Where Did January Go and Some New Toys


www.kimminichiello.comHelen and I at dinner, in Savannah with flat head WAM members, Debra Kierce, Carrie Waller and Maria Bennet Hock.

Where on earth did January go?  I’m taking some time to slow down a bit!  Aside from the cold I’m fighting right now it has been all good!

I took part in Leslie Satea’s, 30 in 30 Painting challenge. Although due to some travel I kind of petered out a bit towards the end.  My goal was to not do 30 paintings but to paint every day on some work I need to finish. Which I was happy to say I did, and made progress on a larger painting.

One weekend was spent in Ocala where I was officially appointed Third Vice President of the Florida Watercolor Society.  Let me just say I’m beyond thrilled to be a part of this fabulous group.  I consider many FWS members as some of my dearest friends and I love the chance to spend time with them in person!  This is going to be about a six year commitment being on the board!  There will be lots to do planning each of the annual conventions from now until 2021! My task this year to to line up all of the demo artists that will be doing demonstrations and presentations at this years convention, as well as work on the social media, mainly the Face Book Page for FWS.

www.kimminichiello.comThe Evacutaion at the Jepson Center

The following weekend I headed to Savannah to meet my fellow WAM Member Helen Beacham in person!  After meeting in cyberspace for almost a year and a half now, we got to spend some time together enjoying each other’s company.  We spent the day at the Jepson Center to see the Monet and the American Impressionists Exhibition on it’s last weekend. Just as we finished the show the fire alarm sounded and we had to evacuate the building!  Many people were swept out before getting a chance to get their coats! It was that same weekend the blizzard had struck Virginia and Savannah was getting the rain and some really cold temperatures from the storm.   I snuck in the coat room and got ours before we bolted out. We found out later it was a sprinkler system malfunction. Lets hope it wasn’t in one of the galleries!


Of course while in Savannah I got to  spend time with my daughter, who goes to SCAD (The Savannah College of Art and Design)!  She took me to a used art store, where all the SCAD students take supplies and get money for them or shop for supplies at a discount.  Here I am pawing through the watercolor paint bins.  I scored quite a bit for a $1 to $2 a tube!

www.kimminichiello.comSome New Toys

I go to life drawing one evening a week and can’t tell you how much I feel I have improved.  Figures are not my forté so I feel like if  I can get a few decent drawings from the evening, I’m doing pretty good.  Since art stores abound in Savannah, two Blick stores and the SCAD book store Ex Libres,  I got a few goodies for life drawing as well.


  • Going to try out the Derwent Grahitint Pencels, tinted graphite pencils, which are water soluble.
  • The tin is water soluble graphite that I use like water color and draw the figure with the brush.  This is my second tin of this stuff, I love it!
  • Also trying from top to bottom some Derwent Ink Intense pencils in various colors also water soluble.
  • At the bottom my favorite life drawing tool, the Stabilo Aquarellable Pencil # 8046.

Are you seeing a trend here?  I like to sketch then come in after and get value variations  and washes by melting the pancil lines with a brush and water.

Can’t wait to try the new stuff out!  What do you like to sketch with? Feel free to leave a comment!


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!

Art-O-Mat® in Savannah Georgia



In a recent post on Dustin Yellin’s Triptych at the SCAD Museum of Art. I mentioned I was going to blog about another art installation I came across that weekend I was in Savannah.  I had read about these off and on over the years but had never come across one in person until the day I was in Sylvester & Co., at 205 W. Broughton St., Savannah, Georgia.    What on earth am I talking about?  Art-O-Mat® of course.  You might ask what in the h#*$% is an Art-O-Mat®?

Art-O-Mat® is one of the most brilliant ideas for re-purposing I have ever come across.  They are retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to dispense art instead of cancer sticks cigarettes.  This concept was created by artist Clark Whittington who built the first Art-O-Mat® for a solo show in 1997.  It was installed with his work mounted on blocks the size of a pack of cigarettes and sold for $1.00 each.

When the show was over, instead of dismantling the machine a group of artists formed the AIC Artists in Cellophane group, which is the sponsoring organization for the Art-O-Mats® today.  There are over 100 active machines in various locations across the county.

There are over 400 contributing artists from 10 different countries that supply the art for the machines.  Artwork can be in all different mediums, from ceramics to photography, painting, drawing, jewelry, etc.  When you walk up to the machine you can kind of get an idea of what you might get by peeking through the front display glass.  But some pieces are in boxes, rather than mounted on blocks.  So you know the name of the artist, and the media, or sometimes the subject matter of the work but that’s it.  Therefore, it’s akin to the prize in the Cracker Jack Box!

This is how it works, you buy a token magic coin for $5.00 at the establishment that has the Art-O-Mat® and you use the magic coin to get your art.  Put the coin in the machine, pull the handle and your masterpiece falls into the tray at the bottom.  It’s really fun when you do it with a group of people because you all have to see what everybody got.

I was very happy with mine.  I chose the work of ceramist Noelle Horsfield. It’s a cigarette box sized tile with a blue and brown glaze.  I can’t tell what the motif is but it reminds me of Japanese ceramics.  My daughter also chose a piece by Noelle and her tile had a tree of life motif.

Kim Minichiello

I am so intrigued by the Art-O-Mat® , it will became an addiction (no pun intended) each time I see one.  If you haven’t clicked on the link already to visit the Art-O-Mat® web site you can click here.  It features photos of all the machines, gives the locations of where they all are across the country, and you can preview the work of the artists who participate.  There is also information on how you could become an Art-O-Mat® artist.

So go to the site and visit your nearest Art-O-Mat®.  Feel free to post a comment here or a photo of your treasure on my Facebook page.  And the best thing is…. it won’t come with a warning from the Surgeon General so you can have as many as you want!

The Triptych by Dustin Yellin at the SCAD Museum of Art

www.kimminichiello.comThe Triptych by Dustin Yellin, 2012, glass, acrylic, collage,  46.5″ x 208″ x 27″

I was in Savannah Georgia last weekend and every time I go, I always visit the SCAD Museum of Art.   SCAD is the acronym for Savannah College of Art and Design.  There are also campuses in in Atlanta, Hong Kong and France.  The college is integrated into the historical town of Savannah with most buildings having been renovated or repurposed for classroom facilities, dorms, student centers and most notably the Museum of Art.  The university’s commitment to historic preservation and adaptive use is most evident in this facility.  The oldest part of the building dates to 1853 and was once part of the oldest surviving antebellum railroad depot in the country.  In 2011 with an addition designed my architect Christian Sottile, a SCAD alumnus and dean the School of Building Arts, it has been transformed into a premier contemporary art facility, mounting an exhibition each academic quarter.


www.kimminichiello.comThe back side and shadow projections on wall

One exhibit that is currently showing absolutely blew me away.  I have never seen anything like it and felt compelled to share.  The piece is by artist, Dustin Yellin, titled The Triptych, 2012, glass, collage, acrylic, measuring 46.5” x 208” x 27”.  Yellin lives in Brooklyn, NY and is best known for his sculptural painting.  Multiple glass layers are individually embellished then combined to create an intricate three dimensional collage.  The Triptych is his largest most complex work to date.  It weighs twelve tons and is comprised of three panels, of roughly 58 panels of glass each.  It is a three dimensional viewing experience.  Walking in the dimly lit room on closer inspection the glowing mass, depicts a surreal mythical spectacle embodying Yellin’s vision of the world and consciousness.


Side view showing layering of glass panels

This is one of those pieces that you could never take in with one viewing and I wish I could have the chance to see it again.  Layer upon layer of images, mostly antique found images and others that may have been created by Yellin, collaged together on each panel of glass.  There are also appears to be areas articulated with ink and or paint.   When the panels are sandwiched together the images come to life in a three dimensional manner, that harken back to what could be a glorified View Master view or multi-plane animation effort.



Details of first panel

Not only is the work so intriguing to look at and study, but I couldn’t help wondering, as I usually always do, about the logistics of creating such a monumental piece.  If you live near Savannah or are visiting,  this is worth seeing.


Detail of third panel

Next week I’ll share another intriguing art installation in Savannah.