Favorite Things Top Ten: Number 6, Daniel Smith Undersea Green

www.KimMinichiello.comI had to add a paint color to the list and although I have many favorites, I picked this one because it it’s so versatile on my studio palette and my plein air palette.  It is really a time saver because I used to use a mix of ultramarine blue and quinacridone gold to get a variety of greens.  I add more blue to get a cooler green and more gold to get a warmer green.  Well Daniel Smith has combined the two colors in one tube!  Now I start with this and if I want it cooler, more ultramarine blue and warmer more quin. gold.  I also love the way it granulates.

I first discovered it when I painted the menu program for the Coral Reef Restaurant at Epcot  and it has been on my palette ever since!

I would love or you to leave a comment on which paint color you love!  I’m always looking for new ones to try.

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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.

Plein Air Friday, “Japan Cascade”


Japan Cascade, Watercolor Sketch in Khadi Paper Sketchbook, 18 x 9

Staying inside today while hurricane Hermine passes through Florida. The west coast and panhandle are getting it way worse than we are in central Florida.  Everybody be safe!  I thought I would post a plein air sketch I did earlier this summer at Epcot.  This one is in the Japan Pavilion.  I loved painting all the different color temperatures in the rocks.  Plus, I also really like doing long vertical formats in my sketchbook.

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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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China Plein Air

Kim Minichiello

China, Watercolor on Handmade Paper, 10″ x 14″

This plein air painting was done at the China Pavilion at Epcot.  I had all but the last few details done on site and then finished it in the studio.  The challenge on this one was all the colorful ornamentation and details on the structure.  Therefore, this was a great exercise in indication and not getting caught up on details.  The paper on this one is one of my favorites, Twinrocker.

The day I painted this I was getting hungry I always keep a protein bar or some nuts in my bag for just such an occasion.  I had a bowl of almonds with me that day and as soon as I took the lid off of them, I had a buddy!  He was not shy in the least, as you can tell by these photos.  IMG_4692




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


A Couple Watercolor Sketches and some Workshops


Watercolor Sketch, in a 9 x 11 Stillman & Birn Sketchbook

I have been starting up again my once a week plein air watercolor sketch outing.  My goal is to user a larger sketchbook and get quicker with the drawing and looser with the painting.  I’m using a 9″ x 11″ Stillman & Birn, Alpha Series sketchbook.  I am really liking this painting surface.  A few of my other books have hand-made khadi paper which I also like, but I’m loving how the color is popping off the page with this smoother paper!   The Alapha Series paper is thinner than their Beta Series paper.  The advantage to that is you get more paper in the book and I’m able to watercolor sketch on both sides of the sheet with no bleed through.  That’s how nice this paper is.  It’s a little more like a hot press surface than a cold press paper, if you were to compare it to watercolor paper, but not as smooth and slick as some hot press papers are.


Watercolor Sketch, in a 9 x 11 Stillman & Birn Sketchbook

The main reason watercolor is my preferred medium at the moment is for my love of sketching in watercolor.  Once I did this for a number of  years I had the desire to try my hand at larger works!  My sketchbooks are like my little children, complete treasures.  I love looking through them to remind me of the memories of the places I have traveled.

If you are interested in sketching in watercolor, documenting your travels or your daily life, I will be teaching a “Sketching in Watercolor: Plein Air” Workshop” at the Winter Garden Art Association.  One this fall, November 14 & 15 and one this spring, April 11 & 12.  For complete details and more information you can visit my website here.  And to register  for the fall class you can do that here.  Leave me a comment or send me an email if you would like to register for the spring class.

My complete workshop schedule for spring 2016 is on my web site here.

#urbansketcher #watercolorsketching #watercolorworkshop

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

Plein Air Painting at Epcot, Morocco

www.kimminichiello.comThere is a group of artists that goes out every Friday to paint at Epcot and I’m joining them to make it a “painting practice” similar to a yoga practice.  Just like yoga, it clears the mind and you feel great after you do it! I’m really enjoying it because it reminds me of watercolor sketching on my travels, and since we are painting the countries in World Showcase at Epcot, it especially feels that way!   This was my third time and already I can feel an improvement in drawing, painting and time management.

(I have posted a number or my watercolor travel sketches you can see by clicking here.  You can scroll through and look at a number of older posts.)

These sessions I’m painting a bit more in detail than what I normally do in my watercolor sketch book but I’m trying to stay loose and spontaneous as I do while sketching.  It’s hard not to get too caught  up in the details.

Kim Minichiello

Work in Progress

I feel the key has been for me to take time with the drawing, site measuring and getting the proportions accurate.  There is nothing more frustrating than to put a really loose drawing down, start to paint then realizing there is something way off, which is what happened to me a few weeks ago.  I spent about an hour on this drawing, block in.  Knowing I was going to paint, I wasn’t too detailed with the pencil work. I’m drawing with a mechanical pencil and painting on a  9 x 12 Arches Watercolor Block.

The last couple of times I stayed for two hours, this time three.  One hour dedicated to drawing and two for painting.  Having more time for the painting allowed me to get closer to a finished painting, but I still feel I have a few areas and values I would like to tweak.

www.kimminichiello.comI’m also being more conscious of composition and editing out details, not wanting to paint an area just because it’s there if I feel it won’t work in the painting.  You can see from the view that I edited out the white building on the left.  I didn’t want a big white block on one side of the painting.

If you paint plein air or sketch in watercolor, I wold love for you to make comments and share any tips!

Plein Air Painting at Epcot

www.KimMinichiello.comLast Friday I painted with the Walt Disney Imagineers again from one of the bridges overlooking the lake and a view of the Japan Pavilion at Epcot.  I am loving my en Plein Air Pro Easel the more I use it.  It is so easy to set up and I find it very comfortable to work on.  We had a bit of a cloudy over cast day and at one point it started to drizzle a bit, but not enough to pack up.

I thought I would show  bit of a progression.  It took about 2 hours to draw and paint.  I got it to a point I feel I can finish it in the studio.  I’m working on an Arches Watercolor Block and a palette of various colors I’m experimenting with to determine a good plein air palette with the number of wells I have.

www.kimminichiello.comDrawing and Sky Block- In


Working in Some of the Foliage


Starting on the Pavilion and the Tori Gate


Stopping Point after 2 Hours



Plein Air Painting in Italy, Epcot

www.kimminichiello.comLast week I had the fortunate opportunity to plein air paint with some Walt Disney Imagineers in Italy, at Epcot.  We arrived at sun up to have just shy of a couple of hours to paint.  Instead of working in my sketch book I thought I would give the plein air easel a go and work on piece of paper.  I don’t know why but when I’m working in the sketch book I’m looser and don’t focus on the details as much.  I need to start applying that same mentality to the piece of paper!  Maybe I should work smaller to have the same size surface as my sketchbook and I won’t have the urge to be as detailed.  www.kimminichiello.com


It was a glorious day and it’s so magical being in the park before the guests arrive!

Kim Minichiello painting plein air at EpcotNext time I’m going to force myself to be quicker with the drawing/sketch so there is more time for painting.