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


Les Fleurs
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

You're invited
to the April
Artist Colony at the Esplanade's Last Wednesday Art Walk
Art in Bloom
tonight, 5-8 p.m.

New Artwork by Local Artists! Refreshments! Music!

Floral Interpretations of Artworks
Calusa Garden Club—Waterfront Gallery
China Rose Florist—Rightside Gallery
Marco Island Florist—Portside Gallery

Music by
Jim Allen, Emilia Kipinska, and David Michael

“Artistic Restaurant Specials
CJ’s on the Bay, Tara’s Steak and Lobster House

Tonight we'll have something special, with floral interpretations of some of the art work! It's delightful when I can arrange a partnership with Marco Island businesses. Art and business go very well together. Both benefit, and sometimes money follows art!

People are coming by both car and boat to visit the Artist Colony. Marco Realtors are beginning to see the benefit of having an Artist Colony on the island. People love to live where there are arts opportunities. Having an artist colony, along with some great arts organizations, is changing the perception of Marco Island into an arts community full of opportunity.

Hope you can come tonight. If there's interest the Colony will continue the Last Wednesday Art Walks throughout the summer, since we're a year round community now and our residents seem to enjoy this event.


Paint Supply Storage, Hideaway Shore painting by artist JoAnn Sanborn

Hideaway Shore
acrylic on canvas, 48"x60"

The sun is low in the sky in this large painting, done from under the trees on the shoreline on Marco Island. There's a nice end-of-the-day feeling to it without it being an actual sunset. It's been out on loan to a local office, but changed out recently and now it's at the Esplanade studio. Stop by and take a look at Last Wednesday Art Walk this week!

Today I have a paint supply storage tip for you. Most artists can't resist a new tube of paint, but knowing what you have and where to find it is sometimes difficult. Artist visitors to my studio in the Artist Colony always comment on the way I store my paints.

I use a a 16 pocket, clear, over-the-door hanging shoe bag to store my paint. The paints go into the pockets according to hue around a traditional color wheel system, with the neutrals and earth colors in their own pockets below.

I don't remember if the idea is original or borrowed, but in the home studio it was a welcome, behind the door space saver. I can easily see what colors I have plenty of, and what hues might be running low. A quick glance or checking one pocket speeds up re-ordering, too.

Just Google "over the door clear shoe bag" for a variety of options and prices, and you can choose your own easy storage system.


Earth Day and the Everglades

I have strong feelings about almost anything, and that passion hasn't moderated much with age, even though I may be a little clearer on the fact that there are some things I can do something about and others not.

Yesterday was Earth Day and the Earth is something I'm passionate about. We should be taking more care and have more reverence for the land that sustains us. There are too many of us for us living the way we do to sustain the earth into the future. We won't have enough water, and without it, not enough food. Since a good plague doesn't seem to be working, we need to take action. I do what I can in my studio, my life and my home, but I know it’s not nearly enough.

What I can do is paint, and bring a small measure of awareness and attention to a small part of our fragile planet. I've limited my work to the Southwest Florida environment, particularly the Everglades, in the hopes of bringing some small measure of awareness of their value to others. The Everglades have become my muse and my mission.

I had an almost viceral response when I first saw the land, and I fell in love. I love the way the light dances through the fronds of a huge palm under the slightest breeze. I love the way the bold palm forms thrust up into the bright blue sky and the way they soften in the evening light. I love the slow gurgle of the shallow water moving across the landscape to the gulf and the bumpy shapes of the mangrove fringes with their heads high above their legs in the water. I love the grasses, rough and course, bowing gently in the afternoon breeze, and the drama of the billowing thunderheads that gather each afternoon in the rainy season.

If you didn't do anything about Earth Day, and wish you did, it's not too late to send a small donation to one of the organizations who are working to preserve and protect this land, vital to the health of the gulf, and our planet. I'm donating a portion of my sales to the Friends of the Fakahatchee in April. Thanks if you've contributed by your purchase this month! The Friends of the Everglades, the South Florida National Parks Trust, and the Nature Conservancy of Florida, would also welcome your donation.

I've often written about the natural systems and cycles of the Everglades and their value. Perhaps you've seen the light and want to help too.


White Egret Flower, Bamboo, daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

acrylic on canvas 5"x7

With Spring in the air and with Art in Bloom next week at the Artist Colony's Last Wednesday Art Walk, I've had flowers on my mind. I did this small daily painting of bamboo cuttings, have been been cleaning up the garden and looking for signs of new life, new sprouts after the cold winter.

When a box was delivered to my front entry from the White Flower Farm in Connecticut, it brought back fond memories. The White Flower Farm was a place from the past and I had ordered and received many wonderful plants from there in another life, long ago. Their catalogue was a wealth of knowledge to be pursued and enjoyed throughout the New England growing season.

Since we’re zone 10B here on Marco Island, I didn’t know they carried plant suitable to the humid Southwest Florida climate. It wasn’t my birthday, or Mother’s Day, or Christmas, so I wondered as I opened it just who it was from and what it contained. I discovered the package had been sent from my sister, an avid gardener, due for a visit.

The box contained a very small envelope with some pretty dry wood chips and what possibly was a single, small bud about half the size of a peanut. I didn’t recognize the Latin name of “habernaria radiata,” so went to the computer to see if I could get more information. When the name “White Egret Flower” came up, I understood why it had been a wonderful choice for me.

Further web investigation uncovered the weeps and woes of trying to start the tiny bulb. Some web reports had people trying again and again to get the little bulb to sprout. Turns out it’s actually a bog plant, and there’s a fine line between wet feet and drowning.

I dug up the tiny bulb three times to look for signs of life. When my sister arrived she called the farm to tell them it was dead, and was told to wait, and counseled patience. When I watered it yesterday, no signs of life. Can you see it? Today, it's small but it's up, green and has a bright future. If I can remember to keep it moist, I'll show you a plant of white egrets in full bloom, er, flight, sometime in July.


Florida Wildflowers, Glades, Spring daily painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Glades, Spring
Acrylic on Canvas, 5"x7"

Growing up in New England, I knew the names of most of the local plants and trees. Somehow over the years, or maybe it's easier as a child, they were absorbed without working at it at all. After years in Florida, though I still don't know the names of many of our most common plants.

In our little bit of a garden, it's been hit or miss. Some things do terrific until the heat and moisture of a South Florida summer does them in, and this year the cold winter caused quite a bit of damage to some species. I'd like to learn more about what grows well here, and what's native.

Determined to do better, I just picked up Schmelz and Stacell's book "A Guide to Native Wildflowers of Southwest Florida." The book organizes the flowers by color, and looks to be a great primer. I'm going to keep it in the car, where it will be handy to look up new plants as I come across them. Sorry, but I couldn't find where to purchase online or locally, mine was picked up at a Friends of the Fakahatchee event.

Although the Everglades area only has two seasons, the wet and the dry, the book broke them down into early and late wet season and and early and late dry season. This made so much sense since anyone attuned to nature in our area sees the blooms of spring!

The Southwest Florida Water District produces a booklet called "Waterwise" that I found helpful, too. This booklet is designed to help landscape design be compatible with our environment. It's filled with great photos of the plants to use, and contains a list of not recommended invasives, too. You can download a copy for yourself here or pick it up at many local nurseries.


Happy Birthday to Marilyn

About a dozen island artists will gather today to have lunch. We do it periodically, and always have a wonderful time talking art. Today's luncheon will be in honor of artist Marilyn Wirth. It's her birthday and she'll turn 80 today. Marilyn taught art for 35 years, loves painting with beautiful colors, and is still willing to share all she knows.

We all bring a little something to these luncheons. Sometimes it's about a gallery we visited, an award that we've won, and art story about a sale, or a painting we'd like to have critiqued. Marilyn often brings articles from art magazines, each one special for the intended person.

We're a pretty positive bunch, but today Marilyn has asked that we bring no negatives to the meeting. Positive thoughts, positive comments, happy articles and artwork. There will be no negatives at her birthday lunch!

The painting above is one of Marilyn's paintings, in beautiful colors and her flowing impressionist style. We own this one, and that's my grandson in the red hat, making his own painting at Residents Beach! Happy Birthday, Marilyn!

If you're on the island, don't miss the Left Bank Art Show at the Esplanade tomorrow. This is a non-juried, casual show, always well received, special because serious artists, casual painters and young artists are all welcome.


Glorious Morning, painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Glorious Morning
30x40, acrylic on canvas

One of the most asked questions in my studios is "How long it takes to paint a painting?" I'm not sure if this is a way to judge if I've spent enough time to make it worth the price, or if people just want to start an art conversation.

I usually say something like "Each painting is different and each takes it's own time. Some are done fairly quickly, others take weeks or months. Some that hang around my studio for a while are never done and I take them off the wall and touch them up now and then!"

Glorious Morning is a painting that took it's time to completion. The sky color kept flattening out, the reflections wouldn't cooperate, and I'd get frustrated and put it away for the day. Next day, same thing, and the day after that.

Slowly it came together. Some paintings are worth the struggle, and Glorious Morning is finally glorious!


Dancing on a Foggy Morning by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Dancing on a Foggy Morning
11x14 acrylic on canvas

Today's Everglades painting was started as a class demo in my recent Color Confidence class. Many instructors will finish a painting during the demo, and find that sales to students can supplement teaching income. I'd rather the students get to work on their own paintings rather than watch me work to the finish, and the time frame is usually too small to create a quality work.

So I use my own paintings to demonstrate techniques and applications during the class, not worrying about the final outcome or a good finish. This little painting was used to demonstrate a variety of discordant color techniques, and way to bring them together, so it was a mess of color and composition errors.

Still, there was something worth searching for in it and I couldn't just discard it. Gaining the final moody harmony was a struggle, but the results are quite satisfying.

By the way, we had a lovely time at the Friends of the Fakahatchee annual dinner last evening at the Port of the Isles. They're my charity for the Artists at the Esplanade Give-Back month and will receive a portion of my sales for April.


Warm in the Sun
6x6, acrylic on board

My neighbor knocked on my window this morning to point out an Eagle sitting on the roof of house near us having his breakfast. It was a magnificent sight silhouetted by the rising sun and even though my window can see in that direction, I would have missed it if she hadn't taken the time to share the sight.

The Confederate Jasmine is blooming and the smell is sweet in the crisp morning air as we walk closer to take a look. After munching a while, Eagle flies off carrying bits of some less fortunate creature back to it's nest.

It's fledgelings must be learning to fly, since to my delight I've heard their calls in the last couple of days, but haven't yet caught a sighting. Maybe by next week!


Giving Back, Two large Paintings by Everglades Artist JoAnn Sanborn

High Tide
30x40, acrylic on canvas

It's been a really busy couple of weeks, so I'm a little behind on everything! Exchanged out two large paintings that were at the Morgan Stanley office here on the island, and exchange the painting at the Drs. Polling office on Saturday.

That will bring some fresh new large paintings into the Studio, so if you're looking for a large painting there's some new selections for you to consider. Just received some new daily painting panels, primed them yesterday, so you'll be seeing a new one soon!

Fishing Hole
30x40, acrylic on canvas

The Artist Colony at the Esplanade is fortunate to be in a great location, visited by people from all over the world. We are all so appreciative and grateful for our studios and gallery space. In order to show appreciation, April will be “Give Back” month for a number of Colony artists. Artists will donate a portion of their sales to the local charity of their choice in an effort to benefit the entire community. It's the right thing to do!

I'm going to donate a percent of my April sales to the Friends of the Fakahatchee State Preserve. The Fakahatchee Strand is home to more varieties of wild orchid than any other place, I love the fabulous light and bold forms, and love the time I spent painting in the Fakahatchee. The Friends do good works that help do to preserve and protect this wonderful landscape through introduction and education, so it's a good fit for me.

You can help, too, by picking up a nice painting this month. It will bring you much pleasure and help save a small portion of the Everglades at the same time. Thanks to those who have already purchased!


Snowbirds to Shorebirds, Beach Sunrise painting by Marco Island artist JoAnn Sanborn

Beach Sunrise
16x20, acrylic on Canvas

Now that snowbirds are starting to head home, some beach areas around Marco Island will become roped off, posted, and inaccessible for the hundreds of people who walk the beach each day. Portions of Big Marco Pass, Sand Dollar Island, Caxambas Pass and Keewaydin Island will be marked as off-limits to humans and become sanctuary to nesting and resting shore birds. These areas may move as the birds choose this year's nesting areas.

Four species of shore birds, the least tern, black skimmer, snowy plover and Wilson's plover nest on nearby sandy beaches. These species nest on the open sand and their well-camouflaged eggs are nearly invisible to the untrained human eye, and could be easily stepped by passers-by.

The "fencing" is mostly symbolic, but important for each of us to respect as we learn better ways to live with and sustain our environment. Learn more about Living with Shorebirds from the Florida Fish and Wildlife's Living with Wildlife series.


What do you make? Do Da Day by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Do Da Day
6x8, acrylic on canvas

With deepest apologies to Seth Godin, as an artist, what do you MAKE?

Do you make - people stop and look?
Do you make – people remember a fond memory, a sad memory, a joy?
Do you make – people believe in something, or in nothing?
Do you make – people wonder about how you did it, how it could be, what it represents?
Do you make - people think about the past or the future?
Do you make – people consider the special, uninhabited places of our earth?
Do you make - people wonder what their next meal will be, who will produce it?
Do you make - colors that glow, that reveal, that hide, that bring joy?
Do you make - paintings that encourage people to open their eyes?


Art Colony, Take a Bow daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Take a Bow
8x10, Acrylic on Canvas

The Last Wednesday Art Walk at the Esplanade was the place to be on Marco Island last night. People came from far and wide to join the Artist Colony artists in the Caribbean Theme event. The galleries were full, with entertainment, new paintings, refreshments, and the artists available for questions and conversation.

The artists offered a punch card, and Esplanade restaurants CJ's on the Bay and Tara's Steak and Lobster House joined in by offering special incentives to patrons who visited all three galleries. We seriously underestimated the response, and will have one for you next time.

If you were there, thanks for coming! I so much appreciate your support and attendance.
Next month the theme will be "Art in Bloom," Should be a pretty one, so put it on your calendar now Last Wednesday!
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