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


Walk on a Prairie, painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Walk on a Prairie, Jo-Ann Sanborn
Acrylic on Canvas, "12x16"

It's generally accepted that an uneven number of the same object in a painting makes for a more interesting composition. This is almost always true, but it's fun and challenging to break the rules. Nobody gets hurt, and if it doesn't work out you can always add in another of your somethings.

In this case I had five palms trees on the prairie in the above painting not counting the ones against the further growth. Even thought they were spaced at varying intervals, and different sized, the composition of the painting looked too contrived and was not working. There's a nice light and the colors are soft and pleasing, but it wasn't until I took out one of the palms that the painting seemed to come together.

This painting is of a freshwater marl prairie. It only takes a few inches of soil above the water for a single palm or cypress to take root and grow.


Invasion, painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Invasion, Jo-Ann Sanborn
Acrylic on Canvas, 24"x48"

The Australian Pines, or casuarina, are not pine trees at all. Their airy branches form interesting shapes against the morning sky, and their graceful limbs sway gently in a light breeze.
They are not native to Florida. Once widely planted as a hedge against erosion, they are now maligned and outlawed because of their adapibility and invasive habits, taking over where native plants should flourish. The Plant Conservation Alliance calls this plant an alien invader!

In this painting I've tried to show their beauty, but given them threatening feeling as well as they loom over the native species along the shore.


Seeking Cezanne with Artist Tara O'Neill
Palette Party Paint Along on November 1

The artists at Rightside Studios are planning something special. Palette Parties! Our studio will be set up for a paint-along, and you'll come along with your favorite beverage or wine.

Mostly Monet with artist Jo-Ann Sanborn
Palette Party Paint Along on November 15th

We'll furnish brushes, canvas, palettes and easels, music, muchies and FUN. All at a table ready for you to get creative. Wear your old clothes and bring your friends, family, spouses or lovers. You'll go home with a finished painting ready to frame done in your style and with our direction and help.
A La Van Gogh with artist Betty Newman
Paint Along Party November 29

Cost is $45 to participate. You can contact me, Tara or Betty if you'd like to participate. Call to reserve your place not before it's too late. It's so much fun you'll want to come back!


Everglades Trivia, No Man's Land painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

No Man's Land, by Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 20"x24"

I think of the Everglades as a special place, a place people really should have left alone. It's designed by nature or God to be a "no man's land" since it's populated by all sorts of things to deter us from living there. Prickly, sharp and bitey things. Still, because of the climate we've persisted, and now the future of the land is in danger.

Here are some fun facts about the Everglades, courtesy of the Everglades Foundation, an organization that works hard to protect the Everglades.
  • The Everglades are the largest wetland located in the lower 48 states in the U.S.A.
  • While it is often described as a swamp or forested wetland, the Everglades is actually a very slow-moving river.
  • Once spread out over 8 million acres, the Everglades ecosystem reaches from the Kissimmee River to Lake Okeechobee where waters from the lake slowly moved south toward Florida Bay completing the Everglades ecosystem.
  • Native Americans living in and around the river called it Pahayokee (pah-HIGH-oh-geh), the "grassy waters."
  • Birds were so plentiful in the Everglades that it was said they “darkened the sky” when they took flight
  • America’s Everglades are home to 67 threatened or endangered species.
  • Just months after Florida became a state in 1845, the legislature took the first steps that would lead to draining the Everglades
  • Periphyton, the mossy golden-brown substance that is found floating in bodies of water throughout the Everglades, is the dominant life form in the River of Grass ecosystem.
  • The Everglades is the only place in the world where the American Alligator and the American Crocodile co-exist in the wild.
  • Mosquitoes play a vitally important link in the Everglades food chain. The larvae of grown mosquitoes provide food for a variety of native fish that are critical to the diet of wading birds.
  • The Everglades is a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve.
  • The ubiquitous grassy plants known as sawgrass (a sedge), feature serrated, razor-edged blades of grass that are so sharp, they have been known to cut through clothing.

But hey, if you've been reading this blog very long, or getting my newsletter, you knew all this stuff, didn't you!


Warm Sun, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

It's coming up on the time when the warm sun will welcoming, and instead of standing under palm trees looking for a breeze when we stop to chat we'll be willingly standing in the warm sun. I think staying out of the sun has come just a little too far, and that we'd all be happier and healthier with just a half hour of warm sun a week!

The Artist Colony at the Esplanade recently sent out a letter to about 25 groups/clubs and fraternal organizations on Marco Island. We've invited them to arrange a special group visit to the Artist Colony. We'll do it for you, too!

Depending on the interests and needs of a group, we can develop a unique visit just for your organization. This might include a tour of the three studios let by one of our artists, a demonstration by an artists, a behind the scenes tour, a presentation regarding various art topics with a question/answer session and/or refreshments. We are also ope to making arrangements to donate a percentage of sales made during these group tours to your organization or the charity of your choice.

The visit could be during our regular hours from Wednesday through Saturday, or a private tour when the studios are not open to the public. Since we have several outstanding restaurants at the Esplanade, a special visit to the Art Colony combined with lunch or dinner at a restaurant might be another option for a group visit.

If you would like to arrange to bring at least 25 people for a special visit, let us know and we'll have fun tailoring a tour just for you!

Here's Naples designer Libby Marks of Interior Decorating International, winner of a door prize of one of my paintings at just such a meeting. The International Design Society, Naples Chapter held a very successful meeting at the Esplanade and the members had a great time meeting the artists and seeing our work.


Trill in the Woods painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Trill in the Woods, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic mixed media on board

When I received this commission for Trill in the Woods, I had a board cut to specifically fit in the cover of the antique music box it was intended for, gave it three coats of acrylic gesso, and used a fine sandpaper after each coat, and also coated the back to prevent warping.

The client had some very specific requirements, in fact three pages of them. He wanted a rocky hill to the right, a reverse "s" curve path, a small pond, the feeling of coming out of the woods, late summer flowers with a stand of sunflowers in the background, at a least a dozen birds, (I managed 10) cat tails in the pond and maybe a frog or two. He named the painting, too.

Since I rarely do this kind of painting, I began with my sketchbook, which I filled with birds and frogs and flowers, until I was comfortable with them. The original drawing on board was done with acrylic inks. I used my I usual methods, building the scene by carving in the lights and darks, and gradually bringing up the light. In this case it meant that the drawing came and went as well. In some cases I let it disappear, and in others re-drew to keep detail. The final stages were with a very small brush.

The requirements of this commission caused me much angst, but worth it when the client saw the painting and told me that I had "given him back a piece of his childhood." Phew.


Naples Bay Resort, Squash, daily painting by Everglades painter Jo-Ann Sanborn

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

Since the summer has been quiet on Marco Island, and the number of September visitors down, I have an adequate supply of small paintings right now. I still paint every day, but have been working hard on getting a nice supply of new larger painting ready for season. But this little squash was just hanging around the studio begging to be painted as a daily.

After a breakfast meeting with my studio partners, I'll be taking two paintings to a window in Naples Bay Resort, where my friends the Kinkeads are using the windows in unrented retail space to showcase art. They've build some easels for uniformity, and each one will hold up to three paintings depending on size. An artist can buy one, two, or three. I'm only taking one, and hope it will draw people from Naples to my studio on the Esplanade on Marco Island.

It will be a nice change of view from empty storefronts to original art, and the Naples Bay Resort will have a number of events throughout the year. In addition to the Hotel, Olio Restaurant and Bonefish Grill are in that complex, so if you have the opportunity visit for lunch and dinner and a window-shopping the art show!


Why the Glades? Waterway painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Waterway, 2010, J Sanborn
acrylic on Canvas 24"X24"

When life changes dictated a move to Florida, I wasn't sure how I'd adapt. Everthing was different from my New England hometown. Soon after arriving and on a drive to get oriented, I fell in love the Everglades landscape. It's been almost 18 years now and I'm still excited to pick up my paintbrush each day and see what the landscape will reveal.

The Everglades are defined as the land south of Orlando in the middle of the peninsular of Florida. Water from Lake Okeechobee, summer rains and hurricanes form a shallow river that moves very slowly across the landscape to the estuaries and mangrove fringes on the southern coasts.

The land is filled with bold shapes and forms. Palms thrust upward when their roots can get a footing just a few inches about the prairies. Knife sharp sawgrasses form islands of foliage that sway together in light breezes. Deciduous bald cypress trees are ghostly in the winter's evening light and delightfully playful in spring greens. And the water is everywhere, sometimes only an inch or two, and other times remaining in deep life-sustaining sloughs during dry spells.

In the summer wet season the skies are filled with gorgeous billowing clouds as storms build throughout the day. Torrential rains drench the parched landscape by late afternoon. Sometimes the humidity is so think the air practically shimmers with it, and the sunrises and sunsets are almost always spectacular.

In the winter dry season, the grasses dry to lovely soft lavenders as summer's abundant foliage dehydrates and the landscape dries. The skies are every blue in your paint box and fill with puffy afternoon clouds and the light dances in each breeze and is thick and rich and yellow.

The light is magical as it plays among the brash forms and varying colors of this exotic landscape. When you look closer even the small things amaze and delight. If you're quiet and looking for it, there's also the spiritual peace sometimes found in uninhabited places. Places that should be revered rather than destroyed.

As a painter the Everglades landscape provides me with endless inspiration. As a human, I'm concerned about the many threats to this ancient land. It's my hope that my paintings will help you to see it through different eyes, and want to preserve and protect it, too.


What do you know? Corner of the Glades painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Corner of the Glades
Acrylic on Canvas, 24"x36"

What do you really know about the Everglades? They are mysterious and sometimes difficult to enjoy, with a variety of biting insects, the thorny, prickly undergrowth, shallow waterways everywhere you turn and the potential for SNAKES! Yes, at least 26 varieties!

But the Everglades have a special place in our world. We've abused this planet resource and the Everglades need to be saved and restored as a valuable and contributing part of our world.

The Everglades Foundation, an organization that wants to inspire restoration, has a great quiz to help you find out what you know about the Everglades and to fill in information gaps. You can take the Everglades quiz here. Let me know how you did and what surprised you!


Iberia, Bras of LIfe, Party Time Everlgades paiinting by artist JoAnn Sanborn

Party Time, Jo-Ann Sanborn
Acrylic on Canvas, 16"x20"

What a nice party Keith and Barbara Dameron gave at Iberia Bank of Marco Island to introduce the public to "The Art of Banking." Keith removed the bank's artwork and replaced it with the work of nine local artists. Having worked with Keith on a number of art projects in the past, I was delighted to be included. Keith asked for our best work, and had the show hung by Nancy Garrison and Darlene Schultze of One Day Interiors.

In addition to the paintings on the wall Keith asked each artist to bring another painting to be placed around the room. The Bank looked fabulous, the food and music was terrific, and the guests were interested in the art and artists.

There were several sales as well. My painting, Lazy River, found a home with a couple who had been looking at it since I started it in the studio. Thanks, friends! Stop into Iberia Bank and take a look. Staff there is friendly and will welcome your visit.

I was sorry to miss the the Bras of Life auction at the Art League of Marco Island last night. My husband and I saw the show earlier in the day. What creativity! The bras were fabulous, with a lot of work in each clever piece. There may be a slide show of them up on the Art League's site soon. In addition, the new director was introduced. Can 't wait to meet her.

Changes in the Colony, and I love a Parade painting by Everglades Artist JoAnn Sanborn

I Love a Parade, JoAnn Sanborn
Acrylic on Canvas, 20"x40"

The Artist Colony at the Esplanade, of which I am delighted to be part, is housed in donated, vacant retail space. While all of the artists know it can happen, the reality of a paying tenant claiming their space came as a shock!

What a parade as the artists of Waterfront Gallery carried their art works and the contents of their gallery across the Esplanade to their new home. Luckily they were offered another donated space, and while they're sorry to lose their nice bright gallery on the waterfront, they'll enjoy being more visible to the Esplanade's many visitors in their new space.

In addition to the move, sculptor Bob Frettoloso, painters Carolyn MacAndrew, Bill Moseley, Pat Perrotti and mixed media artist Tracy Gudgel will be leaving the Colony. They cite a variety of reason for their decision, and are all grateful for their Colony experience. The eleven remaining artists wish them well on their continued artistic journey.

Waterfront regulars Tony Dallman-Jones, Maggie DeMarco, Claire Keery and Phyllis Pransky are working hard to make the new space ready. The gallery will be closed during renovations, but will reopen in a couple of weeks.

Because the new space is smaller, Waterfront, which started out as a group gallery, has decided that each of the remaining artist would welcome a little more space, so there will be no openings for additional artists at this time. Welcome to the Courtyard!


Marooned, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 5"x7"

Many artists have found the Everglades a wonderful place to paint an occasional painting, but few have made it their muse and their mission. Artist Sam Vinikoff, who painted the Everglades for many of his 91 was a dedicated Everglades artist. He passed on Saturday.

Sam did much of his work on site, coming out to paint even in advanced years and failing health. I considered Sam a competitor even though we've never met. I've often wondered if we'd cross paths out on some side road In the Fakahatchee or along the Loop Road. I'd planned to stop and say "hello" if it ever happened, and to tell him how much I enjoyed his work.

Sam's work can be seen all over Florida. You can take note of it when you visit the Big Cypress
Visitor Center. Rest in Peace, Sam.


Art Class, Light Descending painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Light Descending, 2010, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 30x30"

Everglades painting Light Descending, along with a painting by artist Inez Hudson, tied for the People's Choice award at the Artist Colony at the Esplanade Art Walk this month. The vote was close, with the ever-popular art of Tracy Gudgel in second place.

There was a nice turnout, much better than expected for a slow September. We're fortunate to have some great music, and the musicians had a great time jamming favorite songs towards the end of the evening.

You can put the October 27th Art Walk on your calendar right now if you want to be part of these Last Wednesday Art Walks on the Esplanade. Come along and pick YOUR favorite painting.

I'll be teaching Acrylics Short and Sweet starting Tuesdays, October 26 for four weeks. It seems that people don't have the time or the funds for a longer workshop in these difficult times, and the short, two-hour classes have become quite popular.

We'll work on all the basics of a good painting in the two hours, with a short lecture and demo, and ending with taking a look at what we've accomplished. There's a Color Confidence and a Florida Landscape class coming up as well.

We have a lot of fun, and you'll go away with some bits of knowledge that you may have forgotten since art school or never really absorbed. Handouts, too. Several of my students have been repeating my classes for years, telling me that they're still learning something new. So am I -- that's the pleasure of teaching.

Sign up today at the Art League of Marco Island, 239-642-6367. I'll look forward to seeing you!
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