Plein Air & Watercolor Sketch From Life

Watercolor Sketch on Handmade Paper

After finishing “Hope is Home” I’ve enjoyed some down time with my family and this week I have been busy preparing for the workshop I will be teaching in October at the Winter Garden Art Association.  I don’t have a big painting on my easel at the moment but I have been doing some sketching.  I recently got a new plein air watercolor easel for my birthday!  (I love having a husband who is also an artist!)

A few weeks ago we went out with a group of friends and painted locally in Winter Garden.  Since this outing was prior to the easel, I just did my normal set up sketching in my sketchbook with my backpack that converts to a stool.  If you are interested in the equipment I use for watercolor sketching you can visit a previous post here.

I really like doing these long vertical formats and the water tower was a perfect subject. After I had laid everything in pencil and started painting, the car had moved.  I painted it in any way, so it appears a bit wonky to me.  Oh well, it’s just a sketch.

Three to four times a month, we have life drawing at the Winter Garden Art Association.  My husband and I try not to miss it.  We have been going for a few months now and I can notice a big improvement in my figure drawing which is not really my strong suit.  Like anything the only way to get better is to practice, practice, practice.  In a way this has become like yoga for me “a practice.”


Last night I decided to take my new easel for a test drive, and paint during the 20 minute poses.  I have always drawn and never painted before for the quicker poses as opposed to one long pose for the whole night.  So here is my first attempt.  This one is the better of the three. I hope to get the hang of it to get more information down.  What I learned is this forces you to be quick in your drawing and not futz with it so you have some time to lay some color down.  Now I have a new thing to practice, practice, practice!

www.kimminichiello.comTwenty Minute Watercolor Sketch from Life


New Work: Hope is Home

Hope is Home, Watercolor on Archival Paper, 22″ x 30″, 56 cm x 76 cm

I’m happy to post the finished painting “Hope is Home.”  I have been working on this painting the last few months for a very worthy cause.  Those of you that have been following my blog have seen a few works in progress.   I was absolutely shocked to learn that Orlando is considered by UNICEF to be one of the major hubs for human trafficking in the world!  Not only is this shocking, it is very upsetting that this is happening in my own community.  Hope City Orlando is a non-profit that seeks to help victims who find themselves in this awful plight.  Their goal is to build a home that will be a safe haven and provide a three-year program for a healthy reintegration into mainstream life.  Through a combination of efforts including counseling, social work, legal assistance, social and personal skills training, victims will become survivors!

I was approached by some friends who are part of Hope City Orlando and are planning the fund-raising gala taking place this fall.   They asked if I could do a painting that would be auctioned off to raise funds at the event.  I really believe in what they are trying to accomplish for victims of this awful situation and couldn’t say no.  As a mother, it is unfathomable to think that young people are taken against their will, removed from their life and society and forced into sex or domestic slavery.

Once I agreed to do the painting it presented a design challenge.  I wanted the painting to mean something and to have a relationship with Hope City Orlando and not be dark and foreboding. I really thought a lot about the imagery I would use and the meaning behind it, which I wanted to reflect the goals that Hope City Orlando has for the future they will provide for those caught in this heinous situation of human trafficking.

Their logo is the silhouette of a house with a vine traversing through it.  I thought about the symbolic meaning of the vine and felt that it represented, being rooted or grounded in a safe home, transcending into a better way of life. Therefore, vines became a main element in my painting.   Vines can be very tenacious and I felt they also symbolized growth and new opportunities and the flowers on the vine in the painting symbolize the brighter future for those that get help.

The doves represent freedom. Which is what Hope City will be giving the victims of human trafficking.  Not only freedom, but the tools that are needed to reintegrate and live life where they are not trapped by others and doing things against their will.

The silhouette of the house  shape in the painting, holds everything together and represents hope and the solution to the endless spiral of futility one feels when caught in this situation.  Home is a safe haven, and I feel is the first step in providing a better way of life. One must feel a sense of security and safety and that is what a home provides for us and is what Hope City will provide for victims of human trafficking.  This is why I titled the painting “Hope is Home.”

If you would like to know more or help this worthy cause visit their web site by clicking here and their Facebook page by clicking here.  The gala is scheduled for the first week of October and will be in the Orlando area.

Some Nice Press and Finishing Hope is Home

Work in Progress Hope is Home, 22″ x 30″, Watercolor

It’s been a busy and exiting week!  Being the featured artist at the Winter Garden Art Association’s, 127 SoBo gallery I am in two local newspapers.  The latest edition of the The West Orange Times did a lovely half page featured article! I am very honored and flattered!

The Southwest Orlando Bulletin also put my picture in with a nice write-up about the exhibition

I have also been putting the finishing touches on “Hope is Home” the painting I have been working on for Hope City Orlando.  I will be posting the finished piece next week!

I am looking forward to a little bit of down time.  Spending more time with my daughter before she heads back to school, some beach time, and then I’ll start preparing for the workshop I will be teaching this fall at the Winter Garden Art Association.  The summer is flying by!


Opening Reception for “Pick Your Passion” 127 SoBo Gallery, Winter Garden, Florida

www.kimminichiello.comLion Dance, Watercolor, 36″ x 36″ for purchase information click here.

It was a great opening reception last Thursday, well attended by about 100 people. Thanks to everyone who came and supported the gallery and me!  It has been very exciting and an honor to be featured, and especially to see my larger watercolor paintings framed and hung together!

I will also also be doing a workshop at the gallery October 16 & 17.  Teaching is something I have been interested in doing for quite some time and I’m really looking forward to it!  The workshop is called “Bold & Dynamic Watercolor.”  I plan to talk about my techniques for creating my work as all as some general information about watercolor in general: papers, brushes, pigments, and ratio of pigment to water.  I will also cover how I go about designing my paintings, touching on design and composition. I welcome beginners and intermediate painters.   If you are interested click here for more information and here to sign up at the Winter Garden Art Association’s web site.  If you don’t live in the area, and would like to come, there is a quaint bed and breakfast inn, The Historic Edgewater Hotel, right downtown.  The hotel and the gallery are in the heart of the historic district of Winter Garden.

After all the excitement from the show, I have made some progress on the painting I am doing for Hope City Orlando to benefit victims of human trafficking.  I will post some more work in progress photos this week and maybe even the finished painting!

Featured Artist at the 127 SoBo Gallery in Winter Garden Florida

I have shared everywhere else, Facebook, Newsletter, etc. that I am going to be the featured artist this month at the 127 SoBo Gallery in Winter Garden, Florida, but haven’t shared on my blog!!  I helped hang the show yesterday at the gallery with some wonderful fellow volunteers at the Winter Garden Art Association.  The  theme for this months show is “Pick Your Passion” and is only open for members to exhibit.   The collection of work I’ve put together for the show represents two of my passions, painting and travel.

Although it has been a few years since I’ve lived there, I am greatly influenced by my time living in Hong Kong and France and traveling throughout Asia and Europe for many years. I have thousands of reference photos that are a never-ending source for inspiration!  I just wish I could paint faster!

If you are in the area, the opening reception is Thursday night, August 7 from 5:30 to 8:00. The address of the gallery is 127 South Boyd Street, in Winter Garden Florida.   The show will be up the month of August, if you can’t make the reception and would like to see it.  The gallery hours are Wed. through Sat. 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

I was getting my work framed which is such a nice feeling, not only to see it all framed which feels like the icing on the cake but to protect it as well.  I posted this photo on Facebook of Odd Man Out with yours truly standing next to it to give an idea of scale.  Many friends have commented since seeing it they had no idea it was that big!  It’s really difficult when we see work on websites or in Facebook without a human standing next to it, to judge the scale of one’s work.  Many of my paintings are quite large.



Watercolor Sketch of Orchids on a Palm Tree


Watercolor on Handmade Paper

I’m progressing on the Hope is Home painting and will post some more progress of it soon. In the mean time, since many are lounging by the pool this summer.  I thought I would post a sketch I did doing just that!  Last summer we stayed at a lovely inn in Key West and one of the palm trees there had orchids hanging from  the trunk.  I had my watercolor kit in my pool bag so pulled it out and did this quickie sketch.  This variety of orchid had tiny purple blooms that looked like they were dangling in mid-air.