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


View of a Slough, painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

View of a Slough, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 20x24, Sold

A slough (pronounced "slew" or "sloo") is a deep water estuary in the Everglades. The wet season renews the dry Everglades prairies and fills the deep sloughs with rainwater.  

The sloughs stay wet for most of the year providing a water for plants and animals as the prairies dry in the wet season. Because of the gently slope of the land south of Lake Okeechobee, the water will work it's way slowly to the south and into the gulf.

The slow movement of large amounts of shallow water, based on a ridge and slough design, is important to a multitude of Everglade ecosystems.  Yet Everglades systems have often been altered detrimentally by humans, changing historic patterns and affecting life in the glades with little public study or outcry. 

You can learn more about the importance of the ridge and flow system of Everglades water movement here


Letting go is hard to Do! Outrunning the Rain, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Outrunning the Rain, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on archival board, 5"x7"

Letting go is hard to do.  I sold three paintings last week.  Normally this is a very good thing, but for some reason I had trouble letting go.  

The purchaser drove a very hard bargain.  This couple really wanted three paintings, but lengthy negotiations over the cost wore me down to the point that,  when in desperation my client threw in a vacuum cleaner (yes, a used vacuum cleaner!) I threw in the towel, and said "deal."  

The paintings have a lovely new home with a terrific couple.  They really seem to love them.  Still, each painting I do is very precious to me.  By the time it hangs on my studio wall, framed and ready for a new home, it's got a lot of heart and soul woven into it.  My paintings are the main currency of my life, (thank you, Robert Genn) and I don't let them go lightly. 

Still, “All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” Henry Ellis,  so I let go of the paintings and kept the money and the vac, greatful for some great new collectors.   


ArtWalk Tonight! Day is Ending Daily Painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Day is Ending, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 5"x7"

Do you mark the day's end in some way? 

Do you say goodnight to the sun as it sinks slowly into the western horizon, or good evening to the glowing moon that lights our evenings?

Each sunrise and sunset here on Marco Island is different and almost always glorious.  They deserves to be noticed and marked, for each one is special gift of nature, a unique and beautiful show that will never come again in quite the same way. 

In our busy way we often forget to enjoy the nature that is all around us.  Notice the sunsets, and quiet your heart enough to enjoy them.

Will I see you at ArtWalk tonight?  5 pm-8pm at the Esplanade! 


Mixin it up, Before the Storm, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Before the Storm, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 6"x6"

I'm open to trying new things.  I used oils much earlier in my painting career, but have been firmly in the acrylic camp for a number of years.  I was given a gift of some water miscible oils, and thought it was time I gave them a fair chance. 

Oils certainly don't handle like acrylic.  First, my scrubbing method of painting just doesn't work.  It's mix the color, load the brush, place the stroke.  Ah, but I like to mix it up much more than that.  It was a struggle!

In addition, oils take far too much time to dry.  Instead of waiting half an hour to put on a new coat, it took several days.  So I next used my regular oils, and several hours later, still wet, despite using no extra oil.  So the drying time is an issue for me.

I like the ability to put on a layer, scumble on another and another, let it dry, cut into the painting again, and begin the process over.  With acrylics I build up a painting.  With the oils I make slippery mud! 

Another issue is the opening of the tubes.  Oils often require pliers!  I love the easy to open, user friendly Liqutex  acrylic caps that these hands can handle easily without extra tools. 

The feeling and handling of oils are completely different from my usual acrylics, but I managed to paint four small paintings that I'm pleased with.  You'll see them in the next few days.

Try, yes, change, no!   Just mixin' things up a bit.    

Get a Kid, Palms on a Prairie daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Palms on a Prairie, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5" x 7"

Today's Palms on a Prairie look like kids in a school yard at recess.  I'm thinking of kids today, because I'm going to get one.  Teenagers are one of the most underutilized segment of our population.  Their brains are passing through a unique stage, but if you can connect and direct, they can be a great resource.  

I started work early in life--at age 12, in the summer following my father's death.  My mother felt it was very important for us to learn to swim well, so she apprenticed me to a swimming teacher.  Three mornings a week I would organize games on the beach for one group of kids while the swim instructor took another group into the water, then we'd switch. 

Child labor?  In addition to learning to swim well, I received $1 a day for my efforts, and learned a lot about taking responsibility.  That experience later gave me a leg up getting a job as a camp counselor, much preferred over the job of packing fish (the scales, the smell!) that was the first employer of much of Gloucester's youth. 

It's time to get a studio assistant again.  This time I'll get a teenager.  For a few hours a week at a very reasonable cost, I'm going to have a young person help me with some of the jobs I've neglected.  We'll start with a shopping bag full of news articles and announcements about my work.  It's ugly, very ugly, but someone who is organized and likes scrap booking should have a ball.  If this works out, we'll move on to cataloging my paintings, a job I've neglected far too long. Toning canvases may be next!   

Maybe our generation can help the next generation in getting a leg up.  We all have computer issues that they are really good at.  Build confidence, get a kid!


Head in the Clouds daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Head in the Clouds, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"

Lofty thoughts about painting today.  Original art paintings give you something.  Sometimes that something is more valuable than what you've paid for. 

You may find joy in the way the subject uplifts your soul or in the way the colors fill your heart.  You may find excitement in the way your eye follows the lines and shapes.  You may find the pleasure of recognition deep within the canvas, or you may find peace as the canvas to transports you to another world. 

A painting may tie together the colors in your room, brighten a dull corner,  make a statement about you and your family, or just fill a space on your wall.  But it will give you something.

If  you've let your heart choose, it's something that will bring you much pleasure for many years.  And if you've chosen wisely, another generation will thank you!


Alligator Hole, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
Acrylic on Canvas, 7"x5"

I've been going through some old photos, and found this one of a great Everglades alligator hole and so inspired today's daily painting.  During the dry season, alligators inhabit water spots left in depressions and by enhancing these holes provide water to many of the prairie inhabitants.  An older hole may be characterized by a ring of trees around it.  This one has just some small bushes, so may not be that old. 

Because so many man-made ponds have been created during construction in the Everglades, alligators now concentrate in great numbers in some places.  Here's a photo of a large alligator congregation at the Shark Valley Nature center.

Most likely these alligators have dispersed back to the prairies to find a mate and nest now that the rainy season has come.  However most will be back in the late fall as the dry season returns. 


Everyone needs a little Sunshine, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
Acrylic on Canvas, 16"x12"

Every now and then I return to abstracting.  This painting came easily in the early morning hours as the sun rose, covering the start of a painting that was going nowhere. 

Sometimes, completely changing the focus of a canvas works to get the creative juices to flow.  The prior buildup of paint becomes the background for both inspiration and transformation. 

We've become so afraid of the sunshine that most of us are not getting the Vitamin D we need for good health. If you don't get out for a couple of hours a week without any sunscreen, check with your doctor to be sure you're not Vitamin D deficient. 

Everyone needs a little sunshine, whether you get it from a beach walk or a pill!


Pineapple Palm, daily painting by Everglades aritst Jo-Ann Sanborn

Pineapple Palm, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on archival board, 7"x5"

I pass this pineapple palm on the way to the studio, and last week the light behind it just glowed.  It's a small one now, and will grow into a magnificent Canary Island Date Palm.  


Nightfall, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

 Nightfall, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on archival board, 7" x 5"

While my forever love lives in my heart now, it's time to begin searching out a new normal.  I'll be back in the studio regularly starting this week.  Summer is always when I paint my largest paintings, and I'm looking forward to losing myself in the paint.  

This may be the last of the marsh paintings, then again, it's too early to tell.  Perhaps I'll do one up quite large, almost Rothko style.  We'll see what summer inspiration brings.  Summer is also a good time for commissions.  I have two commissions I'm working on and will show you the results when they are completed.  

This post is number 701!  Hard to believe I've been posting this blog since 2007.  I've taken a few breaks over the years but always come back.  Thought about quitting r good.  Not sure I really have anything to say other than to mark an artist's life.  Still, I'm loath to quit just now, so will hang in for a little longer. 

Other ideas are beginning to stir, some exciting and maybe even daring.  I'll keep you posted!


Vinlhaven Pines, and a sad story

Vinalhaven Pines, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on archival board, 8" x 10"

Vinalhaven Pines 2, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on archival board, 8" x 10"

These pines come out of another period of my life, when Vinalhaven, Maine was just a ferry ride away, and sitting on the rocky shingle by the crashing waves, collecting pinecones on the shore, and searching for bits of sea glass was a part of my children's childhood. 

My daughter would like a larger painting of the pines, so thought I would practice up a bit and try out some ideas.  The light is strangely Floridian, but I'm pleased with the results, and these two paintings will be part of an exhibition, Mainely Marco, at Harmon's and Barton's Gallery on Congress Street in Portland, Maine.  There'll be a reception for the First Friday Artwalk on August 3 and I intend to be there. 

The previously scheduled wordless paintings of the last month deserve some explanation, but there is none to give, except that the marsh paintings painted and named themselves in spare moments of time, as my dear love slipped slowly away to an unknown place.   He was a good and wonderful husband who brought joy into my life.  May he rest in peace.
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