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


Visiting an Artist's Studio or Gallery, Happy Dance daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Happy Dance
5x7, acrylic on board

Those of us who have space in the Artist Colony at the Esplanade on Marco Island are doing the Happy Dance, just like the palms in today's Everglades painting. You may be quite comfortable visiting an art gallery or an artists studio, but if you're not, here's a few tips.

I've often had collectors visit my home studio. They've called ahead, know my work, may have something new in mind, or just want to see what's new. When I know someone is coming to visit I usually make my studio as neat as possible, and stop painting to spend time with the visitor. It's a little different at the Artist Colony.

At the new Artist Colony at the Esplanade and we're open to the public for many hours a day in a combination studio gallery. Anyone is welcome to come in, wander around, and see what's going on. Here's some advice to make stepping into an artist space a little easier:

Do come in. We're open because we want to introduce you to ourselves and our work. We may be at the easel painting or doing other chores like packing a painting for shipping or sketching out our next painting. Don't worry about interrupting us. We'll probably greet you, tell you what we're about, and then let you wander.

The work will probably be all around you, so feel free to take as long as you want to enjoy the work, and to identify any artwork that you'd like to know a little more about. Certain artists works will most likely to appeal to you more than others. We understand that.

Talk with us about what you see. It's OK to ask questions about the subject matter, the technique, or the color or design decisions that the artist has made. "Why did you paint the sky purple?" or "What is the inspiration for this painting?", are questions most artists will be happy to answer. It is best not to ask questions that are clearly geared to obtaining trade secrets.

It's OK to not like everything
. Art is very personal. You will probably like one artist's work more than others, and you will like certain paintings from the same artist more than others. If the art is original and considered, each piece will have a unique feel and response and it's OK to like some more than others. The artist probably does, too.

You don't have to buy. The purchase of a new piece of art is rarely a spur of the moment decision. Take your time, look at the work, and decide the style and subject matter are something you'd like to live with. You can start to follow that artist, become familiar with their work, and eventually become a collector.

However, when you do fall in love with an original, you should immediately indicate your interest in the piece to the artist so that you are not disappointed if a painting you especially like is sold to someone else.

Enjoy your visit. We'll be glad you stopped in. You may find that looking at, learning about, and talking about art is enjoyable. Come back often!


What is Art? At Water's Edge daily painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

At Water's Edge
5x7, acrylic on board

Today's daily painting of a still morning at the edge of the swamp reminds me of the quiet places in my soul. Elusive, but treasured when I can find my way there.

What is art? Empty Easel asked this question on their blog this week. The question provoked thought, so I've done a little research on the subject.

Many of the objects we value and admire in museums are useful, if beautiful, objects of everyday living in the past. For centuries those with the means to have beautiful things around them did, and those who could not envied them.

The idea of art as art emerged during the Renaissance when beautiful objects became valued for themselves rather than being something practical and useful. Then along came Andy Warhol who showed us that almost anything can be art, totally confusing many people.

How to determine whether beautiful, everyday things are crafts, or might be art? Tolstoy says it is only " upon this capacity of man (the viewer) to receive another man's expression of feeling (the artist) and experience those feelings himself, that the activity of art is based."

Artist Shelley Essak, in her essay What is Art for about.com makes sense with her answer of form and content. Form being the design and materials, and content being the artists portrayal of intention and our reaction to it.

An artist works at creating art because they have a need to create, to find ourselves and our spirit through our work. Yet the reaction and response of the viewer is as necessary to the art as is the need of the artist to create. What's your take?


Artists in Spaces, In the Pink, daily painting by Everglades artists JoAnn Sanborn

In the Pink
Things seem to be calming down a little as the Artist Colony at the Esplanade begin to settle into a new routine. There are still issues to deal with and things that come up every single day that require attention. Seventeen different artists, many who didn't know each other, with their own ideas, styles and baggage all doing something new and innovative together is quite a challenge.

One for all? We're working on it. Individuals making decisions for the group good rather than self-serving? We're working on it. Hosting a fabulous Open House next month to celebrate our good fortune? We're working on it. Learning about the needs and cares of each other? We're working on it. Having this kind of a life-changing art experience? Priceless!

We're all learning new things. A studio gallery is a combination of a studio, where an artist usually works alone, and a gallery, where the public is invited to see the artwork. Although I had done several demonstrations, it took me a while to get used to work standing quite close to the front window to paint, and anyone walking past might stop to look.

There are interruptions to the work, but happily some end in making new friends or making sales. I'm at a point now where I am fairly confident of at least getting a daily done, and will write the blog regularly, so once again you'll be hearing from me three times a week.

The public who comes to visit tell us how much they like to visit. I like it, too, and feel very fortunate indeed to be part of this exciting experiment.


Nikon, Rob Hazzard, Everglades painting by artist JoAnn Sanborn

Today's painting was a gift to my daughter and her husband nearly 17 years ago. It hangs in New England, in a lovely traditional living room, comfortable among antique wood furniture and the lovely creams and yellow colors they've chosen for the room.

This was my second Florida painting. I was still not at all familiar with the foliage here, and it's probably some Alligator Flag or some pickerel weed. If I remember, I got carried away by the light and reflections. I'm still enchanted by the light and reflections in the Everglades.

The reason we're going so far back in time today is that my favorite little Nikon Coolpix camera, used to photo my daily paintings was dropped and broken. Oops. That's why the last couple of photo of the dailes were a bit "off."

Diligent searching indicated that my camera can be replaced at a reasonable cost, but it will take a while to get here and I just don't like my husbands big fancy camera. It doesn't quite understand what I want.

My painting now has come companions. A corner of that New England living room has become an artist's studio. My daughter's husband, Rob Hazzard, has become a fine artist, and has a number of paintings you might enjoy seeing. Take a look!


Sunflowers, Chad Oliver, and me! New Day daily painting by Everglades Artist JoAnn Sanborn

New Day
5x7, acrylic on canvas

The Southwest Florida environment continues to delight and amaze me. The sea of sunflowers in Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, that appear in October most, but not every year, are just beautiful.

I learned about them through the newscast of NBC-2 reporter Chad Oliver, who often covers stories of interest to me and to others who love this environment. I can't seem to upload the video, so here's a link to the page that tells the story and a video of the scene.

Chad also covered the Artist Colony at the Esplanade this week. It was a pleasure to work with him and his cameraman. The segment about the artists was aired several times, but if you missed it, you can see it here. Thanks, Chad!


Singing the Blues, Daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Singing the Blues
5x7, acrylic on canvas

Events are moving along well with the new Artist Colony at the Esplanade. The third vacant storefront will be filled with a group of artists who met earlier this week to organize. This space was originally envisioned to meet the needs of a number of Marco artists who don't have the time, work, money or commitment to fit into the larger spaces in a cooperative arrangement.

However, when the interested group met to organize, they decided that they each wanted to be able to leave their materials and to have a spot to call their own, so they will limit the number of participants to fit into the space.

I'm a little disappointed for those who can't be accommodated immediately and would have prefer ed a more inclusive arrangement, but it's a great group of artists who will work hard to work together to make the space a special art place. They'll be in operation around the first of November, after doing some preliminary work to the space to prepare.

Singing the Blues, just finished, has been traded to artist William Ward Mosley for one of his works, given to me last spring, when we agreed to trade. Bill and his wift Pat stopped by to check out the new studio space yesterday, a perfect time to pay my debt and give them their choice of a daily painting.

Meanwhile, I'm finding that moving into new studio space takes some getting used to. I've started to make it my own by putting some of my inspiration things around. I've got a few art books to inspire me when I need a boost. I've painted a couple of dailies, and will start a larger piece today. It's time to let go of the organizational stuff and get to work!


National Wildlife Refuge Week, End of the Day daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

End of the Day
7x5, acrylic on canvas

I love a win-win partnership and that's just what's being celebrated in Collier County this week. It's National Refuge Week, and shared funding between the Florida Department of Transportation Enhancement Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Refuge Roads Program and the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast Refuge Complex has provided new access to the Marsh Trail at the north end of the 10,000 Islands Wildlife Refuge.

The improvements include a parking lot, an information kiosk, a boardwalk leading to the trail, a watercraft ramp. There will be a handicap accessible observation tower by the end of November. The new access will be of particular interest to kayakers, who can glide through the marsh grasses silently, really becoming part of the landscape.

There are over 550 National Wildlife Refuge System properties throughout the US with the primary mission of wildlife protection and preservation. The first refuge was established over 100 years ago by Teddy Roosevelt at Florida's Pelican Island to protect birds from plume hunters who nearly decimated the population because the feathers were used in such large numbers on women's hats.

No thoughts of feathery hats for these two. We were exhausted at the end of the first day for Artist Colony at the Esplanade, but filled with a great sense of satisfaction! Studio and gallery space has been cleansed with a sage smudge to get out any fail-store-cooties without triggering the fire alarms and we're welcoming friends old and new Wed-Sat. Hope you'll stop in!


Stary Night, Hunter's Moon painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Hunter's Moon
If you were up early and outside this morning I hope you took a moment to look up into an absolutely dazzling morning sky. The stars were gorgeous, bright and twinkling. Brightest planet Venus was clear in the low eastern sky and the constellations were perfectly outlined above.

A good way to tell if you are seeing a planet or a star is that stars twinkle and planets do not.
According to Night Sky Info, twinkling of stars, technically known as stellar scintillation, is caused by the Earth's atmosphere. Because stars are so incredibly distant from us, any disturbances in the atmosphere will bounce around the light from a star in different directions. This causes the star's image to change slightly in brightness and position, hence "twinkle".

There's some great stories about twinkling stars here or you can enjoy this wonderful Starry Night presentation of Van Gogh's paintings. Thanks for sharing it, Carolyn!
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