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


Starfish on the fence, and Dawning, painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Dawning, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 12x16

How would you describe the image above.  A channel?  A passage? A time of day or a time of life?  A state of nature, or a state of imagination?

Does it come from the confrontational nature of the Everglades saw grass, higher than my head in places and full of hidden mystery, or from a place deep in my soul,
Probably both.  I'm not sure, but the image has repeated in several manifestations and colors and sizes and variations.  Every time I think I've painted the last of it, another one bubbles up and I keep painting.

A series? Only time will tell. They name themselves, too.  Creepy! 

And a true ArtWalk story.....

The starfish postcard went home with a lovely couple.  Another couple, also lovely, wanted the starfish.  Really wanted the starfish.  The two couples got in touch and discussed it.  Cocktails might have been involved.  Discussions. Considerations.  Offers. 

Two couples on opposite sides of the political fence.  Couple one was happy to give up the starfish, under one condition, and one condition only. 

The starfish would be turned over for the promise of the change of a vote.  Deal?  No, no deal!  The starfish is still firmly in the hands of the first!  


FEMA and Me, Before a Storm, daily painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Before a Storm, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"

Truth be known, they had me at the word "hurricane."  For over 20 years I was a FEMA disaster reservist, part of a well-trained cadre that was called up to fill out the ranks of a small national staff when a natural disaster struck our nation.  Paid, too! 

I learned to be able to pick up the word "hurricane,"  "flood", or "tornado"  out of any newscast, even if I wasn't particularly listening.  Upon hearing the words, my priorities would change and I would go into "maybe leaving soon" mode.  I would cancel any appointments, get some cash, do the wash, and find my suitcase.  I would clean my palette, and not start anything new.

Sometimes I had to leave home and hearth in a matter of hours.  I might be deployed to a Governor's office, or a State Emergency Operations Center, or straight into the field to lead a damage assessment team.  Conditions were sometimes challenging, and the job always was.

Being a FEMA reservist is not for everyone. Flexible is the name of the game. You might get a flight to go to Boston, and then find you had been switched to Charlotte. OK, roll with it. Over the years I held jobs in Human Resources, Public Information, and Hazards Mitigation. I loved it.

Times have changed, and FEMA is now part of Homeland Security.  Programs have evolved and policies are different then when I served.  Still, weather words throw me into a tizzy of anticipation that can only be quenched back at my easel, with of course. an ear to the weather!

Hope to see you at ArtWalk tonight.  The shell postcards are 4"x6" and will be on sale for $10 each, on a first come first served basis.  If you need to do it long distance, email me before 5 p.m. and describe the ones you want.  Thanks!   


Shells, lots of them, and ArtWalk

Shells, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
watercolor on post card block, 4"x6" $10 each
We sell sea shells!  
Artist Colony at the Esplanade
ArtWalk, Wednesday, August 29th,  to 8 pm. 
Sea Shell postcards
Sea Shell note cards
And your treat?  Sea Shell candy.  Yep, Chocolate. 
Sounds like a party, right?  


Issac, Sloughs, and Studio Assistants! Slough in the Glades daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Slough in the Glades, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
 acrylic on linen board, 8"x10"
Sloughs are filling up as the summer rains drench the Everglades landscape.  If we get storm Issac next week, the winds will help blow out debris and clean the land, in additon to adding much needed water to the environment.   Huricanes are a little less helpful to people, so pay attention and be prepared!  You'll find good information on the NOAA site, here
My  get-a-kid plan is working well.  My new studio assistant has been a great help already.  She's a busy teenager, but having her available even a couple of hours a week has already proved a good decision.  
Her first job was to take a huge shopping bag of clippings and make sense of it.  I've been stuffing stuff into that pile for years, thinking "someday....."  She returned the mess to me in two three-ring binders.  Every show, postcard, newspaper article, award, and note, all sleeved, and separated by year and date.  Even more impressive that she just DID it, without even a single phone call or question.  Wow! 
When you have everything ready, it's easy to start to paint.  Yesterday she unwrapped five boxes of new canvases, and broke up the cardboard that I'm not saving for shipping. In the next few weeks she'll to tone them in the warm dark I use for priming. These two simple chores will save me hours of work and I'll have exactly what I want all ready to go. 
If all is still going well, we'll move on to cataloguing the paintings.  This job has been on the top of my to-do list for at least three years.  I put it off over and over.  She loves a challenge.  Together maybe we can get it done.  


Glades Pond Everglades painting by Jo-Ann Sanborn

Glades Pond, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 30"x40"

Glades Pond is one of several large paintings I've been working on..  I started it before my trip, and finished it up since.  There's a nice quality of light and shadow, and it's a little more representational than much of my work.  The colors are a little richer than shown here.

After over 700 posts, you know quite a bit about me, but I don't know much about YOU or your motivation in reading.  I could use some help in determining how to continue!  I don't want to get boring, and want to remail relevant.  So what about you? What do you like best?  Time to "fess up!"  

Do you want to know more about my process of paintings?  More art lessons?  Do you want to know more about the unique Everglades environment?  Do you care about preserving the landscape and our environment?  Do you want to know more about me as a person, what my day consists of as an artist?

I'm searching for the right way to go forward to make this blog relevant to YOU!  I'd love your input.  How about a comment? 


Exchanging a Painting, and On Their Way to a Dance, by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

On their Way to a Dance, 2004, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 24x30

On their Way to a Dance is an older painting that has recently been returned to me.   I'm delighted that most people are happy for years with the painting they have chosen, but if it no longer works for you I'd much rather have it back than auctioned off on Ebay! The only catch is that you need to exchange it for another painting of mine.    

Some artists don't date their work, but I started dating my paintings years ago, and believe that the dates are fun to know and also will inform my periods of development as an artist over time.  This one was painted back in 2004.  

The collector enjoyed it for years, but found recently that the painting's warm colors no longer worked in her room.  Remembering my policy, she contacted me about return, and came in to the studio to choose another painting.  She choose one about the same size but in cooler tones, and paid the difference between what she had originally paid and the new painting's current price.

While only used twice in all my years of business, returning a painting for full credit towards a new one is a service I offer my collectors. It works because I have had a consistent price policy, keep good records, and my paintings have gradually climbed in value.  

I get to see and enjoy older paintings like I would an old friend.  If it happens to be one I might groan over today, I can take it off the market.  My client has a new painting with a nice discount of the cost she paid for the old one.  I'm happy there's still a Sanborn painting on her wall.  The painting will re-sell at today's prices.  Win-win! 

On Their Way to a Dance is newly available, and if you can use a painting in the pinkie, orangie warm tones, it just might work for you!

Happy birthday, Jess!  Hope it's a lovely one, dear.


Vegetables, a shell and some Wolf Kahn paintings!

Shell Post Card, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
Watercolor on paper, 4"x6"
Visiting New England was a lot about eating and shared meals with family and friends.  I attended a fabulous lobster feast in Rhode Island, with fresh caught steamers, yummy salad overlooking the sea the Ocean House in Watch Hill, (ask me about my new shoes, purchased in the lobby after lunch!)  Fried Clams in Gloucester, Fruit and chocolate birthday cake in Hopkinton, Chinese in Maine.  There's more, but you get the idea that I came home with a few more pounds than I needed.

But what really stands out is what good cooks my daughters and their families are, and how wonderful fresh vegetables can be.  New England, which so far is not severely affected by drought was bursting with harvest.  Beet and carrot soup, cucumber salad, fresh BLT's, and the best ever fried green tomatoes, much of it homegrown. Garlic salad!

 It was almost enough to make me want to stay, until I saw this

reminding me why I really love living in Florida.  No mittens!

While in Kent, Ct, my daughter and I enjoyed a visit with William Morrision at the terrific Morrison Gallery.  It's a beautiful, clean-space gallery with great light, and almost always has some Peter Woytek, sculptures to enjoy.

I knew that the gallery had hosted a Wolf Kahn exhibition, but was expecting it to be over by the time of my visit.  We were excited to see that the show was still hanging.

Wooooooo, what a treat! 

Ah, delightful!  Fat and content I rolled my way home.   Energized, and ready to get back to work.

The shell at the top of this post?  It's to remind you that the Artist Colony at the Esplanade's ArtWalk theme this month will be "We sell Sea Shells."  Save the date, August 27th!


Traveling notes, and Marsh with a Palm, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Marsh with a Palm, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on archival board, 5" x 7"

I didn't have much to say last week, partly because I was mostly on the road.  I drove off into the sunset and spent a couple of weeks in New England visiting family and friends.  I didn't once pick up a brush, but encouraged grand kids along the way.  It was a good respite, but it's good to be home again, too. 

I visited family as I went, making seven (7) different stops along the way.  It was a bed-hopping marathon!

Talk among the family was all about wildlife this year.  New England was almost all clear-cut fields 100 years ago but with less agriculture is now filled with mature forests, and the forest animals and birds are making a comeback.  I heard about fisher cats and coyotes and deer, and saw wild turkeys more than once,

including this beauty who flew up to my sister's porch railing to groom while her babies ate seeds thrown out of the feeder.  The feeder was a constant source of amusement and amazement, hosting a chorus of songbirds, and a flying squirrel late that night! 

Much of my family still lives in Gloucester, MA. my old home town. Gloucester, chartered in 1623, now almost 400 years old, is filled with monuments.  You may be familiar with the Fisherman at the Wheel, cast for Gloucester's 300th anniversary.  A companion piece has been added further along the harbor boulevard to recognize the contribution of the wives of the fisherman, who care for their children and maintain the home while husbands face the perils of the deep. It's a lovely and moving piece.     

In addition to a secure harbor filled with boats from around the world, Gloucester is filled with wonderful art.  I just missed the North Shore Arts Association's  auction, an event I always attend when in town.  And there's an artists opportunity here

The reception for Mainly Marco art exhibition at Harmon's and Barton's Gallery in Portland came right in the middle of my stay.  Portland hosts a very successful First Friday Art Walk.  Hundreds of visitors, residents, and students filled the streets, some with wares to sell, some playing their music, and others enjoying the show and purchasing the artworks.  Stores and restaurants were open and the galleries flowed with people.

Harmon's and Barton's did a great job of hosting the Marco Artists in an exchange program.  Their upstairs space was perfectly suited, and with two doors offering welcome, droves of people walked through the lovely space.  People really seemed to enjoy the art and a number of pieces were sold.

Those of us who attended were delighted to greet old friends and make some new ones.

Good show, with hats off to the gallery, and to Sandy Wallen for her vision of an exchange program that worked.

Next, the journey continues with strange vegetables and a surprise Wolf Kahn show!


Summer Storm, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Summer Storm, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on archival board, 7"x5"

The nice fresh breeze that a building thunderstorm kicks up is the best wind you'll get out sailing if the summer weather is hot, humid and still. 


Where Inspiration meets Execution! Off to the Beach painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Off to the Beach, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 20x24

My inspiration is the land around me.  I find that being outside in natural surroundings makes me want to paint, and inspires me to paint again and again. Nature is my muse. 

Every time I'm outside absorbing nature's bounty, I notice something I might never have seen before, or seen a million times before, without notice.  The way the leaves of a Sable Palm rustle and ripple in the wind, the shape of a swamp lily bloom following the sun, colors that sing, light that delights.

Then it's off to the easel, hoping through my efforts to translate that vision, that gift, onto a canvas.  And hoping that the moment will be recorded in time, and that you will look at the painting and say "ah."

And where inspiration meets execution successfully, you'll feel it, too.  When it's right, it will please you, delight you, and touch your heart.  And the painting will mean something in a way that is bigger and better than either of us.  That's the joy of original art. 


Rain Coming daily painting by Everglade artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Rain coming!  2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 7"x5"

It's summer on Marco Island, and the afternoon rains come with regularity.  Just what our wet season is all about.  Water!  Sprinkles and downpours!  That's how it should be, to refresh our reservoirs.  The summer rains help sustain life in the dry season and they are a welcome part of the environment we've chosen to live in. 

You can see the thunderheads building over the Everglades starting early in the day, and by late afternoon can expect to be caught in a downpour if you are out and about.  By evening it's mostly cleared, leaving the dinner crowd dry. 

Boaters need to watch the sky, and cell phone radar to watch for storms.  Summer thunderstorms can be quite strong, even though they usually pass quickly.  Being in a sail boat during a thunderstorm storm is a memorable experience--and not necessarily a good one.

The boaters in the above painting have it all under control, and will be safely in port before the rain comes their way! 
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