December 14, 2017 | The Watermill at Posara
Secluded millstream gardens, sun-drenched terraces, millstone tables under the vines are just some of the charms at The Watermill at Posara in Tuscany, Italy. It has become a world-famous venue for relaxing, inspiring, fun-filled painting holidays, creative writing workshops, knitting holidays, Italian language courses and yoga retreats. As a previous Watermill guest said: ʺWe had a fantastic time at The Watermill at Posara: the location is of outstanding beauty and the food is out of this world.”
The Watermill has been a base for week-long expert-led painting and creative courses for over 25 years. In 2018, there will be four new painting weeks plus courses in self-development, creative writing, Italian language, knitting and yoga. So, whether 2018 is the year to write your memoirs, take up yoga or paint a masterpiece, there is something to suit all creative minds.
Each holiday includes all meals and the food is often a real highlight for guests. Dishes include creamy risotto al pesto, finocchio al forno (fennel hearts roasted in the oven in a white wine sauce), involtini di pollo (rolled chicken breasts with cheese, ham and herbs), fish oven-baked between chestnut leaves and delicious desserts such as tiramisu, panna cotta and Amaretto mousse ice cream. Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements can be catered for.
Here is a summary of all the courses taking place from spring until autumn 2018:
NEW PAINTING COURSES FOR 2018:
NEW: Paul Talbot-Greaves – Watercolours (and acrylics) (28 April-5 May 2018): Paul is a professional landscape painter who works with watercolours and acrylic. Paul has written four books on watercolour painting and is a regular contributor to The Artist magazine. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
NEW: Andrew Geeson – Watercolours (23-30 June 2018): Andrew was once a book illustrator working with Enid Blyton’s daughter on some of her late mother’s works. However, once Andrew discovered watercolour painting he was hooked. Andrew paints in a loose and fast style and brings 20 years’ experience to The Watermill. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
NEW: Claire Warner – Watercolours (and oils and acrylics) (15-22 September 2018): Claire has taught art for over 20 years and combined this with her love of observational art. Claire’s work includes painting café scenes as they provide so much material, from observing people through to the shapes of the tables and chairs. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
NEW: Vicki Norman – Oils en plein air (6-13 October 2018): Vicki is an award-winning artist and tutor who loves to paint in the great outdoors. One of her own paintings is entitled ‘Lazy Afternoon’; she captured on canvas the sun dropping over the Gulf of Poets near Lerici beach. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
NEW CREATIVE COURSES FOR 2018:
NEW: Caroline Carr – Find your Oomph! (18-25 August 2018): Reconnect with your true self by laughing and playing imaginatively and, ultimately, having fun! Successful hypnotherapist and life coach Caroline Carr will use a variety of techniques to add joy and inner freedom to your everyday life, making your spirit shine. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
NEW: Jo Parfitt – Write the stories of your life (22-29 September 2018):
This enthralling new creative writing course with author Jo Parfitt will provide students with the tools to write their own life story in a vivid and engaging way. Suitable for writers of all levels, Jo will share advice on writing a compelling memoir and provide tips on best practice non-fiction and blog writing. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
NEW: Sarah Hazell – Knitting and La Bella Vita (5-12 May 2018): Knitting and crochet designer Sarah Hazell will elevate her students’ knitting prowess from homemade to handmade. Two knitting projects will make up the course; a cushion project using various textured cables, and sequence knitting which will include the chance to design and knit a scarf or cowl. Alternatively, guests are welcome to bring their own knitting projects with them. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
Italian Language Holiday (30 June-7 July 2018): Suitable for all levels, this Italian course will be led by Langues Services, a prestigious language school based in Florence. During the week, students will be fully immersed in all things Italian and can expect around 20 hours’ formal tuition in and around The Watermill, interspersed with excursions to walled towns and local markets, so that students can try out what they have learnt. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
Maggie Renner Hellmann – Courageous Colo(u)r Workshop (19-26 May 2018): Californian artist and tutor Maggie is inspired by French Impressionists and plein-air painters such as Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh. Her week-long workshop will involve painting in a variety of Tuscan locations, whilst focusing on colour, composition, brushwork and perspective. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
Sandra Strohschein – Watercolours (26 May-2 June and 2-9 June 2018): Sandra is a self-taught watercolourist from Michigan who only began painting several years ago. Since then she has clocked up thousands of hours’ worth of painting and travelled the world, sharing her passion for painting with all. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
Sarah Yeoman – Watercolours (9-16 June and 16-23 June 2018): Hailing from Delaware, USA, Sarah is a talented tutor and watercolourist and signature member of the American Watercolour Society with boundless enthusiasm and a vibrant painting style. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
Terry Jarvis – Watercolours (and oils, pastels and acrylics) (7-14 July 2018): Terry is one of Australia’s leading watercolour artists who likes to paint landscapes, people and animals. Terry also paints whilst on his travels, and enjoys using the pretty countryside surrounding The Watermill as his inspiration. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
Rebecca de Mendonça and Nel Whatmore – Pastels (1-8 September 2018): Rebecca’s varied career has led to her working on projects such as Phantom of the Opera and The National Ballet, amongst others. Nel likes to paint flowers, landscapes and seascapes and has also exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show for the past 10 years. Both tutors excel in pastel drawings and their friendly and relaxed approach will brings out the best in their students. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
Mike Willdridge – Watercolours and drawing (8-15 September 2018): Mike is a popular tutor at The Watermill and, aside from watercolours, he is happy to work with gouache and acrylics. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
Tim Wilmot – Watercolours (13-20 October 2018): Tim paints landscapes in a loose, impressionistic style and will teach his students a range of techniques, including how to use light and tone to best effect. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
OTHER KNITTING/YOGA COURSES:
Marie Wallin – Knitting and La Bella Vita (14-21 July 2018): Formerly Head Designer at yarn company Rowan, Marie will pass on her knitting techniques and useful tips. With her guidance, students will complete two projects and knit in the spectacular surroundings of a former ex-monastery and a picturesque hill-top restaurant. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
Lisa Richardson – Knitting and La Bella Vita (29 September-6 October 2018): Lisa Richardson hails from knitting brand Rowan and is known as an enthusiastic, sympathetic and inspirational tutor. Lisa’s biggest drive when teaching knitting is to help her students to create an item which they will cherish for years to come. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
Claire Murphy – Nourish – mind, body and soul (25 August–1 September 2018) is led by yoga practitioner Claire Murphy, who has 25 years’ experience and primarily focuses on the benefits yoga has on women’s health. Claire’s course will include mindfulness techniques and ‘conscious journaling’; students can take part in mindful writing activities alongside daily yoga sessions. Costs from £1,560 pp (two sharing)*.
The Watermill is in the comune (administrative district) of the ancient walled town of Fivizzano which, as well as a hundred ancient castles in its boundaries, contains not one, but two environmentally protected areas: the National Park of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, the backbone of Italy, and the Regional Park of the Apuan Alps, home of the marble mountains of Carrara. Because of this protected status, the air and the water are pure and unpolluted and the area abounds in wildlife.
The Watermill itself is a complex of elegant and historic Tuscan buildings, surrounding a sunny courtyard with an adjoining vine verandah, rose pergola and sun-filled walled garden. More gardens lead to walks along the river and the sun-dappled millstream.
*Price: Seven-night trips to The Watermill cost from £1,560 pp (two sharing) and includes all tuition, full-board accommodation (including local restaurants), drinks and aperitivi, transfers (to/from Pisa), local transport, course materials and a mid-week excursion to either Luca or the Cinque Terre. Flights extra. Non-participating partners are very welcome to attend and are given a discount of £250. Bookings received before 31 December 2017 will qualify for the Early Bird Offer of £75 discount per person.