The Actual Coral Reef Restaurant Menus at Epcot, Walt Disney World

 The Lunch, Dinner and Dessert Menus for the Coral Reef Restaurant at Epcot

I haven’t been to the Coral Reef Restaurant at Epcot, Walt Disney World to order from these yet, but I did get copies to keep!!  I am so thrilled with how they turned out!  After I did the initial design with the sea turtle the folks at Epcot liked the design so much they wanted to do the dinner and dessert menus too.  In order not to have to paint the entire painting multiple times, (It was painted on a full size watercolor sheet, 22″ x 30″)  I painted the spotted eagle ray separately and it was digitally swapped out with the turtle.  For the dessert menu they liked the lower left portion of the full painting and cropped in for the smaller menu.

Menu Interior

For the interior of the menu I did a tone on tone painting to serve as the background for the copy.  The graphic designer at Walt Disney Imagineering did the layout  of the other elements on top of my painted background.

The Original Painting, Watercolor, 22″ x 30″

The actual menus covers measure 8.5″ x 14″, however, I painted the image large because I wanted to have a larger surface to get more variation in color and not have to paint the details super small.

I couldn’t me more pleased and can’t wait to go and order food!


Watercolor Sketch at the Albert Kahn Museum and Gardens in Paris


Watercolor Sketch on Handmade Paper

I haven’t posted a watercolor travel sketch for a while so today I’m sharing one I did when I lived in Paris.  One nice thing about living in a city that one normally just visits is that once you have gone to all the museums and sites that are the most popular and that you would see as a tourist,  you start to discover and explore places that are off the beaten path.  The Albert Kahn Museum and Gardens in one of those places.

Albert Kahn was a 20th century philanthropist who made it his mission to document the planet.  He financed many discovery missions all of the world.  The museum houses his archive of autochrome Lumière photography (color photos on glass plates) collections from 60 countries.

The thing that is the most spectacular about the museum is it’s gardens.  Comprising 10 acres it’s organized in sections modeled on gardens from around the world: a contemporary and village style Japanese garden, a rocky Vosgienne forest and English and French Gardens.  There is also a Japanese tea pavilion where on certain days you can participate in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony led by a tea master from Kyoto.

I went to the gardens a few times in the spring because it was so such a relaxing place and was hardly ever crowded which made it the perfect place to sketch.  This sketch was done overlooking the Japanese bridge.

If you are interested in going, the museum and gardens are located in Boulogne-Billancourt at 10-14 rue du Port.  One can easily get there by metro or bus.

Work in Progress of Gate of Reverence, Watercolor

Watercolor on Handmade Paper

I’ve completed the details on the gate’s ironwork.  Next I’ll be adding details on the background, and then finally adjusting values overall until they are where I want them.  I’m happy with the gate so far!  I’ll be taking a break from this one to work on another small painting.  Stay tuned!

The Telfair Museums in Savannah Georgia

Entrance to the Jepson Center of Contemporary Art

Just had another wonderful weekend in Savannah!  A few months ago  I wrote a post about the SCAD Museum of Art, which I didn’t get to this trip because the SCAD Senior Fashion Show took place at the museum last weekend and it was closed for that event.  I saw SCAD’s production of Steven Sondheim’s Into the Woods at the Lucas Theatre which was excellent!  And, I had a second visit to another set of museums that are definitely worth seeing if you are in Savannah.

The Jepson Center designed by Moshe Safdie

The Telfair Museums comprise three buildings which are three completely different museum experiences.  You can buy a pass for all three for $20 which is good for the entire week if you want to spread your visits out beyond a day.

Entrance to the Telfair Academy

A good place to start is at the Telfair Academy,  it is one of the oldest museums in the country opening to the public in 1886 after the Metropolitan in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts,  and the Chicago Art Institute.  It is a former mansion built in 1819 for Alexander Telfair, son of a Revolutionary War patriot.  It houses their permanent collection of twentieth and nineteenth century art from American Impressionists who studied and painted with French Impressionists in Europe and  also works by artists from the Ashcan school.  One will see paintings by: Alfred Smith, Gari Melchers, Frederick Carl Frieseke, Childe Hassam, and William Merritt Chase to name just a few.  They also have traveling exhibitions and featured a show recently on artist Robert Henri, Spanish Sojourn: Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain which is now at the San Diego Museum of Art.

Main Lobby of the Jepson Center

Just to the right on Telfair Square is the Jepson Center of Contemporary Art.  This amazing building was designed by architect Moshe Safdie, and opened in 2006, after some controversy over whether the contemporary design fit in with the historic district of Savannah.  This museum features a collection of twentieth century contemporary artists, including Jasper John, Chuck Close, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Avedon and others.  Among it’s 7500 square feet of gallery space are traveling contemporary exhibitions.  Currently on display are five different exhibitions including Marilyn: Celebrating and American Icon presented in a variety of media celebrating Marilyn Monroe, Helen Levitt: In the Street, photos and a video of Manhattan neighborhoods in the 1940s.  In conjunction with this, is a video installation called Street by UK artist James Nares, who shot high def video out of and SUV  of current streets scenes in Manhattan, slowing the source material down to view at more than a slow motion speed which would last 61 minutes if you watched the whole thing.  At normal speed it would last all but three minutes.  It is a mesmerizing time capsule of daily life on the streets of Manhattan.

By this time you may be hungry, but not to fret, the Jepson has a wonderful cafe on the second floor that features dishes prepared with fresh local ingredients.  You can also lunch there without paying the museums admission.


The Jespon Cafe

The last building on the Telfair Museums excursion would be the Owens Thomas House.  Just a few blocks walk from the other two.  This can be visited via guided tours which take place every 15 minutes.  Just show your day pass to get tickets for the tour.  This former mansion was designed by William Jay, an architect from Bath England, who also designed the Telfair Mansion mentioned above. Competed in 1819 it is considered to be the finest example of English Regency architecture in the United States. It is a national historic landmark due to the fact the Marquis de Lafayette, hero of the American Revolutionary war stayed here with his son.

The Back Entrance to the Owens Thomas House

There have only been three families live in the Owens Thomas house, aside from the brief stint it served as a boarding house before the Owens purchased the home.  The original owner who commissioned Jay to design and build the home had amenities that no other house in the US could boast at that time. It had three cisterns that collected thousands of gallons of rain water, to provide water for all the indoor plumbing features, sinks, bathtubs, showers, and toilets.  This was unheard of for that time period, 1819, and it wouldn’t be until a few decades later that other homes in the US had these luxuries.

The Garden and the Carriage House, Former Stables and Slave Quarters of the Owens Thomas House


A good plan of action for a weekend visit is to take your time at the Jepson Center and the Telfair Academy and save the Owens Thomas house for the next day.  There are also tours on Sunday.

Also, don’t forget to see what might be happening at the Lucas Theatre!

Work in Progress, Gate of Reverence, Watercolor


Watercolor on Handmade Paper

More work in progress of this painting, Gate of Reverence.  This is still in the block in phase.  I’m not concerned about being super tight and getting things exactly how I want them at this point.  All of that will come later after the initial color block in is complete.

New Orleans and the Louisiana Watercolor Society 44th International Exhibition

Me and Anne

Me and judge Anne Abgott

I just had a wonderful weekend in New Orleans!  Saturday was the reception for the Louisiana Watercolor Society’s 44th International Exhibition at the Garden District Gallery.  It was a such a treat meeting some of the other artists in the show.  I had a chance to meet David Poxon via Skype, since he is in the UK, and a fellow Facebook friend Vicki Monette, whom I got to know through Carrie Waller. So nice to finally meet her in person.   All had fabulous work in the show.  Sorry I didn’t get to meet Facebook friends, Carrie, Iain Stewart, and Arena Shawn, who couldn’t make the reception but got to see their lovely paintings.   Thanks to judge Anne Abgott for including my painting in the show and for jurying such a well balanced beautiful body of work for this exhibition!  And a special thank you to all the LWS members who organized the show.  Without all of their hard work these events wouldn’t happen!

One of the rooms in the Garden District Gallery

The Garden District Gallery is catty-corner from the famous Commander’s Palace Restaurant in the Garden District

I didn’t know the long weekend was going to start off with such an adventure.  I had dinner with friends Friday evening when I  arrived only to come out of the restaurant in a torrential downpour, and my phone piercing my ear drums to tell us there were flash flood warnings.  Luckily we were  in and SUV and my friend had experience driving through flood water. Looking down the side streets off of St. Charles Ave.,  on the way back to the inn, I was getting a bit nervous seeing water up to the middle of doors on the parked cars!  With my friends expert driving, we made it to the street where my car was parked and luckily the water hadn’t passed the bottom of my car door.  If I had been parked on the South side of St. Charles, I would have been in trouble!  I moved my car to higher ground and waded back to my room with water almost up to my knees! (You will just have to trust me, it was dark and I was a bit scattered to take pictures!) By morning the water was gone and all had gone back to normal.

After the reception Saturday afternoon and dinner,  I was lucky to stumble upon the annual Champagne Stroll on Magazine Street!  Sunday, I spent the day wondering around the French Quarter and the Garden District, getting inspired by all the beautiful iron work and architecture and taking lots of photos.  I’ve already got some potential painting ideas swimming in my head!


Impromptu Jazz

Nothing better than this! Jazz in the French Quarter!

Nothing better than this either, a paté sandwich and a glass of iced tea  at Le Croissant d’Or Bakery

Tenessee Williams

A pilgrimage to the Avart- Peretti House where Tennessee Williams wrote Streetcar Named Desire, one of the best plays and movies ever!

Fleurty Girl

Ironically the house is currently a shop named “Fleurty Girl”

On a side note, speaking of Streetcar Named Desire, in the movie actress Kim Hunter,  won a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1951 for her role as Stella.  Iv’e always had an affinity for this actress, because we had the same name until I got married! 🙂

Work in Progress, Gate of Reverence, Watercolor

Watercolor on Handmade Paper

More progress on this new painting.  I’m approaching this one similar to the last painting, Paris Passy Gate, and also to how I would do an oil painting.  I’m doing a block in of all the color first, and then will go back and add details and value changes.  This is what I call the teenager phase of the painting!  I hope it grows up and turns out.

Work in Progress, “Gate of Reverence”, Watercolor

Work in Progress, Watercolor on Handmade Paper, 15″ x 22″ , 38 cm x 56 cm

Last week I designed and started a new painting also inspired like Paris Passy Gate, by the area where I lived in Paris.  This is the third in a “Gate” series.  I’m very intrigued by the design of gates and metal work, and like focusing on a detail that lends itself to the composition having abstract qualities and the mystery of what lies beyond.


The Coral Reef Restaurant Menus at Epcot, Walt Disney World are Out!

Original Watercolor by Kim Minichiello, 22″ x 30,” for the Coral Reef Restaurant Menus  at Epcot Walt Disney World, Copyright 2014 The Walt Disney Company

I found out yesterday that the menus I did  for the Coral Reef are in guests hands at the restaurant!!   A friend who ate there last night sent me a photo of the dinner menu.  From the photo they look great and I can’t wait to see them in person.  So today I”m sharing  a photo of the original painting for the lunch menu which features a sea turtle.  The dinner menu is essentially the same painting, and features a spotted eagle ray instead of the turtle.  I also painted the background of the interiors of the menus. For the smaller dessert menu they were going to crop out more of a detailed area of the larger painting.

When I receive copies of the actual menus I will share them too.  I am so excited, this project was an absolute joy to work on and am thrilled the folks at Walt Disney Imagineering and at Epcot loved it!  If you are at Epcot for the Flower and Garden Festival stop by Coral Reef and take a peek!