Painting tutor of the month: Grahame Booth
We are delighted to welcome Grahame Booth to the Watermill painting tutors' team. He will be with us to teach in watercolours from Saturday 23 October to Saturday 30 October 2021.
Grahame paints only in watercolour, and his success is reflected in the numerous awards he has won over many years. Also, his YouTube channel now has more than 20,000 subscribers. He only started to paint in his early 30s, some 30 years ago, and, because he clearly remembers the problems and frustrations of learning to master watercolours, he is a particularly sympathetic tutor.
Grahame’s painting above is called Market Day and shows how you can successfully depict crowds by painting a few people with reasonable accuracy and just suggesting the rest. You will be able to try the techniques yourself when we go on Tuesdays to our nearby walled mediaeval town of Fivizzano to enjoy, and sketch, the weekly market there.
(Left) Here’s another lovely Grahame watercolour, a courtyard in the French town of Lumières
(Right) We love this atmospheric watercolour of an allotment garden by Grahame
Grahame believes that plein air painting is the key to success in this beautiful medium and he will show how to use a logical approach to translate the landscape into watercolours full of light, excitement and impact. One previous student said: “Grahame can both paint and teach. He can manage a group of all levels and everyone learns and improves. Most importantly it’s always fun.”
Grahame’s 2021 course at the Watermill, is already filling up, so if you’d like to join us, now really is the time to book.
Our inspiring 2021 painting tutors
Here is the complete list of our painting tutors for this year. You can find out more about each of them by clicking on their Profile page link in their entries below.
3 - 10 July 2021 - two or three places remaining
Oils and watercolours (and other mediums)
To learn more about Vicki and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.
10 - 17 July 2021 - 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 2021 Profile Page.
21 - 28 August 2021 - three or four places remaining
To learn more about Randy and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.
28 August - 4 September 2021 - three or four places remaining
4 – 11 September 2021 - one place remaining
Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.
11 - 18 September 2021 - two or three places remaining
To learn more about Milind and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.
Brienne M Brown
18 - 25 September 2021 - one place remaining
To learn more about Brienne and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.
2 – 9 October 2021 - fully booked, waiting list open
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 Profile Page.
9 - 16 October 2021 - one or two places remaining
To learn more about Ali and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.
23 - 30 October 2021 - four places remaining
To learn more about Grahame and his course at the mill, please visit his 2021 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.
The connection between Sex and the City and Mad Men
Sarah Jassica Parker and Christina Hendricks - Photos: Cordon Press and Daily Mail
Ryan Gosling - Photo Daily Candid News.
As well as being famous actresses, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Christina Hendricks have something else in common -- they’re both keen knitters. Sarah Jessica Parker knitted in breaks during the filming of Sex and the City, in which she played Carrie, while Christina Hendricks was often seen with her needles and yarn on the set of Mad Men, where she played Joan.
And it is not just actresses: actor Ryan Gosling became an enthusiastic knitter, too, when filming some years ago with a group of women. He told Good Housekeeping Magazine: “I was in a room full of old ladies who were knitting and it was an all-day scene, so they showed me how. It was one of the most relaxing days of my life.”
Yes, all knitters know the beneficial effects of their work. The tension just slips away. Speaking of which, after a year of tensions, why not join us for a relaxing, mollycoddled week, where the only tension you have to worry about is getting it right with your needles! We are running two knitting courses this year: our first-ever knitting retreat, and the second, a tutored course with exclusive knitting projects, run by the renowned English knitting designer Louisa Harding.
Knitting under the shade of the vines in the Watermill garden.
Photo: Phil Wright
The Watermill knitting retreat will run from Saturday 17 July to Saturday 24 July 2021 and, since there is no official tutor, we are offering a special discount of £200 (British pounds) per person. We already have eight knitters booked into this course, so we have room for four or so more.
The Watermill sitting room,
an ideal place to knit and chat.
Picture: Phil Wright
Instead of having a tutor, individual guests will bring their own projects to knit during the week. The rhythm of the week will be much the same as usual, with morning and afternoon sessions on the vine verandah or in the Watermill sitting room, where you will enjoy convivial like-minded company in the peaceful ambience of the Watermill. There is a link with more details below.
We are delighted also to welcome Louisa Harding, the celebrated cashmere knitter and yarn producer, to the Watermill knitting team. She has also established a new brand, called Yarntelier, combining the finest yarns from the English county of Yorkshire with beautiful designs, to make each item a piece of hand-crafted couture. Louisa is now planning the projects she will bring for our knitters during her week and is talking of a cashmere shawl, where you can draw on designs in the Tuscan countryside and incorporate them in your knitting; and another, smaller project, involving beading using a crochet hook. Louisa will be with us from Saturday 7 August to Saturday 14 August 2021. Again, there is a link to more details about her week below.
2021 knitting breaks
17 - 24 July 2021 - three or four places
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about our knitting retreat week at the mill, please visit our 2021 Profile Page.
7 August - 14 August 2021 - four or five places remaining
Knitting and La Bella Vita
To learn more about Louisa and her course at the mill, please visit our 2021 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 2021 courses, as well as a generous £GBP 250 discount if they share a room with you.
Witty literary lines: how many of these to you recollect?
We are grateful to Cody Delistraty, a writer who lives in Paris and New York, for this collection of witty literary lines. We suspect you know many of them, but it’s fun to see them again.
“To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness” — Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
“You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.” — Dorothy Parker, The Collected Dorothy Parker
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
P.G. Wodehouse - Photo: BBC
“If not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.” – P.G. Wodehouse, The Code of the Woosters
“And she’s got brains enough for two, which is the exact quantity the girl who marries you will need.” — P.G. Wodehouse, Mostly Sally
“I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don’t know the answer” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” — Dorothy Parker, The Algonquin Wits
“I don’t deserve any credit for turning the other cheek as my tongue is always in it.” — Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor
George Bernard Shaw
- Art Uk
“I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” — George Bernard Shaw
“The youth of America is their oldest tradition. It has been going on now for three hundred years.” — Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance
“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” — T.S. Eliot
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.” — Mark Twain, More Maxims of Mark
We also like the, possibly apocryphal, remark by Oscar Wilde when someone else said something witty at a dinner party. Oscar said: “I wish I’d said that.” A fellow diner replied: “You will Oscar, you will.”
Come and indulge your own literary wit and enjoy that of our inspiring creative writing tutors and your fellow students one of the two creative writing courses we are running this year.Jo Parfitt will be hosting another of her famous Writing Your Life’s Stories weeks and Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran will be back for their inimitable Scriptwriting course. How can you resist? (As Oscar probably said: “I can resist anything but temptation.”)
2021 Our witty and uplifting creative writing courses
Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
24 – 31 July 2021 - Places available
To learn more about Laurence and Maurice and their course at the mill, please visit their 2021 Profile Page.
14 – 21 August 2021 - two or three places remaining
Write your life stories
To learn more about Jo and her course at the mill, please visit her 2021 Profile Page.
Italenglish and the Academy of Bran
We enjoy Dot Wordsworth’s weekly column Mind Your Language in The Spectator. Dot, as her nom de plume implies, is a whizz with words and each week she makes a foray into the linguistic landscape, remarking on origins and changing meanings.
In one of her columns, she discussed the Italians’ predilection for using English words to appear cool and fashionable: columns in La Repubblica’s weekly magazine are headed (in English) Beauty and Lifestyle for instance.
Dot says: “This is the sort of thing that drives the Accademia della Crusca into a frenzy. The academy has been making judgements since its foundation in 1583 on the use of the national language. Crusca means bran and the academy likes to sift out indigestible foreign bran from the fine home-grown flour.”
Despite the Academy’s efforts, however, many English words have crept in, like smoking for a dinner jacket and footing, meaning jogging. And a spider is a sports car, derived from the Fiat Spider of the 1960s, but now generic for all convertibles.
We particularly like andare in tilt, which means to go haywire, or for your computer to crash. And the expression fare tilt means to become incoherent. It all implies that too many Italians misspent too much to their youth playing pinball machines in their local café!
Rest assured that on the Watermill’s elegant* Italian Language course you won’t fa tilt, but become even more coherent in one of the more beautiful languages in the world. *We're elegant, but you won’t need your smoking and you can go footing in the beautiful countryside if you want. Come and join us for la lingua e la bella vita italiana!
Learning Italian under the dappled shade
of the vine verandah
For our week-long course, from Saturday 16 October to Saturday 23 October 2021 we’ve teamed up again with wonderful tutor Francesca La Sala, you’ll meet Italian people and interact with their daily lives. There will not only be formal lessons under the vine verandah (some 20 hours in the week), but we’ll also be making trips and excursions to enjoy the natural beauty of Lunigiana, the area surrounding the mill, to explore its history and culture, to sample its traditional foods – and above all, to meet the people, speaking Italian, practising what we’ve learned.
2021 Language Course
Francesca la Sala
16 - 23 October 2021 - one place remaining
Learning Italian with the Italians
To learn more about Francesca and her
2021 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 Patron of The Watermill at Posara
Visit our Watermill Patrons website (Link below). Just follow the instructions to subscribe and enjoy special privileges. By becoming a Patron you’ll enjoy many exclusive benefits, including practical and inspiring tips from our international painting and creative writing tutors, recipes from the watermill’s mouth-watering menus, and podcasts on Italian life. And there are also exclusive offers at the higher tiers for our courses and holidays.
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