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


Meet and Greet, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

Today's Everglades painting is really all about meeting and greeting others. One of the pleasures of having a studio in commercial space with the Artist Colony at the Esplanade on Marco Island is that I get to meet all kinds of interesting people who wander in while I'm working.  You never know who'll come in, and if you like to meet and greet, there's plenty of opportunity.

Dreama Tolle Perry was in the studio la couple of weeks ago.  She was visiting Marco Island for a few days of respite, and wandered in with her husband and a friend. We chatted before I knew who she was, and was almost overcome over when I discovered who I was speaking with! If you don’t know Dreama, she is an artist, and half of the team that produces the weekly radio show Artists helping Artists. Her paintings are colorful and fabulous, and she’s lovely and gracious, and just as delightful as she sounds on the radio.

One of the things she noticed right away was my method of paint organization. I have a clear, over-the-door shoe holder to hold my paint supply, and use it to organize the tubes by color. It’s very easy to see what colors you have on hand and what it’s time to order. Dreama thought it was a clever idea, and two shows later spoke on the show about this method being a helpful tip for artists.

The show is terrific, geared to helping developing artists market their best work, but there’s plenty of substance for mid-career artists as well. This particular show answered a question of artist Mary Sheehan Winn, another artist and friend who stopped by two days after Dreama. The shows are all recorded and can be listened to while you paint or work on something that doesn’t require much attention. Listen in, and tell Dreama I sent you!

I'm going to work on getting Dreama Tolle Perry and her radio and sometimes workshop partner Leslie Saita to come to Marco for a workshop.  Would you like that, too?  If so, let me know! 


Dark and Suffering

The photo above is from a demonstration I did recently at my studio in the Esplanade. I tone all my canvases with a nice warm dark, usually a mix of dark red and blue, as soon as they arrive, and always have some toned canvases ready for the next painting.   My habit is to work from the dark canvas by blocking in the darks and working towards the light.

Other artists, especially in Florida, tone with a bright orange or red, feeling that the compliment will spark up all the green.  Other artists tone with a medium grey, and find that it's easy to see what's in light and shadow by starting in the middle.

I work back and forth, from the lights to the darks without worrying too much about anything but getting the feeling of the space until a composition begins to emerge.  From the darkness a plan emerges, once I'm satisfied with this rough block out I'll begin to add volume to the forms and develop a color strategy. 

Since daylight savings, I can't seem to get out of the dark.  I'm a morning person, and do my best working and thinking as the sun rises.  I feel for the late risers, who are probably more affected during the Fall switchback and delighted in spring, but find that daylight savings Daylight Savings Time has thrown me completely off my regular schedule. It's worse as I age, too. 

Even though it's been more than a week, I'm still suffering.  After waking naturally to gently lengthening days, having a sudden shift back to the dark is like waking up in a dark pit.  I find myself sluggish and slow thinking for hours. 

The health benefits of Daylight savings are mixed, providing more sunlight hours for exercise and outdoor activities, but possibly the cause for a rise in suicide rates and heart attacks right after the changeover.  It's time we got back to our natural rhythms! 

With so many serious problems in the world to worry about, this is a small one.  But I'm just saying, how's a person to solve them if half of the solvers can't wake up?


What's on your palette?

Art's Afire!, the week long celebration of arts and culture on Marco Island was terrific!  It culminated in a beautiful evening of celebration and awards.  It was a busy time, a wide variety of events happening around town all week.  I believe that arts help build community through shared experiences, and last week was a great example as people who might not come together otherwise enjoyed the events. 

The Afterglow Gala was specular.  Held at the Island Country Club, doors opened to a trumpet fanfare, the ceiling glowed with paper lanterns.  World renown Everglades photographer Clyde Butcher was there, and  PT Barnum and Reese Witherspoon made brief appearances.  Several of Marco's elected officials were seen having FUN!  The food was supurb, ending with delicious, flaming baked Alaska.

The Awards all held a requirement for service to community as well as achievement, and it was with great pleasure that I handed an envelope containing the name of the winner to each presenter.  Thanks to Ken Stroud, Commissioner Donna Fiala, Keith Dameron, Sandi Johnson and Howard Blankman for presenting the beautiful glass engraved awards. 

     Tara O'Neill - Individual Artistic Achievement
     Tyler MacDonald - Emerging Artist
     Public/Private Art in Business - Dave Rice
     Arts in Education - the Calusa Garden Club
     Cultural Leadership - Clyde Butcher

Tyler is a 15 year old nature photographer, and meeting Clyde was the highlight of his evening.  It was a magical community evening filled with good will.  I'm hoping it will become a yearly event. 

After taking a break from painting for a week, I'm going back with a slightly different palette.  Pretty colors, nice change.  What's on your palette today? 


Arts Afire Ignites the Arts on Marco Island! Changing Light painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Changing Light, Jo-Ann Sanborn, 2011
acrylic on canvas, 30"x30"

Arts Afire!, Marco’s celebration of Arts and Culture, starts tomorrow, and there are so many wonderful opportunities for people to see, view, and participate in a wide range of arts and culture events over the 10 days of Arts Afire!

One event that is sure to be well attended and VERY special will be Flashpoint, a Kick-Off Party at CJ’s on the Bay held by the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce on Monday, March 14th.  In addition to the literary and performing arts delighting you, the Artist Colony at the Esplanade will provide an opportunity for your participation in the Visual arts, but that's only a small part of what will happen at Flashpoint. Flashpoint will truly light the spark of arts and culture on Marco, and will delight you.  Don't miss it! 

On Wednesday, March 16th, The Artist Colony at the Esplanade will have demonstrations by each of the Colony artists all day long.  Stop in and have the opportunity to look deeper into each artists muse.  Some will demonstrate or show you a special technique, some will talk about their own art, and some, about the art of others.  Here's our schedule"

10:00 Waterfront Gallelry and Studios, Karen Swanker - Found objects
10:30      Rightside Studios, Darren Clack
11:00     Waterfront Studios Gallery and Studios, Maggie DeMarco - Glass Painting
11:30     Portside Studios, Inez Hudson - Inspiration
12:00     Rightside studios, Tara O’Neill - Art with an Intimate Focus
12:30     Waterfront Gallelry and Studios, Tom Gallagher - Watercolor techniques
1:00     Portside Studios,  Amanda Ganong
1:30     Rightside Studios, Betty Newman - Painting on Water
2:00 Waterfront, Tony Dallman Jones Sculpting with Light - 22nd Century Art
2:30     Portside Studios, Carolyn Burger - The Diversity of Acrylics
3:00     Rightside Studios, Jo-Ann Sanborn - Everglades, Light and Love
3:30     Waterfront Gallery, Claire Keery - Collage and Assemblage as an Artform

The week will culminate in a fabulous Afterglow Gala at the Island Country Club.  Tickets can be purchased online here

What a week!  Here's a SMALL sampling of the weeks events:

Opera!  (Opera Naples at Lutheran Church on Sunday - costumes and scenery!)
Dance! (Spotlight Dance at the Esplanade Monday)
History! (Museum on Sunday)
Song! (Ray and Mary Ellen Friday)
Flowers! (Art in Bloom at the Art League)
Movies! (MIFA Wed and Mackle, Friday)
Art show and all day entertainment!  (Art League)
Art of Flaming Food (Bergman at St Marks Tuesday
Photography!  (Clyde Butcher Lecture Wed at Historical Society)
Mimes and more! 

This can be wonderful!  It's still growing, but you can download a copy of the latest Arts Afire! schedule of events here or pick one up in any of the studios.  I'll be taking the week off from this blog to enjoy the events.  See you out and about!   


Life's a Beach, Jo-Ann Sanborn
Acrylic on archival board, 5x7"

Landscape class started yesterday and I've got a wonderful group of fine artists to share and grow with!  We spoke about the light yesterday, and how the light changes as it moves through the sky.  I gave out a handout about light on forms, but a student suggested I develop a handout about the changes of color and light.  It's something that needs to be observed, over and over until it becomes part of a landscape painters vocabulary, but here's a start to get you thinking about how colors change as the day progresses.   

Morning Light
Cool early morning light retains influence of night colors
Colors grayer in the early morning
More yellows appear as rising sun warms the land
Shadows usually soft
Horizon is lighter than the rest of the sky
Often there’s a beautiful array of soft, subtle color just before sunrise

Mid-Day Light
More orange in the mixes
Bluer sky affects the shadows more
Strong value contrasts between light and shadow areas
Bowl effect of sky becomes very strong
Light on the horizon, deep blues at the zenith

Late Afternoon Light
Colors are grayer and warmer as the daylight mixes with pollution
Yellows turn to umbers
Shadows lengthen

Sunset Light
Sun goes through more atmosphere as it sinks to the horizon
Increases the amount of warm reds, yellows and oranges
As sun sets,  the purples and deep blues of night slowly take over
Top of the sky darkens more quickly than near the horizon

On another subject, you may have visited the Art Artist Colony at the Esplanade  and wondered how one of the artists conceived and executed a painting or other work of art.  Here's a chance for you to meet them, hear what they have to say, and ask questions.  We'll be having a FREE meet the Artists demonstrations and lectures event every half hour NEXT Wednesday, March 16th, as part of Arts Afire, so put it on your calendar now! 

Here's the schedule!  
10:00 am     Waterfront Studios & Gallery,  Karen Swanker - Found Objects
10:30 am     Rightside Studios, Darren Clack
11:00 am     Waterfront Studios & Gallery, Maggie DeMarco - Glass Painting
11:30 am     Portside Studios, Inez Hudson, Inspiration
12:00 noon  Rightside Studios, Tara O’Neill - Art with an Intimate Focus
12:30 pm     Waterfront Studios & Gallery, Tom Gallagher
1:00 pm       Portside Gallery, Amanda Ganong
1:30  pm      Rightside Studios, Betty Newman - Painting on Water
2:00 pm       Waterfront Studios, Tony Dallman Jones - Sculpting with Light
2:30 pm       Portside Studios, Carolyn Burger - The Diversity of Acrylics
3:00 pm       Rightside Studios, Jo-Ann Sanborn - Everglades, Light and Love
3:30 pm       Waterfront Studios, Claire Keery Collage, Assemblage as an Artform

We'll look forward to seeing you.  I've got a nice, new, oversized postcard for those who come to mine! 


Art League's New Directions, painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Radiant in Spring, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on archival board, 5"x7"

The Art League of Marco hired a new director recently, after nearly a year of search for just the right person.  D (yep, that's the name, just the letter!) Michaels, hailing from Colorado, seems like a great fit.  She's a tiny dynamo with an upbeat attitude and a warm smile, and community partnerships in mind.

She's slowly getting her feet under her--remember the Art League was in a bit of a pickle with both funding and image problems, on a bit of a slippery slope.  There's a sound financial plan in place now, a new enthusiasm among the members, and things are looking up. 

D's a connector, and looking for ways for the Art League to partner and build relationships with friends and community organizations.  One of her first ventures was to partner with the Naples Children's Museum, soon to open, but already beginning to offering  some exciting and FREE classes for children at the Art League right here on the island. 

The Art League will be very involved in Arts Afire! next week.  First, March 11 and 12th, Art in Bloom, will be presented at that Art League, a partnership with the Calusa Garden Club.  In addition to having their annual awards show at the Art League, Garden Club members will interpret the work of local artists in flowers for the gallery show.  They'll have some outdoor vendors of garden related items as well. Should be fun. 

The second weekend, March 19 and 20, will be the Art League's Celebrate the Arts.  They were kind enough to reschedule this weekend at the City's request to coordinate with the last weekend of Arts Afire!  The Marco National arts and crafts show will be held on the grounds, as well as two full days of arts and entertainment on the big stage, and a car show besides!  I'll be there with my only tent show of the season.  Come out and support Marco's Art League.  You'll have a great time!

Check out the class lists, too.  There are several good ones!  Landscape class starts tomorrow with an optional day April 1st painting out in the Everglades.  Don't miss!


Signing and dating paintings

Pond with Bald Cypress, Jo-Ann Sanborn, 2011
acrylic on canvas, 5"x7"

I sign and date my paintings with charcoal pencil on the back. This practice probably comes from owning a small painting of an uncle dated 1942. It’s a painting of some pink roses in a basket, darkish background, light on the flowers, with a couple of bees flying around. I wonder if the flowers were real and the basket of roses sat on a porch scenting the warm summer air drawing bees while my aunt sipped lemonade and chatted with my uncle as he painted. I wonder why he wasn’t at war, and how he had time to paint during that difficult year. I like knowing the year.

So I sign and date and name my paintings on the back with a charcoal pencil, knowing there’s a risk that someone may refuse to purchase because the painting might not be my newest work. Usually paintings sell within a year or two, but sometimes one hangs about the studio for a while, just waiting for a collector who will immediately identify with the work, love and understand it where no one else has felt that connection.

Occasionally, however, familiarity breeds a desire to improve, and I’ll take up my brush and alter the painting in some way. Curving a line a little more, or adding a spot of light might enhance the value or the composition and doesn’t really change things and the painting is better because of it.

Sometimes, however, a painting just hasn’t reached the point of being all it can be, and major redevelopment occurs. What do I do with the date when this happens? Usually nothing, if the adjustments are minor, but if it’s a major revision, I’ll note that on the back. Why not? To call yourself an artist is to grown and learn, and when that happens, there’s no shame to admitting it!


Teaching again and Clyde Butcher!

Jo-Ann Sanborn and Clyde Butcher at the Fakahatchee Safari taken by fabulous Everglades photographer Jay Stanton

Do you paint, but want a little jump start on the Florida landscape?  Paint what you see but don't get what you  want?  Have trouble with clouds? 

I'm teaching a class focusing on Florida Landscape starting March 8th at the Art League of Marco Island.  You're invited to come along!   Four Tuesday mornings will be short and sweet classes indoors all about the landscape.  We'll cover trees, skies, water, atmospheric progression, and a lot more in the two hours we have together each week,

Then, on April 1, I'll lead a brave and hearty group out to spend a morning painting in the Everglades. The "plein air" day will be "stand alone" from the class, and you can take one or both. 

Actually, you don't really need to be brave or hearty either.  We'll be on solid ground, not in the water like famous Everglades photographer Clyde Butcher who loves to wade with the alligators!

Come along, it'll be fun!  Sign up online or call the Art League of Marco Island to register today.
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