About Kim Minichiello

My love of travel and living in Paris, France and Hong Kong, China have truly been and influence on my work. Painting in watercolor and oils, I draw inspiration from the amazing cultures and people I have had the pleasure of experiencing and living among.

Favorite Things Top Ten: Number 4, Watercolor Sketchbooks

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Sketches of Angkor Wat, in Cambodia, Cassis in Provence, South of France, Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, and the Japanese bridge in the Japan Pavilion at Epcot, Walt Disney World

Many don’t realize I paint mostly in watercolor because of watercolor sketching.  My primary medium was oils.  On trips to Paris, and when I lived there working for Walt Disney Imagineering, I found the world of “Carnet de Voyage,” sketchbook of your travels.  Even before Urban Sketching became so popular, many publishers in Europe published the watercolor sketch journals of artists. There were dedicated sections in book stores for these!  I even saw a great show one year at the La Poste Museum in Paris, displaying artists sketchbooks.  I was bitten by the bug.  I had to do this!  The very first sketchbook I got was made by Savoir Faire and it has inside Indian Khadi paper.  I like the rough surface and the deckled edges of the paper.  These are the green and blue books shown below. Sadly, they stopped making them and I bought as many as  I could find a few years ago.  However, there is a nice substitute that I have had students get for my watercolor sketching workshop. Sam Flax here in Orlando carries them and the covers are brown.  You could google “Khadi paper watercolor sketch book,” to find other options.

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Shown are the Savoir Faire, Khadi Paper books in 2 sizes and on the bottom the Stillman & Birn, Alpha Series, 8″ x 10″

Since this turned into a habit and obsession over the years,  I have used a variety of books and I like all of them, Hand Book, Stillman & Birn Alpha Series, and Moleskin Watercolor Books.

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This is a handmade one with a soft leather cover my husband bought for me in Rome.  I love it because it’s small and very light weight and fits easily in my purse. The sketch shows a view of the fortress in Salzburg, Austria from the Mirabell Gardens.

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Favorite Things Top Ten: Number 5, The Coleman Camp Stool

www.KimMinichiello.comI used to take a collapsible three-legged stool with me when I went out urban sketching in watercolor or plein air painting.  I bought it IKEA in Hong Kong years ago.  When I first got it I thought it was fantastic!  I had a softer place to sit rather than on walls or sidewalks.  Then when I traveled by air to other places I wanted to take it with me but it added more bulk and weight to my suitcase.

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When my fellow WAM:Women Artists Mentors and I were planning our trip to Venice last spring at one of our Google Hang Out meetings I asked the others if they were taking stools for sketching.  I showed Helen Beacham my stool and said I always have this dilemma packing it number one, then lugging it around on a day’s outing, number two.  Helen immediately replied, “You need one of these!,” and showed me the Coleman Camp Stool.  I ordered it off of Amazon then and there.  It fits easily in my plein air bag, it’s not too heavy where you aren’t super uncomfortable carrying it around all day on outings while you are traveling, and I find it to be fairly comfortable for what it is! It even comes with a small carrying case!  Thank you Helen, I could kiss you! I use it ALL the time!

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I’m going to put the link here in case you are as anxious to get one as I was!

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Favorite Things Top Ten: Number 6, Daniel Smith Undersea Green

www.KimMinichiello.comI had to add a paint color to the list and although I have many favorites, I picked this one because it it’s so versatile on my studio palette and my plein air palette.  It is really a time saver because I used to use a mix of ultramarine blue and quinacridone gold to get a variety of greens.  I add more blue to get a cooler green and more gold to get a warmer green.  Well Daniel Smith has combined the two colors in one tube!  Now I start with this and if I want it cooler, more ultramarine blue and warmer more quin. gold.  I also love the way it granulates.

I first discovered it when I painted the menu program for the Coral Reef Restaurant at Epcot  and it has been on my palette ever since!

I would love or you to leave a comment on which paint color you love!  I’m always looking for new ones to try.

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Favorite Things Top Ten: Number 7, IKEA Wall Shelves

www.KimMinichiello.comWhen I set up my studio after I renovated it  a couple of years ago, I added these shallow  IKEA wall shelves so that I  could have a space to display and store my paintings.  What is nice is that I can change them out and have different work up at different times.  They come in lengths of 22″ and 45″ and I put one 45″ and one 22″ together to make one longer shelf.  The crazy IKEA name is, RIBBA.  I think they have discontinued the RIBBA shelf and that name is exclusively being used for their picture frames, but they do have what they are calling a picture ledge, and it’s crazy IKEA name is, MOSSLANDA.

If  you crack up over all the crazy IKEA names, then you will enjoy this video of this guy accompanying his girlfriend on an IKEA shopping trip. It’s a hoot!

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Favorite Things Top Ten: Number 8, Moo Eraser & The Alvin Dry Cleaning Pad

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The Alvin Dry Cleaning Pad & the Moo Eraser

Technically there are two things here, but since they are both erasers I’m counting them as one!  I discovered the Moo Eraser a couple of years ago at the Florida Watercolor Society Convention.  What is so special about it you might ask?  I’ve actually been able to erase pencil marks off of my watercolor paper after I have put paint down.  No other eraser I have used does this without destroying the surface of the paper. They are very gentle on the paper surface and don’t create a lot of small crumbs. I also use it while I’m drawing my image on the paper if I need to erase.   I can cut them in small pieces to get sharp edges and corners. They are kind of hard to find but when I find them I stock up.  It’s the only eraser I pretty much use for everything except for a kneaded eraser occasionally.

You might ask what on God’s green earth is the knitted puffy thing.  I have been using the Alvin Dry Cleaning pad as a designer,  since I started drafting back in the…. well let’s just say back in the day before computers and everything was hand drafted.  It’s a knitted bag full of small eraser crumbs that when you squeeze out deposits them on your paper. When drafting it removes the extra graphite on your vellum that can cloud up blue prints.  (OK now I’m really dating myself.) I use it now to lighten the graphite if it’s gotten to heavy after I draw my image on my watercolor paper. Just squeeze out a small amount of crumbs on your paper and then rub the pad lightly over the drawing. Another indispensable tool at this point is a drafting brush.  That’s a freebie so there really will be 11 favorite things.

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Drafting Brush

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Favorite Things Top Ten: Number 9, Bamboo iPad Holder from IKEA

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Bamboo iPad Holder from IKEA

When I saw these bamboo iPad holders at IKEA I couldn’t put them in my cart fast enough.  I have one on my painting desk and one in my kitchen.  Sometimes I paint from reference photos on my iPad.  What is great is it doesn’t take up as much space on my desk as a computer monitor would, and you can zoom in and out quickly and easily.

This is a work in progress painting I did plein air at Animal kingdom a few weeks ago and now I’m tweaking it a bit just to punch up the value.

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Plein Air Friday: “Siamang Retreat”

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Siamang Retreat, Watercolor, 14″ x 7.5,” Plein Air

I painted again this morning at Disney’s Animal Kingdom,  and got a good block in and will go back next week to work on it again.  Here is the finished painting from my November 25, post.  This is the area that overlooks the Siamang Gibbon exhibit.  I’m very happy with this one.  Since there was a lot of green area in this composition, my goal was to pay attention to color temperature and value to have variety.

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My Favorite Things Top Ten: Number 10

In the spirit of Oprah and fellow Hoosier, David Letterman, I thought I would do a “My Favorite Things, Top Ten List,” this holiday season, all art related of course!  Maybe you could add these things to your Christmas list or give to artist friends or loved ones!  Let me know if these are your favorites too in the comment list or if you are anxious try something out yourself.  So let the list begin…

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The Aquarellable Stabilo Pencil # 8046 

 I love this pencil for life drawing.  I was partial to just the black Prismacolor pencil, but the beauty of this one is, I can go over and melt it with water to create value and washes.  It comes in other colors too as well as graphite, but I prefer the black.

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I don’t always use water, this is just straight pencil no water.  I just the waxiness of it to get really light and then really dark marks.

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Randy Higbee 6 Inch Squared Show

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Into the Woods, Watercolor Mounted on Board and Sealed, 6 x 6, $295, available at the show

I’m so happy that I will have work again in The Randy Higbee Gallery for the annual Six Inch Squared Show.  This is a highlight of the year for many in Southern California!  I have many friends in the show and am honored to be in such good company!  If you are in the area the show opens, with the Gala Reception on December 3, from 6-9 pm.  The show will be up the month of December and a bit into the first of the year.

Randy Higbee Gallery

102 Kalmus Drive.  Costa Mesa.  Ca.  9262

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Nepali Temple, Watercolor Mounted on Board and Sealed, 6 x 6, $295 available at the show

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Plein Air Friday: More from Disney’s Animal Kingdom

www.kimminichiello.comI apologize to my loyal blog followers!  I haven’t been very active on here lately.  I have a full plate of teaching workshops,  private students, demos, shows, painting for upcoming shows, and a kitchen remodel that is still in the works!  Therefore, I’ve been limiting my time on social media and writing blog posts.  I’m looking forward to things slowing down over the holidays.  This morning my husband and I went back out to Animal Kingdom to paint.  I had started this one in an earlier session, and finished it today.  We have a little less than a 2 hour window to paint each time.

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I like how Violet is patting my shadow shoulder.

I had the Saimang Monkeys that are native to Southeast Asia keeping me company today. Since the weather has cooled off a bit they are a lot more active.  Violet and Veruka are five-year old twin sisters.

www.kimminichiello.comThis is a work in progress from the start of the morning.

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Veruka is hanging ten.

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I will add a few more finishing touches in the studio but it’s pretty much complete.

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