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


Afternoon Glow painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Afternoon Glow, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 24x36

Continuing with the Four Stakes paintings, this is a closer up version of the larger painting Infinite Grace, from last week. The first few paintings from this series are quite realistic, the last few more abstract as I develop familiarity with and become more comfortable interpreting the scenes and the views.  I'll show you others as they are completed in the days ahead.  

One of the joys of the Internet is the ability to see the work and interact with artists from other areas. I was delighted to meet artist Denise Broussard, who stopped into the studio for a visit while she was in South Florida visiting friends in Everglades City.

Being on Marco Island means that this time of year some of them are likely to stop by while visiting the island.  We knew of each other from seeing each other's work, and it was a delight to meet her in person.  Denise, like me, is on Daily Paintworks, and you can look for her work there. 


Pomegranate Flower daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Pomegranate Flower, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 6"x6"

I'm straying far from the Everglades today.  

Pomegranates are a strange and exotic fruit. Their rough outside texture doesn't begin to prepare you for the delightful tart-sweet combination of the seeds inside.  

The juice is delicious. A memorable drink was fresh-squeezed from from a huge mound of pomegranates by a vendor outside of the bazaar in Istanbul just for me.  Refreshing!  

Still, the shape of the flower of the pomegranate was unknown to me until I decided to paint one as a gift for a visitor. Thank goodness for Google.  This version was painted from a compilation of some of the images found on the Internet. 

It's difficult for me to paint something I have no personal knowledge of, so hope that it's at least close to the real thing!


What's with the Orange, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

What's with the Orange?  2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7x5
Funny how most artists will use a color palette that can be identified almost anywhere.  I've talked about my palette a couple of time, and tend to use the same colors, with perhaps a visitor or two every time I refill. 
Familiarity with your palette is a good thing.  Mixing requires little thought, and you learn what to add to darken or lighten, and the value you are likely to achieve with each mix.  When you add a visitor, as you use it with your familiar palette, you incorporate its color attributes into your color memory little by little until it too, becomes a tool rather than a surprise. 
For some reason, this season it's all about the orange. Cadmium orange is the new regular on my palette, rather than some of the less powerful or mixed oranges.  Its a bit of an upstart at times, requiring some disciplinary action when it becomes too bold but its warm and outgoing nature can add a lot to any setting. 


Infinate Grace daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

 Infinite Grace, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 30x40
Four Stake Prairie has proved to be quite an inspiration.  Infinite Grace is the second painting I've completed of the site.  Mother's Love was the first.  Infinite Grace sold before I even had it framed, which makes me pleased that someone else saw its special beauty. 
The light was so perfect the day I was there.  The sky was soft and cloud-filled and the bald cypress was positively magical, glowing a rich grey-white in the background.  The palm hammocks stood out dramatically.  Good stuff! 
The bald cypress are deciduous, but loose their leaves for only a short time. They sometimes glow beautifully, and are ghostly presences, with an ancestral quality.   Leaflessness and the right light can give them an almost spiritual feeling. 
Shortly, especially after we've had a spring rain, their leaves will begin to sprout, and by April their character is hidden and they aren't so remarkable in the landscape.    But when the light is right, they are spectacular. 
Watch for them as you travel to Miami. This time of year they may look dead, but will soon sprout small leaves that will fast grow into a cloak of green.  


Questions daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Questions, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"
Today's palm tree is sitting by a colorful evening sky.  I've done several daily palms lately, and some of them seem to be talking back!  Here's what today's brings to mind. 
When I was a teenager, growing up in a place where the sea met the shore, it was my habit to sit on the gray granite rocks and watch the tide come in and out with great regularity.  Sometimes the waves would barely caress the shore, and at other times pounce upon it with great urgency while I would sit and question meanings of life and love in the often black nature of teens.
A shell left onshore by the retreating tide, or a tidal pool no longer receiving a wash of  fresh water would signal a subtle change. I could never mark the exact moment that the sea decided "enough" and began to retreat, but knew that the tide had changed. 
It's still my habit to sit by the sea whenever possible.  These days, I prefer to do it with a nice glass of wine, and in a manner not nearly as dark.  The gulf is a little different, not nearly as deep and more of a gentleman than the North Atlantic, but there are still plenty of questions to ponder. 


Lone Palm daily painting by Everglades painter Jo-Ann Sanborn

Lone Palm, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"

Today's funky and somewhat stylized little palm is all alone looking out into a vast Fakahatchee prairie.  The sky is subdued and the next hammock so distant as to lack identifying character.  Will this little guy find the strength to survive and even flourish, or wither and die from lack of companionship and sheltering arms?

He's small and scrawny, but tough.  If he survives his youth, he'll provide homes and food to the prairie birds and animals, and shelter from the relentless sun.  I'm betting on him!

If you'd like to see more of the Fakahatchee, there's a new "ghost rider" tram tour given by Friends of the Fakahatchee.  Say hello to my little friend when you pass him by! 

Tuesday, February 19 , Tuesday, February 26, Thursday, February 28, Tuesday, March 5
Cost $25/person, Reservations Required!
Phone (239) 695-1023 or email FOF_90@hotmail.com


Mother's Love painting by Everglades painter Jo-Ann Sanborn

Mother's Love, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 24"x30"
A group of palms often take on human attributes in my mind.  This bright green hammock caught my eye in the softer colors of a winter prairie.  The group consists of a tall sable palm, with a smaller palm on each side. 
Are they related?  Mother and children come to mind.  One is clinging to her skirts and shaded by her love.  It's slightly fuller than the other, but a little stunted in height.  Mother is in the way of it's full growth.  The other, slightly apart is standing stand upright on it's own in the warm sunshine.  It doesn't have mother in the way, so may rise to greater heights. 
Is there tension between the mother and child?  The two children?  Can all three survive with so few nutrients in the field.  Will one someday be sacrificed for the benefit of the others? 


Exposed, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Exposed, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"
I'm thinking about the paintings of Four Stakes Prairie in ways that are different that I've thought before. I'm searching deeper, wondering more, and the brush strokes feel different. It's a bit frightening, but I'm going with it. Where? I'm not sure yet.
Transitions set us on edge, force us to look at things differently, confront, and even change our understanding of things we took for granted the day before.  We're suddenly in unfamiliar territory. We feel uncovered and uncertain. 

Exposure to new ways of thinking about a problem, new untried materials, or unplanned results in our work may put us on a new and different path.  There will be many fits and starts, and deep holes and dark corners that we can't yet see around.
As an artist  I believe our obligation is to challenge the paths presented to us with enthusiasm, with courage and excitement.  Some of these paths may dead-end, others will open us into a whole new world. 
Don't forget the Marco Island Art Center's monthly reception tomorrow, Tuesday night.  The gallery show is "Forme du la Femme" for you to ponder.  5:30-7:30.   



Camp in the Fakahatchee Part 3, Classic Beauty painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Classic Beauty, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 20x24
Camp in the Fakahatchee
The air was crisp and clear as we walked along the dense green tunnel of the tram road.  The coolness of the early morning passed as we walked, and the sun warmed our faces. 
After about half a mile, the brush thinned and we walked the vehicle path onto
Four Stake Prairie, a wide open prairie ringed with strands of bald cypress.  In a month they would sport a fringe of green, but today were bare and light grey, almost like ghostly spirits between the healthy deep green of the palm islands.
A bird sang in the distance, but that was the only sound.  There was no breeze, and little movement but ourselves.  There were paintings to be made everywhere, but all I had time for today were photographs.  After a while we turned and walked back to the camp for the return trip.  
Yesterday's painting is a gift to my hosts, in the hopes of being invited back.    


Camp in the Fakahatchee, part 2, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Camp, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 8x10
The little camp had a welcoming air about it as we crossed the footbridge over shallow water and cypress knees.  Although it showed some age the camp was sturdy and sound, build and re-built with quality materials and lots of love.  We were greeted by the maiden already in residence. 
My host had repaired the water tank, so getting that back in place was the first order of business.  It wouldn't fill until the rains came again, so the pump was dry.  But we had brought water along, and made good strong coffee over a gas stove. 

A delicious homemade sweet potato bread and fresh oranges completed our breakfast.  We sat quietly in the  company of the dog and a wild vanilla orchid blooming just off the porch until it was time to walk from the dense foliage around the cabin further down to the tram road past a basking alligator to a nearby prairie.  (to be continued)
Marco Island Wet Paint Live today.  I'll be painting right outside my studio at the Esplanade, so stop by and say hello.  I'll have maps, and some tickets for the auction to be held at the Historical Society's Rose Auditorium at 7.  Hope you can come. 


Camp in the Fakahatchee, and Alone by the Water,daily painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Alone by the Water, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 2013

Camp in the Fakahatchee

We drove out Janes Scenic Drive to where a number of tram roads branch off, each closed to vehicles by a locked gate.  The trams are raised roads remaining from the logging of giant cypress trees in the 40's. 

The trams are only available to walkers unless you happen to still own a bit of property.  My new friends owned such property and had a key to gate #7, so that we could go further by car.  I transferred from my car to theirs, squeezing into the back with Lelia, a beautiful weimaraner.  

The road was narrow and close with greenery brushing the sides of the truck, but it was dry, and the truck had no trouble navigating another mile deep into the Fakahatchee.  It would be different in the summer months when the heavy rains would turn the road to mud and the mosquitos attempt to eat you alive. 

We stopped the car with just enough room for another vechicle to pass, in an area filled with dense greenery.  We jumped out, unpacked the car, and took our provisions over a footbridge to a small camp sent on cinderblooks raising it above the remaining shallow water.  (to be continued)


Sunflowers daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Sunflowers, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"

The Farmer's Market has a great selection of flowers, and a handful of Sunflowers can be taken home for a very small sum.
My husband loved to have fresh flowers in the house, and the whole time we were together we never were without a fresh bouquet on the table at dinner.  To him it was a small expense that brought color, life and joy into our home.

Another beautiful bouquet came my way recently.  My studio was the recipient of the Calusa Garden Club's Flowers in Public Places program.  This bouquet was in support of the Wet Paint Live reception the studio hosted.  (click the link to get this years map!) I love how the container and the bright red brush brush support the theme! Thank you!

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