My Favorite Things Top Ten, Bonus: My Favorite Cocktail, The Spritz

Venetian Spritzs, Campari Spritz on the left & the Aperol Spritz on the right

When I was in Venice last spring with my WAM Women Artists Mentors Group.  I kept noticing at every cafe, whether it be lunch or apertivo hour, people were enjoying this neon orange cocktail!  I had to find out what all the fuss was about.  I had traveled in Italy many times before but these drinks had never been on my radar.  It is the The Spritz.  

KimMinichiello.comThe Spritz of today has its roots in the Hapsburg occupied Northern Italy.  In the nineteenth century,  Austrian soldiers would add a “spritz” or a  spray of water to the regions wine to make it more palatable to them.  They were used to Riesling and not the drier wines of Italy.  It has gone through some other incarnations but basically The Spritz of today is three parts Prosecco, two parts bitter liquer, and one part sparkling water.  It is traditionally made with Aperol or Campari as the bitter liquer.  I like the Aperol Spritz.  It’s garnished with an orange slice and sometimes in Italy a skewer with a green olive is added.  

KimMinichiello.comIt’s a cocktail I usually make at home, since many restaurants or bars don’t stock Aperol nor do they get the proportions right.  I had one once where the bar tender added plain water to Aperol and called it a Spritz; I don’t think so! You can see in Italy they use a variety of different glasses to serve a Spritz.

A recently issued book of Spritz, with a lot of nice recipes for different varieties

I find it to be super refreshing and a nice way to end the day when the golden hour strikes and it’s apertivo time!  

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!  Hope you enjoyed “My Favorite Things Top Ten,” plus the bonus. Cin Cin! 

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New Work: Venetian Doorbell

Venetian Doorbell, Watercolor, 6″ x 6,” 15 cm x 15 cm

$285 Framed

Buy Now

I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I posted!  I have a little side project going that is taking away some of my studio time.  I’m redoing my kitchen.  Part of my design background is Interior Design, which I did for Walt Disney Imagineering for many years.  I’m in the midst of designing and ordering all the elements for the kitchen now.  Part of me absolutely dreads what’s ahead, not having a kitchen for a period of time. However, I will be thrilled when it’s done!

This is a small painting inspired by an unusual door bell I saw on my recent trip to Venice.  The tongue is what you press to make it ring!  Was tempted, but didn’t try it.  I’m currently doing a larger painting featuring this guy.

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

Venice, a Recap

Kim Minichiello blog 1When things seem to fall into place so seamlessly, with no shenanigans so to speak, it was just meant to be.  That’s the way I feel about my recent trip to Italy with my WAM:Women Artists Mentors friends, Helen Beacham, Maria Bennett Hock, Debra Kierce and Carrie Waller.  Helen approached us last summer and said, “Why don’t I keep the apartment I’m renting an extra week after my students leave from my workshop and you all can join me in Venice!”  We couldn’t say yes fast enough.  Research was done and flights were booked.

Carrie traveled the furthest  from Tokyo, Debra and Maria were coming from Virginia and myself from Florida.  After we all booked our tickets, at the time we felt we would all get the best deal, we arrived in Venice within one hour of each other not really planning to, it just happened that way.   I was first and waited for Carrie, Maria and Debra. We took the Alilaguna, airport boat, and met Helen at the stop that was 5 minute walk from the apartment.

WAM Venice Group Shot for Publicity, more cropped FINALFrom left to right:  Carrie Waller, Helen Beacham, Maria Bennett Hock, me, and Debra Kierce

This was the first time everyone in the group was meeting in person!  Since we all meet on-line once a month it instantly felt like we had met before many times.  However, meeting on-line and traveling together are two different animals.  But since we all look out for each other supporting each other in our art careers and business, we did the same as traveling buddies.  Aside from  a couple of incidents with pigeon poop, on the same person, I’m not mentioning any names,  the trip was absolutely perfect.

Kim Minichiello Blog 4The thing that strikes me as being so wonderful about spending more than just a couple of days in Venice, is it’s so relaxing!  Granted it’s not a beach vacation, but the ambiance is so special with no cars, sirens, or motorbikes, only echoes of people bouncing off the buildings in the narrow alley ways, the occasional church bells, and the sounds of boats going about their way on the canals.  I think we may have been there before the tourist rush of summer, it didn’t feel too crowded. We had plenty of time to explore the 6 neighborhoods as well as Burano and Murano, as well as sketch, eat, (more than a few gelatos were consumed) and just spend quality time getting to know each other better.

We all took thousands of photos between the five of us and I can’t wait to see what we all are inspired by when we create some new work.

Kim Minichiello blog 3

My favorite Aperitivo, The Spritz

So Cin Cin to my fabulous five friends, here’s hoping we have many more adventures like this one!

On a side note, Debra put together a nice memento and some advise on starting your own mentoring group on Bored Panda, click here.

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


Italy on My Mind

Kim Minichiello

Assisi Guardian, Watercolor on handmade paper, 24″ x 22″


I’m still on a high from my recent trip to Venice.  I got a little caught up last week and will share some photos and experiences on a future post.  In the mean time, I’m posting  a new painting inspired on a former trip to Italy.

This piece was inspired by a trip to Assisi, Italy.  Guarding the Basilica Santa Chiara, is a  beautiful terra cotta lion statue.  Chiara or Clare in english was a friend of St. Francis and the founder of the convent and order of the Poor Clares.  I knew the day I visited, I would eventually do a painting of the lion statue that was so intriguing to me.  I’m not sure of  the exact significance of the lion here, but to me it symbolizes the essence and spirit of St. Francis and his great love of animals and our duty to protect our earth’s creatures and environment.  In addition, I feel it’s important to protect ancient customs and art forms.  The background in this painting, replicating a stitched pattern, pays homage to the ancient Italian needlework tradition of Assisi Embroidery.

Where is your favorite place to visit in Italy?  Have you seen this Lion in Assisi?

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Tuscan Olives small fileLimited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.

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.

Tuscan Olives

www.KimMinichiello.comTuscan Olives, Limited Edition Giclée print from an original watercolor, 8″ x 8″

I have a few friends who are traveling in Italy right now.  I can’t say that I’m not jealous!!  I hope they are having a great time and since I”m feeling quite nostalgic wishing I was there, I thought I would post one of my paintings that was inspired by wandering around the olive trees in Fiesole just above Florence.  This and many other of my paintings are available as limited editions giclée prints and note cards.  Click here for more information. If you are interested in bigger sizes just let me know.   Ciao!


Tuscan Olives

www.KimMinichiello.comTuscan Olives, Watercolor, 8″ x 8″

During a previous year’s Troupe 4276 trip to Italy, we visited the Roman Ruins in a hill town, Fielsole,  above Florence.  There was a small olive grove on the grounds.  I wandered  through the trees, taking photos of the olives dangling from the branches. That moment was the inspiration for this painting, “Tuscan Olives.”

I am donating this painting for the Live Auction at the Dr. Phillips Theatre Magnet’s 8th Annual Gala, “Giving Hearts for the Arts.”  Proceeds are also benefiting the American Cancer Society.  Come  join us for this  wonderful cause, and a fun evening with food, and entertainment from the award winning Troupe 4276!