Dinner Plate Hibiscus & Amish Acres

www.kimminichiello.comWatercolor Sketch on Hand Made Paper

This watercolor sketch is of a Dinner Plate Hibiscus from my mom’s garden. These blooms are literally 8-10” in diameter, hence the name!  Gorgeous!!  I have never seen these grown in Florida, but on my recent visit to Indiana you seem them everywhere. I like doing these long vertical formats in my sketch book.

Kim Minichiello

My Schmincke Palette

This sketch has a slight departure from my other sketches.  I didn’t use my regular Windsor Newton kit.  I have a Schmincke palette which I sometimes use.  It’s a lot heavier than my normal kit so I don’t take it when I have to carry my supplies around.   Since I knew I was going to be painting at my mom and dad’s house, I brought it along.

 Kim Minichiello

Dinner Plate Hibiscus at Amish Acres, Napanee, Indiana

We drove to up to Nappanee, Indiana, which is one of several areas in Indiana with an Amish population.  I love traveling to these areas and being caught off guard when you see the horses clip clopping down the road among all the cars, pulling the ubiquitous black buggies with the orange triangle warning signs on the back.  My mom and daughter and I had a discussion about the simple, but surely hard-working lifestyle of the Amish and wondered if we could do it.  Although it sounded appealing to all of us, the consensus was for a variety reasons we couldn’t.

While in Nappanee we visited  Amish Acres which is known for it’s little village featuring a restaurant in an actual barn and a round barn theatre.   For a fixed price they serve you a family style home cooked meal.  Your choice of two of three meats, fried chicken, pot roast or ham, plus, bean soup, home-made bread, green beans, dressing, mashed potatoes, beef and noodles, sweet pickles and slaw with a vinegar dressing.  Last but not least your choice of several types of pie for dessert.  We were famished after walking and shopping at their annual artisan and craft fair that weekend on the grounds behind the restaurant around the lake.  We had a glorious lunch while admiring all our treasures we had purchased. 🙂

 

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Indiana Heirloom Tomatoes

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Watercolor Sketch on Hand Made Paper

I took a week off from my blog to drive up to Indiana to see my family.  It felt like fall!  Lows in the 40’s and 50’s at night 70’s in the day.  Was a niece relief from the rainy hot and humid weather we have been having in Florida!  This sketch is of heirloom tomatoes from my mom’s garden.  There is nothing like a home grown tomato just picked from the vine, sliced with a pinch of salt.  Pair that with green beans cooked with bacon and new potatoes, and corn on the cob.  All from the garden of course. And, don’t forget the homemade bread and butter.  A piece of pie for dessert is nice too!  A friend  of my mom’s had given her some beautiful sour cherries picked from her tree, therefore we had to make a pie.   The perfect summer Indiana dinner!

 

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Watercolor Sketch: Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

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Watercolor Sketch on Hand Made Paper

The Watercolor Sketch Travelogue Series,  continues leaving Thailand going back to Hong Kong.  This one was done at the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery in Sha Tin in the New Territories of Hong Kong.  The monastery was completed in 1957, but it took an additional 10 years to complete and add the 13,000 Buddha statues on the main temple walls.  Incidentally even though the name is 10, 000 Buddhas Monastery, there are 13,000.  In Cantonese, 10,000 denotes a large number of something.

This sketch was done at the bottom of the hill and is of a more Thai influenced statue with 4 faces.

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Watercolor Sketch: Chedi Beach, Phuket Thailand

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Watercolor sketch on Hand Made Paper

Today I’m sharing another watercolor sketch done on the Chedi Beach in Phuket Thailand.  This one was done sitting on the beach chair after a delicious lunch of the freshest, tastiest,  Thai food imaginable.

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Watercolor Sketch and Painting, Chinese Shoes

Kim Minichiello

Watercolor Sketch on Handmade Paper

There is a street near the Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road in Hong Kong called Cat Street.  Although it’s touted as a street to find antiques, and some of the actual shops do sell antiques.  The stalls along the street are mostly things made for tourists that appear to be antiques.  That being said it is still fun to wander, and look and shop because there is a lot of cool stuff there.  But remember, if you do buy anything bargaining for the best price, or what you are willing to pay is imperative!  Sometimes what you are willing to pay is still a big profit for the sellers!  But, you walk away happy with your treasure and the seller is happy they made a sale.

One seller has a bunch of embroidered shoes.  Since I love textiles and  the beautiful colors of these shoes,  I went one day to do a plein air sketch of some of them lying in a basket.  As I was doing the sketch I knew I wanted to develop this idea further.  I took photos and used them, and my sketch as reference for a larger painting.

Kim MinichielloChinese Shoes, Watercolor on Archival Paper, 15″ x 11″, 38 cm x 28 cm

This is the larger painting, Chinese Shoes,  that was exhibited in a summer exhibition at Brushstrokes Gallery, in Hong Kong from an invitation from artist, and my good friend, Isabelle Lim.

 

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Watercolor Sketch Chedi Beach, Phuket Thailand

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Watercolor on Handmade Paper

One of the things I loved living in Hong Kong, was you are centrally located to travel all over Asia.  The airport is a breeze to get to from Central with the Airport Express train which departs from the IFC tower.  You can even check your bags at the train terminal so you don’t have to do it at the airport!  We went on a long weekend holiday to Phuket Thailand.  My previous trip to Thailand was during the design phase of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, visiting Bangkok and Chang Mai for research.  It was wonderful to see the beautiful beaches in the South.  This sketch was done on the beach.  There was a family that set up in an outdoor kitchen to serve lunch to the guests at the nearby hotel.  The food was scrumptious.  One of their little boys came over and talked to me while I was painting.  He was so intrigued he kept touching the paint as I was putting it down.  I have a little souvenir of his fingerprint on the sketch!

 

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Watercolor Sketch, Kawadoko: Dessert Above the Kibune River, Japan

www.kimminichiello.comWatercolor Sketch on handmade paper, Kibune, Japan

This is such a simple sketch but has such fond meaning and memories for me.  When visiting Kyoto. My daughter and I took a day trip to the northern mountains to the villages of Kurama and Kibune.  Fist we took the train to Kurama and enjoyed time in a traditional japanese onsen, a public bathing house, fed by hot springs.  We were the only non Japanese there but we felt right at home soaking in the outdoor tub under the forest canopy.  There are a number of rituals one must partake in before entering the tub.  Since language was a definite barrier here, we relied on what we had seen in the Miyazaki film, My NeighborTotoro, which is one of our favorites, for clues to the preparation before entering the big bath!

www.kimminichiello.comForest from Kurama to Kibune

After a relaxing soak we continued on into the forest to hike the trail to Kibune.  The walk took several hours but was not strenuous.  The forest was magical.  There are a number of small temples and shrines to take a rest and reflect on the beauty of this place.  We reached Kibune in the late afternoon and scoped out the restaurants and made reservations for dinner.  Kibune is a small village nestled right in the forest along the Kibune River.  In the summer the restaurants place covered platforms above the river for dining and it flows beneath you as you dine Japanese style inches above the water.  This is knows as kawadoko.

www.kimminichiello.comRestaurant platforms above the Kibune River-Kawadoko

Kim MinichielloOne of our courses during our kaiseki meal

 After visiting the Kibune Shrine we settled into our spot for dinner.  We were served a kaiseki meal, which is a multi course meal of a variety of Japanese delicacies.  Between courses we could lean over to the side of the platform and dip our feet into the cool rushing water below, nice after a day of hiking!  When we were served dessert, this simple piece of melon, I did this watercolor sketch.  The whole day was such an amazing experience.  I will never forget it and I have my sketch to take me right back there!

www.kimminichiello.comLanterns above a dining area

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Watercolor Sketch, Kyoto Treat

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Watercolor Sketch, Kyoto Japan, Green Tea Soft Serve Ice Cream

My daughter and I had walked the Path of Philosophy, from the Ginkaku-Ji Temple to the Eikan-do and Nanzen-ji Temples, and stopped at an outdoor cafe for a green tea soft serve ice cream.  I adore green tea and anything made with matcha, (the powdered form of green tea).  Where I have had green tea ice cream at Japanese restaurants in the States, it is rare to find it soft serve.  I’m embarrassed to say, or maybe not, that I had one of these cones every single day I was in Kyoto.  As I was sketching at the table, the owner of the cafe came out and presented me with one of her name cards, which I attached in my book.  This one had to be quick before it melted all over my daughter’s hand!

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Path of Philosophy during cherry blossom viewing season, Kyoto Japan

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Watercolor Sketching Equipment

 

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www.kimminichiello.comYou can do watercolor sketches just about anywhere.   I highly encourage you to try it in your home or studio and consider it “play!”  This is where you can just play with the materials, discover what pigments you like best, what paper you prefer, what brush do you gravitate to the most.  Force yourself to use a bigger brush than you are used to, maybe a natural hair brush, versus a synthetic hair brush.  Which feels best for you?  If you are an experienced painter in watercolor, force yourself to use a different paper than you are used to, or different brushes.  Keep this in mind, don’t labor over it… it’s a sketch!

Most watercolor sketching I do is on location or plein air.  If you would like to work on the figure, try sketching in a cafe or coffee shop.  If you enjoy florals, go to a favorite park or your garden.  If you would like to paint plein air, you can do landscapes or urban scenes.

My favorite time to watercolor sketch is when I’m traveling.  My watercolor travel journals are a treasure to me.  I look at them often just to remember the places I’ve been, recalling smells, sounds or interesting things that happen while I’m sketching or people I meet and talk to.  It all comes back.   I also use them to develop larger paintings.

Today I thought I would share with you my equipment.  When I go out on location I want to keep it as light as possible and I’ve have narrowed it down to these essentials:

  • Watercolor sketch book- I use one with hand made paper from Nepal or India.  I love the deckled edge, texture of the paper, and it doesn’t take to being too wet or being overworked, so I stay in that “sketch mode.”
  • 2 brushes-  a #18 round, and a #16 flat
  •  My Windsor & Newton, compact paint palette- Here is a handy tip.  When I run out of paint in the little pans.  I just squeeze more in from my tubes and leave it out to air dry and get hard.
  • A collapsable water container
  • A bottle of water- I recycle a water bottle.  I always take water with me because I can never count on water being at the location I want to paint.
  • A travel pack of tissues or a few paper towels.
  • Mechanical pencil and a pack of leads.
  • 2 permanent ink pens
  • A kneadable eraser
  • A binder clip to hold my page down, if it’s windy
  • My black canvas pouch to keep all the above in.  I also use a bamboo brush holder for my brushes.
  • A stool- I have 2 a simple triangular one that folds up and fits in a case and nifty one that combines a stool and backpack.  I found this in a sporting goods store in Paris in the fishing section!  I love it for sketching in museums, too.  I sit on it with the backpack section in the front and have easy access to all my materials.

Kim Minichiello

 

All the sketches I have posted and will continue to share were all done with just these items!  I feel the brushes are key.  As long as you have one good big round brush that comes to a nice point, that is all you need.  It will also hold more water and allow you to be more gestural and spontaneous with your painting.  Have fun!  🙂

A funny story… Like I suggested try and keep your kit as light as possible.  I have been known to carry my stuff around with me all day while we are touring around, and never get around to doing a sketch.  My daughter teases me and asks me if I did, “performance art,” or  “real art”   that day!  She happens to be an actor and performing artist and sometimes a smarty pants.

 

 

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Watercolor Sketch From Kyoto Japan

www.kimminichiello.comWatercolor Sketch, Kyoto Japan, Gio Ji Temple

The summer we lived in Hong Kong, my daughter and I took a girls trip together to Kyoto Japan. We had been the previous April during Cherry Blossom season and fell in love with Kyoto.  We went back to explore other areas we didn’t get a chance to visit.  Gio Ji Temple in the Arashiyama area is such a charming, peaceful place.  Almost the entire grounds are carpeted with the most beautiful green moss.  I did this sketch sitting along one of the tiny paths, while my daughter played with the temple cat.

 

 

 

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