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!


California Art Club Gold Medal Exhibition, Hurry Only 2 Days Left

www.kimminichiello.comI’m finally home after an extended trip to Los Angeles, Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia.  I have lots to blog about!  I thought I would mention a few exhibitions I attended and will talk about the ones that are closing first in case you live in the area and haven’t seen them yet, you should!

While in LA, my husband and I had the pleasure of seeing  the Annual Gold Medal Exhibition of the California Art Club at the Fishers Museum of Art on the USC campus.  The show closes on April 19 so only 2 more days left!   Founded in 1909 by some of the classic California painters such as William Wendt, Franz Bischoff, and Hanson Puthuff, the California Art Club is one of the oldest and most prestigious art societies in the United States.

The Gold Medal show is juried from its roster of “Artist Members,” who have been juried to reach that particular status within the organization.  Needles to say, the Gold Medal show is the piece de résistance show of the year.

IMG_5383-576x1024I felt every painting in the show deserved to be there.  Did I like every painting in the show?  Not, necessarily like anything I have my tastes and preferences, however from a quality and execution standpoint they are all good.

www.kimminichiello.comIf you enter shows, which I do, it is always a good idea to see these juried shows in person.  You just cant get the full effect of the work from a show catalogue or an image on the monitor.  If I had just looked at the catalogue there are a few pieces I may have just glanced at, but in person they were worth an extended look.

www.kimminichiello.comThe other takeaway  I gleaned form the show is framing is important!!! There were some killer high quality frames here that very effectively enhanced the paintings.  If you are ever juried into this show, do not skimp on your framing or your painting may reside on the lower end of the totem pole compared to the others.

If you miss the show this year, there is always next year, and in the following years if you are inclined to be a part of this great organization,  something to aspire to.

The show catalogue can be purchased from the California Art Club web site.

#californiaartclub #goldmedalexhibition

Limited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available

Do You Do Voodoo

Do You Do Voodoo, Watercolor Mounted on Board, Sealed and Framed, 6″ x 6,” framed size 12″ x 12,” $200 framed

Last spring when I attended the reception for the 44th Annual International Louisiana Watercolor  Exhibition at the Garden District Gallery in New Orleans.  I spent the weekend doing a self guided tour of the city.  While wandering around the French Quarter I happened upon the tiny, quaint Voodoo Museum.  It was so much fun, such a learning experience and a stroke of good luck, avoiding a downpour!

Upon entering the museum I was greeted by the proprietor, Voodoo Priest,  with his baby pet boa constrictor around his neck leisurely petting it while checking guests in.  The museum is a small, few room space, with more of a home-made display vibe, but very interesting nonetheless.  I was enamored with all the accoutrement  used for altar displays, and the offerings of money, Mardi Gras beads and a plethora of objects!

I was also fascinated to learn that the voodoo doll was originally used by doctors as their record keeping device for their  patients.  They would mark the doll with pins to remember one’s ailments and record treatments that were given.  Not sure how it morphed into a curse device from there.

This paining, Do You Do Voodoo  was inspired by my visit there.  It will be available during the October Exhibition, “The Edge of Night,”  at the 127 SoBo Gallery in Winter Garden, Florida.

Contact me,,  if you are interested in purchasing.

The Telfair Museums in Savannah Georgia

Entrance to the Jepson Center of Contemporary Art

Just had another wonderful weekend in Savannah!  A few months ago  I wrote a post about the SCAD Museum of Art, which I didn’t get to this trip because the SCAD Senior Fashion Show took place at the museum last weekend and it was closed for that event.  I saw SCAD’s production of Steven Sondheim’s Into the Woods at the Lucas Theatre which was excellent!  And, I had a second visit to another set of museums that are definitely worth seeing if you are in Savannah.

The Jepson Center designed by Moshe Safdie

The Telfair Museums comprise three buildings which are three completely different museum experiences.  You can buy a pass for all three for $20 which is good for the entire week if you want to spread your visits out beyond a day.

Entrance to the Telfair Academy

A good place to start is at the Telfair Academy,  it is one of the oldest museums in the country opening to the public in 1886 after the Metropolitan in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts,  and the Chicago Art Institute.  It is a former mansion built in 1819 for Alexander Telfair, son of a Revolutionary War patriot.  It houses their permanent collection of twentieth and nineteenth century art from American Impressionists who studied and painted with French Impressionists in Europe and  also works by artists from the Ashcan school.  One will see paintings by: Alfred Smith, Gari Melchers, Frederick Carl Frieseke, Childe Hassam, and William Merritt Chase to name just a few.  They also have traveling exhibitions and featured a show recently on artist Robert Henri, Spanish Sojourn: Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain which is now at the San Diego Museum of Art.

Main Lobby of the Jepson Center

Just to the right on Telfair Square is the Jepson Center of Contemporary Art.  This amazing building was designed by architect Moshe Safdie, and opened in 2006, after some controversy over whether the contemporary design fit in with the historic district of Savannah.  This museum features a collection of twentieth century contemporary artists, including Jasper John, Chuck Close, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Avedon and others.  Among it’s 7500 square feet of gallery space are traveling contemporary exhibitions.  Currently on display are five different exhibitions including Marilyn: Celebrating and American Icon presented in a variety of media celebrating Marilyn Monroe, Helen Levitt: In the Street, photos and a video of Manhattan neighborhoods in the 1940s.  In conjunction with this, is a video installation called Street by UK artist James Nares, who shot high def video out of and SUV  of current streets scenes in Manhattan, slowing the source material down to view at more than a slow motion speed which would last 61 minutes if you watched the whole thing.  At normal speed it would last all but three minutes.  It is a mesmerizing time capsule of daily life on the streets of Manhattan.

By this time you may be hungry, but not to fret, the Jepson has a wonderful cafe on the second floor that features dishes prepared with fresh local ingredients.  You can also lunch there without paying the museums admission.


The Jespon Cafe

The last building on the Telfair Museums excursion would be the Owens Thomas House.  Just a few blocks walk from the other two.  This can be visited via guided tours which take place every 15 minutes.  Just show your day pass to get tickets for the tour.  This former mansion was designed by William Jay, an architect from Bath England, who also designed the Telfair Mansion mentioned above. Competed in 1819 it is considered to be the finest example of English Regency architecture in the United States. It is a national historic landmark due to the fact the Marquis de Lafayette, hero of the American Revolutionary war stayed here with his son.

The Back Entrance to the Owens Thomas House

There have only been three families live in the Owens Thomas house, aside from the brief stint it served as a boarding house before the Owens purchased the home.  The original owner who commissioned Jay to design and build the home had amenities that no other house in the US could boast at that time. It had three cisterns that collected thousands of gallons of rain water, to provide water for all the indoor plumbing features, sinks, bathtubs, showers, and toilets.  This was unheard of for that time period, 1819, and it wouldn’t be until a few decades later that other homes in the US had these luxuries.

The Garden and the Carriage House, Former Stables and Slave Quarters of the Owens Thomas House


A good plan of action for a weekend visit is to take your time at the Jepson Center and the Telfair Academy and save the Owens Thomas house for the next day.  There are also tours on Sunday.

Also, don’t forget to see what might be happening at the Lucas Theatre!

Birth of Impressionism and the Musee Marmottan Monet in Paris

www.kimminichiello.comImpression:Sunrise, Oil in Canvas, Claude Monet, 1872, Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris

Ahhhh April in Paris!  What a better month to hold an art exhibition. On this day exactly one hundred and forty years ago was an exhibition that changed the art world forever.

On April 15, 1874 a small group of artists put together a small independent art show to buck the establishment of academic painters and salons.  This exhibition led by artists Claude Monet featured other works by, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro and Berthe Morisot.  They called themselves the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptures, etc.

It wasn’t until  french art critique Louis Leroy entitled his nasty, scathing critique in a french newspaper, “Exhibition of Impressionists”  for which one particular painting by Claude Monet inspired this title, that the group would eventually be coined the “Impressionists.”   It was his, Impression: Sunrise.

When I lived in Paris I was so fortunate to see this painting many times as well as other works by Monet, Renoir and Morisot at the Musée Mormottan Monet, which is in the 16th arrondissement only a few blocks from where I lived.  Originally a hunting lodge on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne, it is a gem of a museum.  It has been bequeathed with many beautiful works of art over the years, most notably in 1966, Michel Monet’s collection of works inherited from his father.

What I love about Monet’s  collection here is there are works that seem to be works in progress and those that were  done during his later years when he was afflicted with cataracts.  With these one can get a sense of his painting process. And the color palette from the cataract years is much warmer with golds and yellows,  not typically Monet but are gorgeous.

It wasn’t until the third exhibition by these plus other independent artists that they gave in and officially called them selves “Impressionists.”

Today on the birthday of this major art movement I wanted to pay homage to the “Artists Independent” who later became known as “Impressionists,”  the painting that coined the term, and the Museum where it currently residues!

A side note, Impression: Sunrise was stolen from the Musée Marmottan Monet in 1985, recovered in 1990 and has been back on display since 1991.

These are the artists that participated in the first Impressionist Exhibition:

• Zacharie Astruc

• Antoine-Ferdinand Attendu

• Édouard Béliard

• Eugène Boudin

• Félix Braquemond

• Édouard Brandon

• Pierre-Isidore Bureau

• Adolphe-Félix Cals

• Paul Cézanne

• Gustave Colin

• Louis Debras

• Edgar Degas

• Jean-Baptiste Armand Guillaumin

• Louis LaTouche

• Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic

• Stanislas Lepine

• Jean-Baptiste-Léopold Levert

• Alfred Meyer

• Auguste De Molins

• Claude Monet

• Mademoiselle Berthe Morisot

• Mulot-Durivage

• Joseph DeNittis

• Auguste-Louis-Marie Ottin

• Léon-Auguste Ottin

• Camille Pissarro

• Pierre-Auguste Renoir

• Stanislas-Henri Rouart

• Léopold Robert


Paris on My Mind and a Sketch From The Musée Rodin

www.kimminichiello.comWatercolor Sketch on Handmade Paper

I’m working on a new painting inspired by a place I used to walk by a lot in Paris. That, and the very cold, rainy damp weather we are having lately in Florida have put me in the Paris mood.  Working in the studio, I’ve been drinking Mariage Frère tea, listening to my French music mix and the two radio stations I used to listen to when I lived in Paris, TSF Jazz and FIP.  Both are on iTunes!  The ads are annoying but a great way for me to brush up on my French.

So today I’m sharing another Paris sketch.  This one was done in the gardens at the Musée Rodin.  The Hotel Biron which opened in 1919 as the Musée Rodin is undergoing a major renovation now.  I can see why they would need to update it for accessibility and security.  There was something quite nostalgic about it though, lacking in the modern layer of design polishing apart from the entry.  Once you stepped into the Hotel and walked from room to room, you felt like you were wondering through someones emptied out home with the most incredible art collection that was left behind.

Tomorrow I will be announcing the winner of a Limited Edition Giclée print of my painting Poppies, which I’m giving away to celebrate the one year anniversary of my blog.   If you haven’t left a comment yet to be eligible you still have time by clicking here.

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


The Ringling Museums, Sarasota, Florida

www.kimminichiello.comEntrance to Cá d’Zan, Ringling Mansion

Before many board games, television, computers, video and computer games, cell phones, and movie theaters, the only major form of entertainment for many communities was the circus. It was a very big deal when the circus came to town by train.  They set up and performed sometimes only one show in smaller communities before they were on to the next destination.  Towns declared the day circus came to town a holiday which meant no school for the children and no work for the adults so that everyone could attend the show.

 Living Room Ringling Mansion

At one time in the United States, there were one hundred companies that owned circuses that traveled all over the country.  Just like today in the age of mergers and acquisitions, smaller outfits were bought out by bigger more successful circuses.  One of the most successful was the Ringling Brothers Circus which eventually purchased the Barnum and Bailey circus in 1907. At first they operated and traveled as two separate circuses but when the business become too much for John & Charles Ringling to handle after three of his other  brothers were no longer involved with the family business, the names and the shows were combined into one, The Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1919.   John’s dream of performing in Madison Square Garden in New York was finally fulfilled.  Previously only the Barnum circus performed there.

 Dining Room, Ringling Mansion

In the early twenties John Ringling purchased 67,000 acres of land in Sarasota and Long Boat Key, Florida.  At the time, John was said to have been one of the wealthiest men in the United States.  In 1927 he moved the winter quarters of the circus to Sarasota, attracting famous circus performers from all over the world and Sarasota became known as Circus City USA.  By 1929 Ringling had acquired and owned all of the traveling circuses in the United States including Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

John and his wife Mabel loved Sarasota so much they built their winter home there on the Gulf of Mexico.  The home named Cá d’ Zan (House of John in the Venetian Dialect” ) is in the Mediterranean Revival style and was inspired by the architectural styles of Mabel’s favorite Venetian hotels.

The Rubens Hall, Ringling Museum of Art

Avid collectors of art from the 1920’s to the early 30’s, they amassed a collection of over 600 paintings, sculptures, and decorative objects,  from the 14th through the 18th centuries, works by Rubens, Van Dyk, Titian, and others.  Their dream was to build an art museum on the property with the home to preserve and house their extensive art collection.  Work began in the 1920’s on this incredible complex built in the Italian renaissance style.  To save on labor John hired many circus employees and used the elephants to move heavy construction materials in place. A new wing was constructed a few years ago to house, a number of temporary shows and exhibitions.

The Loggia Ringling Art Museum

Unfortunately after the great depression, and into the 40’s, the circus business started to dry up and other forms of entertainment started to captivate audiences. When John Ringling died at age 70 in 1936, he only had a few hundred dollars in his bank account. However, he bequeathed many of his assets including his home and art museum to the state of Florida.

If you visit there is much to see and do. You could easily spend two full days. On the property you can tour John and Mabel’s mansion, Cá d’ Zan which is situated on the Gulf. There are two Circus Museum buildings. The original built in 1948, houses the private  Pullman rail car that John and Mabel traveled in with the circus, vintage circus wagons and an interesting exhibit on when Cecil B. DeMille filmed the Oscar Award winning movie The Greatest Show on Earth in Sarasota.

Detail,Under the Big Top, Worlds Largest Circus Model

The other Circus Museum, The Tibbals Learning Center opened in 2006.  The highlight  in this facility is the world’s largest miniature circus model, which was constructed by Howard Tibbals, also the benefactor of this museum.  He constructed the entire model in a 50 year span.  This model is absolutely mind boggling in two aspects.  One, the model itself is a work of art.  Every little detail is conveyed from the circus arriving on the train, the big top, side show and menagerie upon entering the main tent, plus all the backstage supporting elements: commissary, living quarters, quarters for all the animals, repair and machine shops, etc.    Secondly, it conveys in no other way unless you had been there, the logistics, and all the elements, and inner workings of this huge entertainment venue.

In addition to the mansion, art museum and two circus museums,  is the Asolo Theatre, which is an actual 18th century theatre purchased from Asolo, Italy and reassembled on the Ringling grounds.  It is the only state theatre in Florida and features performances by the Asolo Theater Repertory Company.

The Ringling Museums are a true treasure in the state of Florida and definitely worth a visit!



Watercolor Sketching at the Musee Bourdelle, Paris


Watercolor Sketch on Handmade Paper

It’s finally happened!  There is a slight crispness in the air.  The temperature has been dropping into the 60’s at night. Instead of highs in the 90’s, today it will be in the 80’s!

Here is another sketch from a fall sketch outing to the Musee Bourdelle.  This charming museum, tucked away in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, was the home and studio of sculpture Antoine Bourdelle.  It gives you the sense of what an artist’s atelier actually looked and felt like in the late 19th century.  In the late 1920’s he started to turn his studio into and actual museum and today the museum houses more than 500 of works of sculpture, paintings, and pastels.

Bourdelle was one of the pioneers of 20th century monumental sculpture and was commissioned for works worldwide, including the United States; Washington D.C., Honolulu, Texas, Minnesota, California and Ohio.  In 1893 he joined  August Rodin as an assistant and became a popular teacher.

This sketch done sitting in the garden, is the second of the day, and is quicker and looser and than the first one I did.  When we arrived to tour the museum we had a beautiful, cool, sunny fall day but a few hours later while sketching in the garden the typical gray skies of Paris took over.  C’est la vie.