrahams‘ exciting knitting week at the Watermill, so now is your chance to grab a place on this new knitting venture of ours. Debbie will be joining us from Saturday 25 May 2019 to Saturday 1 June 2019. There are more details and links below.
Debbie has been designing and teaching handknitted textiles for more than 20 years and is a specialist in the field of colour work and beading. Throughout her entire career she has worked alongside renowned handknit company Rowan Yarns, both as a Designer and a Design Consultant for the brand. She has tutored workshops across the UK, Europe and USA.
Debbie is best known for her Mystery Blanket and Cushion Clubs which have been become a global success with more than 1,000 knitters from all over the world signed up to her annual projects. “Blanket squares are the perfect vehicle for my designing, giving me the freedom to explore colour, texture and embellishment within a set number of stitches and rows for each block – it’s just pure adventure!”
On her 2019 Watermill course Debbie will be working on a specially designed project, incorporating several different knitting techniques, including intarsia, knitting with beads, surface embroidery and textured stitches. Use the link in the Knitting line-up below to learn more about Debbie and her week at the Watermill.
Our exciting knitting holidays: the 2019 line-up
4 - 11 May 2019 - still three or four places
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Sarah and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.
25 May - 1 June 2019 - still three or four places
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Debbie and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.
6 - 13 July 2019 - fully booked, waiting list open
Knitting and La Dolce Vita
To learn more about Marie and her knitting week at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.
Don't forget your partner!
And don’t forget that your friend or partner doesn’t need to participate in the creative course, whether it’s painting, language, writing or yoga.
We offer them a range of Alternative activities for partners on all our 2019 courses, as well as a generous £GBP 250 discount if they share a room with you.
A scriptwriting success story
Our congratulations to Tessa Coates, who is currently writing a pilot comedy show for the ABC television network in America. She is being tipped by the trade papers over there as ‘the discovery of the 2018 - 2019 development season'’.
Tessa, who was one of our students on a Scriptwriting course at the Watermill, gained the prestigious ABC contract after wowing a Hollywood audience with her one-woman show, called Primates, inspired by her college degree in anthropology. Tessa tells me that she attributes much of her success to the support and advice of Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, the ‘comedy writing legends’ who run the Watermill scriptwriting course.
Tessa says:“I had the most fantastic week at the Watermill, the food, location and sheer hospitality are second to none and you could not ask to be better looked after. To sit under the vines and learn from Living Legends is an opportunity that does not come round very often. They truly are not only two of the best writers around, but enormously generous with their knowledge. I’m incredibly lucky to say I now write comedy for a living, and I do that in no small part because of the support and wisdom from Laurence and Maurice.”
Tessa and another student listen to
words of wisdom on the vine verandah
Tessa describes herself as a ‘writer, performer, freelance journalist, enthusiastic teller of anecdotes that may or may not have happened’. She was one-third of the sketch group Massive Dad and performed Primates, her debut solo show, at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, followed by a run at the Soho Theatre in London early 2018. Last June, ahead of the 2018-19 US TV development season, Tessa flew in to Los Angeles to perform her show at the Lyric Theatre and Improv Lab and, thanks to wildfire word-of-mouth, the later performances of the show were a sell-out and Tessa found herself performing to a room full of Hollywood executives. It all led to her being commissioned to writing the pilot for ABC. Again, our many congratulations to Tessa. We shall be watching her progress with interest and admiration.
If your ambition is to become a successful scriptwriter like Tessa, you could do no better than to attend Laurence and Maurice’s inspiring Scriptwriting course at the Watermill this September.
Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran are famous for such TV hits as Birds of a Feather, Goodnight Sweetheart, The New Statesman, and Shine on Harvey Moon. And in a new incarnation, they’ve written hit stage musicals, such as Dreamboats and Petticoats and Save the Last Dance for Me, as well as film scripts and award-winning stage, TV and radio plays. It’s not just comedy: Marks and Gran are producing serious dramatic works as well.
Tessa in full Sound of Music mode
in the mountains near the Watermill
Laurence and Maurice’s week-long course will show you how to craft your work from your original idea through structure, character, plot and finally, script.They will lead you slowly through what makes classic television comedy, using one-to-one tutorials, team writing sessions, and most enlightening of all, studying films and TV series that have become ‘classics’.
They cannot guarantee success, of course, but they promise that you will leave the Watermill a considerably better scriptwriter than when you arrived. You can find more details and links in the creative writing courses availability section below.
Our enriching 2019 Writing courses
15 – 22 June 2019 - fully booked, waiting list open
Write Your Life Stories
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2019 Profile Page.
Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
7 - 14 September 2019 - still plenty of places
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and to register an interest in their course at the mill, please visit their 2019 Profile Page.
Do you know your sugo from your salsa? Tomato ketchup it ain't!
Our guests prepare to enjoy delicious
Italian food the Watermill dining room
This month we are combining two wonderful gifts that the Italians have given to our Western civilisation: their cooking and their language. The piece below is based on an article that Bill wrote for the English-language newspaper in Florence, called, not unsurprisingly, The Florentine:
Browsing through that quintessential Italian cookery book, La scienza in cucina e l'arte di mangiar bene, (Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well), I was struck by the difficulties there can be in translation. Tomato sauce, for starters. It can be translated as sugo or salsa, but there’s a world of difference between them.
I don’t know if you have ever seen the book, but it is wonderful, full of recipes from all over Italy and written in an amusing and quirky style by the delightfully eccentric retired landowner and businessman Pellegrino Artusi. Like many of his class in the late 19th Century, Artusi embraced progress and his book, published in 1891, can be truly regarded as scientific, since every recipe is tried and tested. Artusi lived alone in his house in the Piazza d’Azeglio in Florence, with a butler and a Tuscan cook, who undoubtedly made the dishes while his master watched and tasted. (I’m sure the butler did, too.)
As well as classic recipes from all over Italy, L'arte di mangiar bene also had profound cultural significance: it was written in Italian rather than any local dialect and was the first to bring together recipes from all the various regions, so it helped to make the citizens of the new Kingdom of Italy feel part of a united nation. And it was not written for professional chefs, but for middle-class housewives and the servants who helped them cook family meals.
Above all, the tone is friendly and reassuring, full of straightforward practical advice – and humorous comments. I particularly like Artusi’s note on apple strudel: “Do not be alarmed if this dessert looks like some ugly creature such as a giant leech or a shapeless snake after you cook it, you will like the way it tastes.”
I am reading an excellent English edition* and one can easily see, however, what might be lost in translation. An early recipe is for sugo di pomodoro, which can be described as ‘tomato sauce’, but which should not be confused with salsa di pomodoro, a more complex concoction, but which may also be translated into English as ‘tomato sauce’. (*Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi, translated by Murtha Baca and Stephen Sartarelli, University of Toronto Press. 2003.)
Pellegrino insists: “Sugo must be simple and therefore composed of cooked, puréed tomatoes. At the most you can add a few chunks of celery or some parsley or basil leaves, when you think these flavours will suit your needs.”
As for salsa di Pomodoro, first you must prepare a battuto, a flavour-base of raw or chopped ingredients, using a quarter of an onion, clove of garlic, a finger-length stalk of celery, a few basil leaves and “a sufficient amount of parsley.” Season with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, mash seven or eight tomatoes and put everything in a saucepan on the stove, stirring continuously. “Once you see the sauce thickening to the consistency of runny cream, pass it through a sieve and it is ready to use.”
Pellegrino being Pellegrino, this essential recipe is accompanied by a humorous anecdote: “There once was a priest in Romagna who stuck his nose into everything and busy-bodied his way into families, trying to interfere in every domestic matter. Still, he was an honest fellow, and since more good than ill came of his zeal, people let him carry on in his usual style. But a popular wit dubbed him Don Pomodoro since tomatoes are also ubiquitous. And therefore, it is very helpful to know how to make a good tomato sauce.”
It certainly is, and now you know, thanks to Pellegrino Artusi.
Our Italian Language course at the Watermill would help you tell your sugo from your salsa, but we’re sorry to have to tell you that currently it is fully booked. There may, however, be cancellations and if you’re keen to come, please let us know and we’ll put you on the waiting list.
Our engaging 2019 language course
Langues services and Francesca la Sala
11 - 18 May 2019 - fully booked, waiting list open
To learn more about Francesca and her course at the mill, please click here.
Everything's included in your watermill painting holiday, creative writing holiday, knitting week or Italian Language course
Don’t forget that everything is included in the cost of a painting holiday, knitting, or language holiday: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals and local transportation (including transfers to Pisa airport; an excursion by train to visit the ancient walled city of Lucca or the stunning seaside villages of the Cinque Terre).
All you have to do is to get to Pisa airport and we do the rest.
Whether you're travelling alone or with a partner you can be sure of a warm welcome, and that you'll be well looked after. We have built our reputation on the comfort of the mill and the care we provide.
Become a Friend of The Watermill at Posara
Visit our Friends Website (Link below). Just follow the instructions to Register as a Friend and then Log In to enjoy special privileges. If you become a ‘Friend’ (it will cost you nothing) you’ll enjoy many exclusive benefits, including dozens of practical and inspiring tips from our international painting and creative writing tutors and recipes from the watermill’s mouth-watering menus. And there will be exclusive offers for Friends to make our courses and holidays even more attractive.
We very much look forward to welcoming you to the mill and, for those of you who have already tasted the many delights at The Watermill at Posara, we look forward to welcoming you back.
With very best wishes a tutti
Lois and Bill Breckon