My Paris Apartment and Chinese Fans For the Dining Room


Horse Chestnut Fan, Limited Edition Giclée Print from Original Watercolor Available

For more information click here.

The building I lived in, in Paris,  was built in 1865 and was the quintessential older Paris apartment featuring wood floors, crown and fine decorative moldings on the walls,  fireplaces in every room, and mirrors above each fireplace that had exquisite patina from age.  I often wondered whose face had gazed in those mirrors.

You may not know that when you lease an apartment in Paris, you are literally starting from scratch.  Nothing is left behind, including the entire kitchen (cabinets included), every single light fixture, (bare bulbs hang from the ceiling), towel rods, toilet paper holders, curtain rods, you get the idea.  If it can be removed, it will be.  It’s just the way.

With a corporate relocation the whole process begins working with a local agency to help you  find a place to live.  After finding the apartment which is a job in itself.  The real work begins.  Usually floors are re-sanded and finished, and walls are painted.  You are blessed if there is no other renovation work to be done which is rare.  Luckily we were shown only apartments that didn’t have to have their insides torn out. You still have to design and choose your kitchen cabinets, counter tops and appliances. Usually the budgets are very tight for the furnishings. Given the budget constraints, your choices are IKEA and whatever is similar to IKEA.  Between Hong Kong and Paris, I poured through the IKEA catalogue so much I felt like I had the darn thing memorized!  I had those wacky Swedish names going through my head for months! A late 1800‘s Paris apartment and IKEA furniture, seemed to me like the ultimate dichotomy. We did have a few pieces of furniture we bought in Hong Kong to add to the mix.


Persimmon Fan, Limited Edition Giclée Print from Original Watercolor Available

For more information click here.

 I won’t bore you with all the shenanigans involved in putting it all together.  Suffice it to say that it took a better part of six months and a few nervous breakdowns.  But in the end it all came together and we loved it.  I ran all over Paris and environs to find the furniture, rugs, chandeliers, curtains, all curtain hardware, all the linens, bathroom hardware, dishes, pots pans, etc.  The chandeliers were actually plastic made to look like crystal, well sort of,  and I aged them to look like antique glass.  My neighbor’s mother who was from Italy, saw them across the courtyard, and thought they were Murano glass! 🙂

The dining room had two built in china cabinets with large arched openings above them.  They were screaming for a piece of art, but I didn’t have any large ceramic or glass pieces that would have been nice there.  One day while out running  around I found some inexpensive Chinese fans that were perfect in size.    They were bright red so I covered them with some Chinese papers, and designed paintings to go on each.  I did a mock-up painting on paper before actually painting the fans.  I was inspired to paint persimmons and horse chestnut trees.  Both are asian motifs which I thought would be great on the fans, and I could buy persimmons in the local markets.  Horse chestnut trees lined the boulevard at my local park.  So there was an Asian and French connection!
These fan paintings plus other works are available as limited edition giclée prints & note cards,  and can  be purchased though my web site.


A few pictures of the Paris apartment.



Happy Birthday to…. My Blog and a Giclée Print Giveaway

www.kimminichiello.comPoppies, Watercolor on Archival Paper, 11″ x 15″

A Giclée print of this painting can be yours!  Please enter the giveaway by leaving a comment on this blog post.

I honestly can’t believe it has been one year since I started my blog!  Where has the time gone? After many years of toying with the idea of starting a blog, I finally went for it a year ago this week.  I first discovered art blogs, that were mostly part of the daily painters movement right after I moved to Hong Kong in 2007.  Many artists I followed then are still blogging today, Belinda Del Pesco, Carol Marine, Karen Jurick, Katherine Tyrrell’s, Making a Mark, and Laura Frankstone of Laurelines to name a few.  I guess I was what you call a lurker, I didn’t comment very much but I was so grateful for that time with my morning tea to read what other artist were doing, and feel a connection to the US, living so far from home.  At that time Facebook wasn’t nearly what it is today, therefore following blogs was the only way to make connections with other artists.

One day while searching through blog roles, pre Facebook, I found a former Walt Disney Imagineering colleague, Marcelo Vignali and connected with him.  He told me, “You have to do a blog, it’s great! It’s a great chance to connect with and meet people.”  I’m somewhat of a shy private person, so it took me a while to finally relent and put myself out on the blogoshere. I told myself if I were to do one, I would commit to it and at least do one post a week and I’m happy to say I’ve fallen in somewhat of a routine of doing two when I can.  I didn’t want it to be a big pressure, so I post what ever I’m in the mood to show or say, with the general idea of featuring my work, talk about some of the processes, impart knowledge that will help other artists, and give those who like my work a chance to get to know me better.   I love movies, books, travel, museums, and to talk about artists whom I find inspiring. I’ve enjoyed the past year sharing my watercolor sketches from my travels.  So far that’s been the direction of my blog, but who knows what else is lurking around the corner.  As long as I enjoy doing the blog and there are people who enjoy reading it I will do it.

Now Facebook seems to be more prevalent than blogging.  Is blogging becoming a dying art?  I hope not.  I’d like to think there are still those that like to read and enjoy what other artists have to say rather than quickly scrolling through the news feed on Facebook.

I hope all that are following me on this blogging journey have enjoyed what I have shown and shared. It’s hard to really know how much of a following there is, but like many things, it takes time to incubate and grow!  If you know of others you feel would enjoy it please pass on the link!

To celebrate the one year anniversary of my blog, I am giving away a giclée print of my painting Poppies.  All you have to do is leave a comment on today’s post and you will be eligible!  I recently received in the mail a lovely giclée print from blogging friend, Julie Ford Oliver, from a giveaway she did recently to start off the new year!  I may follow her lead and let my husband, who is also a designer and artist, choose the winner from the comments, or do a random drawing.

A sincere thank you to all and hope you continue to enjoy and find some inspiration visiting my blog!!

Limited Edition Prints & Note cards available here.


Books that Inspire: The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel



I have been trying to finish this book before the movie comes out, on Feb. 7, which I can’t wait to see.   I thought I would post about it now in case anyone who is a fast reader is so inclined to do the same!

This amazing book chronicles the lives of the heroes of World War II whose mission it was to preserve the art and cultural heritage of Europe.  Many in the academic  art and museum community had caught wind of Hitlers grand plan to pillage many of the museums and historical sites throughout the European continent.   Being rejected after applying to the art academy in Vienna by a panel of art experts he believed to be Jewish  always had a devastating  effect on him.  When he came into power he had grand visions of being Emperor of Europe making Berlin his Rome and his home town of Linz Austria his Florence. His dream was to create a monumental art complex along the river in Linz.  This development would include a giant mausoleum to house his tomb, symphony halls, opera houses, libraries and cinemas, and above all an art museum.    All to vindicate his rejection to art school.  The architectural renderings alone were 20 feet long and the model for this grand plan took up an entire room.  With all of this in the works, the plan  was set forth during the war,  to amass the largest art collection in the world to fill his museum.

As early as 1941 in the United States directors of all the major museums were meeting to contemplate if they needed to protect treasures here at home and the logistics of doing so. They were concerned about attacks on American soil and the Nazis robbing museums across the country.   Thus a division of the Army was established, small that it was, to protect historical and culturally relevant sites from being bombed, salvaging anything they could from those that were, and going on the biggest treasure hunt in history to find works that  the Nazi’s had already hidden.

This book is just another reminder of the heroic efforts of the brave men and women who fought for the freedoms for humanity and to preserve it’s cultural legacy.

Mayan Gate is in the Florida Watercolor Society’s 2014 On Line Show

www.kimminichiello.comMayan Gate, Watercolor on Archival Paper, 14.5″ x 21.5″

Mayan Gate has been accepted into the Florida Watercolor Society’s 2014 On Line Show! Thanks to juror M.E. Mike Bailey and many congratulations to all my fellow Florida artists!!! Feeling honored, 35 were chosen from 243 entries.  Click here to see the show.



Respite from a Cold Winter Day, Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil, Paris France

www.kimminichiello.comWatercolor Sketch on Handmade Paper

Here is watercolor sketch I did of the big green house.  I like to use some permanent ink with some of my sketches, specifically when it’s architecture.  This was not done in the winter time but on a glorious summer day!  

We are having a bit of a cold snap here in Florida.  Although, I can’t complain compared to the winter weather in the rest of the country!  Having lived so many years in California  and Florida, I don’t do winter very well.  The three times I have lived in Paris the winters were brutal for me.  My last time living there in the 16th arrondissement, I found a treasure not far from home,  the Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil.  It’s on the edge of the Bois de Boulougne  and it dates back to 1761 under the reign of Louis XV.  It consists of a parterre garden with a huge greenhouse, and aviary, that was open all year round.  I read that they used to store the citrus trees from Versailles here in a hot-house during winter.

Kim Minichiello_Jardin d'Auteuil

Many Paris winter days can be cold, damp, and grey.  When I needed a tropical fix, I would go and hang out in the “hot- house.”  I could pretend I was in some exotic tropical location and all the winter blues would just melt away.  It was hard to leave and have the cold air smack you in the face to bring you right back to reality.

Kim Minichiello


Today is for The Birds and Good Fortune

Nest by Julie Ford OliverNest & Feather, oil, 6 x 6, by Julie Ford Oliver

photo via Julie’s blog

I have been an admirer of fellow artist Julie Ford Oliver’s work for a while now.  Although we have never met in person, we are friends in the blog-o-sphere and on Facebook.  Recently she had a giveaway on her blog for one of her small original oils of a beautiful bird’s nest and feather.  Last year she had show featuring many wonderful  works in oils and watercolor with a birds nest theme. I wish I could have seen it in person.  Although, I didn’t win the original painting, I found out today that I did win a giclée print!  I’m so thrilled and can’t wait to receive it.


www.kimminichiello.comOwl in my neighbor’s tree

I had a giveaway in December to thank all of my email and newsletter subscribers,  for any giclée print on my web site.  The winner for my giveaway happened to be one of my neighbors.  As I was delivering her print today, I heard the family of owls, living in my neighborhood,  communicating with each other. I usually only hear them at night.  The owl happened to be in the tree directly above where I was walking.  It is always a treat to see these beautiful creatures, especially in the day time!

So today seems to be about good fortune, birds and giclée prints.  The start of the new year has brought me many good fortunes so far. Right after the new year, I found out that two of my paintings, Lotus Nocturne and Bananas on Japanese Box had been juried in to the Third Annual Women Painters of the Southeast Exhibition. Last week, I was the lucky recipient of a drawing for a demo painting from friend and  Florida artist Dana Daydodge, at the Central Florida Watercolor Society meeting.  A day later I got an e-mail that I had won a free chair massage at our local Whole Foods!  Hmmmmm maybe I should go buy a lottery ticket!



Sketch Page from the Musée Guimet in Paris France

I’m in design and sketch mode right now on a commission, which I can’t share yet. So I thought I would share more sketches today from the Guimet Musée, in Paris.  I miss this place!!  This page shows sketches of statues from Vietnam, Tibet, and a Noh mask from Japan.

Limited Edition Prints & Note cards available here.

A Good Way to Start the New Year!

www.kimminichiello.comLotus Nocturne 39″ x 18.5″, Watercolor on Archival Paper

Happy New Year Everyone! As I look back on the year I’m so thankful I get to do what I love to do, paint and create a bit of beauty in the world!  I’ve been thinking about some goals for the year, a new series of paintings I’d like to do.  I am also planning on teaching workshops which I’m very excited about!  What are your art goals for the year?  If you would like, please share with a comment.

I started off the year with some great news!  Two of my paintings, Lotus Nocturne and Bananas on Japanese Box,  have been juried in to the 2nd Annual Women Painters of the Southeast Exhibition.  This years show will be  at the Magnolia Gallery in Greensboro Georgia,  March 28-April 18.

Bananas on Japanese Box, 10″ x 12″, Watercolor on Archival Paper

Kim Minichiello

Limited Edition Prints & Note cards available here.