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


Less and More, Big Cypress Autumn painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Big Cypress Autumn
24x36, acrylic on Canvas

Today's Everglades painting is one that just came back from a gallery on Captiva Island. I've sold paintings there, but nothing so abstract. My guess is that sea and shore paintings are more popular than Everglades in that area.

Posting the dailies may be a little spotty in the next couple of weeks. Organizing the Esplanade project was more time-consuming than I had hoped, and although things are moving well there's more to be done in organizing the group gallery. It's a lot of work preparing my new space, and packing up to move the studio. I'm behind on some promised commissions, although I did finish one this weekend. There are other issues to deal with, too, and something had to give. It was today's daily!

Today we'll travel to New Port Richy and pick up the paintings that have been on exhibit at the NPR Gallery there for the last two months. Eight hours round trip. It was a nice opportunity, but nothing sold, so I'll have those paintings back in inventory. Tomorrow it's off early to begin cleaning up the new space in the Esplanade. The big move will be on Friday.

Other news is that I've become as affiliate of Alyson Stanfield of ArtBiz.com Her book, I'd Rather be in the Studio is chock full of information for a self-representing artists and the materials she produces are always worthwhile. If you are an artist and haven't read her book, order it today! She's starting a Cultivating Collectors class that sounds terrific. You can click on the link above, or there will always be one on the right side of the blog.

Hopefully the thunder rumblings outside this morning won't make the trip to New Port Richy a wet and miserable one!


Boat Trip, On the River, daily painting by Everglade artist JoAnn Sanborn

On the River
5x7, acrylic on board
$150, framed

Marco Island is the first and the largest of the 10,000 islands. Protected since the 60's, the 10, 000 islands wild life refuge is home to the largest mangrove forest in the world and a number of endangered species.

A boat trip from Marco Island to Goodland will show you a few more of the islands, and bring you other rewards as well. As you lose sight of the buildings on Marco the sounds of civilization fade, if you can let time slip away it could be a hundred or a thousand years ago.

The light sparks on the water, and a soft breeze gently moves the higher branches of the trees. A silver fish jumps with a rainbow splash. A ray of sunlight spots a great blue heron in the mangrove legs, his head turned and his sharp eyes watch the water for lunch. A red shouldered hawk sits high on a bare branch waiting for some small creature below to venture into the open and become his prey.

If you're very fortunate, you might see the flock of roseate spoonbills that frequent the tidal sandbar off to the right. You are most likely to see them early or late in the day. The spoonbills, arge wading birds are one of the most striking birds found in North American. It's a bright, almost shocking pink, nests in the dense mangrove forests, and consumes a varied diet by wading in shallow water with bills partially submerged swinging its head back and forth in a sideways motion. When it senses prey, the bird snaps its bill closed and swallows its prey.

If you don't live nearby and your're not able to take the trip yourself, you can get a virtual tour here and a map of the islands here.


Choices, Soft and Still daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Soft and Still
5x7, acrylic on board

Today's daily painting is a soft and quiet Everglades scene. The landscape here has so many voices, from active to passive. Nature chooses for us, we don't get to choose what the day will be like. If we could, what would you choose?

It’s especially difficult to choose for someone else, as a new collector pointed out to me a few days ago while looking through my daily paintings to pick one out as a gift for friends. “I know what I like, but choosing for someone else takes much more thought." she told me as she looked again and again. Her personal choices tended towards the more colorful, active landscapes, and but she thought her friends would prefer something more peaceful and serene.

After spending some time, she finally used the process of elimination to reduce her choices to five. She wanted to be able to mail the real thing, a gift in a box, not a gift certificate, so I finally packed up five of the small daily landscapes so that she could take them home, elicit the help of her mother who also knew the couple, and ponder the paintings at her leisure.

She came back two days later comfortable with her choice. You can see it here. I reassured her that if the gift recipient looked at the blog and chose another, it would be an easy matter to exchange for the one they might prefer. She went off happy with her gift choice, and I’m delighted to have made a new friend. Thanks, Janet!


Agony of Art, Not a Breeze painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Not a Breeze
24x30, acrylic on canvas

This Everglades painting is my entry for the exhibition "Show of Shows" at the Naples Art Association. This is a member show, no jurying, so you get to see a nice variety of art and exactly when the artists choose to enter. The reception will be Friday, September 25th, from 5:30-7:30, and cost $10 if you're not a member, but you'll get wine, and some nice refreshments.

When I sent in the entry for this show the painting was only a small seed in my brain. No problem, I though. I'll just send in a title and paint the painting in time to be done for the submissions.

Ugh. The painting just wouldn't come. I started several times and struggled over the composition and color choices. The painting accompanied me to the artist luncheon for critique, where I received several excellent suggestions. Unfortunately most of them were forgotten as I struggled on, still unable to bend the painting to my vision.

Occasionally, on rare and joyous occasions, I've gotten into the "zone and had a great painting just flow off the brush with amazing ease. Other times something gets in the way of doing it right! Could it be my worn out brushes? Do I need a new palette? A fresh approach? Some new subject matter? Clearing my mind? Opening my mind? Gaining additional knowledge? Too much knowledge? Ugh, the frustration!

Why is it that sometimes the most difficult things come easy to us, and easiest things so hard? The painting was finally framed at noon on Saturday and delivered by one. I don't like cutting things quite that close!


Reality! Along a Stream daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Along a Stream
5x7, acrylic on board
$150, framed

Art Tabletalk, a group of professional artists who meet once a month to talk art, met yesterday and could talk of nothing else! Artists at the Esplanade is becoming a reality!

Marco Islands not-for-profit arts agencies, the Marco Island Center for the Arts and the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts have joined forces and graciously agreed to become leasees of vacant retail space in Marco Island's Esplanade. The artists involved will be required to maintain memberships in both organizations.

The two organizations will jointly sublease three storefronts. Two will be for seven artists who will open studio galleries in shared space. The third will be reserved for a group artist cooperative gallery where there will be working and display space, provided they can organize in an acceptable way.

The agreement is temporary, and we'll have to be flexible as time passes. Each party can cancel with a 30-day notice. The Esplanade will be looking for paying tenants once the economy approves. Artists traditionally have improved an area until they are priced out. We're used to this, and will just have to move on when the time comes. In the meantime, we'll be paint some fabulous paintings, having some fun, and make new friends in the community.

We'll start to move in some time around October 1, with perhaps a Grand Opening in November as part of the United Arts Council's Celebrate the Arts! Stop by and say hello!


Take a Deep Breath, daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Take a Deep Breath
5x7, acrylic on board

Do you notice the sound of the frogs, a gentle breeze rustling the palm fronds or the eagle soaring overhead? If you live in South Florida, take a moment to enjoy the nature that's all around us. In addition to unique and amazing wild life, like the gopher turtles and the owls, and sea turtles, the very air can give you joy.

The sunsets and sunrises this time of year are almost always glorious shows of natural light. Sometimes the late show is quite dramatic as the storms roll through, like in today's Everglades painting. Other times it's the quiet layering of soft salmon, mint green and a gentle turquoise on the horizon as the sun comes up that might make you sigh with delight.

As you go about doing whatever it is that you have planned for today, at some point step outside, take a deep breath and listen to what our earth might have to tell you. It just might make your day!


Artists at the Esplanade, Lovely Morning daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Lovely Morning
5x7 Acrylic on Canvas
$150 framed

It is a lovely morning today, with only a few clouds on the horizon as the sun comes up, both in today's painting and on Marco. But many artists on Marco Island, involved in the potential use of provided studio space at the Esplanade, are holding their breath and crossing their fingers rather than enjoying the view.

We haven't had a good nights sleep in a month! There are eighteen of us so far, Nine looking for studio space and another nine hoping for group gallery, or co-op space. It's expected that the gallery space will draw many other Marco artists as the plan becomes reality.

In order for the proposal to the benefit Esplanade management, the boards of Marco's two non-profit art agencies, the Marco Island Center for the Arts and the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts must agree to lease the space from them and then sub-lease it to the artists. And the devil is always in the details.

These community organizations are doing a terrific job of trying to keep the idea alive while struggling through the necessary nitty-gritty to make it work. Leases are being review by lawyers and insurance issues are being investigated to ensure the protection of the non-profits. Potential costs are being considered, and everyone agrees it shouldn't cost the non-profits. The boards of both organizations will be meeting this week to determine whether or not they want to participate.

In any case, should one or both step up, the artists of this community will owe them a a huge debt of gratitude. They chose to be innovative, progressive, excited and open to the idea, and now are doing the hard work and critical thinking necessary to make it. Artists at the Esplanade can and should work to the benefit of all.

We should have answers by the end of the week. However you work for the best, prayers, lucky charms, positive thinking, energy flow, now is the time!


Snail Kites, Still Morning, a daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Soft Rain
5x7, Acrylic on Canvas

Snail Kites are medium sized hawks that flourish in lowland freshwater marshes like the Everglades. In the Big Cypress basin, snail kites use the Lostmans and Okaloacoochee sloughs, Hinson Marsh, and the East Loop and Corn Dance units of Big Cypress National Preserve. They thrive in shallow open water that is clear and calm.

The males are a blue-gray and the females are soft brown with a longish tail and rounded wings. They're birds of prey, in the same family as other hawks and eagles. They fly with much wing motion, always looking down to search out their favorite food, the pond, or apple snail. Apple snails are a large, freshwater snail, and provide the kite with 99%of it's food.

The snail kite is dependent on the hydrology and the water quality of it's watersheds. Watersheds in southwest Florida have experienced pervasive degradation due to urban development and agricultural.

Drainage of marshland has reduced the habitat of the pond snail, limiting the food supply, and egg taking by collectors in the 1950's drove the number of Snail Kites down, but the species may be rebounding a bit today.

Why Snail Kites? We have a huge population of snails in our yard this year. Recently a large hawk landed in a small space between the house and a mixed border. We wondered what it might have been after. I've been researching the hawk, and because of it's clumsiness, it's red beak and legs, it might have been a snail kite.

Better after a snail than some of the other creatures it might have been! Of course it was gone by the time I got my camera.


Working from Home, In the Pink daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

In the Pink
5x7, Acrylic on Canvas
$150, framed

I've been fortunate to have two dear sisters-in-law visiting here on Marco, one for the past month, another for the last two weeks, and a brief daughter visit over the weekend. Phew!

Like most Marcoites, we welcome the visits of those we love. There's sharing and laughter and catching up. There's help too, since neither of these two would sit still a minute when there was something to be done. Then our guests are gone, our tummys are expanded and our houses are all too quiet.

Visitors are a special challenge when you work from home. Sometimes there are guests staying in the studio, although that was not the case this time. Sometimes we just get too busy showing off paradise and washing the towels, and painting has to take a back seat.

When you work from home no one realizes you should be two hours into your working day when you linger over coffee. Their vacation must become yours. So this month I missed a couple of deadlines, and an opportunity. Yet, I made a few deadlines and an important meeting.

Guess it's a balancing act, and it all worked out. I'll miss them.


Everglades Painting by artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Today's Everglades painting is one that I've been working on for a while. It's not done yet because I can't get it quite right. I like the color scheme, so it may be the color temperature. The light is cool, and the colors are as cool in the sun as they are in the shade. Warm up the shadows? Tried it. Warm up the light and cool down the shadows? Tried it.

On the other hand, may be it's the composition. There's a problem with the integration of the parts of the landscape. Rather than look like two groups of friendly palms, these look more like a confrontation ready for a gang war.

So, this holiday weekend with family visiting and so many things on my mind I don't have a "daily" for you. But feel free to comment on this 18x24 size that's driving me nuts!


Clyde Butcher Muck About, Muck About daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Muck About
5x7 acrylic on Canvas
$150, framed

It's Labor Day weekend, and I urge you to take a ride out to the Everglades, visit Niki & Clyde Butcher in their Big Cypress Gallery, and if you haven't done it, participate in a Swamp Walk.

Every Labor Day weekend, the Butchers invite you to their property for their annual Muck About. You can bring lunch, they'll have bottled water, and picnic among the cypress trees. Clyde and Niki will be on hand and available to talk with you. A guide will take you on a walk through the swamp, and introduce you to the flora and fauna of the area, and maybe some of the swamp denizens as well.

Cost in the past has been $25 for the swamp walk. This year, it's $75, but you receive a $50 gift certificate for the gallery as well as the walk. Guides have changed from rangers from the Big Cypress Preserve to Dragon Fly Expeditions, and according to the website the walks will be much more intimate. You can make reservations and learn about what to wear here and check out a video showing a walk.

It's quite an experience, and if you haven't done it I highly recommend it.


Marco Island Arts Ordinance, Just a Few Clouds daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Just a Few Clouds
6x6, acrylic on canvas
$125, unframed

Today's Marco Island Eagle headlines with an article about the proposed Arts Ordinance for Marco Island. Proposed by the Arts Advisory Committee of the City, and now before the Marco Island Planning Board. The ordinance would require new commercial properties over 5000 sq.ft. or those renovating up to 50% to pay a small fee either to purchase art of their choosing and approved by the council, or to put the money into a fund for the purchase of art elsewhere in the City.

You've often heard me speak or read me here about the value of art to us as humans. Art in our community is very important. Art both helps to build community through shared experiences, so important on Marco since almost everyone comes from "somewhere else," and art helps to expand our minds as we contemplate the what, why, where and how of it.

Today, lets look at art from a business stand point. People want to live where there are art events and art opportunities. Communities having these amenities have an edge over those who do not. This means that every realtor on Marco Island should be in favor of this ordinance.

It's a fact that the Arts return dollar for dollar spent. Every dollar spent on the arts comes back to a community by helping to sustain business growth and provide business opportunities, as well as making a community a desirable place to live.

We're a community of permanent residents now. Lets provide for something beyond the beach!

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a member of the Arts Advisory Committee for the City. The committee advises the City Council on Arts affairs. This committee has been working for five years to produce an ordinance for the city. Now let's get it passed!
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