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


Negative Spaces

Orchids, Jo-Ann Sanborn
Acrylic on Canvas, 36"x24"

Generally I try to avoid negative people, preferring the upbeat attitude of the positive around me.  But negative space in painting is a whole different thing. I welcome it, and find it's something every painter should consider when composing a painting.  

Positive space is generally the objects we are painting, in this case the orchids.  Negative space is the space between the objects.  Negative space can greatly affect the composition of the painting.

In the painting above it was the negative spaces that drew me to the subject.  I loved the way the blooms rose high above the leaves.  The negative spaces between the thin flower stalks and their supports and the thick, powerful leaves below jutting into the negative spaces around the basket could provide interest and variation.

I'm not sure this painting is done, and the photo above crops it a little too closely, however, here are some things to think about regarding negative space:
  1. Negative space should always be considered in the composition of a painting
  2. Negative spaces can contribute to shaping a positive object in the space.
  3. Negative spaces can help you define space and distance in landscape.
  4. Negative spaces should vary in size or shape within a painting.  (Exception is the stylized face becomes vase type of use)
  5. Negative spaces can be used to help define hard and soft edges in a painting.


Everglades Safari,

Banana Wind, Jo-Ann Sanborn 1995
acrylic on canvas, 20"x30"

You will NOT find me at the Naples National Art Show this weekend, as you have for the past six years.  This year I've decided to do something different, and will participate in the Friends of the Fakahatchee Everglades Safari.

Anyone who has read this blog for more than a day knows of my love for the Everglades and my concern for it's future.  This group does a great job of both interpreting and maintaining the Fakahatchee, one of my most beloved painting spots.  The Safari is a fund raiser for them, and several artists have been asked to participate by showing their work.  I'm delighted to be among them! 

The Safari was a sell-out last year, and even though it rained, the participants all agreed it was a fabulous day.  This year should be even better.  You can chose the activities you'd like to participate in, from taking a birding walk with an expert to a swamp buggy ride, and end up around a campfire eating barbecue.  Come along!  You'll be glad you did!

If you're visiting the Naples National Art Show and missing my work, you can visit Aura Fine Art Gallery just up the street at 837 Fifth Avenue, just above Chops.  They'll be showing a number of my paintings through Monday. 


Seeing my work, February Walk painting by Everglades painter Jo-Ann Sanborn

February Walk, Jo-Ann Sanborn, 2011
acrylic on canvas, 30x30

February Walk was done from impressions and photos after a walk with visiting family in the Everglades on the Marsh Trail.  It brings me great pleasure to have others share my love for our fragile environment. 

People often tell me that they have been following my work and know it when they see it anywhere. I love to hear it, since it is every artists dream to have their work recognized. I don’t do anything special, just apply the paint with passion and guts as best I can, but do seem to have developed a style that people recognize and respond to.

The best place to see my work and to talk with me is my studio/gallery at the Artist Colony at the Esplanade. There’s a wide selection of work to show you, and I’ll have the paintings from the paintings from the show at Aura, too. I’m always happy to talk with you about your dream painting. The galleries are open Wed-Sat from 11-7, and I’m usually there Wed and Thurs till 3. If you can’t get there during those hours just give a call and I’ll be happy to meet you at a convenient time

Right now there are paintings out all around the County, so here are some other places you might see a piece or two. There are large pieces in the offices of the Drs Poling and at the Morgan Stanley office. These are pieces it’s hard to display in the space that I have, so they are on loan. If you’re interested in trying one out in your own home, just let me know and I can switch them out. 

There are three pieces at Iberia Bank along with a wonderful selection of local art, worth stopping by. These painting, too, can be changed out as necessary. There’s a piece at the Marco Public Library and three more paintings at Naples Bay Resort that can be retrieved to be sold at any time.
It may sound like a lot of paintings, maybe even too many. But if you are serious about your art you need to be ready to produce paintings for any request at short notice. Perhaps someone has cancelled out of a show and you are asked to fill the space. Can you do it? If you are trying to build a reputation as an artist, it won’t do to just give someone your leftover work, work that didn’t sell, or work you don’t really like. You will have to have a number of pieces of high quality artwork ready to go to take advantage of any last minute situation.

As an artist, I’m ready to meet most needs. If you are a buyer or an art collector, I’ve got a nice selection of pieces for you to consider. Hope to see you at Last Wednesday Art Walk tonight!


Summer Symphony painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Summer Sumphony, Jo-Ann Sanborn, 2011
acrylic on canvas, 60"x48"

Why are the Everglades the subject of so many of my paintings, and why are they also important to you?  Natural areas provide for recreation and wildlife observation as well as protect the vital ecosystems of our planet

The Everglades fuel our economy with commercial and recreational fishing and tourism.  The slow-moving river of grass filters our water, providing fresh water to the region.  Fish breed and shelter in the mangrove fringes along the coast.  Migratory birds rest and nest on the sandy beach of Marco Island, and use the mangrove fringes to shelter from storms and for feeding grounds.  A rich mix of plant and animal communities thrive in the estuaries.

With continued development pressure on our landscape the need to preserve, protect, and set aside natural areas also grows.  It is my hope that when you love one of my paintings, you'll also begin to find a new appreciation for the threatened landscape I portray. 


Palette and Painting Knives, One for All daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

One for All, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

Having just finished up working hard for the solo show at Aura Gallery, I've been taking a little time to contemplate what's next.  Just for variety I did today's daily painting mostly with a painting knife. 

A painting knife has a blunted point, no sharp edge, not always symmetrical, and with a handle more like a trowel to keep your fingers are somewhat protected from smearing in the paint.  A wide variety of marks can be made, from fine lines to pressing, lifting, smearing and spreading the paint.  

It's also possible to paint with a palette knife, which has a rounder tip and  less jog to the handle.  Palette knives are usually symmetrical and easy to use to mix paint on the palette or to scrape paint off either palette or canvas.  Neither has a sharpened edge, although it's possible to develop a sharper edge with use, especially using the earth pigments. 

Both are used interchangeably by most artists.  Using a painting or palette knife instead of a brush tends to  leave more texture and little bits of color to excite the eye.  In this case I used a brush at the finish, a combination which gives the best of both worlds. 


Off the Beaten Path painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Off the Beaten Path, Jo-Ann Sanborn, 2011
acrylic on canvas, 16"x20"

It's always delightful to see our landscape anew through the eyes of our visitors.  Most are enchanted by our sunny skies and closeness to nature.  A group of bottle nose Dolphins with perfect timing visited our canal and put on a terrific feeding show just as my sister stepped out to the dock.  One with a large fish in it's mouth surfaced only feet away.  Time was short, but we visited Otter Mound and saw the gopher tortoises  and those cute little peanut shaped burrowing owls, two rare species that populate our sandy soil.  

We spent an afternoon walking (can't really call it a hike) in the Everglades, this time the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge.  Very close to Marco, the new Marsh Trail which I've written about before, makes a wonderful short trip.  A woodpecker greeted us from a tree along the trail.  A great blue heron flew right above our heads with a whoosh of wings, and we saw a great white heron with a nest nearly hidden among the verdant grasses.  

Installed binoculars on the viewing platform allowed us to watch the many and varied wading birds catching fish as if we were right there with them. 
Because we've had recent rains, the water level is still pretty high.  A small alligator basked on the edge of a fish-filled pool, and another rose and fell almost effortlessly in a deeper pool.  Small colorful butterflies accompanied us in the warm sunshine.  An osprey flew above a small pond rich with fish and swooped down to carry one off to the nest. 

The woodpecker cause great discussion later in the evening as some of our party insisted it was a Hairy Woodpecker and some the Yellow Bellied Sapsucker.  The birds are quite similar in size and coloration, and since both could be in South Florida at this time, and no one had a decent photo of the bird, no amount of research proved definative and the issue remain unsolved. 

Taking a break from painting for a couple of days now and then is restorative.  Deep breaths and delight in our natural environment are good for the soul.  I recommend getting out there soon. I'll have some new brochures in the studio if you need a map! 


Heat of the Moment, 2011, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 20x24

You are special! Happy Valentine's Day!

I've uploaded many images of paintings from the upcoming Gallery show to my website, so that you, my loyal blogging friends, can see them if you were not able to get to the show. 
If you have interest in one of the new paintings, call or email me so we can discuss your needs. If you already own a Sanborn painting and decide to acquire a new work, please ask for your collector discount!

Thank you, my Valentines, for your continued encouragement and support! I love you for it! Kisses!


Gallery Show, Earth, Water, Sky painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Earth, Wind, Sky, by Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 16x20

Earth, Wind, Sky is one of the Everglades paintings sold at the gallery reception last evening.  A relatively simple painting, it has a nice quality of moisture to the air that gives it a softness and distinction not always achieved. 

Thank you, Aura Fine Art Gallery, for a wonderful show and a fun reception.

The gallery was beautifully hung with my paintings, with a lovely "goodies" table and plenty of wine.  A woman was hired to stand outside downstairs and make sure people knew about the opening and could find their way up to the gallery, and Barbara and Tim were welcoming and helpful.  Being helpful at one point meant moving paintings here and there at my request as collectors wanted to see two paintings together or in different light.  Thank you! 

Several painting were sold to some of my very dearest collectors.  I was surprised and delighted by very special collector friends who came straight from the airport to attend the show!  Others I hadn't seen for a while warmed me with their greetings.  Thank you! 

Some of my favorite artists came, too, like John Bartolus of Historic Cottages of Naples Calendar fame, and Shannon White, an artist friend now turned jeweler.  (they'll have to get online!) Richard Rosen, fabulous ceramic artist stopped by, too.  Thank you!

Students came.  I love teaching, and to have students come out to one of my shows is an honor.  Thank you! 

Walking into a gallery filled with your work and having people tell you that they respond to this piece or that is just about the best thing that can happen to an artist.  I'll float on this one for a long time!  Thank you! 

The show will hang through February 24th, so if you missed the reception you are still welcome to stop by Aura Gallery and visit the show. It's on 5th Avenue South, just above Chops in downtown Naples. In the meantime, maybe I'll see you at the Left Bank Art Fest at the Esplanade on Saturday.


Icebergs, almost a whine, and a recovery

Monday, pleased with myself, I delivered 23 fine paintings, a little over six months work, to Aura Fine Art Gallery in Naples.  I also washed my windows and spoke for Arts Afire at the Marco City council meeting. Today we'll host a group from the Woman's Cultural Alliance at the Artist Colony at the Esplanade.  I'll supply tea sandwiches for 40 people, homemade, of course. That's what I did yesterday, Arts Afire meeting, groceries, tea sandwiches, computer training.  Tomorrow is the opening reception of my show Corner of the Glades at Aura Gallery and I'm hoping to see you there. Saturday is a Left Bank Art Fest at the Esplanade.  My sister and her husband will come from New England for a few days.  Phew! 
The iceberg?  I need a day to chill out!

It's mid-February, only half way through Marco's busy season, and I'm looking at a real killer week in March.  Still, it's a great time with exciting stuff happening, clients stopping by, a positive and energetic time.  I'm not whining, just hoping I have the energy to keep up!

But it's the painting that drives me, and I've got plans for a nice walk in the Everglades with family.  I know it will spark some ideas that are brewing in my brain for some new work!

By the way, if you are on the island and haven't yet nominated someone for one of the coveted Arts Afire Flame awards, you can do it here.  Deadline is Feb 15.


Fakahatchee Safari, Almost Spring painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Almost Springtime, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 16"x20"

While the frozen northlands are suffering with a wild and snowy winter, you can take a walk on the wild side of sunny Southwest Florida!  The Friends of the Fakahatchee are holding a Fakahatchee Safari fundraiser to support Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve on Saturday, February 26th.  

During the Safari you can explore the natural environment with guided swamp walks, birding walks, photo workshops, scenic tram ridges and swamp buggy rides.  Learn about the ecology of the area with live exotic animal demonstrations, interactive presentations, and view local art work and photography.  I'll be particpating with some of my Everglades paintings. 

You'll also enjoy the camp ambiance of the area with a BBQ cookout, a wine reception, bonfire, live music, story-telling and a market place.  It should be a really fun time and a very special event.  Last year it was a sell out, so make your reservations today!  See you at the Safari! 


Reception Invitation, Last Stand painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Last Stand, Jo-Ann Sanborn
Acrylic on Canvas, 9 12x12 pieces

You're Invited!

Corner of the Glades
New Work, Jo-Ann Sanborn
Reception February 10th, 6-9 pm.m
Aura Fine Art Gallery
837 Fifth Avenue South
Naples, FL  34145

upstairs over Chops!

I’ve been asked to hold a solo show at Aura Fine Art Gallery in Naples, and I've been working on new paintings since early summer when the show was first offered.  The gallery is showing three pieces of my work in anticipation of the show, and I'll deliver another 22 paintings next week. 

Most of the scenes are from the Fakahatchee.  It's been difficult for me to get further afield this year, and some great new access has come available close to Marco Island. Some of the new paintings have been previewed on this blog, and other pieces haven’t been shown anywhere yet.

The painting above, Last Stand, is a new, colorful, nine-piece painting that will be sold as one piece.  I painted something quite similar but different quite a few years ago that's hanging in a dentist office, and wanted to explore the idea further.  It can be hung as shown, or the pieces can be configure to fit your space needs or your aesthetic.  There's been quite a bit of interest as I've worked on the piece in the studio, and you can see it in person at the reception. 

You are invited to the reception, Thursday, February 10th, from 6-9. If you haven’t received a post card about the show from me, it’s because you are not on my mailing list, you have moved and didn’t tell me, or I don’t have your complete address as in the case of some condos. 

In addition, he Post Office is returning the cards to me with a “not deliverable as addressed” label. Yet when I check the address, it is exactly as it appears on my list, delivered previously, or if I check the phone book or online, the address is correct. Almost 10% of the cards have been returned for unknown reasons.  It’s an infuriating waste of money to put stamps on mail that is not delivered even though the address seems correct.

If you have not received a card from me you are still invited! You're welcome to bring friends, too.  Put it on your calendar right now, come along and join the fun. We’ll have a good time, you’ll see my latest work, and if things go well some paintings will be going to new homes.

If you are not able to attend the reception, the paintings will be on display at Aura Gallery from Feb. 10 to Feb. 24. Thanks, Barb and Tim for this opportunity! 

Oh, if you’d like to be added to my snail mail list (at your own peril) you can email me here.


Ground Hog Day, Autumn Silhouette, painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Happy Ground Hog Day!  Wishing you in the frozen northlands an early spring!  No shadow, Spring is near.

Autumn Silhouette

Acrylic on Canvas, 20"x24"

I’ve been working on Autumn Silhouette since I posted about improving it here. As I feared, once you change something in a painting all the relationships change.  There was much more work to do than just changing the direction of the clouds, but when you compare the pieces you see that the extra work was most necessary. Luckily, this is fairly easy to do in acrylic paint. 

The clouds have been lightened and are now floating through the sky in a much lighter manner. The direction is better, too.  The values in the whole piece were strengthened and sometimes corrected. The weeds at the base of the palm are much more interesting and believable, and the color of the distant brush line has been softened.

Sometimes we don’t notice when a painting isn’t quite right. Sometimes the painting doesn’t sell, and we recognize the problem when taking a second look. No matter how we discover something isn’t quite right, once we notice it, it’s always worth the extra work to correct it.
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