Plein Air Friday, Back at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

“Peaceful Morning,” Watercolor, 11″ x 14″

Asia Area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom

 I went back to the spot I was at last week in the Africa area.  I had very limited time today, I didn’t completely finish.  I will put it up in the studio and analyze whether I will finish it or not.  Some I’m compelled to bring to completion and others I essentially see as a painting exercise.  As I mentioned in the last post, I tried a new paper I didn’t care for so part of me doesn’t want to spend any more time on this one.   It is at that point where I feel like I may have overworked it.  I will look at with fresh eyes another day. 

www.KimMinichiello.comI’m posting a painting I did finish in the Asia area.  I  also wanted to share a link to the Urban Sketchers Blog.  Last week there was a meet up of different chapters all over the world to record anything related to the Chinese New Year, the year of the Rooster.  Noga Grossman the head administrator for our Orlando Chapter suggested the idea as well as documenting what other artists did on the worldwide Urban Sketchers blog.  If you would like to see the post you can click here.  One of my paintings of the Temple of Heaven in the China Pavilion at Epcot was featured!  There are other sketches from  Lisbon, Yokohama, Seattle, Orlando, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Beijing, Dallas/Ft. Worth, O’ahu, and Canberra, in the article.

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Plein Air Friday

Tori Gate, 14 x 11, Watercolor

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since my Favorite Things, Top Ten series over the holidays.  Where did January go? This morning I painted in the Africa area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  I have painted a few times in the Asia area and this is the first in Africa.  I lost my bearings and didn’t realize after I started that about an hour and half into the painting, drawing then block in, I wold have the sun right on my paper and in my face with no umbrella.  Oh well, I will try and go back next week to finish it before the sun crests the building I was in front of.  

On an interesting side note, the past 2 Fridays I have tried a new paper, Windsor Newton Cold Press.  I painted at Epcot last week, this Tori Gate painting, and struggled with the paper drying too fast because it was chilly and windy.  Today, no wind and in the sun, it took forever for the first wash to dry so I could move on!  Just goes to show you different papers behave differently then when you add the elements on top of it, that’s a whole other story,  Something, my fellow oil painters don’t have to worry about. Unless you are painting in freezing conditions and the paint gets stiff. Painting in freezing conditions, not my cup of tea.  Won’t be worrying about that! 

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

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! 

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Plein Air Friday: “Siamang Retreat”

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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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.

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.

Veruka is hanging ten.

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

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Plein Air Friday, The Historic Windermere School House

The Historic Windermere School House, Windermere, FL, Plein Air, 10″ x 14″

I was planning on painting plein air at Disney’s Animal Kingdom today but the weather put a kibosh on that!  Hurricane Matthew is howling outside as I’m posting this.  I feel extremely blessed, It doesn’t seem to be as bad here as what was predicted yesterday but the coasts are  getting the worst of it. I hope all my friends on the coasts are weathering the storm OK.  Everybody stay safe!!

This is a plein air piece I started a few weeks ago and put the finishing touches on in the studio,  I’m really happy with the light quality and contrast on this one.  I feel it has good lights and darks.  It’s kind of tricky painting a white structure and maintaining a nice value plan.

My workshop, “Photoshop as a Tool for Artists,” is coming up at the Winter Garden Art Association/SoBo Gallery, on October 20.  This is a one day workshop to help artists learn all the different ways they can use Photoshop for their artwork, to marketing to entering shows.  Click here to register, early bird price ends soon!

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Plein Air Friday, Japan Yakitori House


Watercolor Sketch on Handmade Khadi Paper, 18 x 9, Japan Pavilion, Epcot

I went out plein air painting this friday and last,  in the community of Windermere, where I  live and got a couple of good starts.  I will finish them on site or in the studio.  Why didn’t I finish on site?  Last week it was still pretty hot and as the sun shifted onto me, with sweat dripping on my work,  it was time to call it quits.  Today, I brought the umbrella, and had a great shady peaceful spot, until about a dozen kids that are home schooled came to the adjacent park for recess!  It became super hard to focus.  Oh well, they were having a great time!

My set up today with the umbrella

The top photo is one I did earlier this summer when the Flower & Garden Festival was on at Epcot.  Every year, local residents loan their gorgeous bonsai, for the festival.  Some are more than twenty years old!  I always enjoy seeing them every year!

As Third Vice President for the Florida Watercolor Society, I will be at the annual convention all next week.  However, I still get to paint plein air one day.  I will be doing a one day plein air workshop with Steve Rogers!  I can’t wait!   I am also the Social Media Chair for FWS. If you would like to see what goes on at the annual convention like the FWS Facebook page here.

Japan Plein Air

Japanese Pagoda, Watercolor, 10″ x 14,” Plein Air

Another plein air at the Japan Pavilion at Epcot, done mostly on site and another half hour in the studio adding the last few details.   This one is on Twinrocker paper. I use Twinrocker  a lot in the studio and have just started to use it more painting plein air.  Love it for that purpose too!  I love how this paper is sized and how the color seems to float more on the top instead of sinking in right away.  It also lifts very will too.

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Germany Plein Air


“Germany View,” Watercolor,  Plein Air, 12.25″ x 7.75″

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Here is a small plein air painting of part of the Germany Pavilion at Epcot.  This one was done in two sessions. I had most of it done on the first day and then returned to lay in the background trees and add the details. I like to plein air paint in my sketchbook ( Stillman & Birn Alpha Series)  but lately I have been doing a few on paper taped to a board.  I ordered a sample pack of a variety of watercolor papers from different manufacturers to try them out.  I normally paint on Arches or Twinrocker. This one was done from an Arches watercolor block, 140 lb. I will be trying out some of the other papers in future paintings and let you know how I like them.

I added a new page to my website, “Sketches & Plein Air,” you can click here to check it out! Let me know what you think.

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Watercolor Sketching Workshop in Winter Garden Florida

The Old Water Tower, in Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook

The more I teach the more I realize I love to teach!  We had a glorious weekend with the arrival of some cooler weather, which only lasted the weekend by the way, it’s hot again!  I can’t remember since moving to Florida seventeen years ago it ever being this hot this late in November!  I digress…. I had three lovely ladies join me for a weekend of sketching and they were great!  Sketching in the morning and afternoon is tiring and they were real troopers and really enjoyed it.

Sketching the Red Caboose and Train Station

I’m hearing from students in all of my workshops that I cover many topics that most instructors  don’t discuss and they are so happy to discover and learn about!  There were quite a few light bulb moments in this workshop, which I was thrilled about!  I love that I can help others move forward with their painting/sketching practice and that I’m providing them with many take aways.

The Crooked Can Brewery, in Stillman & Birn Alpha Series Sketchbook

In this watercolor sketching workshop since we were sketching in Downtown Historic Winter Garden and focusing mostly on architecture, I covered  different perspective views, horizon lines, vanishing points, one and two point perspective and proportions.  Proportions are key, it took me a while when I first started sketching to figure out how to measure and make sure what I wanted to sketch fit on the page!  How many of you have started sketching something only to run out of room on your paper?

An added bonus for me is that while I’m explaining all of this to others I can’t help but grow and improve myself!

#watercolorsketching #workshop #historicwintergarden #florida #stillmanandbirn #crookedcanbrewery #wintergardenartassociation

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