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


Otter Mound, Siren's Moon, and Early One Morning daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Early One Morning
Acrylic on Canvas, 5x7

Memorial Day is a somber holiday, marked by taking time to remember those who have given their lives in service to their country. Whether you attend a memorial publicly or give thought privately, we owe a great deal to the men and women who have fallen in our behalf. Our armed services are a great strength to our country. Fly your American Flag proudly this weekend to show them your support.

If you live on Marco Island and you're having guests this weekend, or you haven't been yourself, take a jaunt to Otter Mound. It's a delightful restoration by the Marco Island Historical Society, where you can learn a little about Marco's past, and see the shell walls built from the original Calusa ruins. Otter Mound. Otter Mound used to be a magnificent Calusa site but much of it was destroyed before it's value was understood. Still, it's a well done little gem, a lovely walk and learning opportunity, too.

The votes are in and counted, and Tracy Gudgel's Siren's Moon over Marco was a clear winner for the Artists at the Esplanade Moon Over Marco Art Walk. It was such a fun evening and our guests really enjoyed looking at all the various artistic styles and being able to vote for their favorite. Congratulations, Tracy! Save the last Wednesday of the month for our next event!
And have a wonderful weekend!


The Sun Chases the Moon from the Sky
acrylic on canvas, 30x30

The Artist Colony at the Esplanade had a wonderful turnout for our Art Walk and especially nice to see so many of our local friends and neighbors. Our guests really seemed to enjoy joining us for a glass of wine, grazing on yummies, listening to the music, and visiting the three galleries to chose their favorite painting. Votes will be counted today, and you can stop by and there will be a nice yellow ribbon to highlight the People's Choice for the month.

The Sun Chases the Moon from the Sky, my painting for the Art Walk theme of Moon Over Marco was finished late in the day, just in time to get it in place before our guests started arriving. I didn't have my usual amount of "looking time", and reviewing it in the photo, I may need to do a little adjusting before I'm ready to let it go. The area where the water and the grass meet is just a little too strong and draws the eye too much, and if the reflection line were a bit more varied it would provide more interest. These small adjustments will make have a big effect on the final painting.

Computer woes continue. I learn just enough to get by, and when things go wrong it's really troublesome. Some of the problems are my technical lack of knowledge, and others are the result of working with an old, overstretched computer. I apologize for any inconvenience, and I'm workin' on it!


Moon Over Marco

Jo-Ann Sanborn, Hunter's Moon
acrylic on canvas, 12"x12"

Why the moon?  It's the theme of the 4th Wednesday Art Walk to be held tomorrow, Wed. May 26th, from 5-8.  The name of this event last month was "Last Wednesday Art Walk", but so many people thought it was the last EVER, that the name was changed to the 4th Wednesday, and yes, we'll have them all summer! 

The theme this month is Moon Over Marco, and each artist will show a painting of the moon.  You'll get to vote for your favorite, have  a glass of wine, and enjoy wonderful art and art talk!    

Jo-Ann Sanborn, Moonlit Pines
acrylic on canvas, 11"x14"

I"m finishing up a new moon painting today for Moon Over Marco, and hoping to get your vote as favorite! 

All you have to do is show up.  Wander the galleries, hear some great musicians, maybe stay for dinner.  We'll have a good time.  Hope you're in town! 


Technology woes, Just before Sunrise daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Just before Sunrise
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

Oh, for the peace of the sunrise, above!  Ask me about acrylic painting, how to prime a canvas or ship a painting.  Ask me about the Florida Landscape, the Everglades, or Marco Island.  Ask me about arts and community.  I'm comfortable with these subjects.  But technology, no!

I've been very careful not to disturb my Blogger template much since those who try to personalize and change their blogs seem to have more difficulty than those like me who just let it be.  The offer offer to insert photos wherever you wanted on the blog was just too tempting.  If you included more than one photo on the old system, you had to load them backwards to get them to come out in the right place, so an offer to eliminate this difficulty sounded good.  I went for it.  I pushed one easy, tempting button on Blogger last week and wish I hadn't.  I want the old way back! 

UGH!  Some of you had the words and photos blended in ways I never intended. Please accept my apologies if this happened to you!  Everything is changed, and I can't seem to get a handle on how to fix it.  The font isn't the same, the tool bar is revised and preview has changed.  The cursor is jumping around unexpectedly and spell check is doing funny things.  

I have a website, a blog, a Facebook page, and I Twitter.  People seem to think I know something about the Internet, but the truth is that I skirt the tar-pit of technology with sticky feet, dangerously close to falling in.  Keeping up with technology is not easy for me and I struggle, learning just enough to get by rather than embracing the future. 

I purchased a mini-notebook this week, too, and a router.  Bear with me, it's going to be a tough few days. 


Dressed for Success, daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Dressed for Success
Acrylic on canvas, 5x7

Today's Everglades palms are all dressed in their summer finery. They remind me of a group of office workers going to lunch. They're all wearing the same uniform from the same stores, with only minor variations. It's expected of teenagers, who all want to fit in, they make me smile when I see a group of them looking so similar, all the while struggling to get out of the mold fate and family put them in and chose their own path. It's when adults act like sheep that we have to worry.

I've finished the commission I've been working on, and delivered it over the weekend. The painting will go into a niche in a wall. The client had ordered the painting frameless, not sure whether the painting would need one or not. They decided some sort of a frame was necessary, so I've ordered a "floater" frame which I think will be perfect. It will finish off the edge making the painting just a little more formal, but will not be so strong as to overwhelm the niche.

My next commission will be quite different. Its to be a songbird forest and meadow painting to be used inside the lid of an antique music box. Not my usual, but after all, what's life without a challenge!


Orchids, painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

acrylic on canvas, 30"x30"

I finally finished this painting, started for Art in Bloom last month at the Artist Colony. I'm pleased with the result, and love the 30"x30" format. It's large enough to make a nice painting, but small enough to move the acrylic paint across the surface without too much trouble.

The orchid basket used for this painting was in full bloom back in February, and the blooms are just now starting to fade. I have several orchids around the yard, and soak them once a month in water with some orchid fertilizer. Other than that they don't need much care.

Unlike some plants, which need to be coaxed along. Here's my tiny, expected to be beautiful, White Egret Flower plant, a gift from my sister last month. It sits near my sink in a west-facing window in the kitchen. It was started from half a peanut-sized bulb, and I've watered it faithfully since digging it up to make sure there was some action. The tiny sprout is starting to show signs of leafing out. Well, maybe it's too soon to actually be called leafing out. It's definitely alive, but what a slow grower!

I'm taking a chance here, since I'm not the greenest thumb around, but I'll keep you posted as this little guy grows. If I can keep the plant alive, sometime in August we should have beautiful flowers that look just like an Egret in flight!


Brushes, Water, Palms and Prairie daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Water, Prairie, & Palms
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

How do you get ready to paint each day? In the studio I get my fresh water, put a canvas up on the easel, and pick the brush I want to start working with. I’ll use a fairly large brush, an 8 or a 10, down to a smaller size for finishing details. I'll pick through my can of brushes, and stroke the bristles until I find the one that fees just right, and will use it for most of the painting.

Bright bristle brushes work best for me because they’ll hold up to the beating I give them. I scrub and scumble as I thinly layer the canvas with paint, and I need a brush that can hold up to that kind of treatment without losing its bristles. Plus bristles give a nice mark, crisp in a new brush, softer in an oldie.

I have a favorite brand, but try out others now and then. Some brushes can’t take the water I leave them in while painting, puffing up like the head of a mop. Others splay wildly after the first little scrub. Some hold the paint in near their ferrules beyond my ability to get them clean, leaving them stiff, with a bad hair look. The best ones will retain something of a sharp edge when I wash them out at the end of the day, and will last for a month or more.

Several of the supply houses were having sales, so I picked out a group of smaller sizes in some brands I haven’t tried to give them a test run. The new, virgin brushes are separated into a can of their own down the bottom of my art cart, and will only get moved up into use when I can’t find a suitable brush in the large can. I love having some newbies in reserve.
I know I should throw away the worst of the old brushes. But throwing away an old brush is like loosing an old friend. I know they've stiffened up and lost their bristles working for ME. In the interest of space and sense I’ll do it now and then with great reluctance, sure that I’ll find a need for a stiff, splayed, discolored, paint-spattered oldie as soon as I throw it out. I feel pretty much the same about my closet.


Waiting for Doomsday, daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Waiting for Doomsday
acrylic on canvas, 5"x7"

The Florida Department of Emergency Management has asked some of the local tourist agencies to send out a link to a survey that will help the State in assessing economic impact damages already being incurred in the State of Florida, such as hotel cancellations or changes in vacation plans or activities. The State and Collier County are doing what they can to assess impacts in order to get in line for compensation from BP or other sources. The survey doesn't yet involve Collier County, but here are my thoughts.

While everyone here is very concerned and extremely apprehensive, as an artist I have not personally had any negative economic impact other than the normal slow-down expected at this time of year.

However the subject of the spill is on the minds of visitors and resident's alike. The topic of what will happen to both our pristine beaches, our vital ecosystem, critical wildlife habitat, and the loss of resultant tourist income is of major concern to all of us. We're waiting and watching for the doomsday to come.

It's about more than just our income, but our way of life and that of the land we inhabit. How does one compensate for the sight of a skimmer out fishing for breakfast at sunrise or a pod of dolphin joyously teaching their young to fish?

Receiving compensation for loss at this point in time is not nearly as important as slowing the spill, solving the problem and preventing this from becoming catastrophic. The oil spill is a public/private problem that needs leadership on all levels. A more positive move would be to see both Florida and Federal Emergency Management take a more active role supporting and prevention rather than worrying about the economic impact to come. Florida is showing engagement, while news and information about the spill is lacking on FEMA's home page.

Here's a link to beach conditions here in Collier County. Perfect! The spill is far away. Let's hope a solution is found before the wind changes.


Looking Time, Morning in Spring daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Morning in Spring
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

When I think a painting is complete, I often leave it against the wall in the studio for a while. I'll look at it when I pass by, and see it in a different way than when it's still on the easel. Sometimes some part of the painting might need a little correction, a change in value or in line. Occasionally the looking time will mean major changes to ensure a quality piece. I'll groan and get to work.

With daily paintings, some days there's no time for that important "looking time." If you look just behind the tree at the dark green in today's Everglades painting, you'll see that the value is a little too dark and the edge a little to hard for the rest of the painting.

It's important to do the very best I can with each painting. I know it's important to you, too, so once I see something to improve a painting, I'll get to work on it's correction. Groan!


Bull Frogs and Fire Ants, Sun's Up daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Sun's Up
acrylic on canvas, 6"x6"

Artist Mary Sheehan Winn and I visited the Everglades last week to do a little painting and to take a little tour. In addition to her paint supplies, Mary never goes anywhere without a good supply of food and drink, so she's a great companion on an Everglades adventure.

Mother Nature was very cooperative. We had just started out when we were treated to the spectacular view of a bald eagle hunting. We pulled over and watched as the impressive bird swooped from the sky and scooped up a nice large fish, carried it off to some nearby shallow water and proceed to have his breakfast.

The Marsh Trail was our next stop, where we climbed the observation tower to catch a breeze. We could see several wading birds were fishing, and also heard a little bellowing and were not sure if it was a bull frog or an alligator since this is the time of year they're both quite noisy. Most likely the frog!

Jane's Scenic Drive also provided some wonderful sights and sounds, the most spectacular

being the gorgeous, abstract, complimentary-colored reflections in the gently moving water along the path. The sight was so beautiful and so absorbing that I forgot to look where I was stepping, and in the Everglades you do have to be careful!

Sure enough, a moment's inattention the fire ants were on me! It was ugly, but it's happened so many times that I knew instantly what it was and had them off me in seconds. Still, I'll carry the scars of a couple of bites for months. Ouch!

Maybe we didn't get too much painting done, but still, it was a perfect day in the Glades. Thanks for coming along, Mary.


Camera's, Photos, and Art in Bloom

Party Time
acrylic on canvas, 11"x14"

This little painting is not quite as two-toned as it looks here, but I couldn't seem to get a better photo. This sometimes happen when there are a lot of layers of color on the canvas. I tried several times in different lighting, and not being an expert photographer, couldn't seem to do better under any of the settings available on my old, dear camera.

The camera can't seem to decide which of the little dots of light are correct, and so unifies them rather than keeping them separate. I'm sure I'll hear from some camera experts on what to try, but am already of the option that a new camera is the only solution. Cameras have changed a lot since I purchased mine, and although it has five point two pixels per inch it's not enough. I could use a little more zoom, too!

No problem with this photo, which clearly shows paintings with the beautiful floral arrangement created and provided by China Rose Florist on Marco Island. They used a variety of real and artificial greens, and created a gorgeous Everglades landscape. I especially love the way the designer used bamboo sticks to provide a trunk for the very real palm fronds. Art in Bloom was a fun event, I was delighted to have my paintings chosen to feature, and want to thank China Rose for adding to the pleasure of the evening. Look for more collaborations between the Artist Colony at the Esplanade and the businesses of Marco Island, and think of China Rose when you need a nice floral.


Waugh, Kearns, and some other seascape artists

One of the artists that I admire is Frederick Waugh. I saw one of his large seascapes in a gallery in Stonington, Ct. years ago and was positively awed by it's beauty. One of the blog artists that I follow regularly is Stapleton Kearns, who writes a blog about all things arty with joy and wit and humor.

The two came together recently in a series of posts by Stapleton to educate his followers on the painting of seascapes, starting with the anatomy of a wave. It's a wonderful, classic series, worth reading if you want to paint seascapes, improve your seascapes, think you might someday live by the sea, or just want to enjoy a great learning experience. The series starts here with a gorgeous Waugh and can be followed by clicking "newer posts" at the end.

I grew up in Gloucester, MA, spent many hours playing on the rocks by the sea as a child and many more in contemplation as a moody teenager. Stapleton Kearns took and posted the photo I worked from for today's daily painting, and I offer it here with deepest apologies to both Stapleton and Waugh. The light, the drama, the form, the movement and the depth will take more than one daily painting to achieve!

Even though the Everglades are my primary subject an artist should never stop learning. I've purchased books on painting seascapes by John Robinson and Roger Curtis as suggested by Stapleton. And yes, I'll read them right after Edgar Payne's Composition of Outdoor Painting that's on my bedside table right now.
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