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


Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, or PSP

a group of people on PSP walk
Cure PSP Walk, 2011

We all have things going on in life that we keep to ourselves, things we’re reluctant to share, things we’d rather not have you know.    But today, I’m going to share something about what’s been going on in my life, and why I sometimes skitter a little sideways when you ask me too closely about what or where I've been painting.

It’s hard to write about it.   I’ve been doing my best to act normal and keep working and put up a good front, but it has affected my life profoundly for the last four years.  I’ve tried to keep it to myself, but sometimes unload on people close to me or worse, those not so close.

I’m forgetting things, I’m losing words, I sometimes have trouble painting, I'm missing deadlines, I'm not able to go out into the Everglades as much, and I’m more sporadic than I’d like in the posting of this blog. Sometimes I’m not where I say I will be because of last minute crisis. But this isn't about me.

Today we're speaking out, in the spirit of full disclosure rather than a pity party.  My husband, once active and athletic, the love of my life, ex-cop, photographer, sculptor, and person extraordinaire, has developed a disease called PSP, or Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. 

PSP is a degenerative disease of the brain, in the family of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, but with its own set of specific symptoms.  PSP severely affects balance, eyesight, voice and throat, among a plethora of other unspeakable unpleasantries.  Movement and thought and response are slowed, while leaving awareness basically intact.  There is no cure.

We're speaking out because this disease is relatively unknown, and we want to bring attention to it.  It's often undiagnosed, or miss-diagnosed.  Symptoms often occur years before diagnosis, and diagnosis is confirmed only by brain autopsy.  This disease traps people within a body that won't function properly and with little ability to communicate.  People with PSP usually die from a fall, choking, or pneumonia.  Some people  survive for years, while others decline more quickly.

Tomorrow, Saturday, March 31, at 11 a.m there will be a fundraising walk for Cure PSP around Mackle Park lake on Marco Island.  Look under "Events" for more information. 

I will be there, with Bob if he’s able, and we will walk (well, he'll sit and I'll push) because we want to support research and awareness of this dreadful disease.  In support, some of our friends will be joining us.  Look for us there if you'd like to come along.  You don't have to pre-register, but there is a requested donation of $20 and lots of great prizes to win with your raffle tickets. 


ArtWalk! Southern Spring painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Southern Spring, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
Acrylic on canvas, 36" x 48"

I dropped and of course, broke, my camera, and can't seem to get a good photo of this painting on my phone.  Another camera is on order, and my very dear client was kind enough to take this photo for me of a  commission just finished and delivered. 

This lovely couple already own one of my paintings, and found that they liked living with it.  They thought of my work to fill the foyer at the entrance to their home. 

Commissions are very difficult for me, since you never really know what someone else is envisioning. Without clear direction, I was on my own as far as composition and to some extent, color.  I wanted the painting to be strong enough to hold it's own between the two beautifully carved pillars.  I wanted to give it some distance, too, bringing you in rather than stopping you, creating a barrier.  And I wanted it different from the other painting they owned, yet compatible. 

I'm always a little nervous delivering a finished, comission piece.  They loved it, and said,  

"I can't tell you how pleased we are with our commission. The more we look at it, the more proud we are.  I want you to know that your two paintings displayed in our home make us very proud. This painting is highlighted in the foyer niche and will make a statement to all who visit us. Thank you!


The Artist Colony at the Esplanade's ArtWalk is tonight from 5 - 8.  We always try to have something special for you, and tonight, in addition to our usual refreshments and new art work, we'll have both Michael Smith and some Strummers to play for you. 

If you take part in our Scavenger Hunt, and get all the right answers, you"ll be eligible to win our Easter Basket, filled with goodies from each of the artists in the Colony. 

Hope to see you tonight! 


First Ever Seminole Art Exhibition deserves more attention

I will not Run, LeRoy Oceola
Since the arrival of executive director Lynn Holley, there's been a lot of moving and shaking going on at the Marco Island Center for the Arts.  First, she opened up an unused storeroom, called it "La Petite Gallerie," and has shown a marvelous selection of small art exhibitions.  She's also stepped up the pace of the larger gallery as well,  working to offer another level of unusual and thought provoking exhibitions to the Collier County public.

The exhibition currently being shown, "Artists of the Everglades, is the work artist members of the Seminole Tribe.  It's an exhibtion worthy of your notice.  This is the first time that this unconquered Native American nation has shown its artwork in a public exhibition off the reservation.  First Ever!  The work is colorful and powerful, and the gallery is filled with it's energy. 

The exhibition was the brainchild of the hardworking Gallery Committee under artist Tara O'Neill, and took almost two years of building trust through tribal meetings and encouragement to bring the exhibition to fruition. 

This story and exhibition deserve attention, maybe even to the national level.  People all over south Florida should be coming, and bringing their children to see it!  It should be receiving offers to travel to other parts of the state and the country.  

Unfortunately the show will have to be taken down at the end of the month for an exhibition of adult students.  Adult students are the lifeblood of the Art Center and deserve attention, too.  Still, if a way can be found to do it, this exhibition deserves more time in the gallery, so that everyone who might want to learn about it and to see it can attend.  

If you haven't been yet, go view this exhbition before March 29th.  You'll be glad you did. 


Clearing, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

A clearing sky in the Everglades, with palms and water
Everglades Clearing, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

The morning clouds are clearing from this sky in today's daily painting.  Many clouds in the winter months don't contain much rain. 

There's very little water on the Everglades prairies during this time of year.  Alligators who aren't near deeper water have excavated a hole to fill with water and help them survive the dry season.  Fish, turtles, and other prairie denizens will use the alligator holes for water, too.  Once the rains come, the wildlife will disperse until the dry season comes again. 


Everglades in Trouble, Book signing, and The Big Green daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

The Big Green, Jo-Ann Sanborn, 2012
Acrylic on board, 5" x 7"

The Everglades, our big, beautiful, picturesque, magical, exotic, and unique green landscape is in trouble.  Just a little research shows we are on the edge of a potential natural failure in this part of the world. 

Some of the indicators are:

A 90-95% reduction in wading bird population!

Over 1.5 million acres under attack by invasive plants and animals!

A million acres under health advisories for mercury contamination!

68 endangered species of plants and animals threatened!

Decline in fish populations, with fish kills and deformed fish occurring!

Am I an alarmist?  I hope so, because I have faith in our ability to clean up after ourselves and to do better once we understand what the problems are. 

Which Everglades preservation organization are you supporting? 
You can google Everglades Preservation to find your own, or find a list of several good ones in my book.  There, in addition to photos of my paintings through the years, you will find words about the systems of the Everglades. 

A dollar from the sale of every book will go towards Everglades preservation.  The Friends of the Fakahatchee and the Everglades Foundation have already benefited with donations.    

You can pick up a copy at the Art Center of Marco Island on Thursday, March 22, 3:-4:30.  I'll be joining artist Bill Mosley and photographer Joel Gewirtz for a book signing.  My first!  Should be fun.  


Arts Afire 2012

It was a day in the park for some members of the City of Marco Island's Arts Afire, 2012 committee.  Hundreds turned out out see community organizations interpret art in

A Walk with the Masters.

The Jewish Congregation invited Chihuly

Popeye and Olive came with Sweet Pea (Yacht Club)

A disciple has his hair done before attending Last Supper (Lutheran Church)

The Mad Hatter (Island Players) served Tea

Music was provided by Picasso's Musicians (MIFA)

Renoir's Boating Party had a blast (Artist Colony)

The groups were only breifly threatened by this natural materials alligator (Historical Society)

And members of our esteemed City Council presented the prestigious Flame Awards to those in our community who fan the flames of arts and culture on Marco Island.  

Marco Players also attended.  The Matisse dancers (Marco Island Academy, sorry, no photos) wanted to stuff the ballot box to win the People's Choice Award.  I was almost pursuaded to take a cupcake for the five votes they were short.  But Mad Hatter's Tea Party table won the day, and cheered most loudly when their much deserved success was announced. 

Congratulations to all who participated, and thanks for your wonderful enthusiasm, sprit of fun, and joy of the arts!  Thanks all who came out to enjoy!  Arts Afire, 2012, was a great success.


Marco Island's Arts Afire!

Hope you will join me at the City of Marco Island's Arts Advisory Committee's free and fun event on Sunday Afternoon.  The big band will be playing between the "walks," and Marco's arts and culture organizations will provide tableaux of some terrific works of art. 

Thanks to Gem Auto, who will help ferry those unable  to walk. Beach Dogs will provide some refreshments. The Parks and Rec staff have been terrific in helping prepare for this event. 

The Artist Colony at the Esplanade will be portraying Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party.  Can you guess which artist will play each part? 

I can't wait to see the Jewish Congregation depict Chihuly's Red Chandelier, or

attend the Island Player's Mad Hatter's Tea Party!

There will be something to delight everyone, topped off by the presentation of Marco Island's prestigious Flame Awards, presented to those who contribute and support the arts on Marco Island. 

Come along!  You'll be glad you did.  We'll be entertained, and have a very good time! 


Bonita Show Review

With the Studio at the Esplanade on Marco, I haven't felt the need to do the outdoor shows in the last few years.  Lately I've wanted to re-connect with my client base (I did), see if I'm still priced competitively (I am) and see what's new in the Art world. (some good, some not so good)

It used to be something special to attend an art show, but now there are so many that there's one every weekend somewhere close. People don't understand the difference between a juried and unjuried show, and sometimes it doesn't matter anyway. 

The Bonita Show is a juried, quality, well-run show with some terrific artwork in many disciplines.  Traffic at the show could have been heavier, much heavier, but the word was that with so many shows around people are just tired.  I enjoyed meeting old friends, connected with many who said they had missed me, and made a few new friends, too. 

It was nice to see art friends Phyllis Pransky, Bob Ewell, and Tom Ross, as well as new work by Barbara Groenteman.  Naples Calendar artist John BARTolous stopped by, too.

The photo above was taken by my artist friend Mary Sheehan Winn.  Thanks, Mary.  She's fun and fabulous, and teaching now in Naples.  We met, as many artists today, by admiring each others art on the Internet!

We all watched the weather on Saturday as a storm came and went very close by. How did we ever get by without iPhone radar to show exactly where the storm was? Rain threatened briefly on Sunday, late, but again stayed away. Phew!

I remembered everything I needed, set up with the help of a friend and took down myself on Sunday. I can still do it, although my body knows I did something different and the muscles not used in a while are complaining a bit! Like every show I've ever done some artists did quite well, and others are looking hopefully towards their next show.

Thank you to those who purchased, those who will visit the studio, and those who said kind things.  It was well worth the effort, although I most likely won't do it again any time soon!


Bontia Springs Art Show

See you at the

Bonita Springs National Spring
Art Festival

Saturday and Sunday
March 10 & 11
10-5 p.m.

My first outdoor show in three years.  Hope you can join me.  Want to see who else will be there?  Here

Sorry that none of the paintings in the above photo are available.  It's an older shot, and they've all gone to good homes!  But perhaps you'll find one of my newer paintings speaks to your heart! 


Everglades Landscape, Palms and Sawgrass daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Palms and Sawgrass, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
Acrylic on Board, 5"x7"

Anyone following this blog knows that most of my paintings center on the Everglades landscape.  The landscape continues to inspire me, even though it has become quite familiar through the years.

Like any good muse, or a good husband, it's a landscape that continues to delight.  Never boring or lacking in excitement, it becomes more endearing with the passing of time.

Sometimes I struggle to get it right, and other times the joy of it all comes through more easily.  But there is a depth and and a strength and a constancy, combined with a dose of the unexpected to this landscape that makes me return again and again.

It is my fondest hope that you will see the landscape through new eyes as you travel across south Florida, and that my paintings in your home will bring you joy. 


A Good Blow, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

A Good Blow, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
Acrylic on board, 7"x5"

A good blow is just what is needed sometimes.  In the Everglades a strong wind will clean off last year's debris, and clean up the bottom of the palms. Most of us have fond nostalgia for the softness and fresh smell of sheets blown dry in a brisk wind.  We love to get a good blow to freshen the air through our homes on a nice day.  

Sometimes, however, the wind is too strong for mortal humans, and causes great damage and pain.  My heart goes out to the tornado victims of the weekend.  I worked for FEMA for many years, and know first-hand the pain of sudden natural disasters and just how strong those winds can be. 

On a happier note, the Artist Colony at the Esplanade has been working on another collaborative painting.  We've just completed "Mangroves."  It's comprised of one distinct square from each of the Colony members, beautifully joined by artist Karen Swanker, in a frame donated by Betty Newman.

The complete piece will be donated to "Save the Mangroves", and used as a contribution to their fundraising efforts.  Watch for information about where to purchase a chance to win this lovely piece. 
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