Florida painter, Everglades, Marco Island, artist Jo-Ann Sanborn


Pensive, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"
It's always good to take a little time out for reflection, and better when you can sit by some water to do it!  Water is soothing to me, whether it's the sound of a little fountain or the crashing of waves on the shore.  Gently moving water calms our minds and our souls, and decisions made while sitting by the water always seem to be the right ones. 
What's on my mind?  Good friends new and old, a client who had a nice turn of good fortune, upcoming holidays,  projects I've taken on, a new home slowly emerging, and as always, my next painting.  What fills your mind these days?
The courtyard of the Esplanade will be filled with artists for the first Left Bank Art Show this Sunday, and the studio gallery will be open, with new paintings of all sizes to enjoy, and several new sets of coasters, including some shells.  They'd make a nice gift for yourself or someone you're thinking about! 


Three at the Beach, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board,  7"x5


Since the pursuit of art is often a lonely one, I love an artist get-together.  It's rewarding to exchange ideas, learn what other artists are working on, talk techniques and exchange ideas. 

The Marco Island Center for the Arts, 1010 Winterberry Avenue, is supporting their artist members with a new activity called "The Artist's Table'" a quarterly gathering for artists and about artists.   "Artist" is a self-defined term, and all artists are welcome.  

The first meeting will be held at the Marco Island Center for the Arts on Monday, November 3, at 4 p.m.  We'll have a beverages, light refreshments, and watch the movie "Who does she think she is?"  about the struggles of women artists.  This movie should lead to some interesting discussion. 

Please encourage any artist you know to come along!  You don't have to be a member, or a woman,  There is no charge. Hope To see you there.


Beach Babies, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"
Fall is creeping up on us, especially on an early morning walk.  We've had such a hot summer, the hint of a change in temp and humidity is welcome.  Today's painting was inspired by a day last week when the palms had the wind in their hair.


Good Hair Day, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"
 Can't remember my last good hair day.  How about you?  


Nest, Daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Nest, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"
I've been drawing and painting owls, and owls and owls.  We seem to have a great crop of them on the island this year, and their little peanut shapes are just so appealing.  Each seems to have a unique character. 
Across the canal from me is a vacant lot, and it seems some plovers are nesting there.  I see one or another of a pair move back and forth across the freshly cut field.  Hopefully there's a second crop of young ones, and they're feeding them.
So a nest -- on the ground, not in it like the owls, but I can't see what's in an owl's nest.  Do plovers have spotted eggs? 


Sky Thoughts, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 8"x8"
This time of year Mother Nature provides us wonderful cloudscapes, sometimes during the day as the clouds build, and others during the early evening as the sun gets ready for bed.  
While I'm appreciative of these fleeting moments of beauty, I gaze at the sky and feel inadequate to interpret its beauty.  Trying to get the luminosity of wondrous light out of the solidity of paints is not an easy task.


Peaceful Path, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Peaceful Path, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"
You can follow this path in a kayak, a small boat, or in your mind, but it will be a peaceful passage.  There's little wind, few clouds, and no thoughts of danger.  Hope your day is just like this, with maybe a touch of progress in whatever you're working on today.  Enjoy.  



May Morning, daily painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

May Morning, 2914, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"
Beach Wind, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 18"x14"
Here's an example of what I spoke about in the last blog post.  It's the same scene, a clump of palms on the beach near one of the condos.  It's contains a nice mix of brush and grasses, with several palms for height.  The composition and variety of textures is interesting and challenging. 
In this case the larger painting was painted first.  The strong vertical and motion of the palms help to give the painting a windy-day-type feeling.  There's a lot of detail in the grasses and brush, and quite a bit of subtle color. 
While very satisfied with the painting, I felt there was more to say about this scene, so a month later painted the smaller daily painting. The scene is simplified into more basic elements., done fairly quickly in just a couple of hours.  You can see that it is much more immediate, but still has the feeling of the day


Five Roses daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Five Roses, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"
How do you start your work day?  I open my studio most days far earlier than the posted 10 a.m.  I have coffee there, and sometimes a muffin as my day begins to take shape.  My palette is usually ready, and there are always a  number of larger paintings needing attention.
Most often, I'll warm up by doing a small painting, one of my 5"x7" daily paintings.  Sometimes I'll do a quick study from a larger painting I'm considering since it's a good way to work out any composition issues.  Other times I'll work backwards from a painting already done, focus on just a small area of the scene, or paint a single tree from an on-hand Everglades photo.
But sometimes I'll focus on something outside the Everglades.  This little bouquet of roses was in the house of a friend.  I took a couple of photos just to remind me of softness I wanted, and got to work.  Hope you like it! 


Dancing with the Moon painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Dancing with the Moon, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 36x48

I love the gorgeous, luminous moon we sometimes see in the night sky over Marco Island.  Combine that lovely moon with a balmy evening and some dancing palms, and the scene is set for romance. 

A walk on the beach, stopping on a bridge to overlook the reflection of the moon in the water, having a glass of wine on the dock in the dark, a quiet dinner at the shore are all activities that come to mind.  If you live on or visit Marco Island, you can readily identify with this painting and the emotions it evokes.

This painting will find a home with collectors who are newly in love. Who's sharing this scene with you?


Thicket, painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Thicket, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 11x14
All of my canvases are usually primed with a dark, warm tone. I build a painting starting with a dark toned canvas background and work into the light. The light forms are scumbled in, and then back to the darks. I do this over and over until I've got the forms built and the negative shapes working in a that balances and works compositionally. It's later that I start on the details. Thicket was done in just this way.
I've been working that way for almost 35 years, but lately have been working straight onto white gessoboard for some of my daily paintings. I'm a great one for mixing things up now and then--otherwise I become either complacent, or worse, bored.  The change makes me think about the canvas in a different way and the light bounces back differently.  I have to really work to get in the darks. 
The studio/gallery will be open next week for the regular hours - Wed-Fri 10-5, Sat 10-2, but I'll be taking a few days off.  See you soon! 


Blank Canvas and Quiet Sunset, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Quiet Sunset, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"
When looking at a blank canvas, the possibilities are endless.  Freshly into the start of a painting, my energy level is high and I have a wonderful sense of freedom, and confidence.  I spend a couple of hours or more in this nirvana, enjoying the flow of the paint, the clean palette choices, making decisions about composition.  This stage is the joy of painting, often called "the zone." 

After a while I step back and take a look.  I usually walk away from the easel at this point, do something else for a minute, and then go back to assess my efforts after my eye has been refreshed.  When everything looks good, I continue, but more often than not I have to face the agony of reality. The composition needs to be adjusted.  What I've painted might have strayed from what the client and I talked about.  The color strategy could need strengthening.  Or worse, "What was I thinking?" 

Then the real work of painting begins.  The next few days or hours or weeks are spent getting a painting to a point where the painting can stand on its own, has a life of its own, and doesn't need me anymore.  It lives and breathes separately, without any help from me.  Then, and only then is it done, ready to go out into the world, into someone else' home or space, and hopefully, to bring them joy.


Arts on Marco, and Palms by the Water daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Palms by the Water, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"
Things are finally calming down after a few very unsettling weeks.  I'm delighted to know that I will be in the studio/gallery at the Esplanade for another three years.  I just couldn't image having to start all over elsewhere! So now there's time to focus on other things.  
The new director of the Marco Center for the Arts has hit the ground running, and the center is now experiencing a renaissance.  There are a number of new activities for both artists and art lovers.  The upcoming Miami trip on May 31 should appeal to both groups, and will be a blast!  Guests will visit the new and special Perez Art Museum, (called PAMM by those in the know) and the Miami Museum of Contemporary Art.  A nice day trip by luxury motor coach  including lunch.  Space is filling up, so check it out and make your reservations now.  If you are a member of the Marco Center, you will get a discount until April 30, so don't delay!  Nice to have something happening in "off season."
If you can't make the trip, check out their redesigned website.  There are some wonderful choices for summer classes, including classes for children, in conjunction with Marco Parks and Rec. department.  You can sign up to get their emails so you'll know what's going on if you are interested in the arts on the island.  There are also new member opportunities, so if you are an artist who hasn't been a member for a while you may want to re-join. 
There's also a new arts alliance in the works called the Marco Island and Goodland Alliance for the Arts.   The organization of Marco's cultural groups, will including the Center for the Arts, MIHS the Goodland Alliance, MIFA, and the Marco Players and the Island Players.  Terrific to see them working together for the benefit of the arts!


Acrylic mediums, and Up to my Knees, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Up to my Knees, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"

Here's some information I'd written a while ago about acrylic mediums and never posted. I don't really like using them, because they feel a bit sticky to me, but have tried quit a few and insist my acrylic students do, too. 
I don't like working with mediums as they make the paint feel someone sticky or "plastic, but they do have some important uses to consider.  For those who like the paint to stay opened longer, a little medium is terrific.  It is also good for extending paint into large areas of the canvas, like some skies.  The most important reason to use a little now and then is to increase adherence.  This is especially important when you are using it with a lot of water.  A ratio of 50% water can cause the paint not to adhere properly, and just a little medium will ensure it stays in place. 
Acrylic mediums come in a choice of matte or gloss, and are the consistency of thick cream.  They are most usually made of acrylic binder, the same thing that holds the pigment together in your paints, and can act as a colorless paint.  Acrylic medium is works very well for glazing transparent or opaque paint, and can also be used as an isolating and protection layer on a finished painting. 

There are a number of gels available for use with acrylics, each with it’s own special use.  It’s fun to try these out now and then and when I hold a class I bring a number for students to try.  These can act as a binder for another additive, like sand, can thicken the paint to improve the retention of brush marks, and double the volume of paint with little loss of color. 

Additives, as opposed to mediums, do not contain binders, and  should not be overused without consideration for adherence.  After all, you want to make sure your textures last long into the future.  Using a little medium with the additive can extend your options while still being sure that the quality remains high. 

If you’re an acrylic painter, learn as much as you can about the additives available for your use.  Liquitex, my favorite brand, provides a handbook with detailed information about they’re mediums and additives.  This Guide can be read online or downloaded.


Lease, and Spring Morning, painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Spring Morning, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 8"x 10"

After being told by the landlord that my studio/gallery space was going to be leased to someone else even though I was a "model tenant," I've been given a reprieve. Barring any unforeseen issues, I'll soon be signing a new, three-year lease to stay at the Esplanade.  

In the interim I've thought of little else.  Every option was considered. Find space elsewhere. Paint at home and have a show now and then.  Join in with other artists. (thank you VERY much for the invitation!) Go back to outdoor shows or the Farmer's market.  Look for a gallery. Retire.  Retire?  Nothing felt quite right.  

In the end, keeping the studio/gallery was what seemed best for me, so I asked the landlord to reconsider this decision.  Upon receiving my business and marketing plan, financials, and a strongly worded plea, I was reconsidered as a tenant and approved for a three year lease.  It's not all roses, since the new lease is a tough one and I'll have to work very hard, but I'm comfortable that the decision is the right one.

So I'll sign the lease and be at the Esplanade for another three years.  Many thanks to all of you who comforted me, stood up for me, spoke up for me, called me, emailed me, helped with the financials, review the legal stuff, and generally supported my plea. It wouldn't have happened without YOU and I am most truly grateful for your support. 

Come in for some coffee and art chat.  I'll be at my easel!


Acrylic brushes, and Edge of the Gulf daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Edge of the Gulf, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5" Sold

I’ve been putting off talking about brushes because I treat mine so badly.  Hog Bristle is my brush of choice, and I often scrub with them and use them until they’ve been worn down into a whole new shape! 

Brushes come in many sizes and types.  Both synthetic and natural bristle brushes are great for acrylic, and each has its advantages.  Natural bristle brushes are best for soft edges and drybrush, and synthetics hold a lot of paint but  generally make harder edges.  I personally like brights, a rather square brush with shorter bristles because they’re a little stiffer than longer bristled flats, great for scrubbing, but as Emil Gruppe would say, “why pay for less, since you’ll eventually wear it down anyway!”  A couple of rounds are good too, since they are versatile and very responsive to your arm and hand movements in the early stages of a painting.  

As you become familiar with different brushes you will probably only use only a few favorites most of the time.  But for some people, it’s almost like shoes and you can never have enough.  If you do collect a few of each kind and you will occasionally find uses for most of them.  Before ordering brushes, go to an art supply store and hold and feel a number of brushes to see what feels best in your hand.  If you are just staring out, you can get by with a few flats and filberts, and a rigger, or thin, pointed brush for signing paintings. 

Start your block-out with the largest brush you can and work over the whole canvas.  You can decrease in brush size as the painting progresses.  It’s always a mistake to get tied up nitty-gritty small brush details before you have developed the underlying character of the painting.  


Flor500, and Joewood by Jo-Ann Sanborn

Joewood, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 12"x16"

This  painting was done for Flor500, a participatory project created by Miami artist Xavier Cortada, and combines art, nature, and a history project.  You can find out more about the project here.

As part of this project, 500 scientists named 500 wildflowers that grew in our state 500 years ago, and 500 artist were asked to depict them.  Joewood grows along the barrier islands in Collier County, and I chose it because if it's delicate flower and the name, similar to mine.

You can see the southwest Florida artists here.  I took number 376, and you can see the painting  and more about the flower here.

In conjunction with the Florida Native Plant Society Conference, the paintings will be on display at the FGCU gallery from May 17-June 13, with a reception on May 17.  Should be fun.  


Studio on the Esplanade, and Cold Day, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Cold Day, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

After being offered a one-year lease for my Esplanade studio the past two years, it was a surprise when the Esplanade leasing agent requested a three or five year lease.  I thought it over carefully, and as Dreama Tolle Perry would say, put on my big girl panties, and responded positively to a three-year lease request.  

THEN, was totally taken aback to receive a phone call telling me that my lease would not be renewed.  Not because I'm not a good tenant--"you are a model tenant, I was told--but because Sunshine Studios did not "fit the profile" of the vision of some marketing people up in Maryland, where the owners of the Esplanade reside.  They think someone selling soft goods or sunglasses would be more appropriate in the space.  

I became mildly (wildly?) hysterical as undesirable options flashed through my brain. Where would I go?  Was it time to retire?  How could they evict me without even giving me first refusal? What about the Everglades? Didn't they see the value of art?  Didn't my gallery provide diversity and interest?  What to do, what to do?  

The space is a perfect size for one artist.  It's a good fit, and I love it.  I'm not ready to retire!  After 24 hours of weighing and rejecting a number of options, I visited some of the other Esplanade tenants and asked them if they appreciated having me as a neighbor, would they, please, put in a good word for me. They DID, and I'm very grateful to them.  Then I called the leasing agent and calmly requested a reconsideration of their decision.  

Granted.  Reprieve.  Now I'm busy writing a marketing plan to show that my being in the space makes sense for their business as well as my own.  It will be presented to unknown people in a far-away place as a request to become an exception to their plan. I've got my fingers crossed, and I'll keep you posted!  


900th Post! Journey, painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Journey, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
Oil on board, 8"x10"

When you get comfortable with the colors on your palette, know what to expect of each one, know how it will react with all the other colors you squeeze out for your working day, and exactly how it will mix, it’s time to add a new color to your palette.  Or perhaps try a whole new palette. 

An artist should never get too comfortable with any materials and methods that allow staying in a comfort zone for too long.  That’s not the job of an artist.  Experiment, try a color, method or material, think about your work with a fresh eye. Comfort equals complacency, and complacency stifles creativity. 

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I’ve been painting the Everglades for a long time now.  Still, after examining my motives, I know I’m not done yet.  I continually see new things, new colors, new forms.  The light continues to be fabulous,  and it intrigues and inspires me.   I don’t copy nature, my paintings come from something deep within me that resonates with this ancient landscape.  The day I feel complacent and the work becomes easy, I’ll try something new. 
I feel the same way about this blog.  I started writing in 2007, and today marks my 900th blog post!  When I started there was no Facebook and no Twitter.  Now I use social media to connect with my collectors, and both art and social friends.  But the blog is my web journal and I'm not ready to give it up completely.  I'm not as faithful as when I named it Jo-Ann Sanborn Daily -- what was I thinking??? Still, look for post 901 soon! 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...