“An Affair of the Art, 2013” to Benefit Ryman Arts

kimminichiello.comHong Kong Happy Hour at Feather Boa, Watercolor on Archival Paper, 18″ x 12″

Available at “An Affair of the Art, 2013”

I was invited to be a participating artist in “An Affair of the Art 2013,” to benefit Ryman Arts,  which takes place this Saturday.  I attended this event every year when I worked at Walt Disney Imagineering.


Kyoto Tanuki, Watercolor on Archival Paper, 8″ x 10″

Available at “An Affair of the Art, 2013”

Named after Artist, Designer and Mentor,  Herbert D. Ryman, Ryman Arts teaches skills in art and life to teens in a nurturing studio environment.  High school students interested in pursuing a career in art can take classes and get guidance to help them prepare for college and a creative career in the arts.  The program is free to any student based on their ability and commitment, without regard to their families financial status.


Herbert D. Ryman or Herbie to those Imagineers who had the fortunate opportunity to know and work with him, created the first overall illustration of Disneyland, as Walt described it to him.  This illustration was used to pitch the concept to get funding for the construction of Disneyland.  Herbie worked on every Disney theme park until his death in 1989.

Hong Kong Gatekeeper_for blog

Hong Kong Gatekeeper, Watercolor on Archival Paper, 6″ x 6″

Available at “An Affair of the Art, 2013”

The Affair of the Art, is hosted by two of the founders  of Ryman Arts, Leah and Marty Sklar in their home in Southern California, mid September 2013. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of all the art in the show, will go toward Ryman Arts.   Marty was head writer for Walt Disney, and was the head of Walt Disney Imagineering up until his recent retirement a few years ago.

 I’m extremely excited to be a part of this event and joining the company of many talented artists.  One other watercolor and print making  artist, Belinda Del Pesco,  is also participating.  I am a great admirer of her work and have followed her blog since living in Hong Kong in 2007.Unfortunately I will now be attending but have many friends who will be my eyes and ears!  I hope the evening is a huge success to benefit this great organization!
For more information on Herb Ryman click here.

For more information on Ryman Arts click here.

For ticket information click here.

To preview the artwork in the show click here.

To preview silent auction items click here.


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Sketching on Gray Days at the Musee Guimet in Paris

Kim MinichielloMontage of Sketches of works in the Musee Guimet using Black Prismacolor Pencil

We have had a lot of gloomy and rainy weather since Monday.  It’s making me nostalgic for Paris, so today I’m sharing a page from my Musee Guimet sketchbook.

The museum is in the 16th on Place d’Ieana and has the largest collection of Asian art in Europe.  This place was my sanctuary on those cold gray days, when I was getting stir crazy in the apartment but by no means wanted to spend any time outside!  I would pass the whole day sketching in the museum.

This sheet is a montage of different pieces on display there.



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The Florida Watercolor Society Convention in Sarasota

Frank SpinoMy friend, Frank Spino with his Painting, Orange Crush, Frank is also the cover artist of Splash 14

What and amazing weekend!! I am so honored and proud to be a member of the Florida Watercolor Society!  It is 970 members strong and there was an attendance this weekend at the conference of over 500.  It is the only watercolor society in the nation that makes an event and conference around the annual exhibition. Here is a brief run down of how it all progresses.   The week before the show,  there are 2 four day workshops given by a variety of well known artist.  One of the workshops is always given by the judge of the show.  Last year workshops were given by Nicolas Simmons and Soon Y Warren.  I was thrilled Nick chose my piece to be in the exhibition, and his workshop was amazing.  This year’s workshops were given by Linda Baker, the judge of the show, and Mike Bailey, former president of the National Watercolor Society.  This year a third one day workshop with Sue Allen was offered too.  These workshops are optional, very popular and they usually fill up very fast.

Me and Jorge

My friend Jorge Leon & Moi, next to his painting, Waiting for You, Congrats to Jorge who got his FWS Signaure Status this show.

On Thursday evening, after the workshops conclude the judge of the show gives a keynote talk and demo.  Linda Baker’s demo was wonderful.  She is such a sweet person and I was intrigued to learn more about her painting technique which involves more masking and pouring.  Then Friday the fun continues…. a full day of demonstrations given by a wide variety of artists in the conference rooms as well as the trade show.  There is so much to do and see, you can’t possibly do it all.  It’s hard to pick and choose!  This year I attended demo’s given by, a roster of amazing Florida artists which includes:  Janet and Steve Rogers, Pat Weaver, Karen Braverman, Lynn Ferris, Sterling Edwards, Teresa Kirk, and Jamie Cordero.  Mike Bailey also did a demo on Saturday.  There are also expert panels, and talks on marketing and showing your art, and digital critiques, given by painters who are very well known in our field, who have painted, taught and judged shows for many years.

Janet Rogers

Janet Rogers giving demo at Cheap Joe’s Booth

Did I mention trade show?  A whose who of the art supply world is there, Cheap Joe’s, Jerry’s Artorama, giclee companies, local art supply companies, and representatives from all the regional watercolor societies.  All giving great deals and discounts so that we can stock up for the year!  The president of Daniel Smith also attended the conference.  I was thrilled to meet and get to know Joe Miller, Cheap Joe.  He is the kindest and sweetest person that does so much for us artists.

Mike Bailey

Mike Bailey starting his painting in the Paint Around

Saturday bright and early I volunteered to help with the Paint Around. Five artists prepare a drawing and reference material, each start with their painting but every 10 minutes, the paintings swap easels!  Every artist works on each other’s paintings.  You end up with your own at the end to finish it.  You never know what’s going to come back to you!  All the paintings are raffled off with many of other raffle items and prizes that take place throughout the weekend and raise money for FWS.

Lynn FerrisLynn Ferris Demo

Saturday is similar to Friday, more demos, trade show, plus a digital critique given by the judge, who goes through every painting accepted into the show, explaining why they chose it and what they liked about it.  I also had a chance, for a fee,  to do a half hour critique, one on one, with this year’s judge, Linda Baker.  I did not get into the show this year, and it was a great opportunity to really know why and put the speculation to rest. I could submit 10 of my paintings for her to review.   My take away from the meeting was basically it was the subject matter I chose to enter this year.  Looking at my portfolio there were three paintings she would have chosen had I entered those! You can never second guess what a judge is going to be drawn to.   She also gave suggestions for some small improvements that would make some paintings more appealing to a judge.

Theresa Kirk

Friend Teresa Kirk with her painting, Scorpion VII, this painting also won an award in the show.

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to have a 10 minute meeting with the editor of Splash, Rachel Rubin Wolf.  She looked at 2 of the paintings Linda did, and I found it curious that there were elements in the paintings that she questioned that Linda liked and vice versa!  It just goes to show that there is no right or wrong, what one may be drawn to another might not.  Don’t be discouraged to enter shows and competitions.  The judges vary with each and eventually one will click with your work!  The main take away  from a number of judges I have heard talk on the subject of jurying shows and what they are looking for  is,  design and composition, emotion, emotion, emotion!, hand of the artist,  creativity, and lastly technique.

Karen Braverman

Karen Braverman Demo

The weekend concluded on Sunday with the general meeting and a presentation by Rachel on her role as editor of Splash, her process and what she is looking for as she chooses artwork for publication.  The same rules apply as getting juried into shows, but differ too in that she is putting a book together and is focusing on what looks good on a page, versus an exhibition.  And of course, her own tastes and preferences factor into the final selections.  When it comes down to choosing between two outstanding images, it can be like splitting hairs!

One of the best parts for me of the whole weekend is seeing friends, making new friends, and being with hundreds of people that have the same passion you do!   Now, it’s time to get busy and paint!!!!!

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Kraft Azalea Garden in Winter Park Florida and A Wonderful Memory

Kim MinichielloWatercolor on Archival Paper 8″ x 10″, 20cm x 25cm

I have had some real bittersweet moments this week.  We took my daughter to college last weekend and my husband and I are officially empty nesters.  I have had my moments of sadness because, of course,  I will miss her dearly.  But, I am also very excited at the same time, as she starts her new life adventure, fulfilling her dreams!

One afternoon a few weeks ago we went Winter Park and she and I wondered around the Kraft Azalea Garden on Lake Maitland, during the “magic hour”  when the afternoon light has that golden hue casting long shadows and creating a patchwork of lights and darks on the lawn.

This painting was done there.  It’s a small work, 8” x 10”, 20cm x 25cm, featuring the exedra, which is a portico with a bench or seats where people may converse, especially in  ancient Greek and Roman houses.  This beautiful spot is known for sunset wedding ceremonies.

This painting is available for sale, price is $250, plus, $15.95 shipping.

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Watercolor Sketch, Peel Street Lanterns, Hong Kong

Kim MinichielloWatercolor on Handmade Paper

This sketch I did sitting on my stool across the street from a lantern and funerary shop on Peel Street in Hong Kong. Looking at this sketch takes me right back there!  It was one of those days that was so full of sensory overload:  shoppers bustling up and down the street, smells of food being prepared from the neighboring dai pai dongs, and being serenaded by Chinese opera music from the shop I was sitting in front of.  Some artists have a problem painting with so much activity.  It doesn’t really bother me. I enjoyed the atmosphere and at the same time I can focus and tune it out. The next week I went into the shop to buy something and the shopkeeper recognized me and wanted to to see the painting!

This sketch has inspired a larger painting I am currently designing.  It has been on and off the drawing board with all of the goings on this summer.  When things quite down the end of the month, I will get back to it!!  I think it’s gong to be fun to paint. I can’t wait!


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Books that Inspire: Brain Storm, Unleashing Your Creative Self, by Don Hahn



When I was at Walt Disney Imagineering during the design phase of Disneyland Paris there was one morning a week, I believe it was Monday if my memory serves me, that we had the “Monday Morning Breakfast Meeting.”  Any WDI peeps that are reading this can correct me if it fell on another day of the week.:-)  One of the creative directors, Peggy Van Pelt, organized these meetings as well as many other artistic and creative programs for the artists and designers at WDI.  The meetings were on a variety of topics. Guest lecturers gave an hour presentation on what Peggy thought Imagineers would find interesting.  Plus, there was free breakfast from the WDI cafeteria!

One meeting that sticks out in my mind was the one where we went across the street to the animation theatre to see Don Hahn, the producer of Lion King, present Lion King during it’s design phase.  Since animation is a different division than Imagineering  within the Walt Disney Company, we heard rumblings about this new movie they were working on and we wanted to find out more.   Don is a very funny and engaging speaker as well as author.  I never will forget, starting his presentation, he showed a clip of the opening sequence; first the African chant, then the gorgeous animation of the African savanna, Elton John singing the intro and then that last loud drum beat at the end.  We were all sitting there dumbfounded with our jaws dropped to the floor and  goosebumps on our arms.  The room was a buzz with excitement.  This was going to be good!!

Don went on to produce Beauty and the Beast, and the Hunchback of Notre Dame.  His other credits include, The Disneynature films Earth, Oceans, and African Cats and the short The Little Match Girl, which earned him his second Oscar Nomination.  Beauty and the Beast was his first, which was the first animated film nominated for and Oscar.    He has also authored a number of books.

I just recently read his latest book, Brain Storm, Unleashing Your Creative  Self.  Don is such a witty writer, this is one of those books that can be so funny you will find yourself literally laughing out loud!  However at the same time,  it is very thought-provoking about the creative self and the creative process.  Don pulls experiences from his own life from boy hood to today, siting  personal examples to explain aspects of being a creative person.  There are stories recalling  sneaking a colander in his room, when he was little, in his pajama pants to create the night sky on the ceiling in his bedroom with a flash light to many tales on what it was like  working on his many Disney projects.  The main point I took away from the book was inspiring creativity in your daily life, whatever that creative endeavor is that drives you.

“When you focus on the journey and not the arrival, then your art becomes more like a treasured artifact of the creative process.  A painting, a poem, a sketch or a piece of music that you’ve written becomes a record of your life – a souvenir of the creative process, just as much as the photos are an artifact of your unforgettable travels abroad.”   -Don Hahn from Brainstorm Unleashing Your Creative Self.

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Watercolor Sketch: God of Longevity Shou Star



Watercolor on Handmade Paper

There are three deities in the Taoist philosophy that represent good fortune.  The personified images of these three are Fu star, Lu star and Shou star.  They are referred to as stars because of their ties with chinese astrology.  You will see statues of these three stars in almost every temple in Hong Kong and in many homes, restaurants and shops.

Shou star or I believe, Sao, in Cantonese is the God of Longevity.  He has a high domed forehead, carries a staff in his right hand and holds a peach in his left, which represents immortality.

This watercolor sketch is from a Sao statue on a wall at Hung Shing Temple that  I would pass on my way to my framers on Queens Road East, in Wan Chai. This is just a small street side temple that used to face the water front until Hong Kong expanded outward!   There seemed to be a revolving display of deities on this wall, because every time I passed by there was something new to see.  I enjoyed taking photos of whatever happened to be there.  It would have been impossible to sketch at this location as busy as Queens Road is and the temples proximity to the street, so I did this one in the studio because I wanted a memory of this temple in my sketchbook.  I’m planning on a series of temple paintings featuring the other stars!  Stay tuned.

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Watercolor Sketch: Aberdeen Floating Village, Jumbo Restaurant & Sampans


 Watercolor on Handmade Paper

My watercolor sketch travelogue continues in Hong Kong with one from a floating platform next to the Jumbo restaurant in the Aberdeen Harbor.  I was very fortunate to make friends with a few artists while living there.  My friend Gladys and I would try to go out once a week to sketch.  The day we scheduled to go was a gloomy day in December but we went for it anyway.  We headed down to the Aberdeen marina and took a sampan over to the Jumbo Floating Restaurant.

Kim Minichiello

Our Sampan Driver

This was an experience in itself just crossing the harbor.  Like many things in Hong Kong there are a number of ways to go about doing something.  Lining the harbor are private sampans for which we had many offers of taking us over for 50 -100 hundred Hong Kong dollars, or as Gladys would say, honkies.  She is a local. :-).   This equates to about $6-$12 US dollars. These are nice if you want a 30 minute tour of the harbor, but we just wanted a one way jaunt to the Jumbo.   If you are a tourist, you may think this is the only way to go.  However, I had the advantage of being with Gladys, who knew a way around this!  If you know where to look there is a public sampan you can take to the other side for around .25 cents US!  What was even more amazing you can scan your Octopus Card, Hong Kong’s, public transportation card, for the fare.  A mix of modern technology with the old world.

Kim Minichiello

Boat dwellings in Aberdeen Harbor

The Aberdeen Harbor and the Aberdeen Floating Village has been and still is home to Hong Kong’s boat dwellers, descendants of which were said to have arrived in Hong Kong around the 7th-9th century.  If you would like to immerse yourself in a traditional Hong Kong experience this is a great place to visit.

Kim Minichiello

Jumbo Floating Restaurant

Another popular attraction which was our destination was the Jumbo Floating Restaurant.  Established in 1976, it is one of the renowned tourist attractions in Hong Kong.  In the  lobby is a photo gallery of the who’s who of the many people who have visited over the years:  Queen Elizabeth II, Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne, and William Holden during the filming of “Love Is  a Many- Splendored Thing,”  and the “World of Suzie Wong,” to name a few.

Kim Minichiello

Sightseeing Sampan

Gladys and I settled our selves on a service platform behind the restaurant to paint boats in the harbor.  It was actually great to sketch on a grayer day. A great exercise in mixing grayed color.   It started to lightly drizzle so we cut the day short and headed over to the Aberdeen Marina Club, in a sampan of course,  for some hot Jasmine tea, and an incredible Dim Sum lunch!  A perfect sketch day with a great friend!

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