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Painting and writing courses at The Watermill, Posara

27th September 2013 Print

With eight brand-new courses – including painting and creative writing courses – confirmed for 2014, now is the time to think about pushing your creative boundaries. Suitable for all abilities, courses are held at The Watermill at Posara, a beautifully-restored 17th century grain, chestnut and olive mill, surrounded by vineyards and sunflower fields, in rural, north-west Tuscany.

Here are the new painting and writing courses in 2014:

French painter Olivia Quintin (10-17 May 2014) specialises in teaching watercolour painting and she recently exhibited at the Bienalle of Watercolours in Brioude, France’s largest watercolour event. 

Award-winning American watercolourist Frank Eber (14-24 May 2014) is primarily a plein air watercolour painter, and will no doubt make full use of The Watermill’s spectacular countryside setting. Frank’s course also includes a three-day ‘Florence add-on’ taking in the city’s magnificent art galleries. 

Japanese-born Keiko Tanabe (24–31 May 2014) is a sought-after Californian-based artist who will share her methods and techniques to add light and atmosphere to watercolour paintings. 

Trevor Lingard (31 May –7 June 2014), from Lancashire’s Ribble Valley, is an internationally-acclaimed self-taught artist who specialises in watercolours. 

Oils, watercolours and other media all feature in the course led by Becky Joy (7-14 June 2014). Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, Becky aims to make her students’ paintings glow. 

American-born tutor Georgia Mansur (16-23 August 2014) will teach watercolours, impasto acrylics and oils in the great outdoors, at and around The Watermill. 

Award-winning artist John Wilson (20-27 September) is one of Australia’s leading oil painters and at The Watermill he will be running his first ‘Masterclass Workshop in oils and the landscape’ course. 

“Everyone has a book in them” according to writers Alex and Jude (26 April–3 May 2014). The creative pair will help you discover what you want to write – whether it’s fiction or your own life story – providing helpful tips along the way.

The programme also features some of The Watermill’s most popular painting tutors, with many returning due to popular demand. They include the world-famous Brazilian artist Fábio Cembranelli (14-21 June 2014), English artists Mike Willdridge (21-28 June 2014) and Laraine Simpson (31 August-7 September 2014) and Australian watercolourist Charles Sluga (27 September-4 October 2014). On the writing front, prolific Mills & Boon author Sharon Kendrick (3-10 May 2014) will be back for her sixth ‘Writing Romance’ course and Laurence Marks (6-13 September 2014), the writer from The New Statesman and Birds of a Feather will be returning by popular demand for his ‘TV Comedy and Drama scriptwriting’ course.

Guests at The Watermill enjoy daily trips into the Tuscan Hills, painting, sketching and writing in Medieval towns and sleepy hill-top villages, with magnificent mountain and valley views. There is also a midweek excursion by train to either Lucca or the Cinque Terre villages plus delicious meals out at charming local restaurants – all included in the price. For the painting courses, basic equipment such as easels, boards, portable chairs and water bottles are all provided.

As well as the glorious surroundings, the food at The Watermill is a real highlight, with special diets catered for and much of the produce grown either in The Watermill’s own garden or nearby by the Mill’s cook and gardener. Popular homemade dishes include freshly-baked lasagne, creamy risotto, local pecorino cheese with pears, figs and honey, gorgonzola soufflés, traditional Ligurian pesto using fresh basil from the garden and delicious desserts including tiramisu and Capri chocolate cake.

A week’s painting or creative writing course in 2014 costs from £1,310 pp based on two sharing. The price includes transfers (Pisa), all tuition, seven nights’ accommodation, pre-dinner aperitifs, all meals (including local restaurants), local travel and a mid-week excursion. Non-painting partners are given a £200 discount and pay from £1,110 pp. Flights (Pisa) extra.

For more information, visit or

For a full list of the 2014 courses, please see below:

2014 Painting courses:

New: Olivia Quinton – watercolours (10-17 May 2014): watercolour painter Olivia lives in Brittany and likes to paint flowers, fish, seabirds, portraits and landscapes using a wet-in-wet technique and loose style. Her teaching will focus on using energy to create colourful and fresh works of art.

New: Frank Eber – watercolours (14-24 May 2014, including a three-day Florence add-on): California-based Frank is primarily a plein air artist, and will no doubt make full use of The Watermill’s spectacular countryside setting. The course includes a three-day tour of Florence with a professional guide.

New: Keiko Tanabe – watercolours (24 – 31 May 2014): Born in Kyoto, Japan, Keiko is a very sought-after artist who has led more than 40 workshops around the world. Keiko will share her methods and techniques at The Watermill to add light and atmosphere to her students watercolour paintings.

New: Trevor Lingard – watercolours (31 May – 7 June 2014): self-taught artist Trevor hails from Lancashire’s Ribble Valley and has an enthusiastic and informative approach which caters for artists of all levels.

New: Becky Joy – oils, watercolours and other media (7-14 June 2014): Becky, from Phoenix, Arizona, aims to equip her students with the tools to create their own unique style, teaching them to make their paintings glow.

Fábio Cembranelli – watercolours, plus oils and acrylics (14-21 June 2014): an international artist from Brazil who is famous for his landscapes and luminous floral watercolours, Fábio also teaches in oils and acrylics, and enjoys teaching his students plein air painting in the wonderful Tuscan countryside.

Mike Willdridge – watercolours, plus oils and acrylics (21-28 June 2014): with over 20 years’ experience, energetic and light-hearted British painter Mike has a quick, loose style, encouraging students to simplify their own work.

New: Georgia Mansur – watercolours, impasto acrylics and oils (16-23 August 2014): Californian-born Georgia now lives on the family vineyard in Australia and enjoys teaching watercolours, impasto acrylics and oils in the great outdoors.

Laraine Simpson – oils, pastels, watercolours (31 August-7 September 2014): experienced tutor Laraine has a structured approach to developing creative self-expression, and equips students with practical techniques supported by relevant theory.

g.a. Sheller – watercolour, acrylic, oil, photography (13-20 September 2014): g.a. hails from New York and has received many accolades for her unique work and inspirational teaching over the last 30 years. She discusses composition, colour and creativity in her inspirational workshops.

New: John Wilson – A Masterclass in oils and the landscape (20-27 September 2014): an award-winning artist who lives in Australia’s Blue Mountains, this is John’s first course at The Watermill and he will apply his skills to the beautiful countryside surrounding the mill.

Charles Sluga – watercolours, plus acrylics and oils (27 September-4 October 2014): Australian artist Charles is a highly respected watercolour artist and teacher in both Australia and Europe, and likes to push the boundaries of what watercolour is capable of.

2014 Creative writing courses:

New: Alex and Jude – ‘They say everyone has a book in them so what’s your story?’ (26 April-3 May 2014): if you’ve always wanted to write a novel, memoir or short story, Alex and Jude’s flexible approach will help you on your way, providing tips and advice to make your characters compelling and ensuring the plot has the right amount of pizzazz.

Sharon Kendrick – ‘Writing romance’ (3-10 May 2014): with more than 90 books for Harlequin Mills & Boon to her name, Sharon is highly experienced in writing best-selling romantic fiction and she will pass on her knowledge of what publishers like and how to get your work published.

Laurence Marks – TV Comedy and Drama scriptwriting (6-13 September 2014): having penned popular TV dramas such as Birds of a Feather and The New Statesman, Laurence will show you how to write scripts that stand up and get noticed and provide tips about writing a classic television comedy.

For further information on the above courses, visit