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A preview of our 2025 creative courses.

We will not be publishing full details of our 2025 courses on our Watermill website until September 2024, but if you would like to reserve a place on one of the courses below, we are offering places on 2025 courses at 2024 prices.

Your hosts at the watermill, Italy

For more information, please select from the menu below, the holiday preview that interests you and then choose the Tutor/Date that suits you best. It's never too early to book a visit to the Watermill, We would love you to join us in 2025.

Your hosts at the watermill in Tuscany

Lois and Bill Breckon

Select the holiday preview that interests you

Eunice Friend

Eunice Friend

Ink and watercolours

Eunice Friend, from the country town of Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, England, is a versatile, self-taught artist, excelling in watercolour, pastels and acrylics. Her portfolio spans landscapes, wildlife, florals, and still life.

On her course at the Watermill, she will focus on ink and watercolour, encouraging students to experiment with expressive mark-making (using different tools for lines, textures, and patterns) and colourful washes (layering translucent pigments for depth and luminosity) Eunice will help you to push the boundaries, develop your skills and create stunning artworks. As one of her students says: “Eunice is an extraordinarily talented and comprehensive artist. She’s also a friendly, approachable, supportive and fun tutor, who truly cares about her students' progress.”

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Penelope Anstice

Penelope Anstice

Watercolours and oils

Penelope Anstice, from Scotland, is an accomplished painter in oils and watercolours. After gaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in painting and drawing at Edinburgh College of Art, she worked at the Verrocchio Arts Centre in Italy. She now has a studio in Dundee, Scotland, and as well as flourishing as a professional artist, she is also much in demand as a teacher. Penelope says: “My aim when teaching is to show people as much technique as possible; with sound knowledge of the building blocks of painting, students can begin to find the confidence to put their own stamp on their work.”

One of Penelope’s previous students said: “Penelope’s tutoring was invaluable. She has a lot of patience and was very good at keeping me on track when I faltered.” Another said: “I have been on a number of holidays with Penelope and I find her teaching to be inspirational. She makes it fun too and always seems to gather a good group around her.”

In this, her first visit to the Watermill, Penelope will teach in both watercolours and oils.

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Randy Hale

Randy Hale

Watercolours

Randy Hale is an exciting watercolour painter from Colorado in United States. As well as his workshops in the USA, he has taken painting groups all over the world. After a successful business career, he returned to his first love, watercolour painting. (He was taught by James Green, an early proponent of the California School of Watercolor.) But his true passion proved to be to be in sharing his knowledge: enjoying the excitement of travel with fellow painters, helping them to create expressive paintings to enrich their experience. One of his students said: “He knows his stuff and he knows how to teach! Best watercolor instructor I have ever had!”

Another said: “Randy demonstrates clearly and effectively. He offers information constantly and shares his knowledge and techniques without hesitation.” A third summed up: “Randy is an amazing teacher.”

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Maggie Renner Hellmann

Maggie Renner Hellmann

‘Colourful & Expressive Oil & watercolor’ (also Travel sketching, acrylics, and pastel)

Maggie Renner Hellmann, from California, USA, paints with love, passion and energy. Her work is characterized by a unique blend of loose, energetic brushwork and strong compositions of exuberant color. Her workshop will cover oils, acrylics, pastels and drawing, sketching mediums including wax pastels and watercolor.

Maggie says: “In this plein air workshop, we will paint in various spectacular Tuscan locations. Our emphasis will be on learning and practicing the core elements of successful paintings.”

A comment from a guest on a previous course here: “Maggie is good at teaching in all mediums and with all levels. She did wonderful demos in watercolor, acrylic, pastel and oil. I highly recommend this art workshop, as well as the most wonderful accommodation with great food and wine. A little piece of heaven in experiencing Italy.”

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Herman Pekel

Herman Pekel

Watercolours (also oils and gouache)

Herman Pekel, from Melbourne in Australia, produces award-winning work in watercolours, oils and gouache. He creates paintings of strong design and powerful impact – every brushstroke vibrant and visible.

On Herman’s course you will unearth fresh and honest art inside yourself and learn to capture it with paint. He will teach you to find originality in your own work. Expect to be challenged to be brave -- and have fun! Although Herman will concentrate on watercolours. he is happy to help with other mediums as well.

A comment from one of last year's guests: “Wonderful hospitality, delicious cuisine, breathtaking environment, flawless service, kindness of everyone we met... and painting with a master was the icing on the cake.”

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices

 

James Willis

James Willis

Watercolours

James Willis began making paintings whilst at school and graduated with honours in Fine Art and Music, followed by an MA.in the History of Art. He lectures at several English academic institutions, as well as running regular live and online courses in painting, drawing and art history.

His work is inspired by his knowledge of architecture and historic paintings as well as a love of buildings, landscapes and the effects of light, shade and colour. He works mainly in oils and watercolours. James says: “The joy of being a painter is to respond to places and people, to share my enthusiasm and knowledge, and to inspire others.”

One of last year’s students said: “Excellent and efficient hosting, planning and delicious food. James was an excellent teacher.” Another said: “James is always encouraging us to look more closely, to try different techniques and colours and to ‘be bolder”

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

James Swanson

James Swanson

Oils

James Swanson is an award-winning oil painter from Chicago in the United States. He is a sought-after workshop teacher all around the United States and now in Europe. He is a Signature member of the Oil Painters of America, The American Impressionists Society, and the National Oil and Acrylic painters Society. James had a successful Illustration career before jumping into the world of fine art in 2005.

He’s been teaching for more than 15 years and loves passing on his knowledge to others. He says: “I have a light-hearted way of teaching painting and I believe art is fun, so enjoy it”

A comment from a previous student: “I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge. Thank you so much for all you do for being such a good teacher and great artist!”

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Paul Weaver

Paul Weaver

Watercolours

Paul Weaver is a full-time artist, tutor and demonstrator, based in Bristol in the West of England. His primary inspirations are light and atmospheric effects. He currently specialises in watercolour, but also enjoys working in oil, acrylic and line and wash. Paul will work in watercolour during his week here, painting en plein air whenever possible. He says: “My aim is to pass on the skills of good drawing, design and the fundamental watercolour principles, to help students get the best from their subjects and enjoy the whole painting process.”

One previous student said: “Inspiring! Paul captures the essence of a subject in his loose, atmospheric style, while explaining the process to his students as the painting progresses. By offering lots of encouragement and enthusiasm, Paul makes the learning experience so enjoyable.”

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Paul Talbot-Greaves

Paul Talbot-Greaves

Watercolours (and acrylics)

Paul Talbot-Greaves is a professional painter from England, working primarily in watercolour, although he also uses acrylic. He has just been made a member of the prestigious Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours. Paul says: “I like to seek out compositions employing patterns of light, shade and contrast.” Paul is also a very experienced teacher. He says: “I have been teaching painting courses over the last 20 years, and I get an enormous amount of pleasure seeing people improve and enjoy their own work.”

Some comments from guests on Paul’s last course here “It has been “FABULOUS! So memorable in every way.” “A unique and rewarding holiday. The whole week was well organised with a balance of trips to interesting places and time to paint in the studio. The hosts were charming, attentive and responsive to all the guests’ requirements. The rooms are delightful and each has a terrace with fabulous views.”

“Paul was a great tutor to our congenial group and the whole programme delivered everything it said on the tin.”

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Melissa Wishart

Melissa Wishart

Oils and acrylics (and watercolours)

Melissa Wishart, an outstanding artist in oils and acrylics, lives in Bath in the West of England. She is much in demand as a tutor and artist-in-residence. She says: “I have a special love for the Tuscan landscape and for the sensual and spiritual in Italian art, so I’m delighted to be asked to run a course with the Watermill.”

Melissa’s enthusiasm is infectious and her style is to encourage. Her aim is “to build confidence and skills -- and bond together, through trials, tribulations and laughter exploring a fascinating subject for a week.” One previous student says: “Melissa is engaging, funny, knowledgeable and a great tutor.” Another said: “She is absolutely delightful. Her painting is lovely, and we liked her talking about her techniques, equipment and palette.” Beginners and experienced painters are welcome, and you can choose to work in oils, acrylics or watercolours.

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Crystal Beshara

Crystal Beshara

Travel journalling in ink and watercolour (+ gouache)

Crystal Beshara is an award-winning contemporary realist painter living in a village in rural Ontario, Canada. She has won international acclaim for her artwork in both watercolour and oil. She says: “My work reflects my rural roots and is a collision of two worlds: Realism and Expressionism. Realism allows me to reflect our human desire to recognize a shape, place and subject, while the strokes, drips and splatter are the result of an intuitive relation to the medium at hand.”

As for her teaching, a student says: “Crystal is fantastic, with clear, step-bystep instruction, encouraging feedback and excellent resources, making watercolour painting accessible and enjoyable to students of all levels.” Her course will concentrate on travel journalling, sketching and painting around the Watermill and in the stunning surrounding countryside of unspoiled rural Tuscany.

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Pamme Turner

Pamme Turner

Watercolours and gouache en plein air

Pamme Turner is a professional artist and tutor with multiple degrees in the Fine Arts. She has taught art classes and art workshops all over the world and has more than 30 years of teaching experience. She says: “I am fascinated by the creative art-making process and encourage my students to experience that same joy in all of their works.”

In this week-long workshop you’ll learn to paint with both transparent and/or opaque mediums “en plein air”, with an emphasis on beautiful watercolor techniques. Pamme will be demonstrating in both watercolor and gouache, but is also technically skilled in multiple art mediums, such as oils, acrylics, and pastels, and is happy to teach in those mediums, too. As well as painting in the glorious Tuscan countryside you will also be working in the light and airy Watermill studio. The course is designed for painters of all levels. A previous student says: “An incredible workshop; more educational than a whole college semester! And so much more fun!”

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Gary Tucker

Gary Tucker

Watercolours

Gary Tucker, from Boston, Massachusetts, USA, chose watercolours because he could achieve more subtlety, power, and expressiveness in his painting.

He says: “I find power through brushwork and subtlety through transparency, Watercolor differs from other media in that there is a performance aspect to it. The fine pieces come out in one sitting and very often, like a classical performance, something happens, a fusion of mind and subject, an improvisation that cannot be duplicated.”

Of his teaching, Gary says: “To communicate through any media we need to understand how employ our craft. A good teacher will emphasize the fundamentals until the student becomes the artist.”

One of his students said: “Gary for me is the 21st Century magician of watercolour.” Another said: “His approach and teaching were absolutely invaluable., and we had so much fun too!”

A third said: “His patience with students, both beginner and experienced, as well as his gentle, constructive and often humorous criticisms are incredibly helpful and most appreciated! Wonderful artist, wonderful teacher.”

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Charles Sluga

Charles Sluga

Watercolours

Charles Sluga is a highly respected and sought-after Australian watercolour artist, who has gained a reputation for his versatility in his technique and choice of subject matter.

Charles is also a great teacher, with a friendly and enthusiastic approach and an eagerness to impart his wide knowledge. He not only teaches technique, but also how to think and see as an artist. His classes are relaxed, informal and inspiring. One student said: “In addition to being a very talented artist, Charles is an extremely capable and professional teacher.”

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Mary Padgett

Mary Padgett

Pastels (and other portable media) en plein air

Mary Padgett is a passionate pastellist from Syracuse, New York, USA. She is noted for her use of colour and for her enthusiasm for painting on location.

Mary says: “There is no better way to visit Italy than as a plein air artist! We’ll focus on observation with all our senses; looking, listening, and smelling the unique character of the Tuscan landscape to create drawings and paintings from the experience.”

Mary will work in soft pastel but is also skilled in oils and acrylics and is happy to help in those mediums too. Her students love her teaching. One 0f them said: “Your gentle nudges have given us all better way of seeing.”

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Grahame Booth

Grahame Booth

Watercolours

Grahame Booth paints only in watercolour and his success is reflected in the numerous awards he has won over many years. His YouTube channel now has some 40,000 subscribers. Grahame only started to paint some 35 years ago, and, because he clearly remembers the problems of learning to master watercolours, he is a particularly sympathetic tutor, Painting en plein air, he will show you how to translate the landscape into watercolours full of light, excitement and impact. One previous student said: “Grahame can teach people of all levels, and everyone learns and improves. Most importantly it’s always fun.”

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Linda Daniels

Linda Daniels

Knitting and La Bella Vita

Linda Daniels owns Northampton Wools in Massachusetts, USA and has taught many people the craft of knitting. She is also a popular designer – and her designs have even appeared in films like Cider House Rules!

Linda says: “Teaching people to knit has always been an exciting part of owning this yarn store. I love helping knitters realize that they can create something unique and beautiful.”

On her course at the Watermill, Linda will be helping knitters to make a cowl combining different stitch patterns. She says: “Students will choose stitch patterns from pattern cards and each person will create their own unique piece. We’ll explore the world of lace, knit and purl combinations and even some cables, At the end of the week every knitter will have a special cowl that showcases their individual flair.”

One previous student says: “Linda is an outstanding teacher. She shows you how to correct a mistake without making you feel silly for causing it.” Another says: “Linda is the most patient teacher I have ever had. She explains everything in a clear and gentle manner "

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

James Cox

James Cox

The Magic of mosaic knitting

James Cox is a knitwear designer living in Palm Springs, California, USA who has been creating original patterns for 45 years. He says: “If you enjoy colour work but do not like handling multiple bobbins of yarn, you will love mosaic knitting. It is amazingly simple and extremely rewarding.”

Jim will share with you both the how and the why of this magical technique. You'll become comfortable with the logic of how mosaic knitting works, you’ll learn how to read mosaic charts, and discover how to reduce the number of floats on the wrong side of your colour work. In the process you will find the simplicity of mosaic knitting truly amazing. Jim will also share a couple of other fun and remarkably simple techniques for beautiful colour work that is ideal for hats, socks, cowls, even sweaters.

In the class you will select your yarn from various colour options, choose a stitch pattern that fits your own personal style. Then receive a knitting pattern to create a little two-colour, light-weight scarf as a fashion accessory.

In the second project for my course. I’m focusing on a pattern for a cute little hat that is really fun and colourful. It can be a snug cap or a slouchy beanie hat. It is created with the helical knitting technique.

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Georgia Farrell

Georgia Farrell

Knitting and La Bella Vita

Georgia Farrell is a British designer, based in Essex, to the east of London. She has a passion for creating architecturally inspired design for hand knitting and beyond. She combines a methodical approach to visual research with a more organic approach to creative exploration, and she loves to share the stories and concepts behind each of her designs.

With a background in textiles, she skilfully translates her passion for architectural details into textured knitted fabrics. From there she crafts and builds collections of accessories, garments and homewares, to be knitted, worn and enjoyed.

She says: “During our week together, we’ll cover the foundations of colour theory through fun, practical exercises. You’ll build your very own ‘Colour Journal’ and experiment with different ways to combine colours in your knitting, from blending yarns to create marls, to my unique design perspective on different colorwork techniques. Whether you struggle with colour and need of some inspiration and creativity, or you just want to use more of it, this week is for you!”

A guest on Georgia’s last course at the Watermill said: “Georgia Farrell had just the right balance of tuition, support and free knitting time. The Watermill itself is a haven of peace and calm. Another said: “A lovely place with good food and company, you are made to feel very welcome.”

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Sylvia Watts-Cherry

Sylvia Watts-Cherry

Knitting and La Bella Vita

Sylvia is a British designer who loves bold patterns and striking colours. She learned to knit at an early age and is a prolific knitter. Her identity is important to her, and she likes to draw influence from her African heritage and Scottish upbringing in her designs.

As well as self-publishing patterns, Sylvia has patterns published in Vogue Knitting Magazine, Laine Magazine, Pompom Quarterly, By Hand Serial, Taproot, Knit Now and other publications. Before diving into the world of knitwear design Sylvia and her husband ran a company offering maths and science tuition, a useful background for her new foray in pattern writing and grading! She loves working wit, and teaching, cables and colourful intarsia colourwork. Sylvia lives and works in Hertfordshire in the UK with her husband and enjoys walking, family life and socialising.

For her week at the Watermill, Sylvia has created a project to explore some of the different techniques and stitches in intarsia. You will also spend time getting creative and using inspirations from the Watermill and surroundings to create your own unique project.

Here’s what one guest had to say about Sylvia’s 2024 Watermill week: “It was an “unforgetable experience.” Another said: “I had a lovely, relaxing time over the past week. You have a delightful place at Posara and I enjoyed my time there very much. The food and drink were delicious as were the surroundings.

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Giulia Balestri

Giulia Balestri

Learn Italian from the Italians

Learn Italian immersed in one of the most beautiful and interesting regions of Italy, nestling between the Apuan Alps (where Michelangelo found his precious marble) and the majestic Apennines, the mountainous backbone of Italy. Enjoy your stay at a beautiful ancient watermill, lovingly restored, with views over the river, the gardens and the mountains. Savour a journey through history, nature and rural traditions in unspoilt Lunigiana and visit the stunning seaside villages of the Cinque Terre.

Giulia Balestri, who was born, and now lives, in Pisa, is passionate about Tuscany and about the Italian language. She says: “We favour a communicative approach, which allows people to learn in a comfortable and stimulating environment, despite the different linguistic backgrounds of the students and sometimes also their different starting levels.”

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.

 

Jo Parfitt

Jo Parfitt

Writing your life stories

Jo Parfitt is an author, journalist, teacher, blogger, conference speaker and poet. She has published 32 books herself, has helped more than 250 authors get into print and more than 2,000 people to begin writing.

Jo's a compassionate, inspiring, and encouraging teacher: her motto is 'sharing what I know to help others to grow'.

The Write Your Life Stories creative writing course is designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer's 'voice' and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories. Jo says: "The course at the watermill will provide a safe haven in which to unlock your creativity, write from your heart and hone your writing craft. You will be empowered to write in a compelling way, bringing your experiences to life."

The workshop will include several methods and genres and is perfect for anyone wanting to write about their own lives for an effective journal, memoir or blog. If you would enjoy an injection of inspiration in a calm and supportive environment, this course is for you. It is appropriate for students of any level. Here are some comments from guests on Jo’s previous courses at the Watermill: “The most magical trip to Tuscany, which will stay with me forever!” “It is a very special and beautiful place, and everything was organised so perfectly. Jo is a great tutor and we all had an amazing time.”

 

*Book before 1 September 2024 to come on this 2025 course at 2024 prices.