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


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

Fakahatchee Summer, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 8"x8"

The Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve is a very special place.  The best description of the Fakahatchee is a linear swamp forest, almost twenty miles long and five miles wide, with a high tree canopy of royal palms and cypress trees.  Orchids and bromeliads are in abundance, with 44 native orchids and 14 native bromeliad species. It is a haven for wildlife, including birds, both resident and migratory. 

Much ecological damage was done to the Fakahatchee Strand in the past by clear-cut logging, road building and drainage.  However, the area had recovered remarkably well, and there are high hopes for its continued recovery as part of the Everglades Restoration

It is a fairly intact and functional natural system with a number of different habitats.  It's one of nature's quiet places, a place that reveals secrets slowly.  You can visit it by walking the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk, or driving Jane's Scenic Drive. 

You do need to wear your mosquito protection this time of year, and if they are too bad, just move on a little and you'll find they are  no problem. 


A Rose is a Rose, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

A Rose is a Rose, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 5"x7"

And was always a rose.
But the theory now goes
That the apple's a rose,
And the pear is, and so's
The plum, I suppose.
The dear only knows
What will next prove a rose.
You, of course, are a rose -
But were always a rose.       


Blue Shutters, painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Blue Shutters, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 8"x8"
My usual supplier of frames doesn't carry an 8"x8" size frame, so I'm having to order elsewhere.  I'll try several different styles, and see which ones you and I like.  I'll still be offering a gold choice, but will try a couple of wood frames, especially for the French paintings. 
I'm very much enjoying painting 8"x8"  and 12"x12" squares, and will re-arrange the studio to make a place to view them together.  I think it's much easier to choose if you can see all the choices in your size or price range. 
They should be in by the end of the month, so if you have your eye on an 8"x8" or a 12x12 painting, please be patient and I'll soon have just the right frame for you! 
Blue Shutters, above, was done in France.  It's an 8"x8" painting, and will soon have a nice frame! 


Kemper tool, and By the Water, daily painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

By the Water, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 8"x8"
I'm really enjoying using the oil paints, and have decided to use them on some smaller Everglades paintings until I am more comfortable with them.  It's quite a change from the acrylics, so I have to adjust to the new medium. 
One thing that is very different is that with acrylics I cutting in to form a lot of my large masses, and then build them up again, sometimes doing quite a few layers to get just the look I want.  This method is impossible with the oil paints.  I'm trying to learn to mix a color and put a stroke down and leave it, not to mush it around too much.  I like the colors from the layers below peaking through, and it's too easy to cover a nice bit of color if I'm not careful.   
Sometime, such as the grasses in By the Water, I've used a Kemper wipe out tool to draw with, helping me find objects in the painting and to define them.  It cuts right through the paint to the layer below, adding texture, and a bit of linear form.  I'm also using it to sign my oil works, right into the wet paint! 


Mangroves, and Shell, a daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Shell, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 5"x7"
Marco Island has one of the best shelling beaches in the nation.  You can walk along our beautiful beach any low tide and find something special to pick up and bring home.  If you are fortunate enough to have a boat or a friend with a boat, there are a number of deserted island--approximately 10,000 of them available for you to explore.   
A number of these little islands have a nice sandy beach for you to walk as you look for shells, but some of them have mangrove plants right down to the waterline.  The mangrove fringes are critical  for protecting the land masses by mitigating the force of hurricanes and storms. 
Because most mangroves grow in tidal areas, their many roots trap detritus and debris, providing nutrients for a wide variety of organisms, so the areas around them are usually teeming with life.  If you'd like to know more about mangroves and our environment, there's a good article with some photos here.
And please remember, it's illegal to take live shells.  Let 'em live! 


Back to the Glades, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Back to the Glades, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 8"x10"
Although some of us are getting just a little sick of all the summer rain we've been having, the Everglades are full of water right now, just as they should be.  The Everglades has two seasons, the wet and the dry, and summer is wet, wet, wet! 
As the water rises, animals that had congregated together during the winter dry season to share moisture spread out to mate, bear litters, and gain weight from the abundant fish and frogs, and other food sources. 
It's all part of the natural balance.  It's just not always perfect for people, who plan a visit to South Florida expecting every day to be a beach day, and this year seems wetter than ever.  Sorry, folks!


Treats for tea, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Treats for Tea, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 5"x7"

Tea on Friday was great fun, with a nice group showing up and enjoying the French paintings.  Both Joanne and I were happy they were so well received, and that several sold.  I was so pleased that artist friends from Naples also made the trip to Marco for tea. 

There were two winners for the French Artists matching contest.  Joan won a sketching set and Dolores a post card, and Judy was delighted to win the framed post card drawing. 

I'm getting more comfortable with painting in oils, and really enjoying a new medium.  Not ready to give up the acrylics, but sliding the paint around a little easier than my first few.  Treats for Tea was fun to paint, and I made special effort not to overwork it.  Not easy, but I put down the brush when I started getting fussy with it! 


Up the Hill, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Up the Hill, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 8"10"
Time to move on and get back to the Everglades, so this will be the last post of the paintings done in France for a while.  I took hundreds of photos, so will probably use them as reference for paintings from time to time.  
I thought you might also like to see some of the postcards as well, so I've posted a few below.   Most of them are gone, to thank-you's, grandkids, and others, but they are fun to do, so I'll keep up the practice, and there will be a few in the studio for you to frame if you'd like. 



Lily Pond, Le Vieux Couvent, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Garden Pond, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 8"x10"
At Le Vieux Couvent, in Frayssinet, France, this little lily pond is just off the studio patio.  There are several large bull frogs in the pond, and if you were very quiet they would begin to sing.  Well, croak.  Loudly and with character. 
As soon as you moved closer they would dive for the bottom.  It took me several days to actually see one, but once I knew what I was looking for--mostly two bulbous eyes and a pulsating throat--and learned to move quietly enough, I could pick them out of the green that camouflaged them. 
You can see this little painting and the others from my trip if you get your "oui, oui" on and come to tea, Friday, June 12th, 4 p.m in the studio.  Joanne Lawand will join me in showing you our best French paintings, show photos of the trip, have a small little contest, and draw a name for winning one of the French scene post cards.  Hope you can come!  


Old Variety Rose, daily paiinting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Old Variety Rose, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 5"x7"
I've always loved roses, and had several climbing varieties when I lived in New England.  I've got one here in Florida, too, and every now and then it will surprise me with a lovely bloom.   Making rose hip jelly was something I did in the fall when the fat rose hips from the Rosa Ragosa along the sure tempted me. 
Roses are not particularly difficult to grow if you choose the ones that like the environment where you plant them.  In France, rose growing is a national sport, and almost every home has at least a few roses in the yard.  I did a watercolor postcard of the rose garden, below.

You may have received my newsletter yesterday.  If not, and you're interested in hearing more about France, you can click here to read it. 


Light Wind, painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Light Winds,  2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 12"x12"
Marco Island Center for the Arts director Lynn Holley visited me about a month ago and ask if I would be willing to chair the Gallery Committee at the Arts Center for the coming year.  Since I believe in giving back, and it's been a while since I had been active in the broader arts community, I agreed to give it a try. 
Some of the programs for the coming year are already in place or in the works.  For example, we will have an exhibition for the Florida Chapter of the National Association of Women artists in January, and one on Trains, Planes, and Automobiles, in Feb of 2014. And there's a core committee of wonderful members in place too. 
If you have an idea for an exhibition, want to sponsor an exhibition, or have an interest in joining this active and fun committee, just let me know.  Our first meeting will be August 5, at the Art Center.  Hope you'll join me in producing some new and exciting art exhibitions for Marco. 
Today's painting, Light Wind is painted in acrylic on canvas.  I like the square format very much, and will do a couple more companion pieces to this one as time allows in the weeks ahead. 


Frolicking in France, Blue Monday daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Blue Monday, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

The frolic in France is over.  Au revoir, mes amies!  We had a great time, but agreed that what happens in France, stays in France, so I won't say too much more.  My lips are sealed about how much chocolate was eaten,

wine consumed, and. . . oh dear. . .and who ATE THE CHEESE!

You may recognize friend and artist Dreama Tolle Perry as the lead troublemaker!  Just sayin'

I've got photos in three places, (ipod, ipad and camera and it will take a while to organize them all, but there's a good number that will make lovely small paintings, so you'll have to excuse me if you see a little French rose or a watercolor postcard of them from time to time.

I had been tempted to slide a few tubes of acrylic paint in my case, just in case I couldn't make the switch to oils, but didn't do it and now am glad.  Am I a convert to oil painting?  Too early to tell.  I learned a lot about transparent oil painting, and like the way the paint moves.  For the first time I really felt some control, rather than making mud as I have in the past.  And, delightfully, one of the other artist purchased my very first painting.  What an honor! I was happy to get one of her very lovely watercolor postcards as part of the deal. 

While I really enjoyed the Lavender fields, it was wonderful to see how beautiful the Everglades looked on the ride home from Miami.  The light was lovely, and the golds and purples will be inspiration once again in the days to come. 

It's good to be back!  I'll be in the studio during regular hours starting today, and may open for a while on the 4th if its rainy.  Have a wonderful Fourth of July holiday, and remember how much we Americans have to be thankful for.
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