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


The Marco Island Wet Paint Live Auction on Thursday night was a great success. Fourteen artists painting around the island during the day, including Jared Stitchcomb who painting in/at the little magrove island. We all brought finished and framed artwork to the Marco Island Center for the Arts for auction, with two paintings shown throughout the week and available for silent auction. The auctioneer and MC worked well together and the crowd came ready to bid. It was a lot of fun, despite the usual nervousness that no one would bid on my work. No paintings went for extraordinarily high amounts, but no paintings were left without bids, so it was successful for all. Half the money raised will be returned to the artists, and the other half go to scholarships for Marco youths.

Here's my set-up earlier in the day. For the first time you had to have your canvas marked, so I had three -- small, medium, and large, thinking I'd do the smaller canvas. When I viewed my subject I knew I needed the bigger canvas, so I painted with terrific speed all day long not sure if I would finish in time. I did, and was pleased with the result. Congratulations and thank you to the high bidder!

Just the night before the Artist Colony at the Esplanade had held our first Last Wednesday Art Walk. It was a great success with a good turnout and quite a bit of interest in our coupons paired with restaurant specials. Thanks to CJ's on the Bay, Guy Havey's Island Grill and Tara's Steak and Lobster House for adding to the fun by providing artist-named specials for the evening. Thanks also to singer Shelley Million who sang in each of the three galleries for an extra special treat. We''ll be doing the Art Walk again next month, so save Feb. 24 on your calendar!


Acrytlic paint potential, painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Today's painting is one that was started some time ago. Working a painting surface over and over can deepen and enrich the painting, and this painting has had multiple layers applied. I brought it out again yesterday to discuss in my acrylic class.

It was the last class in a series of four, and the subject was using acrylics in a variety of ways. We talked about how it's a magical medium and how few artists use acrylic paint to it's fullest potential.

The above canvas is one of four I brought to class to illustrate a variety of techniques. The canvas had been covered with a layer of thick gel medium, applied with a palette knife and allowed to dry before beginning the painting. The uneven surface added texture and interest as the paint was applied. Some iridescent paint has been worked into the surface, so it's got a nice glow, and the negative spaces hhave been painted again and again in a variety of colors.

It's fun to try something new, and to learn new techniques. Each of my students was able to find a way to glaze, texturize, get a glow or manipulate the paint in a way that was new to them. They probably won't use the techniques all the time, but have gained some new understanding of the range of opportunities with acrylic paint. Thanks, Class. It was fun!


Marco Beach
11x14, acrylic on canvas

The beach in the early morning is just lovely, with light from the early morning sky highlighting the waves along the shoreline. In the distance the last lights of some of the condos mix with the first rays of the upcoming sun, making it difficult to tell which is which.

Today, the beach won't be as appealing as usual because of Red Tide. The cause of red tide is still unknown, with some appearing to be related to pollution, and others from natural causes. Rising sea temperature is thought to also play a part. Here's a good good red tide fact sheet.

In any case, while they are not thought to be dangerous except to fish and shellfish, people with respiratory problems should stay off the beach today. It's going to rain anyway!


Great Blue Heron, Still Waters daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Still Waters
5x7, acrylic on board
This time of year in the frozen northland it's not unusual to see birds, but you wonder how they survive the cold and snow. Many New England birds will be viewed and counted and lectured about at the Cape Ann Birding Weekend in February.

Here in Southwest Florida we also have many birds. This time of year there are a lot of them, and many are quite large. Some migrate here here to spend the winter, others stopover on their journeys to elsewhere.

This morning as I poured my morning coffee a great blue heron flew down the canal. The sheer size of the bird catches my eye even though I'm only half awake. Because I've left the window open wide, I can hear the beat of wings, and I'm in awe.

The Great Blue Heron is one of the largest North American birds, and lives year round in much of the country, most often somewhere that water meets land. . They eat a varied diet and live in colonies of as many as 500 nests. There's a nice photo here.


Surf Fishing
5x7, acrylic on board

This small painting of Marco Beach was inspired by another artist who's work I looked at yesterday morning because it was highlighted on Empty Easel. It stayed with me thorough the day, and later, I recalled his style. which inspired this little daily. You might like to look at the work of Malcolm Ludvigsen, too. His paintings are larger, and with a much deeper developed surface. They made me feel peaceful, and his areas of activity we like jewels!

The beach has been beautiful in the early morning. If you're on Marco you can take a walk when the light coming up from behind casts a beautiful glow on the sand. If you're from afar, you can take a look at the Marco Island Sun Times web cam, or the web cam at the Marco Marriott.


Snowbirds and prizes, Getting Your Feet Wet daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Getting Your Feet Wet
5x7, acrylic on canvas

Palm trees, and getting your feet wet are some of the reasons Marco Island is so popular this time of year. Since the first of January there has been a big increase in the sightings of snowbirds. Snowbirds are our friends from the north who spend several months with us resting and enjoying the warm sun. It's thought that the term snowbird might refer to an Ann Murray song.

"Spread your tiny wings and fly away
And take the snow back with you
Where it came from on that day
So, little Snowbird, take me with you when you go
To that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow..."

So welcome, friends from the northlands! Enjoy your season here.

Congratulations to Cynthia Prince, winner of the first daily painting drawing. She chose a marsh scene for her prize!
A winner for one of the daily paintings will be chosen periodically from those who receive my monthly newsletter. Add your email here, or come into the Esplanade Studio Gallery to be included in the next drawing.

A winner for one of the daily paintings will be chosen periodically from those who receive my monthly newsletter. You can sign up here or come into the Studio Gallery to be included in the next drawing! If you already receive my newsletter, you'll automatically be included!


Iguanas & Clyde, Good Morning daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Good Morning
5x7 Acrylic on board

It is a good morning, with just a few hints that our cold, cold spell may be weakening. With only one wool sweater left I've been hard pressed to stay warm. The sweater is thigh-length, old enough for the fashion to have come around again!

Yes, frozen iguanas! I saw one for myself in the parking lot of the Marco Island Library early one morning when returning some books. The poor iguana had gotten cold enough to loose his grip and fall from tree. Someone had gently place a construction cone near the cold body to avoid a squishing incident, but with the ongoing construction most people just walked by without looking down.

I've heard that they will warm up and recover. Unless, of course, the iguana collector comes by and sends them into the big chill forever. Iguanas are not native to Southwest Florida, and there are efforts underway to rid the island of them. This cold spell we've been having has made collecting easy.
I have mixed feelings about the green iguanas. They are exotic and beautiful, but do a lot of harm to the seawalls and foliage, and worse, apparently eat the eggs of our birds. Still, I'm sorry to see the suffering.

We attended the screening of the Big Cypress Swamp, the Western Everglades, last night at the Von Liebig, and all the Everglades people were in attendance. We spoke with Everglades photographer Clyde Butcher, filmmaker Elan Stoltzfus, Big Cypress Interpreter Ranger Bob Degrosse, and were delighted to see a group of Seminoles in colorful costumes.

The film takes you on a journey through the Western Everglades, the area closest to us and quite different from the Miami side River of Grass. I'll have the film in my studio gallery at the Esplanade, and will be happy to loan it to you overnight for a returnable deposit.

This weekend Rookery Bay, just north of Marco Island will hold its Nature Festival. With lectures, demonstrations, swamp walks, rides and cruises, there should be something for everyone. It's a great way to get a feel for our environment without getting too far off the beaten path.

I, along with other Marco Island professional and aspiring artists, will be be participating in the Left Bank Art Fest at the Esplanade on Marco, about 1/2 mile on the right as you come over the bridge. There's plenty of parking only a short walk away in the city lot by Winn Dixie. I'll be inside my gallery, and urge you to visit the artists both inside and out! The Left Bank Art Show is produced by the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts.

In addition, the Marco Island Center for the Arts is holding a Craft Fair on the Art League grounds on Winterberry.


Wet Paint,Catching the Light daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Catching the Light
5x7, acrylic on board

My class on Acrylic Basics is going well, with twelve talented and delightful students. When the Education Committee asked me to try four two-hour classes to be held within a month, rather than my usual four day intensive workshop the Florida landscape. The goal was to offer classes to monthly visitors as well as residents.

I wasn't at all sure it would work. I worried. How would there be time for our "talking time?" How could the students possibly learn something and paint it in such a short time

Well, it's working out just fine. We start the class with the day's subject--yesterday was composition, and between some discussion and a handout, students were at their easel in no time working away. Fortunately, they are not adverse to a little homework, and will be bringing their own homemade value scale in complete next week for our session on value. All the while we're learning to work with the acrylic paint, and I'm learning too as we talk and share.

On the subject of Wet Paint, my husband and I hosted a cocktail party for the artists and sponsors of the Marco Island Wet Paint Live event last night. It was a fun event with a great turn-out, and everyone is looking forward to paint-out day.

Wet Paint Live, now in it's third year, will be held the last Thursday in January. There's fewer artists this year and more sponsors, which translates into a stronger event. Paintings of participating artists will be displayed at the Marco Island Center for the Arts the week before the event, and participating artists have the opportunity to include two paintings in a silent auction.

The event provides scholarships for Marco Island students, and is presented by the Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Marco, the Marco Island Center for the Arts and the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts. Tickets can be purchased at the Chamber for $35. Don't miss it!


Artist Colony, Baby makes Three daily painting by Everglades Artist JoAnn Sanborn

And Baby makes Three
5x7, acrylic on canvas

The Artist Colony at the Esplanade is now going strong. There are now three studios galleries and a total of 17 artists, with at least one working artist in each of the three locations each day. I'm usually there Wednesdays and Thursdays, and sometimes on Friday, although I'm happy to meet you there at another time if possible.

My work at the Esplanade varies, and I spend time designing, priming canvases, framing, studying, making a color chart, or best of all painting. I'm working more from photos, partly because of the hours I need to spend there, and partly because the weather has been so challenging!

There are completed painting up on the walls for you to enjoy. You are invited to get some coffee at Starbucks, come in, sit a while, learn a little more about art, and to share my passion for the Everglades. I’m very happy to talk while I work, and if I can’t for some reason, I’ll let you know why. You’re not disturbing me!

In addition to showcasing my own paintings, I actively support the Marco Island Center for the Arts and the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts, and other cultural events within our community. I'm delighted that the artists can provide an art presence for our citizens and visitors alike to enjoy.


Vanishing Lands
24x30, acrylic on canvas

The Picayune Stand State Forest was the scene of a celebrtaion yesterday marking the beginning of a project to restore natural water flow to the Everglades grassland south of I-75.

The project was approved in 2000, but funds have been a long time in coming. Florida Senator Bill Nelson assures that the rest of the money will come more easily, and that a complete job will be done. Let's hold him to it!


5x7 acrylic on canvas

Burr-r-r-r-r! It's cold here this morning, colder and cold longer than we're used to. I smell like the cedar chest. I opened up the old, scarred chest for the first time in ages to find my own remaining wool sweater. I've owned it long enough that it's thigh-length, in today's current fashion!

The geckos are hiding and the palms are looking a little peaked, but the sky is blue and the sun is shining brightly. I'm hoping that the orchids will make it through this cold spell on their own. The last time it was this cold I brought them into the house along with a resident snake. Won't do that again!


Goals and Resolutions, Happy in Crowds daily painting by artist JoAnn Sanborn

Happy in Crowds
5x7 acrylic on board

Now that the holidays are past, it's time to begin working toward the year's goals. Setting goals, with completion times attached, is the best way for me to get something done.

I'm going to paint a large painting every month. I want to take at least one painting class this year, visit more museum shows, finish cataloging my paintings, improve my newsletter, and thank people who help me weekly. I'm grateful for my online friends, art and otherwise, and want to do a better job of connecting online.

As I thought about the coming year, I believe that most people expect it to be better than the last few years. But what does that actually mean? More access to money? Better jobs? New houses? That we'll go back to times before the last decade? The reality is that times change in ways we can't foresee.

So, I'm going to try to keep an open mind in 2010. Look at new things without prejudice and maybe try a few. We can move along with the tidal swell of the future, or we can look back, digging our feet in the sand. If we do, we're left behind.


Fresh Start, Daily Painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

The Rocks, Gloucester
20x24, acrylic on canvas

Happy New Year to you and yours! New morning, new day, new year! May you dwell on your dreams to fullfillment in 2010! 2009 was a tough year in many ways, but there were a few high points to treasure. Still, I'm ready for a fresh start. How about you?

Today's painting was done as a gift and sent just before Christmas. An overdue commission was finished and delivered on Wednesday. You can read my January newsletter here. Interested in learning more about painting with acrylics? My class starts January 5th at the Marco Island Center for the Arts. Phew! Still busy! Guess that's a good thing.
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