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


Marco Island Historical Society Museum Mural, Daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

6x6, acrylic on canvas

When the Marco Island Historical Society began the process of building a museum, a committee chose five artists to produce series of paintings called "Art Interprets History." One of the artists, Steven Muldoon, is a Marco resident, the rest of the artists were from surrounding Collier County. Artists Paul Arsenault, Jonathan Green, Robert Gruppe, Rachael Kennedy, and Steven Muldoon were invited to participate, and the paintings created helped with fundraising and to bring attention to the project.

Now the Museum is becoming a reality, and two artists, Jonathan Green and Paul Arsenault, are vying for the honor of creating the largest mural in Southwest Florida for the museum, based on two paintings done for the above series. You can seen the paintings at Marco’s M&I Bank from July 24 to Aug. 14 and in the M&I Bank in Naples from Aug. 17 to Sept. 2.

The Marco Eagle is also taking part, and will have images of the two paintings available for viewing in their lobby. You can also vote online, here, which is a great choice if you're off-island for the summer. The results of the voting will be announced September 7th.


Almost Sundown
24x36, acrylic on canvas

Sunrise and sunsets are special times of day. I love the quiet sense of peace many sunsets bring. It's been too hot to sit out and really enjoy lately, but always watch the sky and try to mark the moment of another day passed.

Here on Marco Island, sunset is often celebrated by a quick trip to the beach, particularly Resident's Beach. It was there, that accompanied by friends, I once, only once, saw the "green flash." Sometimes there's a sing-along at the boardwalk, and sunset itself is accompanied by a rousing rendition of "God Bless America."


Florida Frogs, A Summer Afternoon daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

A Summer Afternoon
5x7, acrylic on board
$150, framed

This Everglades daily was done in preparation for a larger painting that I'm working on with the hopes of finishing in time for the August, Blue Mangrove Gallery show. I love the fresh, sketchy feel of it.

The sky was soft grayed shades of pink and yellow and green as I picked up my morning paper. I stopped to listen to the sounds of dawn, The soft coo of the doves could be heard, but I missed the variety of hoarse, croaking sounds usually heard this time of year.

Even though we got some rain over the weekend, we just haven't had enough to fill up the swales and support an army of frogs. Normally by the end of July I'll have seen tadpoles in the water at least a few times.

Years ago, most of the frogs on Marco Island and in the Everglades were native species of Florida. Now, the larger Cuban Tree Frog, introduced in the 1920s is the most commonly found. It eats most anything, and the smaller, native frogs are becoming far less common.

With a lack of their favorite food, what are our burrowing owls eating?


Marco Island NewComers, Galleries, Cloud Dance Everglades Painting by Jo-Ann Sanborn

Cloud Dance
acrylic on canvas, 20x24

I have to admit that today's Everglades painting is not a daily painting. As you may have noticed a few larger paintings have snuck in among the dailies recently. Oops!

New, larger work was already underway for an August exhibition at the Blue Mangrove gallery here on Marco Island when a call came in from the NPR Gallery in New Port Richie. They had an artist back out of an upcoming Florida exhibition, saw my work on the Internet, and asked if I'd fill in. No missed opportunity regrets for me! I quickly counted what was on hand, and said yes. I'll be delivering ten paintings to them August 3!

The Everglades painting above was started as a demonstration at the Newcomers Club luncheon. I worked from a photo to do a basic block-out, but had no idea where the final painting would go. This one seemed to want to paint itself, and so I was just along for the ride.

It will be available at the Blue Mangrove Gallery exhibition next month. Stop in for a visit!


Ghost Orchid, River Bend daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

River Bend
5x7, Acrylic on Board
$150 framed

If you haven't yet had the chance, now is the time to view the elusive Ghost Orchid. According to the Naples Daily News, people are coming from far and wide to visit Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, where there is a Ghost Orchid blooming for the third year in a row, and it's visible from the boardwalk.

It's not an up-close-and-personal view, since it's 45' up in a tree a short way off the boardwalk, but it's still a special sight. Ghost Orchids are rare, only found in the Everglades, and invisible most of the year. The orchid at Corkscrew, blooming for the third year in a row is a beauty, with several spectacular blooms rich and creamy against the background.

The Ghost Orchid was made famous in Susan Orlean's book, The Orchid Thief. The book ended without her ever having seen one. Wonder if she's seen one yet? Maybe you'll meet her on the boardwalk.


Iguana, Head above the Rest daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Head above the Rest
5x7, Acrylic on Canvas
$150, framed
In the Everglades a single palm tree is such a strong image. Each one comes with a personality all it's own. Who would you say this one reminds you off.

This little guy surprised me by sunning himself on the sea wall the other day as I was painting in my studio. It's the first one I've seen so close to home. As soon as I opened the door to get his photo, he hunched over and deflated, so isn't nearly as handsome as he first appeared. I only had my small camera, and as soon as I stepped out to get a closer picture he jumped into the water, a perfect dive, and swam quickly away. I knew Iguanas swam, but the speed was incredible! Haven't seen him since, but he's probably living somewhere close by.
As you most likely know, Iguanas are an invasive species on Marco Island. Gorgeous as he was I wasn't all that happy to see him. If only they didn't eat the birds eggs!


Arts Tabletalk, Vanishing Lands painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Vanishing Lands
24x30, acrylic on canvas

I"m working like mad to have several new paintings ready for the Blue Mangrove Gallery show at Town Center Mall next month. The painting above, Vanishing Lands, will be among my new Everglades work. Everglades photographer Jeff Ripple has his wonderful work on display there now. Stop in and take a look.

Delighted to have eleven artists at Art Tabletalk yesterday. With so many people gone for the summer, it's nice to have that many artists turn out for our lunch.What a nice arts community!

We have expanded to using two guiding rules now; the only subject we'll talk about will be art and, there will only be one conversation at the table. The first one isn't hard at all, since talking about art with others who care is why we come to the table in the first place. The second, sticking to one conversation, gets harder as the group gets larger, although we can manage to do it at a round, or square table.

If someone says to you, what do you do, you answer "Artist" and live on Marco Island, you're welcome to come along. We're not sure how we can manage when we start having over 12 people at lunch but we're probably just about at that point.

We don't want to lose the intimacy of really listening to each other when we discuss moral, technical and practical issues regarding our work. We don't want to be exclusive and eliminate those who might want to attend, but two separate tables would defeat our purpose. Any ideas?


Sense of Wonder, Morning Clouds daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Morning Clouds
5x7, acrylic on canvas, framed

There's a note on my desk that just says "wonder." Its been there long enough that I'm not sure what it refers too. Did I want to talk about a child's sense of wonder? How every artist needs a sense of wonder? Did I want to spend more time wondering about something?

In definition, it refers to feeling awe, astonishment, surprise, or admiration. It's the emotion aroused by something awe-inspiring, astounding, or marvelous. Something we seem to lose as we grow older, but something often seen in the face of a two year old.

The natural places of our world like the Everglades provide a sense of wonder if we just take the time to appreciate the moment. Sunset, sunrise, building clouds, light playing on moving water, a group of palm trees tall against the sky all have elements that cause me to marvel at their beauty. Was it these things I wanted to write about?

When we stop to look at, wonder about, or are amazed by a beautiful painting, we gain a sense of something deeper than ourselves, something that celebrates our very being human and helps connect us to each other and the world around us.
And let's not forget that we are human, very human. Artist Hugh MacLeod says it all, with less.

And I wonder at his uncanny ability to get it right so often! Thanks, Hugh.


Moon Glow, Moonlite Pines daily painting by Everglades Artist JoAnn Sanborn

Moonlight Pines
acrylic on canvas

A few days ago the full moon was was unnaturally bright in the morning sky over the Everglades. It was early, long before the sun had begun to brighten eastern horizon, yet the moon glowed big and round and cream, still high in the sky. Three planets added their light to the scene. What a beautiful sight!

The moon doesn't have an interior light. How does it get that radiant, glowing-from-within look? It’s a wonder and a gift of nature. Don't give me the facts, a sight like this is enough to please me all day long! Well, that, and maybe hearing a grandchild’s voice.


Marco Island Newcomers, Talking about Art

Good Morning. I've had the great honor recently of being asked, twice, to talk about my art. Speaking in public about my art causes me great anxiety, but I've learned that as much as I want my art to speak for itself, it's probably better to help it along with a few words, so I graciously accept such kind invitations.

I filled the car with paintings, materials, cards, brochures and coupons and took us out for lunch. The Newcomers are a lively group, meeting and greeting with great enthusiasm, with obvious delight in being together. I was a member years ago and had "spun off" since you can only be a member for a limited time.

After I spoke about the growing art scene on Marco Island, and my muse, the Everglades, I began a painting. My canvas is always toned with a warm dark, and I build and shape form with an additive-subtractive enthusiasm almost like a sculptor in my search for the shapes and their interaction on the canvas. This has been my method from my introduction to acrylic, almost 40 years now.

In a public demonstration of only about 1/2 hour, I can only get down the most basic block-in, but people seems to enjoy seeing the painting begin to emerge from the canvas. I'm sorry that I didn't take a photo of the first stage of this painting at the Marco Island Newcomers Club on Wednesday, but stage two is above, and stage three, below.

It's starting to get some definition of form, some light, and a color strategy is evolving. All of these will be further developed in a push-pull method as the painting evolves.

Here's the final on the painting that started as a demonstration at the Marco Island Yacht Club's Ladies Luncheon. You can see it's first hour here. Thanks to both groups for having me as a guest!


Reception, ArtQuest, Mangrove painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

acrylic on canvas

Good Morning. Enjoyed a wonderful reception at the Marco Island Center for the Arts last night for artist Diane Eiler. Diane shares my love of the Everglades landscape. She's raised three boys with a lot of Everglades activities and camping, so is quite familiar with the back country. She'll be teaching a three week class this summer, so if you're interested, call the Art League and sign up soon!

It was delightful to see such a nice crowd for this time of year, with a great group of people in "Save the Art League" mode. Giving the board permission to list and sell the extra lot was a tough decision. Questions and suggestions brought out how much this difficult economy has affected the Center, and that the board had reviewed other options, had a plan, and needed to get this done. The vote by members passed with a large majority.

The board of the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts had to make the tough financial decision that ArtQuest 2010 would have to be postponed. There's a nice article about that announcement in today's Marco Island Eagle. It's too bad that in a difficult economy art is one of the first things to take a hit. ArtQuest would have been great family fun at no cost. We'll just look forward to the future!

We had a light dinner with a group of artists after the reception last night, and I was very pleased to hear how I've inspired photographer Jack Megala. He told me that when he first saw my paintings he didn't understand where the color came from, but seeing my work and spending time in the Everglades over several years he now sees the depth of color and season. His photographs are superior, the more so because he uses a film and a large format camera, so he has to catch all his colors on film rather than use an enhancement program. He's waited hours for a small cloud to move just into the right position for the reflection to be perfect!


Marco Art League, Beautiful Morning daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Beautiful Morning
5x7 acrylic on canvas
$125, framed

We've had a number of rainy mornings lately. Today is just a beautiful morning with bright blue skies and puffy white clouds. I'm really enjoying it, although off in the Glades I can see the beginning of some building clouds. It's just what we expect this time of year.

The Marco Island Center for the Arts is getting ready to celebrate their fortieth birthday this fall. The land was granted for an artist organization by the Deltona Corporation when modern Marco Island was designed back in the late 60's, the Art League of Marco Island was founded, and the building has grown from a small gallery into a lovely arts facility.

Most everyone on the island has benefited from having an arts organization on the island. They've given classes to adults and children and introduced the community to a wide variety of artists and exhibitions. They support the artists who live on the island and provide a forum for those who visit. They're also responsible for two great outdoor art shows each year.

Now, along with other arts organizations around the country, they're in big trouble. Big financial trouble, mostly due to this desperately difficult economy. The arts are immensely important to us as humans for many reasons, and it's vital for a community with any soul to support the arts.

Everyone can't do a lot, but if everyone does a little we can keep this valuable and contributing arts organization alive. I'm sending a check today. If you care at all about the arts, I hope that you'll do the same. Thank you!


Independence Day, Golden Glow daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborm

Golden Glow
5x7, Acrylic on Canvas

Tomorrow is Independence Day, a day we celebrate our separation from Great Britain. The celebrations for this holiday traditionally take place outdoors, and much of our population will be enjoying, picnics, barbeque's, boating, family and great American food. Fireworks are typically held in the evening, in town squares, parks, and riverbanks across our country.

Most celebrations are accompanied by flying of the American Flag and the singing of patriotic songs. such as the national anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner", "God Bless America", "America the Beautiful", and "This Land Is Your Land". If you're from the north you might be more likely to sing. "Yankee Doodle" and from the South, "Dixie."

The oldest continuous celebration in the nation is the Bristol Fourth of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island is the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States.

However you spend the day, I wish you a happy, thankful to be American day! Perhaps I'll see you at the Fireworks held on Marco Island's Resident's Beach. Special thanks to all the Marco Island Businesses who contributed to make this traditional event possible.


Lubber Grasshoppers, Prairie & Palms daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Prairie & Palms

One of the things you're likely to see amoung the prairie and palms of the Everglades this time of year in a large, brightly colored the Lubber Grasshopper . They can be up to 2 1/2 inches long and are very slow-moving. Although they have short front wings they are so small that the Lubber is flightless.

The lubber eats, and can demolish, a wide variety of native plants an some smaller insects. Their bright colors warn predators that they are toxic, but they also have prominent spikes, or spines on their hind legs and exude a foul-smelling fluid when disturbed. Most predators leave them alone.

The lubber grasshopper has a number of color changes throughout its life. You can see them and learn more about this gorgeous insect here. Be sure and double click on the photos so you can fully appreciate their beauty!
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