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


Lorenzo the Cat visits Marco, and Stand Tall, daily painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Stand Tall, 2011, Jo-Ann Sanborn
Acrylic on board, 5"x7"

Don't miss the membership meeting at the Marco Island Center for the Arts tomorrow, January 31, at 1 p.m.  It's important to be there to cast your vote for directors and to hear what's new.

If you didn't get a notice about this meeting and have paid your dues, call the Art Center to be put on the email list.  The Art Center is a membership organization and your input is valuable and necessary to the continued success of the center.

Lorenzo the Cat stands tall.  I was fortunate enough to meet Lorenzo through a mutual friend, and have become an  ardent admirer.  He's beautiful, regal, and very well dressed. 

Lorenzo visited the Marco Island area as a guest of the Artist Colony at the Esplanade.  He and I share a love for the beautiful Everglades Landscape.  Lorenzo found the boardwalk at the Marsh Trail to be particularly commanding, with a great view of some tasty fish. 

Lorenzo though about having dinner there, but a large alligator close by made him realize dinner would be much more enjoyable in the safety of his hotel room.

Sponsored by the Artist Colony at the Esplanade, Lorenzo's owner and best friend, Joanne Biondi will be showing her work of Lorenzo at the Marco Island Center for the Arts in the Petite Gallery, February 3-5.  She will offer a print of Lorenzo as a raffle to benefit Marco's no-kill shelter, For the Love of Cats. 

You can meet her in person at the reception, February 3, 3-5 p.m.  If you're a cat lover, don't miss it! 

Also dont' miss the


Selling Art, Morning Outlook daily painting, by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Morning Outlook, 2011, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

I consider myself very fortunate to be part of an artist colony, with a wonderful studio in a great destination location.  My location helps to bring in potential collectors from around the world.  It's an ideal situation, and even though temporary, we are now into our third year and I'm very grateful while it lasts.  Being visible has certainly helps sell paintings in this dismal economy. 

This opportunity didn't come about through chance.  It came about by having an idea,  thinking hard about how it could be a win-win for everyone involved, and then selling the idea and overcoming or satisfying all objections.  The result is that snowbirds stop in to see what's new, residents bring by guests for an outing, and the Chamber of Commerce has somewhere to send people when its cold or they are tired of the beach.  Since we are on the water, people even come by boat.

There are twelve of us at the Esplanade, in three locations.  The artists are pleased because we get to put our work in front of the public.   Right now we are all 2-D artists, paintings with a few pick-up items like cards.  Most are making enough off our sales to pay our expenses and fees, and some are doing considerably better than that. 

As an artist today, is your work selling?  While location can help, there are some other things to consider if you want to be successful at selling your work.  As the art market changes, painting the painting is only a portion of the work you must do as an artist to ensure your paintings find good homes.  While selling isn't everything in art, if you are putting your work out there for sale and it isn't selling, let's examine some potential areas of trouble for you to consider.  

1.   Is the pubic aware of your work?  If you don't live in a location that potential collectors come to you, how do you make them aware of your work?  Getting your work into view of the buying public is something you must consider.  Are you showing your work where people can find you, with good contact information included? 

Are you visible on the Internet?  A website is a minimum today.  Do you have a blog?  Post on Facebook?  Are you newsworthy?    These days, most artists cannot rely on a gallery to do the work for them, and must self-promote relentlessly to get their work in front of potential purchasers.  

2.  Is the price of your work too high for what it is? There are thousands of artists out there.   If you are new to the art world, if your work is similar to the work of others, not unique enough, or not well made with quality materials, people might think the work is too highly priced.  If you've won awards or achieved recognition, especially outside of your local area, you will be able to charge a little more for your work.  Collectors are not stupid, and want value from a piece of art.  What gives your art value in the eyes of a collector? 

3. Does the public like it? Are you making work people can respond to?  People want art they connect with on some level.  If people walk by your work without taking a look, you are not going to sell to them. You must make work that makes others stop and take a look, and then want to own, in order to sell. 

4.  Can they afford it?  This is different from pricing too high and is very subjective, since people spent money in different ways.  Sometimes people on a limited budget will spend a lot on art and someone with a huge incomes doesn't see its value.  Never pre-judge what someone will spend for an artwork.  In addition, how do you accommodate new collectors or people on a budget?  Do you offer lower priced alternatives?  Prints, cards, daily paintings?Perhaps a lay-a-way plan for those who would like it?   

5.  Are you cultivating your collectors?  Many people who purchase a painting will eventually purchase another one--FROM YOU!  Each of them need to be recognized and appreciated.  Because they love living with your work they will refer others to your work as well. 

Just a start, but if you'd like a little more info about this subject, click on the right hand side and chose a book to help you out.  Here are some suggestions.  I'm constantly trying to learn more about both technique and business.  How about you? 


Light in the Landscape and Afternoon Sail,daily painting by Evergldes artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Afternoon Sail, 2011, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 2011

Aren't we so fortunate to live in Florida this time of year?  We can take an afternoon sail, while those up north are shoveling snow.  Love it!

We're having a great time in the Color Mixing Class.  The class has made color wheels, color triangles, and individual color charts.  They've investigated limited palettes, and been amazed by the range of colors they can create. They've found colors they love and colors they really don't want on their palettes. 

They've learned to make color charts, they've learned about color values and made value balls in black and white and in color.  Something about color temperature, too.  They've learned that a color is different in light and in shade, how to tone down a color and how to compliment it.  Some ah-ha moments, too.

Next month I'll be teaching a class on Light in the Landscape.  We'll learn how light acts on the landscape, how it moves around forms in the landscape, and investigate the light at different times of day and in different atmospheric conditions. 

It's a three-hour class and we'll have to work from photos since there's not enough time to get outside to paint.  I know this is no substitute for looking at the actual landscape, but you can start getting ready by being more aware of the light in preparation for class.

If you'd like to learn along with us, you can sign up here.  "Love is in the Air" today, so see you at ArtWalk tonight.


Love is in the Air!

Love is in the Air


Artist Colony at the Esplanade
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
5-8 p.m.

See you there!
Last Wednesday of every month!


Shell, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Shell, Jo-Ann Sanborn,
Acrylic on board, 5"x5"

I’ve painted the Everglades for 19 years now.  I and find constant renewal in the light which changes and inspires regularly.  The Everglades are favorite subject and my muse.  

Today this shell on my easel caught my attention.  New techniques, materials, and subject matter are always on the horizon and I enjoy trying them out.  Abstract paintings always revitalize my brain and my painting.  Writing the blog and my recent book are  other challenges I enjoy.  It all adds up to who I am as a painter and a person.  

Changing things around spurs the creative process.  I firmly believe an artist must always be a student. Just like the plants in my garden, if you're not growing, then you're dying.


Sold - Seeking Shade by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Seeking Shade, 2010, Jo-Ann Sanborn
Acrylic on Canvas, 30"x30"

Seeking Shade, dear to my heart, sold last week. While it is always hard to let a painting go, I'm glad that Shade will be cherished by collectors who have now acquired several of my paintings.  I hope it will bring them joy. 

I've been painting this particular tree island for so long that it's population has expanded.  The small palm on the left wasn't there when I began painting the Everglades in 1994.  Child of the others?

In some ways, painting is like bringing up children.  We put in heart and soul.  Through education, training, and endless personal efforts I attempt to shape them in the way I want them to go.  

Like my children, my paintings strive to go boldly into the future, while being bound by the weight of the past.  Sometimes I force my will on them and they submit.  Other times I leave them to find their own way, and they soar. 

Both types of paintings can be delightful, but the ones that soar are a little closer to my heart. 


It's OK to buy art! Calm Lagoon Everglades painting by Jo-Ann Sanborn

Calm Lagoon, 2005, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 40"x40"

Less is more these days, and culture is turning away from consumerism, but it’s still OK to buy art.  Quality art can last for generations and bring you lasting pleasure.

               Learn a little about what makes good art.
               Trust your gut to find something you’ll love
               Buy the best you can afford
               Buy art you respond emotionally
               Place it where you will enjoy it daily and it will enrich your life. 


Painting Supports, Edge of a Prairie by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Edge of a Prairie, 2012
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

Artists use a variety of supports for their paintings.  I most often use stretched canvas for medium to large paintings.  I order it already stretched.  It comes medium weave canvas, tightly stretched, is most often double or tripled primed.  When an order comes I open it, prime again if necessary, and tone all the canvases.  I almost always have  have a nice supply of sizes ready to paint.

Canvas or linen on board is the choice for my smaller, daily paintings.  Since my favorite supplier is no longer making the panels I prefer, I'm trying out a variety of others, and finding surfaces that work for me. 

For my recent Snowmen project I used gesso board.  It's much smoother than a canvas, but I enjoyed how it grabbed the paint and gave me a nice resistance with dry brush. I'll try a few larger paintings on it, too.   

Linen is a wonderful fiber, but I've found that the stretched linen sags too much for my vigorous painting methods.  Recently I've tried linen on board, and loved it, and will use it more in the future. 

I've also been trying a variety of hard boards.  Someone recently questioned me about what board means, and about its quality.  I want to make it clear that when I say "board" I paint on quality material of archival quality.  It's definitely NOT the cardboard panels often used for student work! 

Archival quality board is often an actual board, like birch, but more often is a composite of wood, which won't warp easily.  Archival means that nothing in the  making of the board will leach into or onto the surface or back of my painting.  It's protected and will withstand the test of time. 

Lovely hardboards, linen boards, and gessoboards can easily be purchased at any online artist supply store.  Try something new and let me know your favorites!


Support for the Arts, Autumn Grasses painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Autumn Grasses, 2011 © Jo-Ann Sanborn
Acrylic on Canvas, 18"x24

Sometimes a painting that you think is done isn't.  This is one I showed a couple of weeks ago and then went back in and tightened up.  You can see the older vision here.
Last year the City of Marco Island presented the lovely FLAME awards to people who  excelled in encouraging the arts in our community. Tonight I'll speak to the Marco Island City Council to again ask for support for the awards and to tell them of a new project the Arts Advisory Committee would like to present to the public. 

 Even thought our City funds parks, recreation, and beautification, and has a huge capital program, funding for the arts is a struggle! In this tight economy, it's uncertain whether support for the arts, even a small amount, will be granted.

Our growing City needs more than a beach.  We know by now that the arts enrich our community.  We also know that the arts bring money to a community by providing jobs and exciting things to do, and that cultural tourists who visit spend more and stay longer in an arts community.  The arts help our housing market since people what to live where there are arts opportunities
A few years ago a poll of the people on Marco showed a clear majority would pay a dollar to two a year for the arts.  Funding for the FLAME award is under a nickel per person a year!
Let's ensure that the arts are alive and well on Marco Island.  If you live on Marco, give your Council person a call or a quick email and ask them to support the arts on Marco by recognizing those who do the work with a FLAME award.  Thanks! 

My class "Color Mixing" starts today, and I'll teach "Light and the Florida Landscape" next month.  Both will be taught at the Marco Island Center for the Arts


protecting the Everglades, and Beach Shade, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Beach Shade, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 6"x12"

As the world changes rapidly, we’re in danger of falling behind other countries in the green category.  The leadership of many rising nations knows that sustaining the environment will be critical to the health and well being of their citizens in the world to come.  Their most successful companies are those that are finding ways to move ahead while using practices that help sustain our planet. 

There are a lot of us humans, and we don’t always think alike.  But when we set our minds to it, we can make a difference.  With our caring, our attention, and our money, we can make the world a better place.  Places that I personally watched restored, prompted and funded in part by the Clean Water Act, are Gloucester harbor, Boston harbor, and the Connecticut River.  All were gross when I was younger, and today are restored to better health. 

The Everglades play an important part in the health of our waterways.  We need to protect them.  While I really dislike the fact of adding legislation into packages for passing, when Congress passed legislation to continue funding the government, the Everglades won a bonus, with funds to continue Everglades restoration.  I’m glad people in our government think that protecting the Everglades is important.  It is!

it's encouraging to see young people take an active interest in protecting the environment.  These young biology students are part of a group camping at Collier Seminole Park while they study the animals and ecosystems of our South Florida environment.  Kids like this are passionate about our planet, and interested in how it works.  They recently stopped in to the studio to chat about the Everglades. 

I felt really bad for them camping out during our chilly little cold spell, but they were cheerful and interesting and told me that sitting around a warm campfire at night ekpt them cosy. 

The Everglades landscape drew me to paint it because it is positively magical. After learning more about the environment, I paint with the added desire to bring more attention to the fact that it is a threatened landscape. The land can’t speak for itself, so someone must care enough to speak for it.  If I can speak to you about this landscape through my paintings, and you see it differently after viewing my paintings, then I’ve reached you on a deeper level.  You also, may want to sustain it. 

In my book, Embracing the Everglades, I discuss some of the impact of humans on the land, and will share some of the profits with the organizations that are working to preserve and protect the Everglades.  And if you have purchased a copy or received one as a gift, and if you like it, you can comment here.  Thanks! 


Thousands gather to protest Global Warming, and Afternoon Sail, daily painting by Evergldes artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Afternoon Sail, 2011, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7" Sold

Happy New Year!
Health, Abundance and Joy are my wishes for you this year

Have you been thinking of taking an art class?  My class, Color Mixing, will start Monday, January 9th, 12:30-3:30.  at the Marco Island Center for the Arts. 

We'll do a lot of mixing!  We'll start by investigating just one color, and then expand our palette.  We'll learn just how many colors you can achieve with a limited palette,  and why sometimes that's not quite enough.  We'll learn about color values and color temperature.  You'll learn how to make greens six ways and more, and by the end you should be able to make any color you want, or know why you can't.
In addition, you'll work on the painting of your choice each week to reinforce the knowledge.   You can sign up online here, or visit the Art Center to register. 

On a more serious note, if you've been reading this blog for a while you know that I take the health of our environment very seriously.  Those of you who recently enjoyed my snowmen you might be interested to know that thousands of the recently gathered to protest global warming.  I think my twelve are among them....

Have a wonderful new year!


Happy New Year, Shoreline, daily painting by Everglaes artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Shoreline, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 8"x10"

Happy New Year!
Health, Abundance and Joy are my wishes for you this year

Last year I created a long list of goals and plans, and worked hard to complete them.  This year I’m taking a different approach.  While I'll still have goals in mind, I want to g simplfy and get down to basics .  Here goes!

With thanks to Chris Brogan for the idea, choosing three words to focus on for the year really worked for me and helped me in a variety of situations.  My words for 2011 were love, focus and growth.  They worked so well that I almost kept them for another year.  Since they’ve become a part of me now, and in the spirit of “growth” I decided to move on and choose new ones.  This year my words will be courage, patience, and discipline.   

Courage, to help face new challenges in my personal life, in my artwork, and in our rapidly changing world, Patience, to give all things the time they need in my art, and especially in dealing with others, and Discipline of body and mind, to keep me on the path to doing the hard work that means success, and to remind me to do what’s right even when it’s hard.   

These words will be guideposts to help me grow both as a person and as an artist, and I’ll put them on my bulletin board at home and at the studio, and drag them into mind when I’m uncertain or waffling. 

How do you start fresh each year? Do you find positive ways to celebrate what you’ve achieved and move forward?  Do you use symbolism or take action to refresh and renew?  Do you think ahead, to what you can do better or make plans and resolutions for the coming year?    
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