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


Bright Sunlight, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 6"x6"

If you are in the business of being an artist today, you know that traditional methods of selling art are changing, and you may be investigating some new ways to reach your customers and clients, to keep in touch, to sustain relationships, and to let them know you're still in business.

For years I wrote a "Collector Letter" each year in the fall to share the successes and achievements of the past year with those who have a stake it in all by purchasing my work. When I was doing a large number of outdoor shows, I'd add my schedule so that they could stop by visit when they were in South Florida

Now I'm trying to do more, with a Blog, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account, and try to use each of them at least a little each week. I'm on Linkedin, too, but haven't developed that media as well as I should yet. Today I'll travel to Naples for a workshop on using social media, put on by Constant Contact, the company I use for email purposes. They've been terrific, and hope to learn more about how to use email marketing to let customers know where to see and purchase my work.

Painters need to paint wonderful paintings first. But if you want others to know about your work, keep up with the times and learn what's working. Otherwise, we'll be left behind.


Working Large, Out of my Element daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Out of my Element, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

Yesterday in the studio one of the other artists commented that my work seemed to be getting larger. I've always worked larger in the summer, when the number of visitors and interruptions was less. In my small home studio the only time I could fit a large canvas in was when I wasn't dragging paintings in and out every weekend for the outdoor shows. Now in a larger studio/ gallery as part of the Artist Colony at the Esplanade, I have a little more space, but with the number of visitors down the summer is still a great time for making larger pieces.

I've had one such piece for over a year, and need to get back to it. I've brought it out recently, and it has received some nice comments. What's holding me back?

My inspiration for the piece is still strong. It's a nice Everglades piece. I look at it every day, and think about the under-developed palms and the fact that it just needs to show a little more distance. Still, when I pick up my brush I work on something else.

There, I've told you about it. Now I'm going to have to get busy. Ask me about it when you visit, and I'll show you my progress.


Summer Magic, Stormy, painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Stormy, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 16x20

After years of painting out a couple of times a week, last winter's cold and this summer's heat, and now the rain, have curtailed my twice a week visits to the Everglades. I'm starting more paintings in the studio. That's not necessarily a bad think. I know the Everglades well enough to do them justice, and my work is improving as I concentrate on the content.

Still, I love the dramatic summer light of South Florida. The light is fantastic almost every day, with rich golds and greens everywhere. The increased rain is life giving for both the plants and the animals.

Early in the day the clouds begin to billow upwards, culminating in fierce storms later in the day. Around the storms spots of sun and shadow create unforgettable drama. I miss going out to paint, and I will while I can, because despite the joys of studio work, outside is where the magic is.

See you Wed., 5-8 at the Last Wednesday Art Walk at the Artist Colony on Marco Island.


Music Box painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Once in a while I like to show you a work in progress. This is a commission, and the painting that will eventually rest in the cover of an antique music box. The theme/name is to be "Trill in the Woods," and my client has some very specific requirements!

This painting will be a childhood memory of a favorite place. There's a wooded hill off to the right and a reverse curve into the distance. Birds, songbirds, all singing--as many as a dozen. There must be a field of sunflowers in the distance, and a pond with some rushes, lily pads and a frog. Late summer wildflowers, and a blackberry patch, with rich, ripe berries. All this and more on a 11"x12" panel.

First, I got out my sketch book and drew birds for a couple of weeks. Singing birds. I sketched the composition in again and again until I was satisfied that each requested item would have a place but the painting as a whole would work. I ordered some acrylic inks. Then I laid in the basics with pen and ink, which will allow me to have control of the details while still using my paint and brush to get the feel of the landscape.

I want the colors to be rich and dark, with glazes to give it depth. I want the far meadow to be in sunlight, to help you move back into the painting. I want a strong feeling of what's in sunlight and what's in shadow. I want each bird to show up against it's background, unlike nature! I want the detail to define each object while not overtaking the idea that this is a painting, not a drawing.

Acrylics allow me to "build" this painting. I can work on the parts again and again until I'm satisfied. I'm at the mid-point now, with some satisfaction with the basics but a lot of work to be done to say "finished!" The birds still have no identity or character, with others waiting to be developed. The pond accessories need to be defined. The rocks and trees need another layer of care, and the light isn't quite right yet.

I'll post an update when I'm closer.


Payment Plans and Shipping, Showtime daily painting by Everglades painter JoAnn Sanborn

Showtime, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

These palms look like they're ready to show off, getting ready to take the stage in the view. The light was warm and highlighting their trunks, and I exploited the color, just a little.

I'm shipping a painting today. One of the advantages of living on Marco Island is that we have lots of visitors. They come from all over the country, and all over the world, to enjoy our beautiful, sugar sand (oil-free) beaches and temperate climate.

This time of year it's downright hot, but probably not as hot as it gets in some places further north. We always have a lovely breeze, and if you don't have to work out in the sun it can be quite enjoyable to sit under a tree or on a lanai and enjoy a gorgeous sunset.

My collector used a payment plan to purchase this painting. In these economic times or whenever a situation dictates, I'm happy to work out a payment plan custom suited to your situation. As long as your budget will allow it, not having the money up front should ever keep you from getting a painting you love! After several months of payments, this particular painting will be going to Texas. I'm delighted to ship it, free, and while I don't usually crate the paintings they always arrive safely.

So if you're thinking of owning a Sanborn painting, just let me know. I ship on Mondays, and if you are in the continental US, you can have your painting by Friday!


Almost a year, 2nd of September, painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

2nd of September, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 36"x48

This is a painting I though I finished a year ago. I often do paintings of elongated palms in the late summer. There's something about the misguided hurricane cut, the wind, their strength against the landscape and the threat of storms that makes them seem larger than life to me this time of year. These paintings are often more about vertical and horizontal planes than my other paintings, and often come easily, inpired by a clump of palms against the sky.

But something was wrong with this painting. I applied my "critique" criteria to it, and couldn't quite tell what the problem was. It hung around the studio. behind the door, at the bottom of the stack, and I never promoted it's sale--I just couldn't in good faith.

I liked the upright palm design--I always seem to like that--and the clouds, but as hard as it was I finally figured out that I had to lower the horizon. Had to lighten it's value, too, to get it to sit back where it belonged. And I had to add some design to the clouds, too, so that they had the movement of a breezy day and were more alive and lifelike.

For two days I worked hard. It's a large painting, and I struggled to use enough paint to move it across the surface, and find in painting larger, the intuitiveness harder, too, because the eye can't take it all in at once. I left the palms, and worked around them, building, covering, recovering.

When I came into the studio on the third day and got ready to set to work, I found that the painting had somehow miraculously come together, and was done. There's a nice breezyness and a soft pink in the clouds. The horizon sits back where it belongs, much lower and lighter in value, and the trees are vertical but don't overwhelm the rest.

It's a much better painting than it was. Even though it took almost a year to figure it out, it was worth it.


Children, apologies, and Playmates, painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Playmates, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 40"x48"

Don't these palms look like they are having such a good time together? They have probably know each other since birth, and by now they've probably been through a lot together.

They remind me of my old neighborhood on "the point." As a child kids of all ages would get together outside and play all summer long. In my neighborhood, the older kids would look out for the younger, and in every game there's be a place for everyone, with teams picked to make it "fair." The best two players were never on the same team, same for the youngest two.

This group of palms brings back fond memories of that time. Playing in a neighborhood group without the benefit of overseeing grownups teaches you a lot. If you want to have any fun, you have to learn to get along. You're not always the best-loved daughter, (I was only best-loved daughter until my little sister came along anyway) so you'd better work on skills for getting along with others.

You learn that nobody likes a sissy, or a cry-baby. You learn quickly that you'd better hold on really tight to the spin-around or you'd fall off, that you were a "chicken" if you didn't go up the top of the slide, and that if you put your fingers under the see-saw you'd end up going home crying.

You also learn that if you make a mistake, you'd better learn to apologize. I"m still working on some of those skills, and oh, that's hard! I had to apologize a couple of times this month. I hope my apologies were accepted, because after careful consideration, they came from the heart.

Playmates is a painting that's been rolled up for a while, and just stretched back out and finished. It makes me happy, how about you?
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