My Favorite Things Top Ten, Number 1: Escoda Perla Brushes

www.KimMinichiello.com

My latest plein air painting “Peaceful Morning,” Watercolor, 14″ x 10″ done at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on my Friday Morning Paint Sessions with a few Walt Disney Imagineers using Escoda Perla Brushes

Over the years I have tried a number of brushes, and I have amassed quite a collection. I use different brushes for different purposes,  sometimes the task calls for a synthetic brush and sometimes, a natural hair brush.  I go over all these nuances in the workshops I teach.    

I have a number of Escoda brushes from their  various lines, The Barroco, The Prado and The Versatil.  My favorite is the Perla.  Iain Stewart turned me on to this one.  My go to is the number 14.  It has the perfect snap, and point and holds the right amount of water for me.  I really don’t need any other size, with the point on this I can get really fine lines.  However, when I was at the Florida Watercolor Society Convention & Trade Show, this last fall, I spotted a travel brush set of Perlas.  

www.KimMinichiello.comIt was a treat yourself moment, I got them because at times I don’t want to drag my whole plein air kit, but just put a few things in my purse, or tote bag. They even came with a handy leather case!  So I have Perlas in more sizes to use, sketching, plein air painting and in the studio!  If you are interested in getting some Escoda Perla Brushes, Dick Blick carries them on line.  Unfortunately, I have never seen them sold in any retail art stores I have been to.  If you have been good this year maybe Santa will put one or two in your stocking! 

KimMinichiello.comStay tuned my next post will be a Favorite Things Bonus, just in time for the holidays! 

Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter here.

www.kimminichiello.comOriginal Art, Limited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.

Favorite Things Top Ten, Number 2: Twinrocker Paper

www.KimMinichiello.com

Assisi Guardian, Watercolor, 24″ x 22,” on Twinrocker Paper, currently in the Kansas Watercolor Society’s National Exhibition at the Mark Arts Center in Wichita, Kansas, Juror, Dean Mitchell

I grew up in a small town in northern Indiana, called Logansport.   Unbeknownst to me not more than 30 miles away was a small factory making handmade papers for stationary and watercolor.  I drove by it many times on my way to Purdue University, where I went to college when I would drive home for a “home fix” and to have my mom make my favorite meals.  She is an excellent cook, and I’m proud to say I have inherited her skills!  

www.KimMinichiello.comWhen I started painting in watercolor I visited an Indiana artists at his home gallery and studio, Terry Armstrong.  He was showing me some of his latest work and I loved the paper he was working on.  It was Twinrocker.  Then he sat me straight up when he told me it’s made in Indiana, in Brookston!  Thirty two miles and thirty-eight minutes from where I grew up!  What are the chances of that? I always go and stock up on paper when I visit my mom. I blogged about one of my visits to Twinrocker, here

www.KimMinichiello.com

You can order a sample pack to try it!

I love this paper for a variety of reasons.  It’s the only handmade made paper made entirely in the United States and I like supporting this business!  I love the weight of the paper, the texture, and the type and amount of sizing on it.  My preference is for the rough texture, but I have also used the cold press.  I can’t explain it but the paint flows differently on it than other papers I use.  It’s slightly more expensive but totally worth it for me! 

Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter here.

www.kimminichiello.comOriginal Art, Limited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.

Favorite Things Top Ten: Number 3 , The Tube Wringer

www.KimMinichiello.comI’ve always been very frugal.  I hate to waste anything!  Whether it be bottle, tube or jar I’m going to get the last drop out of it.  Paint can be expensive and I don’t want to waste any of it.  I think that’s why I also love watercolor among other reasons,  I don’t waste any paint! After I’ve squirted it on my palette,  if it dries up, I re-wet it and use it, instead of throwing it away like you have to do oils.  To insure I get every once out of the tube I use a tube wringer.  You just clamp it at the bottom, twist the handle and it forces all the paint to the top of the tube.  Once there is nothing left to squeeze, I cut the top off and scoop out the rest with a brush.

www.KimMinichiello.com

www.KimMinichiello.com

I cut the end of the tube and dig the rest out!

I told my husband he needed one for his oils and he thought I was nuts, until I got him one and he loves it too.  It’s the simple things!

Here is the link if you would like to get one or two. 🙂  A few of the on line art stores also sell them you can add it to your order if you are getting some art supplies. 

Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter here.

www.kimminichiello.comLimited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.

Favorite Things Top Ten: Number 4, Watercolor Sketchbooks

www.KimMinichiello.com

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.

www.KimMinichiello.com

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.

www.KimMinichiello.com

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.

www.KimMinichiello.com

Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter here.

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

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.

www.KimMinichiello.com

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!

www.KimMinichiello.com

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

Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter here.

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

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.

Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter here.

www.kimminichiello.comOriginal Art, Limited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.

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!

Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter here.

www.kimminichiello.comOriginal Art, Limited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.

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

earasers-cprt

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.

www.KimMinichiello.com

Drafting Brush

Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter here.

www.kimminichiello.comLimited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.

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

ipad-holder_cprt

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.

www.KimMinichiello.com

Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter here.

www.kimminichiello.comLimited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.

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…

life-drawing-4-cprt

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.

life-drawing-1-cprt

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.

life-drawing-3-cprt

www.kimminichiello.com

Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter here.

www.kimminichiello.comLimited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.