Venice Bound

Kim Minichiello

Across the Lagoon, Watercolor, 5″ x 7″

To purchase a Limited Edition Giclée Print click here, $25.00 plus shipping.

It’s getting close!  I’ve been planning a trip to Venice for almost a year now.  When I was invited to join a group of artists that mentor each other in our art businesses,  I had no idea it would lead to such a bonding friendship with them all and a retreat in Venice, Italy!

WAM: Women Artists Mentors are meeting face to face all of us together in one place in Venice, Italy next week.  If you would like to follow our adventures, you can like my Facebook page here, and our WAM page here.  I’ve only met Helen Beacham in person, so I am thrilled to meet the three dimensional versions of Carrie Waller, Maria Bennett Hock, and Debra Kierce, since I’ve only spent time with them two dimensionally on the computer! We are piggybacking on the tail end of a workshop Helen has been teaching this week.

Upon our return we are going to be guests on Linda Fisler’s Art Chat Podcast, on May 18.  Linda has done a great podcast for a few years interviewing many artists.  She also started the Artist Mentors Online program with Kevin Macpherson, a while back.   Some of Linda’s recent guest artists, include Tony Pro, Jean Pederson, Susan Lyon, Joseph McGurl and so many others!  The interview will be recorded if you can’t listen live and will be available at Linda’s site in the  Art Chat Library section after the air date.  I’m really excited for the opportunity to chat with Linda when we get back.


Canaletto, The Bucentaur Returning to the Molo on Ascension Day, after the Ceremony of Wedding the Adriatic, a section of entire work

In the spirit of Venice I thought I would share some of Canaletto’s work.  A painter from the 16th century he was famous for his urban landscapes of Venice.  I saw an outstanding show of his work last summer in Aix en Provence at the Caumont Centre D’Art.  I had only seen a few paintings here and there in various museums but to see a collection of his work in this grand scale was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  What I love about his work is the historical significance of getting a feel for Venice in the 1700’s when it was the playground of all the aristocrats of Europe.  Canaletto also traveled to Britain and documented London and the English countryside during the reign of George III who was a patron and avid collector of his work.


Canaletto, The Bucentaur Returning to the Molo on Ascension Day, after the Ceremony of Wedding the Adriatic, a section of entire work

The Bucentaur was the Doge’s state barge, a floating palace propelled by 42 oars, used for official events. It was used every year on Ascension Day to take the Doge out to the Adriatic Sea to perform a wedding ceremony marrying the sea to Venice. Quite the spectacle!

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Kim Minichiello

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

Watercolor Sketching Workshop: The Love of the Sketch

Sketching Equipment

I had a great time teaching my watercolor sketching workshop recently.  I was telling my students how I got into the practice of sketching in watercolor which later led to watercolor being my primary media as a painter.  Years ago I came upon the book, Sara Midda’s South of France Sketchbook.  I loved how she captured the quintessential elements of the South of France in sketches with watercolor.  I then started collecting almost every book like it I could find.  I have books by architects and artists who have sketched, Italy, France, China and other countries.  This is way before the Urban Sketching movement.  A lot of my books came from France where the practice of travel sketching is known as “Carnet de Voyage,” a travel sketchbook.  There were even dedicated sections in the bookstores in Paris to these type of books. When I lived there and went to these shops,  I was like a kid in a candy store.

A little lesson in color mixing before heading out to sketch.

For me, getting really comfortable painting in watercolor is due to starting watercolor travel sketchbooks.  When I moved to Honk Kong I met artist Lorette Roberts, who has done a whole series of books capturing various areas on Hong Kong with watercolor sketches.  I have every single one and love them.  Lorette and I still keep in touch through Facebook.  She was a big inspiration for me to start and maintain a sketching practice.

IMG_5767 copy

Some of my students sketching at Plant Street Market, Winter Garden, FL

As I told my students, if you have the slightest interest in learning to paint with watercolor start a sketchbook!!!  You don’t have to only do it when you travel.  You can start with simple things or just do it in your own backyard. You will then  be far more comfortable doing it when you do travel.  For me it took the intimidation out of  creating a “painting.”  It’s only a sketch and it’s only for me.  I can choose to share with others or not.

Start a book and don’t worry if some of the sketches suck or you think are failures.  It doesn’t matter!  What does matter is that you enjoy doing it and by doing it on a regular basis you can’t help but get better!  Iain Stewart, is another artist friend who sketches a lot in Watercolor. He  has a philosophy that I love.  He says never tear out a page from your sketchbook!  Whether its a “fail” or a “keeper,” leave it in the book.  Once you fill the book it’s a great way to look back on your progression and how much you improved, because you will. 🙂  Plus, especially if you do them while you travel, they will become your most treasured possessions.  No photo can take the place of a sketch.  Looking at it will take you right back there.

It was approaching 90 degrees one afternoon, we sketched inside from life.

If you are intimidated by going out on your own, ask some friends, or start a group.  While in Hong Kong, I met a local artists and she and I would set a date to go out at least once a week somewhere.  What is wonderful now is when I look at those sketches I have fond memories of the time we spent together!

Some of the biggest takeaways my students have expressed to me are, learning about perspective to sketch architecture, learning how to break a scene down into simple shapes and compose  it how you like, and learning to use the pencil as a measuring stick and proportion while  drawing so that what you want to express fits on the page.

If you are curious to start a sketching practice, what is your biggest fear or reason for not doing so?  If you do have a practice, what do you love the most about it?  Please leave a comment I would love to hear from you!  If you are curious to see my watercolor travel sketches you can click here.

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


WAM, Women Artists Mentors on AHA, Artists Helping Artists Radio Show

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 12.43.31 PMAlmost a year ago I had the great opportunity to be a part of something, that I had no idea would have such an impact on my life.  I feel some serendipitous energies were working behind the scenes to make it all happen, because it was just meant to be!

I became friends with artist Carrie Waller on line a couple of years ago.  I love her work and followed her blog where she had posted about a situation entering a show and not getting in because the juror or selection committee had rejected her painting.  They thought she had infringed on the Ball trademark in one of her Ball jar paintings. Based on my experience with these issues in art licensing, I wrote to her and told her that wasn’t the case at all and after a bit of correspondence, she asked if I would write a couple of articles on her blog about trademarks and copyrights. That led to me doing one of her Friday Features and an awesome on line friendship.

Carrie has been a guest host on the wonderful Blog Talk Radio Show and Podcast, Artists Helping Artists, hosted by Leslie Saeta.  In May of 2013 Leslie did a show on starting an artists mentoring group. She suggested that through collaboration and friendships with other artists, we could help support and advise each other on advancing our art careers.   It really struck a chord with a lot of listeners who started pursuing forming groups to support each other.    One of those Artists, Debra Kierce, who heard that show reached out to others to join a group. Helen also contacted Carrie to do the same and Carrie reached out to Maria because of their military connection.  They hosted an art show of military spouses work together, and then Carrie reached out to me.  That is how WAM, Women Artists Mentors was born.  Our current members are:

Helen K. Beacham, watercolor artist of Charleston, South Carolina

Maria Bennett Hock, oil portrait & figurative artist of Cary, North Carolina

Debra Keirce, oil and acrylic painter of Ashburn, Virginia

Kim Minichiello, watercolor and oil painter of Windermere, FL

Carrie Waller, watercolor artist of Tokyo, Japan

27768_1932912mMe Working on My Current Painting at the Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando, Florida, in Conjunction with the Mary Whyte Exhibition, “A Portrait of Us”

Through a somewhat serendipitous journey we came together and although we weren’t all the original members, I’m the newbie of the group, we have gelled into the membership we are now.  We all bring different things to the table with our varied backgrounds and experiences.  We all live in different parts of the world which hasn’t stopped us from meeting once a month through Google Hang Outs.  We have set goals and guidelines on how our group will work and we are all equals, no one person holds a leadership position.  We agree on a topic to discuss  and get together once a month on a video chat, to talk to and support each other. Ironically Debra and I have a connection in that we both have lived and worked in Indianapolis at a pharmaceutical company, she as a Chemical Engineer, and me as a Corporate Space Planner. It would have been crazier if we had been there at the same time, but we just missed each other!


Debra Kierce’s Painting “Rollover Beethoven” SOLD at the Randy Higbee “Six Inch Squared Show, which Carrie, Maria and I are also in.

Some of the things we have discussed are future WAM goals retreats and workshops, pursuing group shows in gallery and museum venues, what is and isn’t working for us on social media marketing, and anything one of our current members might need help with at the time.

The extra bonus of it all is, we have all developed such a close bond and amazing friendship that I know will last a lifetime.  I’m honored to be a part of this group and cherish all these ladies and am so happy they are part of my life! Today we had the amazing opportunity to talk about our group on the Artists Helping Artists Radio show, hosted by Leslie Saeta.  Here is the link to the show, “How to Be Part of a Successful Artists Mentoring Group.” Like Debra mentioned in the show it gives us goosebumps to think that we may be helping other artists to create something like we have.  For us it has been somewhat of an extension of the AHA show but on a deeper personal level since we see and talk to each other in cyberspace all the time.


Helen K. Beacham Teaching Students in Venice, Italy

As we mentioned in the show we are beyond excited to finally all meet at the same place and in person in Venice, Italy this spring!  Helen will be teaching a workshop there as she has been doing for years, and we are piggybacking on at the end to stay in the apartment that she rents.

This is a priceless journey we are all on together!  I cherish the friendship and support from these artists and know that I can seek guidance from them at any time!

27768_1932911mMaria Bennett Hock Painting at the National Gallery as Part of Their Copyist Program

Please Visit and “Like” our Facebook page at to follow our adventures. Debra will be hosting some amazing workshops with well known artists at her home studio you kind find more information about that here.  She also did a blog post about our WAM group. Maria has been painting at the National Gallery as part of their copyist program, as well as working on a series of military inspired figurative and portrait pieces.  She also graciously will do for free a portrait of a fallen loved one in the line of duty for their families.  You can contact her here.  Helen is an amazing teacher and watercolor artists and conducts workshops to European locations every year.  She also just finished a series of very large, for watercolor, commissions for a couple in her area of Charleston, South Carolina. You can find out more about Helen and her workshops here. Carrie, has had some amazing success recently with her acceptance into the Shenzhen Small Works Exchange with the National Watercolor Society. She currently has a painting at that show in China, and recently received an Honorable Mention Award in the Southwest Art Magazine, Artistic Excellence Competition. You can find out more about Carrie here.


Carries Painting, “Out to Sea,” in the Small Works Exchange Show with the National Watercolor Society in Shenzhen China.

We are all personally on all the social media sites, just give us a search and like or follow us!  A few of us have blogs, you can check those out too via our web sites. You can also leave a message on our WAM Facebook page if you have any questions about forming your own artist mentor group beyond what we discussed in the AHA show. If you are thinking about it we highly encourage you to just do it!  You will have the opportunity to make friends for life and go on wonderful journeys together!

And last but not least, thank you to Leslie Saeta for giving us the opportunity to share about our WAM group on the Artists Helping Artist Show, we hope we have inspired you to form your own group as she has inspired us to create ours!

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

Meeting Mary Whyte

Mary Whyte and Kim Minichiello

Mary Whyte’s exhibition “A Portrait of Us”  opened this past weekend at the Mennello Museum of American Art in Orlando, Florida. I  was beyond excited to see her work in person, since I’m a big admirer and have read most of her books, (see book reviews here),  but then to meet her during a gallery talk on Saturday was an incredible opportunity!

Mary is the nicest and most beautiful person as her paintings are stunning.  She shared a bit about her background and how she came to paint the Gullah women  on John’s Island in South Carolina, as well as a brief story and sometimes a bit of technical insight on every painting in the exhibition.  In addition her husband  Smith Coleman, Smitty, was there to discuss how he complements her work with the frames he hand makes, and the process that goes into carving and finishing the frames to enhance the paintings even farther. All of Mary’s paintings were framed by frames made by Smitty.  The frames as well as the work were absolutely beautiful.

Mary Discussing the Model from the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus

Knowing the stories and the thought process that went into each work gave me an even bigger appreciation of what I was seeing. It was such a unique opportunity to experience the artists giving a narrative of every piece in the show!   I loved one thing Mary said when discussing her work and that was, “What do you want the piece to say, and then how can say more.”  Something to keep in the back of my head while composing and  painting my own work.

Mary talks about how she composed these two works and the stories behind them.

The show will be running from now until January 3, 2016.  I plan to go back again since I know I will have a different experience another time.  This show is not to be missed especially for artists who paint in watercolor!

#MaryWhyte #MennelloMuseumofAmericanArt #AProtraitofUs #Orlando #Florida #watercolor #watercolorexhibition #JohnsIsland #GullahWomen, #WorkingSouth #Down BohicketRoad #PaintingPortraits&FiguresinWatercolor

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

From John Lasseter to Vivienne Westwood

www.kimminichiello.comThis past weekend was the graduation for SCAD seniors and grad students and they had the lucky fortune to have John Lasseter from the Walt Disney Company and Pixar giving the commencement address.  And, it  was my good fortune to attend!  He gave a very heart warming speech looking back on his career getting his degree at Cal Arts, working at Disney early on, only to be fired for not “fitting in” at the time.  Then  meeting Ed Catmull, founding Pixar and working with Steve Jobs.  John is adamant about animation being for everyone!  He shared a story of a well-worn Woody doll being sent to him from the folks at Walt Disney World after it had been turned in at guest relations because the boy who owned it was getting a new one to replace the old one and felt the “old” Woody should retire at Walt Disney World.  John was clearly emotional realizing that a character and wonderfully told story can touch peoples lives in more ways than one can imagine.  Just because the media happens to be animation or as some would call them cartoons, it can be ever so meaningful to so many! Especially to the boy who would watch cartoons everyday after school, realize he could create them for a living then become the chief creative officer at Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney Toon Studios and the Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering!

Cirque du Soleil Performers and Confetti for the Grand Finale at the SCAD Graduation Ceremony

Then later in the afternoon I made a return visit to the SCAD Museum of Art to see the newly installed Vivienne Westwood exhibition, Dress Up Story-1990 Until Now  in conjunction with the annual SCAD Fashion Show 2015. The André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Westwood in recognition of her achievements and legacy in fashion.  Talley curated the exhibition.  Selections from SCAD Museum of Art’s  collection of British and American paintings hung salon-style creating a wonderful backdrop for  Westwood’s designs.


www.kimminichiello.comSince I am a knitter and also crochet I can appreciate the work that went into this!

www.kimminichiello.comThis one too!

www.kimminichiello.comAnd the socks to go with it!

www.kimminichiello.comwww.kimminichiello.comAll hand done!

www.kimminichiello.comThank you Dame Vivienne for such beautiful and inspiring designs!


The Georgia Watercolor Society National Exhibition and Iain Stewart’s Workshop

www.kimminichiello.comYours Truly with Honorable Mention Award for Mayan Gate, Watercolor

I thought I would to a post following up on my trip to Atlanta.  I was there the beginning of the month to attend the Georgia Watercolor Society’s National Juried Exhibition Reception and to take a workshop with the juror, Iain Stewart.  The week was absolutely fantastic in so many ways.  First, I want to thank the Georgia Watercolor Society and all the volunteers and Iian, the show was so beautiful and well-balanced with a range of subject matter.  I was honored to be included with such a talented  group of artists. GWS is a top-notch organization between the members, the  exhibition, the workshop and the folks at the Ogelthorpe Museum of Art, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.  The workshop was held where the show was so it was a treat to be surrounded by it and see all of the work the whole week!

The Ogelthorpe University Museum of Artwww.kimminichiello.comThe Gallery and Workshop Venue

One of the major high lights attending the shows is getting to meet the other artists.  The group I had the pleasure of being with all week during the workshop was so nice, gracious and a hoot!  We had a ball.  The other was receiving an Honorable Mention award!  To be singled out from a few hundred submissions to be in the show and then from around 90 works in the show from artists all over the United States, to receive an award was such an honor.  If you are interested in seeing the images from the show you can click here.  Another highlight was getting signature status with this great group, after having been in their national exhibition three times.

Iain Stewart with Demo Painting Done During the GWS Reception and Award Ceremony

Last but not least, was getting to spend 5 days painting with Iain Stewart.  I wanted to take a workshop with Iain because I felt he was somewhat if a kindred spirit by doing watercolor sketchbooks especially during travels.  I have been doing the same since 2005 and it is purely the reason I am now painting in watercolor.  I fell in love with the media doing sketches while traveling and living in Hong Kong and Paris.  The other reason I was excited to take the workshops is because I have recently been doing more plein air painting, as a seeing and drawing practice to improve my studio work,  and for my own enjoyment.  My husband also plein air paints and it is something we really enjoy doing together.  I was struggling with not simplifying what was in front of me enough and now with Iain’s help, I feel I have a much better handle on it.

Iian Demonstrating a Painting of Anstruther Scotland

I thought I would share a few of my observations from the workshop in case there are others who are interested in learning from Iain.  He also has a new series of DVD’s that were recently released, in case a workshop is to cost prohibitive.  However, I’m not sure Iain’s sense of humor will shine through on the DVD’s!  Yes, he is a hoot, and you will laugh and have a great time.  If you like taking workshops where the instructor is all business, doesn’t crack jokes and have fun, then this one may not be for you.

Whether you are, or are not a landscape painter you will learn.  If you are a landscape painter, after painting with Iian you will have many take-aways you can apply to your own work and style.  If you are not a landscape painter primarily, I feel the biggest takeaways will be to learn how to analyze your subject matter, edit and add to if needed to arrive at the best composition.  You will draw before you paint, using Iain’s photo reference as a guide.    If you are a watercolor artist  that only traces your images for your work and are lacking in drawing skills, you may feel a bit intimated.  On the other hand, more of a reason for you to take the workshop.  For a city scene, he does go over perspective.

My Painting of Vanasque, Provence, France Done During the Workshop

My Painting of Anstruther Scotland Done During the Workshop

Iain’s method is to finish a painting with 3-4 passes starting top to bottom with washes.  The first wash being the lightest, the following washes gradually getting darker in value, saving the lights from the first wash, and the last wash adds the darkest values and the details.  In my own plein air practice I’m eager to try this method and paint through my subject matter more, knowing the areas from the fist washes will get covered up with darker ones.  This will avoid painting “pieces”  and seeing the scene and painting it as a whole.

Iain’s a great guy and a very talented artist!  If he is coming to an area near you I would highly recommend taking his workshop!   You will have a great time and there are moments you just may laugh your **s off, but you will still learn a whole ***l of a lot!

#GeorgiaWatercolorSociety #IainStewart #IainStewartWorkshop #GWSNationalExhibition minichiello.comLimited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.


Armin Hansen at the Pasadena Museum of California Art


photo credit PMCA

When I go to Los Angeles I always spend a bit of time in Pasadena, where I used to live while working for Walt Disney Imagineering.  A new addition to Pasadena since I lived there is the Pasadena Museum of California Art.  A couple of years ago  I saw an Edgar Payne show there which was jaw dropping and I’ll have to say the recent show there on Armin Hanson is just as amazing.

Armin Hansen (1886-1957) is an artists that was really never in my radar, but after seeing the show I want to delve into a study of his work more.  Born in San Francisco he studied with Carlos Grethe at the Stuttgart Royal Academy and also at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.  After studying in Germany he taught at University of California, Berkley and later moved to Monterey and was a founder of the Carmel Art Association.

photo credit Fine Art Connoisseur

He eventually became known for his marine scenes and became a deck hand on a number of commercial fishing vessels, portraying the fisherman’s life on land and at sea.  One can sense he earned the camaraderie and trust of the fisherman and there are a number of paintings that just wouldn’t be possible to pull off unless he was on the ships and part of the crew.

photo credit Fine Art Connoisseur

photo credit Fine Art Connoisseur

What I found most amazing was his draftsmanship, color sense and brushwork.  The show features a number of paintings he did of rodeo life, a  few still life paintings  that feature table settings after meals were consumed and one of his painting area in his studio.  The majority are marine scenes, sail boats, fishing boats, and fisherman at work.   There are oil paintings with rich color and juicy brush work. To me they resembled the color palettes from the works of German Expressionists, not surprising since he studied in Germany. There are marine scenes with a fantastic tonalist quality in hues of green and blue.   There are also a few watercolors and many prints and etchings.

I was so intrigued with this show and his work I visited the exhibition twice.  The second time really studying and savoring paintings I was drawn to.  I highly recommend this show if you live or are visiting southern California, but hurry the show ends May 31!

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




#arminhansen #PMCA #edgarpayne


Books About and by Mary Whyte

One of my goals for the new year was to get back to reading more books. I have found myself the past year  being more self absorbed with reading on the computer, iPad, and checking Facebook which has taken away too much  time I would normally spend reading books from my library, specifically my art books.   How did I let that happen?

Starting with the new year I have been spending a little time in the morning and during breakfast reading my art books.  Since I received the lovely book, More Than a Likeness: The Enduring Art of Mary Whyte, by Martha R. Severens, for Christmas. I started there.  After, I felt compelled to read again Painting Portraits and Figures in Watercolor by Mary Whyte.  I have skimmed and read this one several times since it is chock full of so much good information.

www.kimminichiello.comI don’t know of anyone who paints in watercolor and is familiar with Mary Whyte who doesn’t admire her work.  More Than a Likeness is a beautiful coffee table book that features many of Mary’s paintings from her early years, commissions, oils and many of the paintings one might be most familiar with from her “Working South” series and the paintings of life on St. Johns Island.  This is not a technique book but a lovely narrative of how Mary became the artist she is today.  It reads in chronological order from her early years as a student, how she started her art career,  to how she was inspired to paint the Gullah women on St. Johns Island, South Carolina,  to the years she spent traveling the United States to capture people that are working in dying industries in the South.


Demo Page from Painting Portraits and Figures in Watercolor

 Written by Martha Severens, an art historian who served as the curator of the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina, the book captures the essence of who Mary is as a person and how her experiences have influenced her work.

Painting Portraits and Figures in Watercolor, is a more of a technique book written by Mary.  Even if you don’t paint figures or portraits, I highly recommend this book.  What you would learn you could apply to anything you would paint in watercolor.  The chapters are broken down to:

  • Getting Started
  • Materials & Tools
  • Techniques
  • Drawing
  • Values
  • Edges
  • Color & Light
  • Backgrounds
  • Life as an Artist

I have put this book on my recommend reading list for my workshop students.  Her chapters on design and composition, value, edges, color and background are important aspects to the whole painting process  that many fail to consider when they start out painting regardless of the medium one would work with.  Especially if you paint in watercolor, I feel you would find both of these wonderful books inspiring!

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

Artists that Inspire: Mark Strickland

Kim Minichiello_Mark StricklandMark and I in His Studio

When I was recently out in the Los Angeles area I had to the chance to see one of my dear friends, artist Mark Strickland.  Mark is the second person responsible for me becoming a painter, the first is my husband through his love and support.  We first met Mark in the 90’s when he was teaching at The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA.  My husband is a graduate of Art Center and we wanted to get back into painting and enrolled in Mark’s evening class, painting oils from life.   I also took life drawing with Mark.  I had never met an instructor who had his class draw the nude model with a bottle of ink and a crow quill pen!  It was a fantastic experience.  Those years studying  painting at Art Center,  we became good friends with Mark and his wife.

The Studio of Mark Strickland

I see Mark not only as an artist but a conduit or channel, if you will, of portraying the human condition.  His inspiration comes from those that have not had an easy time of life: cancer survivors, homeless people, and war veterans.  His work is not meant to be gentle but conveys struggle, and deep emotion.

Mark has exhibited internationally and has had the lifetime opportunity to be a part of two extraordinary  art installations.  In 2008 his work was featured in an exhibit “Children of Dachau,” commemorating the children who died at the  Dachau concentration camp, in Flossenberg, Germany.  And recently he was part of an event at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, commemorating “Kristallnacht,” also referred to as the Night of the Broken Glass,  with music by movie and television composer Misha Segal.   You can click here to see a video of highlights from this event.

The Studio of Mark Strickland

To learn more about Mark and his work you can visit his web site here and preview his book, The Art of Mark Strickland.  There is also a nice interview of Mark done by Spirit Show Network, here.


The Florida Watercolor Society Convention & Myrna Wacknov Workshop

www.kimminichiello.comMyrna Wacknov showing us her work on Yupo.

It’s been a busy few weeks!  We moved our daughter back to college and the day after I drove to South Florida for the Florida Watercolor Society Convention.  This three day event is one of the highlights of my whole year.  If you would like to know more about the convention you can read last year’s post here.  Aside from the wonderful demo’s, done by some of the most talented artists working in watercolor today, and the Trade Show where great deals on supplies are always to be had, which can be a bit dangerous, the highlight is always seeing friends and meeting new ones!

This year I also took a workshop with one of the two instructors that are invited to do a four day workshop prior to the convention.  One of the instructors is the judge for the annual exhibition, this years judge was Frank Webb.  He is a Dolphin Fellow of AWS, American Watercolor Society, and turned 90 last week!  The other instructor was Myrna Wacknov.  I have followed Myrna’s blog for a number of years and admire and appreciate her style and techniques, many of which are considered “out of the box” for traditional watercolorists.  That is what I love about her work, I like the “there are no rules” in watercolor approach.

Notan selfie created on my iPad

We started the week by learning about some apps that can be used on the iPad to manipulate photos, to use for reference photos for our paintings.  The main one was Photoshop Touch, which is essentially a scaled down version of Photoshop you can use on a digital device.  I often use Photoshop on the computer to design and compose paintings, which I then paint  from on my iPad.  I like knowing now that I can do some things directly on the iPad.

We took selfies and the manipulated the photos in Photoshop Touch to create a Notan and some grey scale images which were used as the reference for the three paintings we did, focusing on shape, line, and value.

Collaging over painting done in life drawing session.  Sorry Stephanie!

Selfie over mid tone collage background.

The first painting was done by creating collage papers in a plethora of ways to use as a mid tone valued background for the selfie (self portrait) on top.  I could see where this collage paper making could become an addiction!  I don’t do much figurative work other than life drawing once a week.  So between that and all the other surfaces we created to paint on, I was way beyond my comfort level, but it was a blast!

Selfie on Yupo

The second painting was done on Yupo which is a synthetic paper.  I had never used this before and can take some getting used to.  I’m not a convert, but could see painting on this occasionally and experimenting with it a bit more.  I think artists that like hot press paper like this surface, the paint stays and sloshes around on the top and doesn’t really soak into the paper. I’m a cold press kinda gal.  A few artists that I feel are very successful with Yupo are Julie Ford Oliver, Helen Beacham, Taylor Ikin and Carol Ann Sherman.

Selfie done on textured gesso surface over ink drawing.

The third painting was done by creating a textured Gesso surface to paint on, and then using line by emphasizing the face with a line drawing with ink before painting.  It was funny with all the supplies I packed for this workshop, I felt I was bringing  most of my studio, I didn’t bring a quill pen or an oiler boiler (plastic bottle with a fine needle tip)  to draw with.  I improvised by using a black Prismacolor Pencil and dipped it into my ink bottle like a crow quill pen.  This  one ended up being a sort of stylized version of me.

The two paintings aside from the Yupo were done on older watercolors, sketches from life drawings or dogs from the drawer.  With these techniques you would never throw away old paintings or paper, but would recycle them into new work! One of the many, take aways I got from this workshop.  With the limited amount of time to do so many things, I don’t feel these are quite finished but are good starts that still need some tweaking.  This was my first attempt at doing self portraiture so overall I’m pretty pleased with the likeness!  If you ever have a chance to take a workshop with Myrna don’t miss it.  She is a wonderful, engaging teacher and you learn things that go beyond the ordinary in watercolor that may take your work to a new level.

Myrna’s demonstrations from the workshop