Beauty in everydayness, with Mike Willdridge
Our friend and Watermill painting tutor Mike Willdridge has been using his lockdown time in England to explore a Japanese concept called shibusa, which can be translated as beauty in everydayness. He says: “I plan on exploring this concept in my now limited horizons - and to post a new drawing every day. I’m exploring what’s aesthetic in the ordinary.”
You can see one of his drawings on the left above, of a man relaxing in his allotment garden. Mike says: “There were only two of us when I drew this. He was doing the crossword and the red flask and mug caught my attention.” And on the right, a yellow cushion, recently purchased, which brightens everything around it.
Mike says of this drawing in his series: “There’s some extraordinary architecture in Poundbury, Dorset where I live - ‘marmite’, some love it, some hate it! Nevertheless, the colour of the lantern on this building set against the completely clear blue sky, caught my breath today.”
The beauty of the Watermill and its surroundings, including the special blue of the Italian sky, will take your breath away if you come on Mike’s painting course here from Saturday 29 August to Saturday 5 September. Details and link below.
We would love you to join us, and please remember our pledge:
- Rest assured that if travel restrictions in your own country or in Italy mean that the course cannot run on these new dates, or that appropriate flights are not available, we will postpone your course again to later in the year or even until 2021.
- If a workshop is postponed and you cannot make the new dates for the tutor you have chosen, we will offer you alternative courses with other inspiring tutors, either this year or next.
This (left) is one of my favourite Mike Willdridge paintings, of the millstream bubbling beneath one of Flavio Terenzoni’s famous bridges with their curvy wooden handrails. The picture hangs in the Watermill’s gallery in the communal sitting room.
Another lovely painting sent to us by a Watermill guest
We are delighted when previous guests send us pictures of the Watermill that they have painted on their return home, reviving pleasant memories of their stay with us. The latest comes from Chris Franklin and shows the southern façade of the Watermill, with a River Rosaro tumbling beside it.
Thank you very much for sharing that with this Chris. We look forward to welcoming you here again very soon.
Our sympathetic, caring, inspiring 2020 painting tutors
We have exciting new tutors, as well as old friends, for our 2020 painting courses. Choose a tutor, a medium or a date that suits you best. If you like the look of a course that is fully booked, don’t worry, let us know and we will put you on a waiting list. There are often cancellations and we will tell you immediately a place becomes available.
13 - 20 June 2020 - three or four places remaining
To learn more about Randy and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.
20 - 27 June 2020 - one or two places remaining
Oils and watercolours (and other mediums)
To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.
11 - 18 July 2020 - one or two places remaining
Colourful Acrylics, Drawing, Pen & Wash
To learn more about Mark and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.
18 - 25 July 2020 - three or four places remaining
Drawing and watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.
29 August – 5 September 2020 - three or four places remaining
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.
Rebecca de Mendonça
5 - 12 September 2020 - two places remaining
Pastels and Mixed media
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.
Maggie Renner Hellmann
19 - 26 September 2020 - still plenty of places
Courageous Color Workshop’ in oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels
To learn more about Maggie and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.
26 September - 3 October 2020 - one place remaining
Pastels (and other portable media) en plein air
To learn more about Mary and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.
3 - 10 October 2020 - fully booked, waiting list open
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.
10 – 17 October 2020 - fully booked, waiting list open
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2020 Profile Page.
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.
Chic and Stormy on your knitting week with Renée
Our delightful knitting tutor Renée Callahan has chosen two types of locally produced blended yarns, called Chic and Storm, which we will provide for our guests to use during her week with us this August. The Chic blend (above left) is 20% mohair, 20% alpaca and 60% Brogna (wool from a breed of sheep originally from Verona). Storm (above right) is a blend of 70% Abruzzese wool (from Abruzzo in Central Italy) and 30% alpaca.
Renée has been hard at work designing two new projects, which her guests will be working on during her week. She says: “These wonderful exclusive projects will give us the opportunity to try out new techniques.” She has designed a lovely brioche stitch hat and a colour work cowl “just in case the students don’t love brioche stitch, so they will have some fun stranded colour work to do.” The picture shows some of Renée’s colour experimentation for your week here with her. She will choose the best range of colours for her designs and our guests will be able to choose which they prefer before beginning of the course, so we can order them up.
Renée Callahan‘s Knitting and la Bella Vita Italiana week is running from Saturday 15 August to Saturday 22 August. A prolific knitwear designer from London, England, Renée loves to combine texture and colour to create hand-knit patterns that are enjoyable to knit and remain wearable for years to come.
As ever, the 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 two other Knitting and la Bella Vita weeks next year, one two with Louisa Harding and our first-ever knitting retreat.
27 June - 4 July 2020 - two places remaining
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Louisa and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.
4 - 11 July 2020 - two places remaining
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about this retreat, please visit our 2020 Retreat Overview Page.
15 - 22 August 2020 - still places
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Renée and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 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 or writing.
We offer them a range of Alternative activities for partners on all our 2020 courses, as well as a generous £GBP 250 discount if they share a room with you.
Who Dares Wins Better Writing
Who Dares Wins is the motto of Britain’s Special Air Service, whose derring-do activities include covert reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, direct action, and hostage rescue. All of which may seem a far cry writing your life stories in a memoir or blog!
But says, Jo Parfitt, the inspiring mentor of our Watermill Writing Your Life Stories week at the Watermill says that daring, or rather, daring to share, may be the best thing you ever did when writing about your experiences.
Jo says: “Many students are understandably nervous about sharing true stories about some of the bad things that have happened to them.They fear they may be judged negatively. They worry they might be accused of over-sharing or too self-pitying.They wonder if there is even any point to digging over old ground and bringing up negative subjects. They believe that being vulnerable is a sign of weakness.”
Sharing your deepest feelings during Jo’s writing course at the Watermill
Jo doesn’t agree. “When I’m teaching, I do my best to soothe the worries of my students and encourage them to put pen to paper and even go so far as to press the terrifying Post button on their blog or social media platform.”
Among the reasons to Dare to Share:
- Writing about tough stuff helps you to make sense of what has happened and, in some cases, can even provide closure.
- If you have been through something that happens to other people too then your story will resonate with them. They will feel less alone.
- Readers are much more interested in seeing how your story relates to theirs than focusing on you and your frailties. Instead they only see themselves.
- Writing about tough stuff reduces the negative emotions connected with it.
- This same study discovered that sharing those stories in written or verbal form lessens those negative emotions still further.
- If you have found a way to overcome your bad time, then sharing how you did so will be helpful to those who read it.
- When your story is constructed in such a way that its goal is to give readers hope and to be supportive then it is not narcissistic.
Jo says : “When you start daring to share your stories, perhaps in a safe environment... you will begin to feel heard and supported yourself, while maybe giving someone who reads or hears it permission to share their own story and be helped too.”
And what better safe environment in which to Dare and Share than Jo’s inspiring week at the Watermill? Her Writing Your Life Stories course will run from Saturday 11 July to Saturday 18 July. Details and links below.
You can read more of Jo’s thoughts on Daring to Share by going to her Monthly Inspirer. Just click here.
And don’t forget our other creative writing course next year: Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, described by the British Comedy Society as ‘living legends,’ are the inspiring tutors for our Scriptwriting course at the Watermill this Summer.
Our enriching 2020 writing courses
11 – 18 July 2020 - one or two places remaining
Write the stories of your life
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2020 Profile Page.
Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
8 – 15 August 2020 - three or four places remaining
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please visit their 2020 Profile Page.
Andrà tutto bene: the reassuring phrase in widespread use in Italy today
The English-language newspaper The Local - Italy has been doing a marvellous job keeping us up-to-date with all the statistics and advice about how to live our lives during this coronavirus prices. They also have an Italian Word of the Day to help us expats speak the language better. One of the latest words is actually a phrase and it is on the lips of many of us: Andrà tutto bene.
Here’s the report from The Local:
As Italy adjusts to life under emergency quarantine measures, there's a feeling of calm and solidarity between people around the country which is best summed up by this Italian phrase.
Pictures bearing the slogan andrà tutto bene – everything will be alright – are all over Italian social media today as people seek to reassure each other and brighten up days spent at home under quarantine.
It's roughly equivalent to the encouraging Cantonese phrase jiayou, meaning “don’t give up” or “hang on in there”, which has become a slogan seen on streets across China since the outbreak first began there.
Italian parents began sharing images on social media today of artwork created by their children – all off school at the moment until 3 April – bearing the hopeful message.
We are sure andrà tutto bene on this year’s Italian language course at the Watermill. We are looking forward to another Italian language course this Summer, where we will again be soaking up knowledge in the dappled sunlight under the vine verandah and making forays into the towns and villages surrounding us, to learn Italian from the Italians.
We have teamed up again with the Florence language school Langues Services and our old friend Francesca la Sala to bring you a unique course which is both fun and illuminating. I have made one of those fun, 30-second slideshows on Facebook, which you can see by clicking here. )
Langues Services and Francesca la Sala
22 - 29 August 2020 - two or three places remaining
Learning Italian with the Italians
To learn more about Francesca and her
2020 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, writing, 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