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


Wishes for a Wonderful Holiday!

The Artists at the Esplanade held great party for our Holiday Open House. Even Lulu our mannequin was decked out for the party. The weather was perfect for viewing the short but sweet Marco Island Boat Parade, and artists were in a party mood. We all had a wonderful time sharing refreshments, and Season's Greetings and Merry Christmas to everyone and enjoying the beautiful harp music of Kim Adamson. Thanks for stopping in!
Holiday Hours can be found on our website. You might be needing a last-minute handmade gift!

While I'll still be at the studio, I'm taking time off from this blog between Christmas and the New Year. It's a time to be spent with family and friends, a time for reflection and renewal. I'll be enjoying Christmas, and then will get very busy cleaning out the old and focusing on the new.

I like to start each year fresh. I agree with artist mentor and coach Alyson Stanfield who suggests that you look back and write down your accomplishments of the past year and then look ahead to what you'd like to accomplish in the year ahead. Try it. You'll be amazed at what you've done!

Rightside Gallery served a warm mulled wine that smelled heavenly and tasted just as good. We kept it in a crock pot between our Christmas trees. Here's the recipe as my gift to you!
Jo-Ann's Christmas Mulled Wine

Make a sugar syrup with 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water. Add 6 whole cinnamon sticks, 6 whole cloves, s few shakes of nutmeg and the zest of a lemon and an orange. Bring to a simmer, simmer 5 minutes. Add:

2 bottles red wine (cabernet is fine)
1 bottle blackberry wine ( if you can't find the blackberry wine, a brandy would work
Top with leftover lemon and orange slices. Serve quite warm.

It's been a tough year, and a tough decade. Let's bring in the New Year with hope and promise for a better future. Best Wishes for Wonderful, Joyous Holidays and for a Happy, Healthy New Year to you and yours!


Holiday Open House, Out on My Own, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Out on my Own
5x7 acrylic on board

Today's daily Everglades painting is a scene out on the Marsh Trail, and yesterday's early morning fog ensured it would be a quiet, subdued daily painting. The stillness of the water and the reduced values and color make the scene peaceful and serene. The single palm is alone but not lonesome on soil raised just enough above the swamp to allow its growth.

Tomorrow will be our Holiday Open House. You're invited to come along anytime between 5-8. We'll share a glass of holiday cheer and watch the Marco Island Boat Parade when it comes through Smokehouse Bay. If you're afraid that parking might be a problem, just park in the City's Farmer's Market lot a short walk away.


Seth Godin, One of a Kind painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

One of a Kind
16x20, acrylic on canvas

This palm caught my eye at the head of the Marsh Trail, the new trail into the Fakahatchee only a few miles from Marco Island. It was absolutely glowing in the warmth of the late afternoon sun. I took a photo and wanted to paint it before the memory faded. A few minutes later the sun had moved in the sky and the palm didn't have nearly the same appeal.

Times are fast changing, and one way I try to stay up to date is to read the blog of Seth Godin. He wrote "Tribes" and he's trying once again to update our thinking. His ideas are revolutionary, and he has an extraordinary group of friends You can get his new ebook, free, here.Wish I had time to figure out what a riff is--I'll save that exercise for later!


At My Side painting by Everglades Artist JoAnn Sanborn

At My Side
AT MY SIDE is a painting of two palm trees side by side at the water’s edge. The taller of the two is a little older, and seems to be sheltering the other with its fronds. Both are solid, well defined, and healthy. They have grown on land that rises a little above the rest of the sawgrass prairie, hat supports them and allows them to flourish.

There’s variety in the grasses at the water’s edge in both color and size, and the passages unifies the painting as the eye moves across. The opening onto the prairie allows the eye to move into the painting onto the water-rich prairie, into the future, into the unknown. The way in is smooth rather than rocky and the ancient limestone below is solid. This, along with a light breeze gives movement and life to the landscape.

The sky is dark, but morning clouds are beginning to brighten the day. They have variety in size and color as well, but not enough movement to disrupt the serenity of the morning. The scene is quiet and peaceful, rich with the promise of a new day.


Corn Plant, Volunteer of the Year

I hate to admit it, but another day has gone by without a daily painting. I've got a large commission due tomorrow, and in order to keep to schedule, I've put other work aside and have been working on the commission in my home studio as well as at the new Esplanade Studio.

The heady smell of our corn plant in bloom just outside the studio distracted me and drew me outdoors for this photo. Corn plants are a slow growing neotropical pole shrub that looks similar to vegetable corn when young. They bloom in December and the scent is particularly strong at night. It's sweet fragrance is noticeable from hundreds of feet away and easily recognizable. It's accompanied by a sticky pollen that insects and hummingbirds love.

Congratulations to Keith Dameron who was named Volunteer of the Year at Marco Island's Christmas Island Style Gala last night. Keith's wide range of interests and enthusiasms has led him to support many island organizations, and he's been particularly supportive of the arts. We share the goal of building community through art awareness and art opportunities on the island. Way to go, Keith!


Full Moon, Commissions, Painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Today's Everglades painting is a 16x20, started and worked on just for the pleasure of it. I've been busy with commissions, including a large one due next week in soft neutrals with a touch of greens and blues, another of the Adirondack Valley, and another painting I'll give as a Christmas gift.

I usually have several paintings going at a time since it keeps the work fresh picking it up anew several times a day. It keeps me from getting bogged down in one paintings issues, which often solve themselves if I see them out of the corner of my eye while I"m working on something else.

Still, it was fun to do just what I wanted for a while! This painting will get another go-over before I'm done since the sky isn't quite right yet, but I love the dawn softness this scene will portray.

Have you been enjoying the glorious full moon we've had this week? A couple of days ago it was positively glowing when I left the gallery at the Esplanade and headed home. Lovely!


Prairie Radiance
5x7, acrylic on board
$150 Framed and shipped

Everglades prairies are wide swaths of open, treeless land covered by sawgrass and other wetlands plants. The freshwater prairies are called marl prairies. Marl is rich mud or mudstone over the limestone, holds in moisture and is wet enough for some plants to survive through the driest season.

The sawgrass is shorter here than in the sloughs, and the land will also allow a lantana or swamp lily to flourish. Alligators live on these open prairies, and the paths they make through the prairies are used by other animals like the deer and the panther.

The sawgrass that covers the prairies is not a "true" grass, but actually a member of the sedge family, characterized by sharp teeth along the edges of each blade. The grasses were once over nine feet tall south of Lake Okeechobee in areas of rich soil now covered by sugar cane production. In drier areas the grass is shorter.

Fires are a natural part of the cycle of the prairie and play an important role in sawgrass habitat. Fires limit the invasion of woody vegetation that would eventually change the marsh, but the wet roots of the sawgrass protect it from the flames even though the parts of them above the ground may burn.
We're just starting the dry season here in south Florida, and will begin to see changes in the patterns of plant and animal life as the dramatic storms of our wet season decrease and fire danger increases.
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