Daniel Smith Dot Cards & Just Because It Has the Same Name Doesn’t Mean It’s the Same Color

IMG_5722DS Dot Card 2The Daniel Smith 238 Dot Color Chart for their Extra Fine Watercolors

One thing I touch on in my workshops is that not all pigments are created equal.  My palette consists of paints from a variety of manufacturers because over the years I have determined which shade or tone I like of that paritiluar color from a specific manufacturer.  Just because it has the same name doesn’t mean its the exact same color.

In the recent “Watercolor for Beginners Workshop” I taught. I had the students only work with a limited palette of 5 colors.  Two blues, Cobalt and Ultramarine, one red, Permanent Rose, one yellow, New Gamboge and Quinacridone Burnt Orange or Burnt Sienna.  I feel for beginners too many colors can be overwhelming and they learned to mix everything they needed from these 5 colors.

Something interesting evolved with the yellow, New Gamboge, which is a  warm yellow.  My preferred New Gamboge is a Windsor Newton.  However I had a tube from Danial Smith which I had never tried before.  When I swatched them both out, the Daniel Smith New Gamboge was a bit warmer and more orange in tone.  Nothing wrong with that, it’s all a matter of preference.

Students that purchased paint, mostly bought Windsor and Newton’s New Gamboge.  Researching it further not all manufacturers are offering “New Gamboge,”  American Journey from Cheap Joe’s has a “Gamboge Hue.”  Therefore,  that’s why my students probably bought the Windsor Newton because it had the exact same name of what I had asked them to bring.

Kim MinichielloOlder Windsor Newton packaging on left and new packaging on the right.

Here is where it gets interesting.  Windsor & Newton changed their  packaging a while ago and the tubes are now silver instead of with the white paper label.  I had a older big tube (37ml) of New Gamboge with the white label.  Students bought new silver tubes.  When I saw them squirt some out on their palette I couldn’t believe it was the same color as the Windsor & Newton I had,  and it wasn’t.  It was more mustard in appearance and when swatched out it was like a cross between New Gamboge and Quinacridone Gold.  It just was not the same color I had intended them to work with! So even though it is from the same manufacturer it can be a different color!

Kim Minichiello

It may be hard to tell the color differences from this photo, these are the different New Gamboge samples.

I had ordered a tube of Windsor Newton’s New Gamboge before the workshop to replace the tube I had used up and when it came I sent it right back,  It just didn’t seem right for my palette.  I feel the Daniel Smith New Gamboge,  is a bit too orange and not the warm yellow I need.  Now I’m on a mission to find a new warm yellow.

A couple of weeks ago I bit the bullet and finally ordered a set of the Daniel Smith Dot Cards, which I have wanted to do for a long time!  Four cards total have a dot of paint of every paint they have in their line.  Just wet with a brush and you have an   actual sample!!!! I wish every manufacturer did this! How great is it to need a color and  know exactly what you are going to get!  I have a few Daniel Smith colors in my palette.  I have purchased quite a few and those I’ve liked have stayed and I use often and others I use occasionally, but still love them for different purposes.   Now there is no spending money and hoping that I like what I get, at least with Daniel Smith.

So now back to needing to find a new New Gamboge. Comparing the Windsor & Newton New Gamboge, the old formula that I like, to the samples on my Daniel Smith Dot cards, I feel that their Hansa Yellow Deep will be a good substitute! Problem solved.

The cards are $25 plus shipping.  I feel it’s money well spent. You get dots of all 238 colors in their line.   It was so much fun to wet them all to see what color was going to emerge,  you could also sense the behavior of the paint, did it move fast or take a while to get the pigment going. I can guess the value range right away for each color, saw some new colors I would like to try, saw some I thought I was interested in but maybe not after getting the dot card, which will save me money in the long run.  And if I’m looking for a new color for a particular painting or want to try something new, I’ll be more inclined to look at my dot cards, and perhaps order Daniel Smith. Lastly, they are just so cool to look at!  Really, the only paint manufacturer out there where you can actually truly sample a color without buying a whole tube of paint!

You go Danial Smith! Why didn’t I order these sooner?

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

Homemade Transfer Paper

www.kimminichiello.comI taught a “Watercolor for Beginners” workshop last week and I thought it might be nice to provide homemade transfer paper for my students to use.  I have heard about the positive virtues of the homemade stuff, especially from fellow WAM (Women Artists Mentors) member, Carrie Waller.  I thought I know what to do, but when things went awry I messaged her on our mentor’s group private Facebook page and she set me straight.  Such is the beauty of a mentor group, having instant help and support whenever you need it!

I don’t always condone the use of transfer paper for every painting.  I paint plein air and from life and draw my image directly on the paper sometime.  When I’ve taken and composed a photo that already has a good composition and design elements or I have manipulated a photo in Photoshop for design and composition, I use it as a shortcut to get my image on the watercolor paper.  This works great for smaller paintings and can be a bit trickier for larger one.  Essentially you need your image (a photo or drawing) to be the same size as your finished painting to trace over it with the transfer paper in the middle graphite side down between your image and the watercolor paper.  This will be a huge timesaver in the workshop so students can get their image on the watercolor paper quickly and will have more time for painting.

What are the positive virtues of homemade transfer paper as opposed to the one you buy in a role that comes in a box the size of plastic wrap or foil?

It’s less waxy and doesn’t leave any other unnecessary wax or residue on the watercolor paper.

It’s economical!  One homemade sheet can be used over and over again. The other stuff can me used more than once but eventually it gets spent and you have to toss it.

If you work large and need a specific size you can make it any size you want!

A con is it can be a messy process but one I felt was worth it.

So here is how you make it…….


  • Tracing Paper
  • 6B graphite stick
  • Jar of powdered graphite (this isn’t absolutely necessary but allowed me to cover the paper quicker)
  • Cotton Pads
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Old cotton rag or wash cloth

IMG_5488IMG_5489 Coat your transfer paper as heavy as you can with the graphite stick.  Use elbow grease your arm will get sore but it’s good exercise. 🙂

IMG_5490IMG_5491To fill in any gaps use a little of the powdered graphite and with a cotton pad rub it all over the paper.  The goal is to not see any white of the tracing paper.

IMG_5485When it’s fully covered, take the rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad, not doused just lightly coated a bit more than damp (blot on a paper towel first if you need to) and with light circular motion rub it over the graphite coated side.You will start to see the graphite melt, if you will, into the paper.  Don’t rub too hard or you may take all the graphite off.

IMG_5487Final step after the alcohol burnish with a dry cotton rag or wash cloth.

That’s it! You will notice it rolls itself up into a tight little roll.  When you use it unroll it and place it graphite side down on your watercolor paper and then the printed image or drawing you want to transfer on top and trace with a pencil using a medium to heavy pressure. A regular pencil works best not mechanical pencils. Check that you have the right pressure early so you don’t trace the whole image and realize you were too light handed.

Would love for you to leave a comment if you found this helpful!

www.kimminichiello.comLimited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.


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

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



Zen Moment

Kim Minichiello

Zen Moment, 12″ X 12,” Watercolor

Just when I thought I had returned I was gone again!  I have been traveling once again and with all the activities relating to my recent trip, I have not been in the studio painting, blogging or being very active on social media.  I just got back a little over a week ago from Indiana.  My mom planned a lovely memorial service for my dad and I stayed a while with her to help her with odds and ends since his passing.  Then it was off to Savannah last weekend to get my daughter settled for her junior year at SCAD.  Time is flying so quickly! I really wish the summer would last a bit longer, however, without the Florida heat!

I’m back to painting again and did this piece which I’m calling Zen Moment, because that is exactly what I needed and it is what this painting provided!  I have also decide to teach my students this piece in my upcoming “Bold & Dynamic Watercolor” workshop at the Winter Garden Art Association which will be here before you know it, Sat. & Sun. October 17 & 18.  If you would like more information you can visit my website here and to register you can go here to visit the Winter Garden Art Association’s website.  If you have any questions feel free to contact me.  I want to give a shout out to Cynthia who discovered my blog and came to Florida last spring to take my workshop!  Cynthia,  I haven’t made the Meyer Lemon Jelly yet, but still plan to!

I’m happy to be home and to get back into more of a normal routine, if such a thing exists, but at least it is feeling like it, at the moment.

www.kimminichiello.comLimited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.


The Georgia Watercolor Society National Exhibition and Iain Stewart’s Workshop

www.kimminichiello.comYours Truly with Honorable Mention Award for Mayan Gate, Watercolor

I thought I would to a post following up on my trip to Atlanta.  I was there the beginning of the month to attend the Georgia Watercolor Society’s National Juried Exhibition Reception and to take a workshop with the juror, Iain Stewart.  The week was absolutely fantastic in so many ways.  First, I want to thank the Georgia Watercolor Society and all the volunteers and Iian, the show was so beautiful and well-balanced with a range of subject matter.  I was honored to be included with such a talented  group of artists. GWS is a top-notch organization between the members, the  exhibition, the workshop and the folks at the Ogelthorpe Museum of Art, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.  The workshop was held where the show was so it was a treat to be surrounded by it and see all of the work the whole week!www.kimminichiello.com

The Ogelthorpe University Museum of Artwww.kimminichiello.comThe Gallery and Workshop Venue

One of the major high lights attending the shows is getting to meet the other artists.  The group I had the pleasure of being with all week during the workshop was so nice, gracious and a hoot!  We had a ball.  The other was receiving an Honorable Mention award!  To be singled out from a few hundred submissions to be in the show and then from around 90 works in the show from artists all over the United States, to receive an award was such an honor.  If you are interested in seeing the images from the show you can click here.  Another highlight was getting signature status with this great group, after having been in their national exhibition three times.


Iain Stewart with Demo Painting Done During the GWS Reception and Award Ceremony

Last but not least, was getting to spend 5 days painting with Iain Stewart.  I wanted to take a workshop with Iain because I felt he was somewhat if a kindred spirit by doing watercolor sketchbooks especially during travels.  I have been doing the same since 2005 and it is purely the reason I am now painting in watercolor.  I fell in love with the media doing sketches while traveling and living in Hong Kong and Paris.  The other reason I was excited to take the workshops is because I have recently been doing more plein air painting, as a seeing and drawing practice to improve my studio work,  and for my own enjoyment.  My husband also plein air paints and it is something we really enjoy doing together.  I was struggling with not simplifying what was in front of me enough and now with Iain’s help, I feel I have a much better handle on it.


Iian Demonstrating a Painting of Anstruther Scotland

I thought I would share a few of my observations from the workshop in case there are others who are interested in learning from Iain.  He also has a new series of DVD’s that were recently released, in case a workshop is to cost prohibitive.  However, I’m not sure Iain’s sense of humor will shine through on the DVD’s!  Yes, he is a hoot, and you will laugh and have a great time.  If you like taking workshops where the instructor is all business, doesn’t crack jokes and have fun, then this one may not be for you.

Whether you are, or are not a landscape painter you will learn.  If you are a landscape painter, after painting with Iian you will have many take-aways you can apply to your own work and style.  If you are not a landscape painter primarily, I feel the biggest takeaways will be to learn how to analyze your subject matter, edit and add to if needed to arrive at the best composition.  You will draw before you paint, using Iain’s photo reference as a guide.    If you are a watercolor artist  that only traces your images for your work and are lacking in drawing skills, you may feel a bit intimated.  On the other hand, more of a reason for you to take the workshop.  For a city scene, he does go over perspective.


My Painting of Vanasque, Provence, France Done During the Workshop


My Painting of Anstruther Scotland Done During the Workshop

Iain’s method is to finish a painting with 3-4 passes starting top to bottom with washes.  The first wash being the lightest, the following washes gradually getting darker in value, saving the lights from the first wash, and the last wash adds the darkest values and the details.  In my own plein air practice I’m eager to try this method and paint through my subject matter more, knowing the areas from the fist washes will get covered up with darker ones.  This will avoid painting “pieces”  and seeing the scene and painting it as a whole.

Iain’s a great guy and a very talented artist!  If he is coming to an area near you I would highly recommend taking his workshop!   You will have a great time and there are moments you just may laugh your **s off, but you will still learn a whole ***l of a lot!

#GeorgiaWatercolorSociety #IainStewart #IainStewartWorkshop #GWSNationalExhibition

www.kim minichiello.comLimited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.


Greetings from Atlanta!

www.kimminichiello.comI got home from LA at the end of last week then packed the car over the weekend and headed to Atlanta!  I have been looking forward to this trip for quite some time!  I’m here to see the Georgia Watercolor Society’s Annual National Exhibition.  I’m honored to have been selected into the show by an artists whose work I have been a fan of for quite some time,  Iain Stewart.  Since he juried the show, he is also teaching a 5 day workshop which I am also taking.  Since I have been doing more plein air painting, I hope to gain a lot of takeaways that will improve that endeavor!

At the reception on Wednesday night I will be accepting signature status in the Georgia Watercolor Society since I have been juried in to this show three years in a row.  I’m so honored!  This has been an incredible painting journey for me and then to top it off, I found out Sunday night when I arrived Iain had given my painting in the show, Mayan Gate, an Honorable Mention Award!!! The week just can’t get any better!!! Well maybe it can, I get to paint with Iain again tomorrow!

Bold & Dynamic Watercolor Workshop Last Weekend

Kim Minichiello WorkshopThe weather was so beautiful here last weekend it was a shame to spend it indoors, however, I wouldn’t have traded the time spent with my amazing workshop students for anything!  The more I teach the more I enjoy doing it.  I had a great group who did a wonderful job.  I felt honored one of my students traveled down to Florida from Illinois just to take my workshop!  I hope you all had as much fun as I did, and keep those brushes wet!

Bold & Dynamic Workshop at the 127 SoBo Gallery

Kim Minichiello
Last Thursday and Friday I taught a watercolor workshop at the Winter Garden Art Association’s 127 SoBo Gallery and  had blast!  I had a small intimate group and they couldn’t have been nicer.  It was such a joy to spend the two days with them!

www.kimminichiello.comI covered my 5 step painting process, starting off the first day with a slide presentation discussing the importance of  design and composition and how I go about planning a painting.  I discussed the difference and nuances of the many materials available for watercolor, papers, paints, brushes, and various accessories, plus tips I’ve learned over the years.

www.kimminichiello.comI had them start exercises drawing and painting pears to get them used to how I mix color on my palette and the viscosity of the paint and water to get lots of bold color onto the paper, as well as the techniques of painting wet into wet, wet onto dry paper and the combination of the two. More variety mixed on the palette leads to more variety and excitement on the paper.  This lead into the second day, painting the bromeliad, covering value, tones, warm vs. cool, and the final phase of analyzing and adjusting your painting to push and pull values and defining form for a more three-dimensional appearance.

I can’t thank my students enough for making the experience so much fun, everyone had a great time and based on all of the kind compliments received, I will continue to offer more workshops in the future, so stay tuned!

A not so happy note at the end of the day for one of my students…. She was so excited after the workshop she spent more time at home that evening continuing to work on her painting.  Her dog really liked her painting too,  the taste that is!  This is what she woke up to the next morning.  He literally “ate her homework!”  I guess she will get even more practice painting another one!  I was looking sooooo good too!




Bold & Dynamic Watercolor Workshop, October 16 & 17

www.kimminichiello.comStar Struck, Watercolor Mounted on Cradled Board, 12″ x 12,” $550

The last few weeks I have been preparing for a workshop I will be teaching at the 127 SoBo Gallery in Winter Garden, Florida, with the Winter Garden Art Association.  There are still spots available!  It is open to artists of all levels.  I will be discussing how I approach my paintings focusing on strong design, composition, and the bold use of color. We will be doing a number of painting exercises, to get the feel of different ways to paint in watercolor, and I will discuss the nuances of different brushes, papers and pigments. I will demonstrate my painting Star Struck which students will paint in the workshop.  For more detailed information please click here.

This is a 2 day workshop October 16 & 17 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.   The Historic Downtown  Winter Garden is so lovely and if you are not from the area and would like to stay over, there is a quaint older historic hotel, The Historic Edgewater Hotel, right near the workshop venue! In its hey day Winter Garden was major travel destination by train for recreational activities on Lake Apopka as well as having a booming citrus industry.  At one point it was the largest shipping point in the world for citrus.  Now it’s home to a city that is preserving and honoring it’s heritage, a number of well-known restaurants, a theatre with live productions throughout the year and now, an active art gallery!

Please email me if you would like more information on the workshop.  kimminichielloart@me.com