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


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to You!
Wishing you magical moments
and unexpected pleasures during the
holiday season
and a healthy and happy New Year!

With much love and joy,


Holiday Open Studio, Snowman Extravaganza, and trouble on the blog!

It's silly to have an art blog without photos of the artwork, but all of a sudden I'm having trouble uploading and inserting photosfrom my computer into the blog.  I'm hoping that this issue will resolve, but after trying all the work-arounds I can find, so far nothing is working. 

So very sorry, and will resume when I can again show you the artwork that you've come to see!  In the meantime, please be patient.  You can also sign up for my once-a-month newsletter here. in order to stay in touch.

And, just in case things are still not working, an invitation:

Holiday Open Studio and Snowman Extravaganza
 Thursday, December 4th,
5:30 to 7 pm.


Yellow Bouquet by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Yellow Bouquet, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"
Please take a moment to appreciate the sacrifice of our veterans today.  I'm grateful for their duty, skill, hard work, determination, and honor.  If you've served, thank you for your part in keeping us free.  This bouquet is for you. 


Artist's Tabletalk and The Red Bouquet, by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Red Bouquet,2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"

I enjoyed meeting with other artists earlier this week for the first Artist's Tabletalk.  We watched the movie "Who does she think she is?" about the struggles of women artists, and had some refreshments and conversation afterwards.  The Next meeting will be on Monday, February 2, 2015, when gallerist Tracy Jerome will present.  Save the Date! 

"The Red Bouquet" could have been named "The Gift," since it's thin vase and reminds me of someone handing a hand-picked bouquet to someone, but the 
prominance of the red won out.  I'll do a few of these little field bouquets, some from photos I took while in France last year. 


Blue Palm, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7" x 5"
Most often I use a fairly limited palette when painting, consisting of a warm and cool red, yellow, and blue, white, and the occasional visitor color depending on subject. Some time ago a friend who was moving generously gave me her supply of acrylic paints. 
Even though she's a fine artist, her interests were turning to jewelry, and she didn't want to carry across the country art supplies she may not use.  Many of the gift tubes were not colors normally used in my palette, and so I let them sit and the box got moved and moved again. 
Cleaning out the studio in preparation for the upcoming season, I found the box and took a second look.  Why not try some of them?  Permanent green adds a whole new brightness, and mars black, a color I've avoided, might have some potential in making new greens. Time to find out!
Changing up our comfortable materials pushes us to find different solutions.  Look for some new colors in my painting, like the undertone of Phalo Turquoise in the palm! 


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.
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