“Linda, with aquamarine eyes and dark curly hair, the aristocratic, wayward, and over-emotional ... has stayed with me since we first met 50 years ago.”
Lily James as Linda in the BBC’s The Pursuit of Love.
Caroline Mitchell‘s passionate advocacy for Linda from Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love has made her the winner in our ‘heroines, heroes and couples’ competition. Caroline says of her heroine: “She and her five sisters, scarcely educated, relied on animals and hunting for entertainment, when not huddled together in the airing cupboard of their huge freezing home.
“Linda finally escaped by marrying a communist, having an affair in wartime Paris with a celebrated French General, dying tragically if somehow inevitably in childbirth. Lily James portrayed her accurately; I still prefer the joyous Linda of my imagination.”
Lovely memories, just showing how powerful words can be. Thank you for sharing Linda with us, Caroline. Your winning entry means that you can bring your non-participating partner/friend absolutely free when you book on one of our 2024 creative courses. Congratulations, and we look forward to welcoming you both here next year.
Picture :Abigail Hall
We had so many fascinating entries that it was difficult to pick the winner. Thanks to all who took part and commiserations if you didn’t win. You can see more of the entries in the story Heroines, heroes, famous couples, below.
The reason why Caroline is having to wait until 2024 is that we are almost full up for this year, and this season hasn’t even begun! Below you will find details of our current availability. We still have a few places left and, don’t despair, if you see a 2023 creative course or tutor you like the look of, and they are currently fully booked, remember there are often cancellations and if you let us know of your interest via the Watermill contact form (just click here), we will put you on a waiting list. There are details of, and links to, all our 2023 courses below.
If, for some reason or another, you cannot make it this year, you had better get your booking in for 2024. From today, the Preview for our 2024 creative courses season is published on the Watermill website. And we already had some 40 reservations! So, though it seems a long way off, to be really sure of a space, I guess it would be sensible to book now.
The warm and welcoming Watermill courtyard, in a charming watercolour by tutor Brienne Brown
Many of the 21 international tutors next year are old friends, who love returning to the Watermill, but there's also a handful of exciting new tutors whose courses, we are sure, will be a great success.
There are details of all the 2024 courses below, in the appropriate section: painting, knitting, creative writing and Italian language. There is a link also to the Watermill 2024 Booking Enquiry Form – and there is a bonus: if you book one of next year’s courses NOW, you will be able to enjoy it at 2023 prices. This offer will end on 1 September.
The pictures above and below this introductory session are (top above) new knitting tutors Susan Crawford and Sylvia Watts-Cherry, flanked by the Watermill in its peaceful setting, and (below) new painting tutors Michael Solovyev, Yong Chen and Andrew Hucklesby.
Bring a partner: there's plenty for them to do
They don’t have to participate in the course, but they will be able to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the mill and, whenever they want, to come out with you to our beautiful locations.
What fun we had reading your erudite and entertaining entries to our competition,
Lots of you told us about your ideal heroine/hero/couple from life, literature and the performing arts, and came up with some marvellous choices and compelling ideas for choosing them. It was a great pleasure reading your entries and we are only sorry that not everybody could win.
George Clooney, Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin (Disney style), Clint Eastwood and Clyde (the Orangutan)
“He sends me all a flutter. I’d settle for a chance meeting over coffee,” wrote Barbara Wainberg breathlessly of George Clooney. “Those smiling eyes with a hint of seductive charm, the slight smile on his lips and a voice as smooth as velvet. Oh, be still my beating heart! I need to calm myself.”
(There was a rumour a few years ago that George, tired of being continuously accosted by the visitors around his house on Lake Como, was thinking of moving incognito to a peaceful town in rural Tuscany near us. I suggested to one group that George might be popping over for a cup of sugar and, yes, there was quite a fluttering then, too. Alas it came to nothing.)
On the literary front, there were votes for authors George Orwell and Robert & Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and unforgettable characters such as Scarlett O’Hara and Jane Eyre.
Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin were nominated, because they would benefit from a Watermill painting course: “The Hundred-acre Wood is filled with amazing scenes that Winnie and Chris aren’t great at capturing. Sure, they do cartoon drawings to share with their readers but no beautiful plein air beauties. The magnetic sky and green rolling hills look flat and boring and they need some serious help with perspective. Taking a class at the Watermill will help them capture the magic in a whole new way. The best art teachers will show them the way to make the story they are telling really shine and glow. Just make sure you have enough honey for them to nibble on.”
Perhaps the most unusual couple was nominated by Clive Lewis: Clint Eastwood and Clyde (the Orangutan): “By the time Clint Eastwood made ‘Every Which Way But Loose’ he was already one of the biggest draws in Hollywood. The fact that he was prepared to risk being upstaged by a very cute and very lovable ape, speaks volumes. The film was just great fun and both Eastwood and Clyde were very good together. Certainly, one of the most unique pairings in film history – and one that has stuck in my mind!”
We took great pleasure in reading the entries from our erudite and entertaining Watermill community and we look forward to further discussions over an aperitivo on the vine verandah. And, who knows, George may turn up for that cup of sugar.
The Watermill’s interactive online painting sessions will be back next Fall
A few the vibrant paintings made on our online sessions by Mike Willdridge (left) and Randy Hale (right)
We’ve enjoyed another friendly season of Watermill online painting sessions in the past few months, with people from all over the world honing their skills and enjoying each other’s company as they painted along online on Thursdays with our inspiring tutors. Between them, they really have created an international ‘painting club’: our latest member comes from New Zealand!
A big thank you to you all for your enthusiastic response. Our thanks too, to our energetic and inspiring tutors Mike Willdridge and Randy Hale, and to Lois Breckon for her brilliant organisation, unfailingly cheerful monitoring of each session and her speedy editing of the final videos.
We will be back in the autumn/Fall. Check later in the year for the new online programme, which will be published in the Online Painting Sessions on our website. (Just click here.)
A 'virtual' week at the mill - Video Box Sets
From the comfort of your own home, and in your own time, you can enjoy the excitement of painting watercolour in the wonderful Tuscan countryside, with Mike Willdridge. As Mike says: "You really only learn to paint by PAINTING," and these videos help you do just that.
These unique 'box sets' comprise the edited online sessions from Mike's 'virtual' weeks at the mill, with different scenes for each week.. There are seven separate videos for each box set, one for each venue including sketching in Pisa and the Cinque Terre (Lucca in the second week). You paint along with Mike 'on location', learning about perspective, mixing colours and drawing figures, all the while deepening your knowledge and experience of painting watercolour. As one student said: "I learnt more in seven days than I had in seven years!"
We can still fit you in on one of our 2023 creative courses
As we said above, our 2023 creative courses have filled up fast, but we still have a few places left:
Georgia Farrell (knitting), 29 April to 6 May (Bronzino, Brunelleschi and Ghiberti remaining)
Georgia Farrell (knitting), 6 to 13 May (Lippi Suite remaining)
Randy Hale (watercolour), 13 to 20 May (Bronzino remaining)
Pamme Turner (watercolour and gouache), 20 to 27 May (Uccello remaining)
James Willis (watercolour), 3 to 10 June (Gentileschi remaining)
Belinda Biggs (watercolour), 8 to 15 July (Fra Angelico and Ghiberti remaining)
knitting retreat (no tutor), 15 to 22 July (Botticelli remaining)
Giulia Balestri (Italian Language), 15 to 22 October (Bronzino, Brunelleschi, Fra Angelico remaining)
You will find our full 2023 programmehere. if you like the look of a tutor or week that is currently full, don’t despair: there are often cancellations. Please get in touch via the Watermill Contact Form (by clicking here) and we will put you on a waiting list.
Our inspiring 2024 painting courses
We've just published a preview, and these are the inspiring, yet relaxing, painting courses planned for NEXT year (2024). Book now to enjoy them at this year’s prices.
Carl March 20 - 27 April 2024 Drawing and watercolours en plein air
To learn more about Carl and his course at the mill, please visit the 2024 preview page.
Maggie Renner Hellmann 25 May - 1 June 2024 ‘Colourful & Expressive Oil & watercolour’ (also Travel sketching, acrylics, and pastel)
To learn more about Maggie and her course at the mill, please visit the 2024 preview page.
Randy Hale 8 - 15 June 2024 Watercolour
To learn more about Randy and his course at the mill, please visit the 2024 preview page.
Keiko Tanabe 15 - 22 June 2024 Watercolours
To learn more about Keiko and her course at the mill, please visit the 2024 preview page.
Michael Solovyev**NEW WATERMILL TUTOR** 22 - 29 June 2024 ‘Atmospheric Landscape in Watercolour: Studio/Plein Air’
To learn more about Michael and his course at the mill, please visit the 2024 preview page.
Paul Talbot-Greaves 29 June – 6 July 2024 Watercolour
To learn more about Paul and his course at the mill, please visit the 2024 preview page.
Yong Chen **NEW WATERMILL TUTOR** 6 - 13 July 2024 Watercolour
To learn more about Yong and his course at the mill, please visit the 2024 preview page.
Sue Ford 13 – 20 July 2024 Watercolours
To learn more about Sue and her course at the mill, please visit the 2024 preview page.
Andrew Hucklesby**NEW WATERMILL TUTOR** 17 - 24 August 2024 Watercolour
To learn more about Andrew and his course at the mill, please visit the 2024 preview page.
Pamme Turner 24 - 31 August 2024 Watercolour and gouache
To learn more about Pamme and her course at the mill, please visit the 2024 preview page.
Mike Willdridge 7 - 14 September 2024 Watercolour and drawing (also gouache and acrylics)
To learn more about Mike and his course at the mill, please visit the 2024 preview page.
Rebecca de Mendonça 14 - 21 September 2024 Pastels
To learn more about Rebecca and her course at the mill, please visit the 2024 preview page.
Tim Wilmot 28 September - 5 October 2024 Watercolours
To learn more about Tim and his course at the mill, please visit the 2024 preview page.
Grahame Booth 5 - 12 October 2024 Watercolours
To learn more about Grahame and his course at the mill, please visit the 2024 preview page.
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.
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.