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


Morning Cohorts, daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Morning Cohorts
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

A friend knocked on my door early yesterday morning and urged me to grab a coffee and come out to see the morning light. She knew I'd be up early, trying to get all my computer duties finished before the light came up in my studio and I could paint.

There was a lovely, bright band of sunlight just below morning clouds. As we walked and chatted the clouds turned lovely shades of pink and lavender and grey and the rising sun's light changed the sky from dawn to morning.

It didn't take long for the incredible magic of gorgeous morning light to pass. Not enough time to get out my brushes, although it may show up in a painting, soon. Glad I didn't miss it!


Working through, End of Summer painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

End of Summer, Jo-Ann Sanborn
20x24, acrylic on canvas

Just a couple of weeks ago this Everglades painting was not working for me. I spoke about it's problems here. A few hours in the studio and the whole came together in a much better painting.

The first thing I did in my correction attack was to glaze the whole painting with a transparent Yellow Azo. The colors took on a unity they had been lacking. The yellow neutralized, or toned down the purples, exaggerated the greens and softened the sky, giving the painting a nice glow. A this point I felt there was some hope for this painting.

Without letting that dry thoroughly I painted out some of the brush clumps and merged others, giving a much better flow to the greenery, put more distance between the water and the background which helped the scale of the palms, and added the cloud reflections to the right places in the water. My final step was to soften the more distant brush line to keep it in feeling with the rest of the painting.

The changes are not huge, but make a big difference in the final product. Wolf Kahn, one of my favorite art teachers, paraphrasing, says that a painting should always show the struggle of the painter on the canvas. I find that working through problems gives a painting depth of character it doesn't have when all comes more easily.


Taking Risks, On the Edge daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

On the Edge, © 2010 Jo Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

Some days life seems all about putting yourself at risk. We do this in our relationships when we reveal just a little more of ourselves than we're comfortable having someone see. We do this when we overeat unhealthy food, become exposed to toxic chemicals when we're working in the yard, or take a chance in the stock market.

As a painter, I have to take some risk every day in order to keep my work fresh, exciting, and new. I experiment with color, form, shape, learn from others and from self study, and hope that it pays off and I'll grow as an artist.

Sometimes risk is sticking your neck out. Founding and developing Marco Island's Artist Colony at the Esplanade was that kind of risk for me, yet it's paid off for the artists of Marco and for the City.

We're in the process of negotiating another year in our studio spaces. Please wish us well!


Darren Clack, Concrete artist,

If you've visited my studio in the Artist Gallery at the Esplanade, you know I share space with three other artists. One of them is concrete artist Darren Clack. Darren works with concrete, glass, and a variety of other materials to make some great stuff.

On a recent visit, a couple of kids made some designs of their own when Darren wasn't there. They wanted to leave them, for him to see. Simon, 11, made a colorful pin-wheel design.

Nate, 9, chose realism, and did a bunch of grapes

Image their delight and surprise when Darren found them fishing off the new Goodland Park boat ramp and presented them with two beautiful tiles, polished to glowing and a delightful souvenir of their visit.

Fish for dinner and a beautiful tile. They were delighted.
Darren uses concrete in a variety of ways including benches, jewelry, bookends and vases. con in and check it out when you're on Marco. He'll soon be teaching a workshop class at the Art League of Marco, and you can make your own.


Any serious painter knows that not every painting is successful, and here is a perfect example of a painting gone bad. Careful analysis will tell me whether or not it can be saved or must be scrapped.

I can usually tell in the first half hour whether or not my composition will work. Once I'm moving ahead, I choose a color harmony that I'll use throughout the painting. This system works well in most cases, and after a while I'm feeling pretty good about the painting.

But once in a while I'm almost finished before I realize that a painting is just not good. It's an unpleasant surprise. How did I get this far along without realizing I was off track? Why didn't I see these problem on one of my stand-backs?

There are some nice reflections in the water but they don't correspond with what's in the sky. The water shape and the land shape are almost exactly the same size-boring! Instead of adding excitement, the eye follows the diagonal right out of the painting. The small bushes look like m&m's and the scale of the palms is wrong for the sawgrass. UGH.

Sometimes working through problems leads to artistic growth, other times the painting becomes so overworked that getting rid of it (yes, trash) is the better part of valor. This one's just not my best work, and I'm going to have to make some serious changes. Off to the studio!


Everglades restoration, Pink Sky daily painting by Jo-Ann Sanborn

Pink Sky, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

The magical, mystical Everglades have offered me unlimited inspiration. The light is so special here, and consistently putting on a show and I love the bold forms against the sky. I'm never at a loss for what to paint--I only have to take a ride and within twenty miles can be in this vast wilderness.

In addition to loving what I paint, I hope in some small way to bring attention to this threatened landscape and ecosystem. It's been brutalized to near extinction several times, with vast bird kill-offs at the turn of the nineteenth century followed by extreme logging. Now chemical wastes are taking a toll.

Earlier this year the Miccosukee Indians and the Friends of the Everglades filed a lawsuit in their efforts to battle for clean-up relief. The result is that the EPA has told the State that clean water standards are not being achieved, and that there would need to be a significant increase in the marsh treatment areas that are used to reduce phosphate levels before the runoff water water is released into the Everglades. Florida is charged with amending permits, and if the State doesn't act, they can be held in contempt of court.

Another court hearing will be held in October. Let's hope the Everglades have a chance.


Do You Think We're Related? Painting by Everglades painter Jo-Ann Sanborn

Do You Think We're Related? Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 20"x24"

I've just finished this Everglades painting in preparation for an exhibition titled "DNA" to be held by the National Association of Women Artists at Fairleigh Dickinson University later this year.

I had in mind a chance social discussion where my husband and another man got talking about their Italian ancestors. Seems like their ancestors had both come from the same small hill town in Italy, and their great-grandmothers both had the same last name. Do you think they're related?

NAWA is one of the few professional artist organizations I belong to, and have found it most rewarding. I'm a member of the Florida NAWA, too.

Because the unique nature of the landscape I portray makes my work of mostly regional interest, I wanted a broader audience/judgement for my work. When I felt I was ready I applied and was accepted into this distinguished group.

You can join as an associate or a junior member at any time, but to be a full artist member you need to be juried in. Download the application here. Deadline for application is September 15. Perhaps it's too late for this year, but will be another opportunity March 15, 2011.


Art Marketing, Almost Home daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Almost Home
acrylic on canvas, 5"x7

Two days ago we had the most glorious sunset, and it prompted fond memories of sailing years ago. I loved the quiet time, once the boat has come to anchor at the end of the day, when you're out of the wind, slightly sunburned and tired, and happy to be at rest. Yes, it was cocktail time, too!

I've learned so much about art marketing from Alyson Stanfield's book I'd rather be in the Studio that I've become an affiliate and want to tell you about it. This means that I'll get a small return if you decided to buy the book or take a class by clicking on one of the links in this post or in the sidebar.

The information you'll get from Alyson is timely, relevant, and always spot-on! If you are interested in building a better relationship with the people who collect your art, her class
Cultivating your Collectors is coming up in early October.

Her newsletter is helpful, her tweets are relevant, and her art marketing knowledge is unparalleled. I've become a fan, and hope you do, too. In this dismal economy we painters need all the help we can get. Thanks, Alyson!


Muck About, Beach with Sun daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Beach with Sun
acrylic on canvas, 6"x6"

Have you actually been into the swamp? The Everglades ecosystem that's so important to me as a painter will surprise and delight you as well.

If you're out and about with nothing to do today, remember that this is the weekend of the Clyde Butcher Muck About. Clyde and Nicki Butcher open their property to the public in an effort to introduce more people to the wonders of the Everglades, and it's quite an event.

It's a fun and fabulous opportunity to get into the Swamp, get your feet wet and find out what it's all about. Do call ahead, though, since the event has become so popular that reservations are necessary.

Otherwise, have a wonderful Labor Day.


Three's Company, Sable Palm painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Three's Company, JoAnn Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 30x30

These lovely Everglades Sable palms are quite tolerent, but usually grow a bit further away from the water. Herethey wanted to be right up front.

I had very different ideas about how this painting was going to go when I started out, but it seemed to have a mind of its own. After beating them back for a while I decided to let them have their way, and in the end was pleased with the way the painting worked out.

We want things our way and will work hard, or even fight to get it. Sometimes, however, if we just ease up a little and go with the flow things work out just fine. I've ordered a nice frame for it that should be in by the end of the week. Come take a look!
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