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


ArtWalk Tonight! Hidden Mystery, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Hidden Mystery, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 7"x5"

Have you ever taken a canoe or kayak trip into the Everglades?  The landscape is lushly dense and bathed in a green warmth.  It's dark underneath the mangrove fringe with the light dancing on the canopy.  The water is crystal clear, with small fishes darting in and out of the relative safety of the cagelike growth of the mangrove roots.

There's the feeling of the exotic, of danger nearby, and the damp, peaty smell of wet swamp. There are spider webs and the occasional snake, and you may even glide over an alligator tail or two.

This time of year an alligator might bellow for a mate or a mosquito buzz around you looking for a meal.  You might hear the raucous call of a heron, but most of the time the whoosh of the boat moving thorough the water as you paddle is the only sound you'll hear. 

There's mystery in the Everglades, but it keeps its secrets well hidden.  You'll come out into the light again feeling like you've been birthed by some huge, green, beast. 

See you at Artist Colony at the Esplanade ArtWalk tonight 5-8 p.m.  If you visit all three galleries the glass of wine at Tara's is back for the summer! 


Art Appreciators, Fun in the Sun daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Fun in the Sun, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"

Art appreciators fall into several categories.  I categorize them by what I see is their relationship to the art.  What's fun for you?

Can't pass up an opportunity to walk through an Art Gallery or exhibition
Goes to Art Openings and outdoor art shows
Visits Art Museums at every opportunity
Reads press reviews and written materials about art

Educates themselves about art through discussions with others
Loves meeting and talking with artists about painting
Attends art lectures and talks about the subject at the next dinner party
Likes art that provides opportunity for conversation

Engages with art as a journey of self-discovery
Identifies with the deeper meaning of artworks
Learns about themselves from what they like and don't like
Enjoys art that brings memory and legacy

Chooses to purchase original art and bring it into their home
Knows that collecting art can be as creative as the work of the artist
Values the time spent in all of the above pursuits
May choose a theme or a focus for their collection
Loves the energy, mystery, creativity or peace that a new artwork can provide          


Alone on the Beach, daily painting by Evergaldes Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Alone on the Beach, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

When you take a moment from your busy day to notice the natural world around us, you may find that you walk away with a deep feeling of contentment.  It’s restorative and restful, and quiets the soul deep inside ourselves and puts us in touch with the world. 

You might find this inner peacefulness creeping up on you when walking alone on the beach, listening to the sound of the waves, or sitting quietly on dock at the edges of day.  It might be found enjoying the frosty beauty of a northern morning or seeing a sunrise or moonrise you almost missed. 

The Everglades landscape provides many such moments, especially in the summer when the drama of the wind and the rain play out their best games with the sun and the clouds. There’s the light on the water, and through the trees, and colors of the edges of the days, too.   

These moments are gifts of nature, not to be missed, ignored, or squandered in small talk.  When they are given to you, make a space in your life to appreciate them.  If you don’t, after a while they won’t come at all. 


Sunshine and Palms, Jo-Ann Sanborn
 Acrylic on board6"x6"

What will your summer bring?  In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice begins on June 21. Solstice is a combination of two words, "sol" for sun, and "sistere" for to stand still. 

The solstice marks the longest day in the year, and as the days lengthen, the sun gets higher in the sky each day until it almost seems to stand still.  Worldwide, interpretation of the solstice has varied among cultures, with some celebrating fertility, with festivals and rituals.  I'm long past that whole fertility thing! 

The solstice is the official start of summer, with longer days, more sunshine, and increased outdoor activities.  Here in Southwest Florida, it indicates a time of increased rainfall.  The Everglades comes to the end of the dry season and welcomes the life-giving rain.  Flora greens up and animals disperse to fine mates and raise young. 

This year, at least on Marco Island, the heavy rains of summer are late and we're experiencing drought.  In the last few days the clouds have been building, with rain just off the island.  Hopefully, the rains will come soon. 


Center Stage, daily painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Center Stage, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"

Sometimes out in the Everglades, a ray of light will come from between the clouds and highlight a scene or a piece of a scene.  It shines on something that has been there all along but blended in and went unnoticed until that ray of light highlighted it's existence.   

This little palm blended in with all the others.  It wasn't until a ray of light highlighted it's personality that it stood out from the rest.  Then it was transformed into a unique and glorious palm and just had to be painted. 

According to Andy Warhol, we're all due a little time in the limelight, and will get in our 15 minutes of fame in due time.   Guess this is true in the Everglades, too!


Morning on the River, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Morning on the River, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 5"x7"

Enjoying the dawn with a good cup of coffee in hand is a simple morning pleasure.  The sky delights with soft bands of pastel color changing from hour to hour and different from day to day.  Dawn is counted as the time the sky begins to lighten until actual sunrise, which takes place the moment the sun peeks above the eastern horizon. 

The time of today's painting has the sun firmly in control of the sky, but the softness of a new day is still evident, and the merry little breezes won't tease the water until later in the day. 


Lee's Rose, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Lee's Rose, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board 5"x7"

If you haven't been into Rightside Studios at the Artist Colony at the Esplanade lately, you may not know that there's been a change.  Artist and photographer Lee Horton now inhabits the back, right-hand corner.  

Lee has years of experience working for greeting card producers.  His work has a bright and cheery feeling, and he'll show mainly watercolors, and some acrylics in Rightside.  Lee is a professional photographer, too, and will make a family portrait for you, or photography your nephew's wedding on the beach.  He has installed a beautiful old etching press in his new space and we're all green with envy.  Most of us haven't used one since school, and for me that's many, many years ago!

The day after we interviewed and accepted Lee as a partner in Rightside, he brought each of us a beautiful fresh rose.  We think he's a keeper, and hope you do, too.  It's been quiet in the Studio since June 1, so stop in for a visit and welcome Lee if you are on the island. 


Can't We Do Better? Looking Up daily painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Looking Up, Jo-Ann Sanborn
5"x7", acrylic on board

I was most disappointed to see this upside down tank with a treadmill atop as our national statement at the Venice Biennale this year.  .  It's gotten some great reviews, but to me it's just another story of us beating ourselves up again.  That story's old.

American artists have the freedom to create artwork with any message anywhere, anytime. How sad that these pieces, with their tired little story were chosen as our international message. Why not find and show pieces of Americans looking to the future with courage and hope and ability? Now that would surprise us!

The deadline for the US Grant for 2012 has already past,  but let's think about 2013,  If we're still here, let's start Looking Up! 

Don't forget the Art League Second Tuesday Social tomorrow.  Welcome new Executive Director Lynn Holley.  


Rules of Engagement, One Quiet Palm, daily painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

One Quiet Palm, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5x7

One of the joys of having a public studio in the Esplanade on Marco Island, FL is the ability to engage with other artists and art collectors.  The Esplanade is a gathering place, with three restaurants, a Starbucks, Ice Cream, and several other shops and artist studios.  People sit and drink their morning coffee on benches in the shade of the palm trees and enjoy the sound of the fountain.  They take their morning walk along the quay by the boats.  By lunchtime people meet and greet for lunch at the popular CJ’s on the Bay, and later in the day people begin arriving to watch the sun go down behind the Star Bar. 

It’s a great place for artist studios.  Locals, Floridians, and visitors from all over the world wander in and out of the Artist Colony at the Esplanade.  Some are art collectors, some are artists, some are looking for a handmade souvenir,  some want a painting for their home.  Some people are just looking for something to do beyond the beach. 

No matter which category you fall into, when YOU walk into an artist’s studio or gallery, how do you feel?  Do you engage with the art?
  • Are you afraid to speak, afraid of the hard sell?
  • Do you look at each painting and consider how it makes you feel?
  • Do you stand back with your hands behind your back impersonally hoping no one will speak to you?
  • Do you look at a piece and wonder how or why the artist was drawn to the subject?
  • Do you walk through fast, judging quickly or do you take the time to consider each artist's work or a special piece?
  • If you don’t like the art at all, do you think you must be polite anyway?
  • Do you know what draws you in, and why? 

No matter how you approach the art, don't be afraid to engage with either the art or the artist.  YOU, and your consideration of our work are the second half of our fulfillment.  Creating the art itself is the first. 


New Director for the Center for the Arts, Fun in the Sun daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Fun in the Sun, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 5"x7"

Lynn Holley is the new director at the Marco Island Center for the Arts.  I first heard about of Lynn from a friend of hers who wandered into my studio at the Esplanade and ended up purchasing one of my daily paintings for her home. 

My new collector was waiting for a friend being interviewed for a new job.  She raved about her Lynn's abilities and qualifications even before she knew I had any personal interest.  It was nice hearing that kind of support from a friend.

Lynn is eminently qualified, knows that the Center for the Arts has been under a bit of a rain cloud lately, and is just itching to take on the challenge of turning things around. She has some great ideas, and is already in the process of implementing them.  She says she's here for the long haul, and there's every indication she means it.

Center staff, Linda Henell, Lynn Holley, Cindy Crane

If you've dropped your membership,  it's time to renew.  Don't wait!  There will be some good things going on, and you'll want to be part of it.  If you've been hanging in the background, now is the time to get involved. We're going to have some fun in the sun! 

Many of our members are away for the summer, but if you're around you can welcome Lynn at the Second Tuesday Social, on June 14th at 5:30. Bring your friends.  Admission is free for everyone, and we can help her drink up some of the wine that's in a back room she'd like to use as a gallery!


Affected or Infected? Homer's boat, painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Homer's Boat

How do you find that personal creative place inside yourself when you approach an empty canvas?  Once you know what you want the subject to be, how do you find that place deep inside that allows you to interpret it your own way? What can you learn from others to make it happen? 

Looking at the work of others to see how they might have interpreted a subject and trying their techniques, copying the work of master painters is all a part of the process of growing as an artist.  So is taking workshops from established artists to learn new ideas and methods of working.   

Doing, and reading, doing, and studying, doing, and experimenting is really what ensures you'll develop your own artistic voice.  All said, it's mostly in the doing, and doing again. 

There’s a fine line between what’s really yours and what really belongs to someone else. While you can learn from imitation, continually feeding off another's creativity will sap your energy like an infection.

I've been playing with the palette knife, and looking at any number of boat paintings.  Today's painting most assuredly has become Homer's Boat.


Hurricane tips for Collectors, The Light and the Water painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

The Light and the Water, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 16"x20"

Red face!  I'm learning how to schedule my posts and hit the wrong button AGAIN.  Today is the time for this post! My apologies if you've gotten this twice.

As promised Wednesday, here are some tips for art collectors who may find their artwork threatened by hurricane. 

1. Even though you may have very good insurance on your home, fine art is not usually covered unless you have a separate insurance rider. If you have valuable art, call your insurance agent long before disaster strikes to ensure you have the financial protection you want.

2. At the beginning of Hurricane Season sort your collection to determine what you must take with you if you have to evacuate, and what must stay behind. MakeCandidates for taking will be those of high value, or the artist is no longer living, or paintings with sentimental value.

Make a list, and keep it with your disaster evacuation list.  If you don't have such a list, see Wednesday's post

3. Purchase the materials you will need to wrap and protect your paintings, and have them on hand before you need them. Also purchase water proof plastic containers for those that will stay behind.

4. Wrap the paintings going with you in brown paper or tissue, place in large plastic bag, wrap with bubble wrap and place in an upright carton in the car. An upright box is less likely to be punctured by something else as you pack, and you won’t put something too heavy on top, either. My experience is that packing tight leaves less room for trouble.

5. Wrap those that will stay as in #4, and place in plastic waterproof containers if small enough, and plastic again if not. Wrap so that water cannot penetrate your wrappings. Do not count on duct tape, it will seep if it gets wet.

6. Work toward placing paintings where they will not get punctured. Punctures can be repaired, but it's not easy! If you don't expect high water, inside the car you are leaving behind may provide protection from wind damage.

7. If the storm is bad enough, water could be in your home for several days. Place the paintings as high up in your home as possible to avoid water intrusion. Look for places away from windows and exterior walls.

My Everglades paintings are acrylic, strong and waterproof. I've had a couple go through hurricanes, get covered with bits of detritus, and washed off all to full recovery. If you have one of my paintings and have questions after a disaster, give me a call. Canvas tears can often be repaired and frames can be replaced.

Most important, stay safe first. The rest can all be dealt with!


Disaster Plan Now Sunny Side up painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Sunny Side Up, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 12"x16"

The rainy season has come in southwest Florida, and while the parched ground of the glades will welcome the rain, the strength of some storms can be a grave threat to humans.  June 1 is the start of Hurricane Season  and now is the time to prepare for what lies ahead.

As a FEMA disaster assistance employee for many years, I know well the havoc nature can make on well-planned lives.  I urge you to make a plan that will keep you and your family safe in the months ahead.  Federal and state governments offer information and materials that can assist you in planning.    You can visit readyamerican.gov on Facebook or myflorida.com/ to get started.

Once you have a plan for you and your family's safety, you can begin to think about your art business or your art collection.  Tomorrow I'll tell you a little about how to prepare your paintings in the face of a storm.
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