The river Rosaro at Posara
This is from a sketchbook painting made in early summer and subsequently painted in my studio in England. This river runs past the Watermill and is always fascinating, being at different states, sometimes on a day-to-day basis. There is some artistic licence at work here as I’ve imagined an autumnal scene.
Woman preparing food, Bin Tan, Vietnam
Ink and watercolour
I didn’t have much time to make this painting - as is often the case when drawing people at work. It’s drawn with a nib dipped into a bottle on Indian ink (you achieve a greater variety of line than with a pen) and watercolour. Probably took five minutes.
The cloister of the Convento di Carmine, Fivizzano
A wonderful peaceful spot where we go to paint during our Watermill weeks. This is a demonstration I made a couple of years ago.
Woman reading, Italy
This was painted in my studio after a holiday in Italy, from several photographs I’d taken at the time. I used cardboard (on its edge) to help me create the sharp angles and blocked-in paintwork.
Saturday 7 September to Saturday 14 September 2024
Watercolours and drawing
(also gouache and acrylics, with a special emphasis on drawing and sketching on location)
Mike Willdridge is very experienced in a variety of painting and drawing media – as well as printmaking – and regularly teaches from his studio in Devon and on painting holidays abroad.
In his own work Mike is continually trying to move towards 'abstraction' and usually works in a quick, loose style. He is an energetic and enthusiastic teacher who often encourages his students to be bold/take chances. He is particularly keen on all forms of drawing and constantly uses a sketchbook.
During his course, Mike will teach students how to gather speedy impressions using a sketchbook, to be worked up afterwards in the studio. Mike will concentrate on teaching watercolour painting, but is also happy to help with gouache and acrylics. He will also help people to improve their drawing and to learn how best to keep a sketchbook while on location.
Mike first qualified and worked as a Graphic Designer before joining the Army and serving in many countries. But more than 20 years ago he left the army to become an Art Teacher and was the Head of Art at two independent schools before taking early retirement to teach adults and paint in Devon. Since then he has exhibited regularly at the Mall Gallery and Llewellyn Alexander Gallery, London and at several galleries in Devon.
You can find out more about Mike and his work from his website at mikewilldridge-artist.com/
Praise for Mike’s previous courses at the Watermill
I had an absolutely wonderful time at the Watermill. I haven’t had such a stimulating time for years! Very unusually, I hardly read a word of my book for, as soon as I collapsed on my bed for a rest and a read, I found I wanted to get up and carry on sketching or painting. I very much appreciated the fact that everything about the holiday had been so well thought out. It meant that I could “relax” and enjoy myself, in beautiful and friendly surroundings, doing what I had come for. RH
It really was another lovely week as I am sure other participants have indicated. I particularly enjoyed Mike’s tutorage. I felt that I had actually achieved something at the end of the week but of course the painting is only part of it. LD
“I want to let you know how much we enjoyed the painting holiday in September. Although I have been learning to paint for a number of years - and I already knew how rewarding it was to spend time in Mike's previous studio - I came away from the week in Posara really refreshed and more than ever wanting to get on and do more. Mike's enthusiasm for the pleasure and the practise of art is both obvious and contagious; and I think it was evident that those with more and with less experience all benefited from seeing his demonstrations - he does not push a particular method but opens things up... for you to follow your own developments - while still providing a lead if needed. The demonstrations were clear and intelligible. The locations were varied and interesting and the mix of these had been well thought out. My current preoccupation is improving my watercolour and I got plenty to think about on that score but I particularly enjoyed Mike's 'refresher' sessions on colour and on gouache; his sessions on dealing with scenes where there are a lot of people and movement; and on tricky perspectives in the landscape e.g. a flat area in a valley bottom seen from above. There was never a shortage of visual stimulation or ideas for work we could try out but equally each of us was left free to pursue what interested us. Altogether very worthwhile! The Watermill is in a delightful setting and you and your team were gracious and helpful hosts. My 'non-painting' wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Mill!” PS
“Mike Willdridge is a most inspiring tutor whose energy and enthusiasm encourages students to develop both their visual awareness and confidence. His patience and good humour create an enjoyable atmosphere in which students thrive, and his choice of subject matter frequently leads to enticing exploration with different materials. Mike's appraisal sessions help with self-analysis in a non-threatening way leading to positive progress throughout the group.” MH
"Mike is a knowledgeable artist and an enthusiastic teacher. He has a loose, effective painting style with an emphasis on tonal quality; at the same time he will encourage students to follow their own painting or drawing style and has the ability to bring out the best in all levels of artistic experience. Having been a student of Mike’s for a number of years I most appreciate his kindly, relaxed approach to his students.” SS
"If anyone is choosing such a holiday, I can tell them that this was perfect. Excellent accommodation, the food was superb (any special diets catered for), delightful company and the tutor was excellent, just the right balance between holiday and learning. The holiday was very well organised. Everything had been thought of including providing water to take out on our trips. Chairs, easels, boards and water bottles were all provided. It was inspirational. Before this trip I had not produced any outdoor paintings of any sort of quality, but I now feel confident enough to try going out anywhere and painting."
"Many thanks for a wonderful week at the mill. The food, tutoring and company were really wonderful."
The Watermill itself is the most amazing place. Each room interior has been carefully worked out showing appreciation of texture and colour and at same time providing every comfort. The landscape setting of the Watermill from its flowing waterfalls, very attractive gardens and amazing creative props ensure provision for artistic scope. There is also the added pleasure of frequent painting trips to exciting locations. The meals provided were of the best, beautifully prepared and a constant state of pleasant surprise. Bill and Lois have surpassed themselves in creating a place with truly magical content.