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


Marco Island Wet Paint, Empty Easel

I chose this view for my Marco Island Wet Paint site yesterday. The Marco Island Yacht Club Chickee Hut was a perfect location, with shade and nearby facilities, and the cast shadows on the small beach were intriguing. There was a gentle breeze, no one around, and the sun slowly warmed the scene. The beautiful palms that grace the bridge entrance swayed in the gentle breeze and demanded attention, too. Many people stopped by to chat, showing that this event is growing in interest. Many of them were artists, but just as many were unaffiliated residents or visitors.

Early in the morning a manatee swam by, and when there was no one around a flock of sandpipers flew in to sit in the sunshine for a few minutes. The light changed throughout the day, and I'll do another painting or two from photos taken. It was a delightful day painting out.

The Viewing and Auction Event, held at sunset at the Hideaway Beach Club was lovely. The "masterpiece" hors d'oerves were delicious, there were more people than last year, and the lighting on the paintings was much better. There were 27 paintings in addition to a silent auction, and every one of them got a bid or two. Since the committee shares half the profits with the artist, most did OK for a single day's work, some did terrific, and others were disappointed.

To the Committee: You have presented a credible, successful event, but you must get more, many more people to attend in the future to make this a true community event. The price of $50 covers your cost, but also eliminates many residents who would love to attend at a lower price. 120 people is not enough to auction 27 paintings. Do the math. There are other issues that may best be discussed in an after-action debriefing. Will there be one?

To the Public: Many of you were from the business community. Thanks for coming out for this event and for your purchases. Island art and Island business makes a good partnership. There are many fine artists living and working hear, and they all need your support. Many of us have excellent credentials and have worked hard for years to get where we are. Next year let's encourage your relatives, friends and neighbors to come out and enjoy this event, too! Your collection of work by Marco Island Artists can bring you much pleasure. Mine does!

To the Artists: Great body of work for a one day event! Face it, our very best paintings are rarely done in one day. We spend much of the day talking with the people who come by, and this is time well spent for both our own art and the event. The light changes quickly and sometime unpredictably, and some of you are not used to painting outside. Some of you started ahead, didn't do the painting in one day, and probably got a higher price for your work. Is that fair? What is fair? What will people on Marco pay for? Why did some work go for such a high price, while some other works with better color or composition go for so little? Did you get your collectors to come out and bid? All questions we'll hash over at art events in the next month. If you didn't do well, think of this. The Marco Community is getting to know you and your work. That's good.

Many thanks to the wonderful young couple who bought my painting. I loved painting it and hope it will bring you joy.

Today is a really big day for me. I'm excited and honored because Empty Easel is publishing an article I submitted. If you're not familiar with Empty Easel, take a look. The site is filled with information for and about the work of being an artist. I read Empty Easel daily, thoroughly enjoy it, and am still investigating the archives. My article today is about critique, based on a handout I've developed over the years from a variety of sources to help in my workshops. There's always more we can do to make our art better, and looking at it with a critical eye can help!


Marco Island Wet Paint LIve, Watching the Clouds Build daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Watching the Clouds Build
5x7 $150
Daily Everglades Painting

Are you following or interested in the work of a Marco Island Artist? Tomorrow, Thursday, is Marco Island's Wet Paint Live, a community benefit event by Leadership Marco, in partnership with the Marco Island Center for the Arts and the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts in support of scholarships for Marco Island students. Artists from the area are donating their time and talents for this event, and will do a completed painting in just one day. Those of us who use acrylic won't have any problem, but the oil painters will definitely have "wet paint" on their finished canvas!

This is a community event, and the public is welcome to participate. Maps to the locations of the 25 plus artists are available at the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce, or you can download yours here. I'll be painting at the Marco Island Yacht Club, and would love to have you stop by. I'm trying to decide between painting the beach and the palms even though the building is lovely too.

You are also welcome, and encouraged, to see the finished paintings and attend the auction at Hideaway Beach Club at 5:30. For this part of the event there's a $50 charge, tickets available at the Chamber. You'll get enough Masterpiece Hors D'Oeuvres that you won't need dinner, get to meet and chat with all the artists, and have a chance to bid on an original piece of artwork, and maybe get a bargain!

It's a lot of fun and I hope you can participate in some way! If you can't get to the event, you can support scholarships on Marco by making a donation to any of the above organizations.


Invitational Art Show, Old Mother West Wind Visits the Palms, daily painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Old Mother West Wind visits the Palms
Does anyone else remember the old Thornton Burgess children's books? I still think of Old Mother West Wind when the wind blows. My father used to read these stories to my brother and I every night when we were children. The books we read were old, and had been my mothers, and some even maybe my grandfathers. We read all about Reddy Fox and his friends, then Uncle Wiggly, and other memorable series and stories. I'm sure that my love of the nature world stems from the pleasure of that time, and the stories that gave human traits to the natural world.

The Naples Invitational Art Show didn't live up to it's past this year. There were a few sales, and some artists did quite well, but the usual crowd of attendees just didn't show up, so the show was lacking in it's usual big crowd excitement. I'm not sure if everyone was at the beach because of the beautiful weather, if the promoters just didn't advertise enough, if it was the economy in general, or the $5 entry donation, but for some reason traffic was really light for this show.

Too bad, because this show has more interest and variety than most of the Naples shows. The slow times passed more easily by good art conversation with artist friends Darlene Pearce, and Christine Reichow, and it was a pleasure to listen to the unobtrusive and delightful music of Archie Smith across the way. Archie makes beautiful instruments, beautiful hangers for them, and beautiful music!

Still, I don't mean to be complaining! We had an easy load-in spot, and a gratifying number of customers and friends stopped by to to chat about art, brought friends, let me know that they still love my work, are enjoying the blog. You make it possible to continue working at what I love, and I'm very grateful to you!


Sex after 50, Invitational Art Show, Morning Parade daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Morning Parade
5x7 $150

Is it the clouds or the palms that are parading this morning? I got ready for a two day art show, packed the car, and worked on this painting yesterday between a busy schedule of home, obligations, and party. The Marco Island Center for the Arts board is interested in offering an artist's forum, since this is something artists asked for in a brainstorming session last year, but they've had trouble getting the artists to actually attend. This brown bag luncheon on art marketing was no different, with only very few artists in attendance. What do you think could make this work so that the Art League artists will want to come?

Later in the day I demonstrated, while the Center hosted guests from a number of Marco Condos as part of their new membership drive. It was fun to meet old friends and new, and talk about the class I'll be offering on Acrylics and the Florida Landscape in March. You can learn more about the class or sign up at the Center. If you live here, stop in. It's a wonderful facility with a great gift show and many class offerings.

After that it was time to party with a group of island women gathered to hear more about Sex After 50 by Dr. Francine Barbetta, author of "A Pebble In His Shoe. She had spoken at the Marco Island Yacht Club earlier in the week, and this gathering was for women who wanted to know MORE. As any gathering where the subject is sex, or any gathering with good friends, we howled with laughter over things we knew and didn't know. And we were sworn to secrecy, so I can't say any more about . . . . ! Thanks, Betsy, for a great party! I think it will do wonders for membership at the Yacht Club!

Later today I'll set up for the Naples Invitational Art Show. This is a wonderful show, located in lovely Fleishman Park, just south of Coastland Mall, between Rt. 41 and Goodlett Frank Road. If you can find Dillards you can find this show! The show is a benefit for Eden Florida, an organization that supports children and adults to autism. I'll donate a painting for the silent auction to benefit this cause. The show will offer a wide variety of arts and crafts, with many artists who only do this one show in the area. There's something for everyone and a great food court, so come on out and enjoy. Your purchases will help support artists in these difficult times, and your entry donation will help the cause of Eden. I'll be there all day Saturday and Sunday, and look forward to seeing you!


Art Marketing, Warming Up daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Warming Up
7x5 $150

Don't we all wish it was warming up today? It's been a chilling winter in southwest Florida. This morning it's 39 degrees with a wind chill of 23 and an expected high of 53! Those of us who have lived here a while have adapted to warmer temperatures and are quite uncomfortable when the temperature really dips down. Most of us have gotten rid of the northern clothes we came with since they were just taking up room our limited closet space. We're left to make do with layers of our everyday cottons.
I've got three layers on right now and looking for something warm that will fit over it all. At the grocery my fellow islanders are wrapped in layers of clothes and scarfs they bring out for the cold. But there's always a stray northerner in a tee shirt and shorts who thinks the weather is perfect!

At least we know it won't last for two long. Perhaps someone from the cold north will like today's daily Everglades painting as a reminder as a reminder that paradise does exist! I'll be happy to send it up, free shipping.

Many of the artists have been thinking a lot about art marketing in the declining economy. We're looking for new and better ways to promote our art. Some of us have worked so hard that we're beginning to get marketing fatigue! However, there's an article in today's Marco Eagle that I'd like to share. It's an article including 44 ideas for growing profits, but really is a list of good business practices. If you have a good product and people know about it, the edge is to be a good business person. That goes for any type of business, including art.


Inauguration, Morning, daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

5x7 $150

Today's painting is of early morning clouds reflected in an Everglades waterway edged by palms. The clouds begin to dissipate as the sun warms the sky.

The Left Bank Art Show at the Esplanade on Saturday was lots of fun. It's an easy show to do since no tents are requred and you can bring as much equipment as you want. I brought my Flourish "French Door", with mesh panel and new stand alone feet. It worked great. I hung two large paintings on one side and a number of my dailies on the other. That and my chair and some handouts was all I needed! Foolishly, I didn't take a photo of my own set up. Next time!

There were sales, but most were light. I guess that's the best we can hope for in this doom and gloom economy. Without confidence in the future, we're all afraid to spend right now. Luckily many still see the value in original art.

Tomorrow will bring the inauguration of a new president. Barack Obama faces a country filled with dismay and confusion at how quickly our future became so uncertain. I'm ready for a fresh start and some new hope, and wish him well.


Farmer's Market, Art Show,

The Marco Island Farmer's Market every Wednesday morning yields me more treasures than I can carry. A large market basket, purchased a couple of years ago, saves many turtles lives by limiting the amount of plastic bags need to get my bounty home. It fills up nicely with grapefruit, green beans, and onions from Immokalee, local golden citrus honey, handmade soap, fresh tomatoes. I fill it until I can no longer carry it, and then it's time to go.

My last stop is always at the flower vendors. I love flowers and gardening, and always have fresh flowers in the house. Last week I purchased some roses, beautiful and with exotic coloring. Unwrapping them at home I was dismayed to find they came from Quito, Ecuador. Ecuador? Isn't the purpose of a local market to support and encourage local produce? To provide an outlet to help support local farmers? To help ensure continuation of our local food source? The roses were so beautiful, but they didn't hold up well at all. Less than a week later I've got only three. Of course they didn't hold up, after being cut, packaged, flown, drive, sold, driven again, and now on Marco. This week I bought an orchid for not much more, and the tag said it was grown right here in Collier County. I'm looking for local, and I hope you do, too!

The Marco Players are opening "A Bench in the Sun" this weekend. The Players intimate theater in Town Center Mall continues to improve and to provide Marco with great local theater. They sell out fast, so if you'd like to see the play contact them early!

Marco Island professional artists continue to meet for Table Talk on a monthy basis to share knowledge, information, and inspiration. We met yesterday and had our usual good lunch at the Marco Island Yacht Club. The Club was so busy that we had to give up our usual spot in the Bridge Room, but even though conversation was a little more difficult we still came away refreshed and inspired! Most of the artists are doing OK despite the economy and we're agreed that a slowdown is a great time for improving our skills. It was fun to see how Judy prepared a new "board" and Joyce's new work! Others brought information to share and items to discuss. You can meet most of us on the Esplanade tomorrow, Saturday, where we'll be displaying our work as part of the Left Bank Art Show. Come along and see for yourself!


Dan House Prairie, daily painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Dan House Prairie
5x7, $150
Who was Dan House? I've been unable to find any information about him, but he's renown enough to have one of the Everglades Prairies named after him. It's a nice prairie, too, with broad swashes of lush grasses, some wet spots at the edges, and a palm tree here and there. It's one of the prairies in the Fakahatchee, like No Name Prairie or Copeland Prairie.

The Fakahatchee, including Dan House Prairie is close to Marco Island and Naples and a wonderful way to begin to learn about the Everglades. Just follow 41 south, and you'll soon be in the Fakahatchee. You'll pass Dan House Prairie on your way to Everglades City or Copeland. You can get up to date information about birds and animals seen recently in the area by reading the Ghost Writer, the newsletter of the Friends of the Fakahatchee, a group who's mission is to aid in the preservation of this ecologically unique area and to educate the public about its importance. Their newsletter contains much current information and will be of interest to anyone taking a walk on the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk. They've got some great pictures of both a bobcat and a black bear seen recently. You can be part of the boardwalk report if you call Park Biologist Mike Owen at (239) 695-2886 to report your bird and animal sightings.

By the way, the links all contain pictures of the beautiful green Florida environment for those suffering from chills and cold. It's chilly here this morning, too. Sweatshirt time!


From the Water, Daily Everglades Painting by Jo-Ann Sanborn

From the Water

Do you remember the Christmas angel who filled my hanging basket with a lush supply of living plants. It's taking off and looks more beautiful each day. I wanted to do something special for that kindly angel. She went on a short trip recently leaving the care of two lovely cats to me. While attending to them, I found a photo on her fridge, and took it home to make a "daily" just for her and put the finished painting on a small easel on her front hall table rather than framing it, for a pleasant surprise. Happily, she loves it!

My daily painting serve many purposes. In this economy they are affordable for anyone who wants to begin collecting original art. They're a great way for me to warm up in the morning in preparation for a larger piece. I can try out a new idea, palette or composition. But most importantly they're teaching me to be a better artist as I work on them at least three times a week.

You can see a my daily paintings and the work of other local artists by coming to the Esplanade this Saturday. The Marco Island Foundation for the Arts will be having their Left Bank Art Show. It's a casual art show without the need for any special equipment. You can show a few pieces of art by leaning them up against the railing. It's a chance to meet the artists and talk about your work. Contact MIFA if you're interested in showing. Put it on your calendar as a fun thing to do this Saturday. We'll be there from 10-4 and hope to see you!


Passion, Robert Henri, Natural Flow Daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Natural Flow
5x7, Sold

Today's daily painting is a scene of a flowing wateway in the Everglages near Copeland. The light of the marshy areas always appeals to me. I love the trickle of the gently flowing water, and thinking about how it falls as rain and moves slowly into the gulf, many, many miles away.

The great artist-teacher Robert Henri says "I do not want to see how skillful you are - I am not interested in your skill. What do you get out of nature? Why do you paint this subject? What is life to you? What reasons and what principals have you found? What are your deductions? What projections have you made? What excitement, what pleasure do you get out of it? Your skill is the thing of least interest for me."

Artists work on their skills all the time, reading, studying, taking classes, but it's passion that takes the work to a higher level. Passion requires heat, action, and personal energy. This is true no matter what the work. Most of us have love for our country, but it's the passion for it that would make someone want to be President. An artist may have a love of painting, but only passion can take the work from a level of good skill to sublime. The passion of the artist underlies the best work and no amount of skill can subsitute for it.

Paint passionately today and perhaps your work will touch someones heart.


Selling Art in the Slump, Whisper on the Wind daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Whisper on the Wind
5x7, $150>

Today's Everglades painting is of a clump of palms that has become quite familiar to me. I've pushed their surroundings back a little to focus on the group. Yesterday a cold front came through, and the skies darkened as the wind picked up. To me they look like they have their heads together, trying to hear what the wind might be telling!

Selling art in the slump is not easy for artists, and we're lucky to have the help of people like Alyson Stanfield, an art marketing coach who gives back by giving away a free Art Marketing Salon. Eight Marco Island artists have taken on this challenge, and business reporter Quentin Roux of the Marco Eagle, our local newspaper wrote an article about the Salon. It was easy to submit the article because Alyson included a sample article and all we had to do was fill in some of the local information. He took the information and we're delighted with the publicity.

But more important was that it began a dialogue between our local newspaper's business reporter and the artists. He told me he liked hanging out with artists. I told him that I thought the business of art was important to the economy of an area. If he liked Marco artists, he should attend the Blue Mangrove Gallery's reception for artist Tara O'Neill. There just might be some artists there! The Blue Mangrove is a wonderful Marco art-business success story, and Tara paints a story of village life. This particular exhibit is all about beach umbrellas, and each painting has a story to tell. Our reporter may have been going anyway, but it was nice to see him there, taking pictures and talking with people about the art. Stop in and see the exhibit and think of the Blue Mangrove when you need a gift or a treat.
Other artists have expressed interest in the Art Marketing Salon, and Marco Center for the Arts will host a brown bag lunch at noon on January 22 to discuss art marketing. We'll discuss what you'd like available. It may result in another Salon, so save the date and come along at noon if you're interested.


Alligator Holes, On the Banks Daily Painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Along the Bank
The summer green lushness of the Everglades is turning golden as the grasses dry up and the water retreats. We haven't had any measurable rain here for almost a month, and the rich summer growth is turning golden as the grasses dry. Alligator holes are becoming more important as fish, frogs, and other Everglades creatures retreat into the holes that alligators enhance to find moisture. There's a nice picture of an alligator hole here and you can learn more about alligators in general here.
There's some discussion about whether or not the alligators actually build the holes or just take advantage of a natural depression and work on it over time to suit their many needs, but most researchers say that the alligators actually dig the hole with snout and tail, pushing mud out from around the underlying limestone layer. The holes provide water for mating, and bring an unending food source right to the alligator's door as the water supply diminishes. An older hole may be characterized by a ring of trees around the banks, because the additional moisture content allows tree seedlings to survive the dry season, although many holes are just a depression in the marsh.
If you're going for an outing to see for yourself, the Suncoast Herpatology Society has a list of safety tips to check out before you go. One of the nicest small Everglades walks right near Marco/Naples is the Big Cypress Walkway right of Rt. 41 in the Fakahatchee. There's almost always a nice big alligator in the pond at the end.


Natual Women, Field Passages Daily Painting by Everglades Artist JoAnn Sanborn

Field Passage
$150, free shipping
The daily painting have gone from chore to pleasure for me. They've become a great way for me to focus on a small scene, or to explore an idea. Sometimes I'll block out two or three on site, like I do for my larger work, other times work from reference photo's I've taken. They're almost never made up, and this one is no exception. Here I wanted to convey the roughness of the field grasses. You can picture yourself forging a path through until you remember about the snakes and the alligators that may be lurking, hidden in them!

We had a great time yesterday at the Marco Center for the Arts opening for the Natural Woman exhibition. The day started with an encaustic demonstration by artist Ricky Martin, followed by a reception in the gallery. My good friend artist Claire Keery was one of five featured artists, and her collage work was the focus of much attention. Claire has traveled extensively and loves all things Asian. Her elephant piece captures the mystique of elephants in the moonlight perfectly, and people were wowed by her dancer's dress composed of natural objects she had found, cut, and dried. The gallery was bright and colorful with some absolutely wonderful quilted pieces of fabric art, and complemented by the encaustic flowers of Ricky Martin. The show is a not to miss!
Following the show we were treated to a wonderful party at Claire's gracious home, where we ate, drank, and were quite merry visiting with other artists and guests. Thanks, Claire!


New Year, Shades of Winter Daily Painting by Everglades Artist JoAnn Sanborn

Shades of Winter 5x7
I love the fresh start of a New Year! How does the New Year look to you?
If you take the time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished during the past year, you may find that the list is longer than you think. Focus on the things that you did—changes you made, skills that you learned, marketing techniques that you tried, new techniques that you learned, collectors you’ve met, paintings you’ve sold. Are there some things that you didn't get done? Are they still important to you?

Now look ahead to 2009. Days will pass and months will go by despite our gloomy economic outlook. Will you be filled with paralyzing fear of the unknown or are you hopeful for the future? What can you accomplish in the year ahead? Make a list and include the small steps necessary to make it happen. Add a couple of “stretching things." Stretching things are the things that scare you, but are great for good personal growth.
It may turn out to be a better year than we expect. Be ready! By the way, all your resolutions don’t have to be artsy. I’ve looked at my last year’s resolutions and I’m off to call my sister! Have a wonderful 2009!
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