Sketching the Louvre in the Tuileries & the Japanese Tourists

www.kimminichiello.comWatercolor Sketch on Handmade Paper

I have been super busy working on the Coral Reef Restaurant menu commission, so I thought I would post another sketch today.  This one was done on a day in Paris when the nasty weather had finally broke, (I know some of my readers can relate to nasty weather right now!). The sun had come out and everyone flocked outside to get some sun and fresh air including me!

I headed straight for the Tuileries Gardens, parked myself on a bench, (it was slim pickings) and started to sketch and paint.  I had always wanted to do a view of the Louvre and not get too caught up in the details of the building but be very sketchy and insinuate them with value.  I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

Just as I was finishing a lovely group of Japanese ladies on a tour stopped and started to gather around me watching me paint.  The Japanese tour guide asked me in French if it was OK.  (The Japanese are so polite.)  I said, “bien sur”,  they watched and made comments as I was painting, none of which I could understand.  I only know a few words of “tourist Japanese.”  The tour guide indicated to the ladies it was time to move on, and translated to me in French, thank you very much for letting them stop and my sketch was beautiful!”  For which I replied, “arigatou gozaimasu,” the formal way of saying thank you in Japanese.  You had thought I had given them a million yen by their reaction.  They were shocked and amazed that I had replied in Japanese! They all giggled, bowed and smiled, thanked me and were on their way.

Little did they know, probably thinking they had happened upon a French woman painting in the gardens, was actually an American who happened to speak French and enough Japanese to make their day.  They certainly made mine!


Work in Progress Paris Passy Gate & Some History of Passy

www.kimminiciello.comWork in Progress of Paris Passy Gate, Watercolor on Archival Paper

I have been painting the last few days my commission for the cover art for the Coral Reef Restaurant at Epcot.  Since I can’t share any images yet,  I though I would post some work in progress photos of the painting I was working on while the design for the menu was being reviewed.

This piece is inspired by a gate in the neighborhood where I lived in Paris.  I lived in an area near the Trocadéro, where the Eiffel Tower is, called Passy.  This area has historical significance for a number of reasons, and evidence of it’s history are scattered about the area.

It was home to Benjamin Franklin for his nine-year stay during the American Revolutionary War.  He helped maintain French support for the war effort during his time there.  At that time, Passy was a rural village and not really a part of Paris proper.  One can see many tributes to him throughout the 16th arrondissement.  There is a statue near the Trocadéro, a restaurant near where my daughter went to school,  and a street named after him.

Work in Progress of Paris Passy Gate, Watercolor on Archival Paper

Artists, Édouard Manet and Berthe Morisot  lived in the area and are buried in the Passy Cemetery. This is also the final resting place of Claude Debussy after being reinterred there from his initial burial at Père Lachaise.  His wife and daughter are buried with him. Balzac also lived and wrote in Passy and his home is a charming, quaint museum.

During the twentieth century, a group of avant guard artists part of the Cubists movement, dubbed themselves the “Artists of Passy”  to form a unit of solidarity. Few among them were painters, Albert Gleizes, Fernand Léger,  and Guillaume Apollinaire.



Acceptance into the Annual Central Florida Watercolor Exhibition

www.kimminichiello.comBirds’ Eye View, Watercolor on Archival Paper, 30″ x 11.5″, will be available for purchase during the exhibition

I’m feeling honored and blessed to be able to do what I love to do and it’s just icing on the cake when my work is recognized by jurors to be included into exhibitions with other talented artists.  Found out this weekend that my painting Bird’s Eye View which is the header for my blog and Facebook page, was selected by juror Karlyn Holman for the Annual Central Florida Watercolor Society Exhibition.  Karlyn is a nationally recognized watercolor artist, teacher and author. If you are in the central Florida area, the exhibition will be at the Sanford Welcome Center, Sanford, Florida, March 28-April 22.

Limited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.

My Current Commission, Cover Art for Menus at Coral Reef Restaurant at Epcot, Walt Disney World

www.kimminichiello.comInterior of Coral Reef Restaurant at Epcot, Walt Disney World

I’ve been working on a commission since last November and haven’t been able to share the details.  I can now share what it is, but not any images, sketches, or work in progress photos yet.  I’m thrilled to be working with Walt Disney Imagineering again on a design and illustration project! The graphics group initially commissioned me to design and paint in watercolor the cover for lunch menu for the Coral Reef Restaurant at Epcot.  If you have never been, it is one of the nicest dining rooms at Walt Disney World featuring a panoramic view of the aquarium that is also part of The Seas with Nemo & Friends attraction, formally knows as  the Living Seas Pavilion. When if first opened in 1986,  it had the largest salt water tank in the world at 5.7 million gallons.  However, in 2005 when the Georgia Aquarium opened it became the second largest.

Entrance Hall Looking Back Toward Lobby

First I had to do quite a bit of research to become familiar with the sea life that was in the tank.  One morning I went and photographed the tank from inside the restaurant before guests arrived.  Since I was there, I couldn’t help myself and rode The Seas with Nemo & Friends ride, :-), which put me on the other side of the attraction with more views of the big tank and smaller exhibits with aquariums featuring coral, smaller fish, eels, and sea horses.  There is also a manatee tank in this area as well.  I took well over 500 photos so that I would have plenty of reference material.

Kim Minichiello

Glass Accent Light Fixture on Wall in Dining Area

I worked out the overall design for the menu cover from all the reference material I gathered doing a number of sketches until I was happy with the composition.   I then did a tighter pencil sketch, value study,  watercolor color swatches and a half size color comp that was presented to get approval for design.  The  group at Epcot like it so much, they want to incorporate the painting on, not only the lunch menu, but the dinner and dessert menu too!  Now that the design has been approved I will start on the actual painting.  I’m putting some other studio work on hold to get back to this project.  It has been so much fun doing the research and design and I’m really looking forward to the actual painting part to see it come to life!

Unfortunately I won’t be able to share any images until the menus go to print, which should be some time in April…. so stay tuned!

Door Pull on Front Door to Coral Reef Restaurant


Thanks to Everyone… and the Winner is…


Poppies, Watercolor on Archival Paper, 11″ x 15″, Original and Limited Edition Print Available

I want to personally thank everyone who made a comment on my blog post to celebrate it’s one year anniversary!!!  Many of you I haven’t been in touch with for a while so it was wonderful to hear from you, and it makes me feel thrilled and honored that you all are reading and enjoying the blog!

I did a random drawing through and the winner is….drum roll… Yolanda Garnier!  The Poppies are going to Paris!  Yolanda, please send me the mailing address you would like it sent to.  🙂

I will also be sending a print to Lisa, her comment warmed my heart and I love that she is sending the note cards she has with my art to Alzheimer patients!!

Hugs to all and thanks again for commenting!


Paris on My Mind and a Sketch From The Musée Rodin

www.kimminichiello.comWatercolor Sketch on Handmade Paper

I’m working on a new painting inspired by a place I used to walk by a lot in Paris. That, and the very cold, rainy damp weather we are having lately in Florida have put me in the Paris mood.  Working in the studio, I’ve been drinking Mariage Frère tea, listening to my French music mix and the two radio stations I used to listen to when I lived in Paris, TSF Jazz and FIP.  Both are on iTunes!  The ads are annoying but a great way for me to brush up on my French.

So today I’m sharing another Paris sketch.  This one was done in the gardens at the Musée Rodin.  The Hotel Biron which opened in 1919 as the Musée Rodin is undergoing a major renovation now.  I can see why they would need to update it for accessibility and security.  There was something quite nostalgic about it though, lacking in the modern layer of design polishing apart from the entry.  Once you stepped into the Hotel and walked from room to room, you felt like you were wondering through someones emptied out home with the most incredible art collection that was left behind.

Tomorrow I will be announcing the winner of a Limited Edition Giclée print of my painting Poppies, which I’m giving away to celebrate the one year anniversary of my blog.   If you haven’t left a comment yet to be eligible you still have time by clicking here.

Limited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.


Accepted into the 35th National Georgia Watercolor Society Exhibition

www.kimminichiello.comWaiting In the Wings, Watercolor on Archival Paper, 17″ x 13″

Available during the 35th National Georgia Watercolor Society Exhibition, Carrollton Cultural Arts Center, Carrollton GA

March 7-April 24

I’m thrilled, my painting Waiting in the Wings was chosen for the 35th National Georgia Watercolor Society’s Exhibition!  This is my second year in the show.  Last year my painting Hong Kong Happy Hour was chosen.  It’s always a great honor for me to be juried into shows, and to have my work included with some of the most talented watercolorists in the nation for national shows and from all over the world for international shows.

If you enter a few shows a year which  I do, the logistics of keeping track of it all can be tricky!  Some show dates conflict with each other.   Therefore a careful review of your inventory is necessary to decide which paintings will be submitted where.  Some will accept three paintings for the judge to see, some accept two, and some only accept one.  But usually only one painting  is juried into the show.  Many shows are going on at the same time, therefore if you submit three paintings for one judge to review for a particular show, those can not be submitted for other shows because any one of the three could be chosen and you don’t know which one it will be!

You always want to submit your best work, but usually out of the two or three you submit, you have a personal favorite that you feel is the strongest.  But, your favorite may not be the favorite of the judge, and he or she will choose their preference!  Judges are different from show to show.  Therefore, if a piece is rejected one year, from one organization, doesn’t mean it will be another time from a different judge!

If you are interested in submitting work to juried shows, keep your brushes moving so that you have a good inventory to choose from.  Only submit you strongest work that you are most proud of.  Keep careful records so that you don’t submit the same painting that may be tied up in another show, sold, or not be shipped back to you in time for the other deadline.  Most of all don’t give up!!! Rejection is all part of the process which doesn’t mean you are a bad painter or your work is bad either.  The way I look at rejection from shows is, the judge’s taste just didn’t lean toward my work, and now I have a painting that is available as consideration for another show, where the judge’s taste might lean in my direction!


My Newsletter for January 2014


Bird’s Eye View, Watercolor on Archival Paper, 30″ x 11.5″

Those that follow my blog, may or may not know that I publish a newsletter every month too! Thank you to those that follow by blog and subscribe to the Newsletter!  If you don’t have time to visit the blog, it’s a great re-cap of all of the new scoop relating to my art and what was featured on the blog. You can subscribe to receive it by clicking on the gray box at the top of my side bar.  You can access all the former newsletters, on my website by clicking here where you can subscribe as well.  If you would like to read the January 2014 Newsletter click here.

I really appreciate your support and would love to grow my audience this year.  If you have any friends, family or colleagues,  that you know that would be interested in my work please forward with the share links at the bottom of this post or share via email too!

You can still enter a comment here to be eligible to win the Limited Edition Giclée print of my painting Poppies. I will be drawing a winner the end of the week. Gook Luck!



Happy Chinese New Year… Year of the Horse

www.kimminichiello.comLion Dance, Watercolor on Archival Paper, 36″ x 36″

After living in Hong Kong, I’m always aware of the Chinese New Year!  So, Happy New Year… Year of the Horse!  I lived there during two Chinese New Years and they were my favorite holidays observed there.  Based on the lunar calendar, the fifteen day celebration started yesterday and ushers out the year of the water snake and in the year of the wooden horse.  Feng shui masters say the year of the horse may be tough for any negotiating because people stand firm in their beliefs and convictions. If this is true, I guess Congress won’t be getting much work done this year either!

Reward, Watercolor on Archival Paper, 6″ x 6″

Original painting available for purchase here.

Limited Edition Giclée Print & Note Cards available for purchase here.

The decorations are spectacular,  we always had the most beautiful pink flowering plum trees in the lobby of our apartment building. Flowers are an important part of the New Year Celebration.  Plum blossoms symbolize courage and hope, narcissus, good luck and fortune, and tangerines and oranges are displayed as a sign of wealth and luck.  Flowering plum and mandarin trees adorn many homes, businesses and temples throughout Hong Kong.

Everyone is the the holiday spirit similar to the Christmas spirit here.  The celebration lasts for many days and has different phases, where different customs are observed.   One is the ever popular Lie See envelopes.  These small red envelopes you tuck money inside are adorned with symbols for good fortune and luck, and sometimes have cartoon characters because it is a tradition to give them to children.   Work colleagues or people in business relationships give them to each other too.  As is the custom, to not forget all the service people that help you throughout the year.

The parades, Lion Dance and acrobatic performances and fireworks are spectacular, and are not to be missed!  All around a beautiful, festive, fun time of year.

Kim MinichielloLimited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.