Painting with the Tigers on Plein Air Friday

Next to the Tigers, Plein Air Watercolor, 14″ x 9.5″

Bright and early this morning I was at Epcot laying the ground work for a watercolor sketching workshop  I will be teaching next week for artists and designers at Walt Disney Imagineering.  Got the demo spot scoped out with plenty of room for folks to gather around and honed in on other locations for everyone to sketch.

Getting ready to do the details

A few weeks ago I was at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on the Asia trek painting near the bridge between the 2 tiger exhibits.  While I’m painting I love watching the early morning routines of the animal keepers and I end up learning a lot about the animals I’m painting near.

Back up the hill after finishing some morning business

While I was working, there was a male tiger on the exhibit to my right and a female on the exhibit to the left.  They are currently separated until they get used to each other and the younger female is ready for mating.  They have to keep the shutters closed on the male’s side because if he sees her through the glass across the promenade, he will go crazy! (This is what the keepers have told me.)  As it was, he can smell her and had some guttural sexy calls, that morning, which felt like he was carrying on right behind me! Nothing like loud Tiger snorts and groans to keep you awake in the morning.  She, the female, couldn’t be bothered in the least! 

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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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Favorite Things Top Ten: Number 4, Watercolor Sketchbooks

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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!

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

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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, Disney’s Animal Kingdom

This was the start from last Friday

The group I have been painting with at Epcot on Fridays has now moved to Animal Kingdom.  We are so psyched!  I was on the design team for this park and have loved it from day one.  We traveled to many places in Asia during the concept and design phase and spending time in the Asia area of Animal Kingdom brings back so many great memories.

This is where I finished today.  I’ll tweak and punch up the values in the studio.

One of my favorite things about plein air painting is the ambiance surrounding you. At the location today, I thought I would share with you some of my surroundings.  Just behind where I was painting was the home of the White Cheeked Gibbons.  One of the females just had a baby, and here is a video of her with her mom and a few of the males.  The female is a brown color and the males are dark.  The baby’s name is Harper named after Harper Lee.

Every morning around 8:00 they start this ritual where they screech, or sing if you will,  to mark their territory.  It is an unbelievable sound and the first time you hear it you think they are electronic sirens or alarms!  Here is a  sound snippet of their songs!  Stick with it they really get going about half way through this one minute audio.


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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, Lake Butler Boat Houses

Work in Progress,  on 1/4 sheet 140 lb. Arches

 I have a work in progress painting from my outing today.  I went across Lake Butler to the other side  from my community and started a painting of the boat houses.  I was in a relaxing mood this morning and took my time.  I will go back to the same location to finish it another day.  This is about 2 hours scoping location, drawing and painting.

Boat Houses 1

Trying out some new brushes

I was anxious to try my new toys I got at the Florida Watercolor Society Convention & Trade Show last week.  I’ve always wanted a travel brush set.  At some point, I will condense my kit even more to have a small one that just fits in my purse,  I can use on occasion, instead of carrying a separate bag.  They just happen to be the same brush type I use all the time plein air painting.  I love the Escoda Perla series.  In addition to the #14, I now have a #10, #6 and a #2, in the travel kit!  The extra bonus is I can use them in the studio too! The smaller brush came in really handy on the spanish moss.  It doesn’t show up very well in the photo, they came in a black leather case.

I also bought a #16 Escoda Versatil. I had a #14 and found it to be a bit small for what I wanted. This is a synthetic sable brush.  I like to have a bigger sable like brush to lay in large washes and skies.  This worked out really well!!

To quote Tom Haverford on the TV series, Parks & Recreation, “Treat yo-self!”