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


Two of Us, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Two of Us, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on canvas, 7"x5"
What do you see when you see the Two of Us?  Two palm trees by the water? 
You and your best friend? 
You and your husband, or lover? 
You and a dear sister or brother? 
Your two children? 
Duo, couple, pair, match, deuce, doublet, brace.  Bet you can think up some more! 


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

Morning, Summer, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 5"x7"
Hard to believe that it's almost Labor Day weekend, which to me signals the end of summer.  I know many people on Marco Island feel differently, but summer is my favorite season.   The skies are magnificent, and the afternoon thunderstorms so powerful and dramatic. 
Here's part of a blog post I wrote in the summer of 2007--six years ago: 
   I've added a link to the Daily Painters Guild website. I don't know any of them, but have been admiring their work for some time. Most of them paint every day, as I do. Their paintings are usually quite small. I paint small paintings sometimes, but use the summer when I'm not so busy and have a little more space in the studio to do larger works.
How things change!  Today I'm a member of the Daily Paintworks website myself.  You can click on the link in the upper right hand corner of my blog.  I
I know several of the daily painters in person, own a few of their works myself, and paint small paintings at least three times a week! 


Young Mangrove, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Young Mangrove, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 5"x7"
This little mangrove wasn't here a few years ago.  Somehow, a tiny leave found purchase, hung on long enough to get out holding roots, and little by little the plant has grown.  The small mangroves are particularly appealing. 
The roots hold the leafy heads high above the water and the leaves on top form a cheerful shape for painting.  The roots often glow in the sunlight, and there's always a nice but of shade under the tiny canopy.
If we could get up close without causing chaos, we'd find a little group of small and baby fish swimming among the roots, safe from the mouths of the larger predator fish and shaded from the hot sun. 


Remaining paints, and Incoming Tide daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Incoming Tide, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 8"x8"
Artists love their tools and methods, and change comes slowly.  When artists gather to talk about art, methods and materials are a big part of the conversation.  We are loyal to our paint and brush brands, although most of us are willing to try and buy the newest gadget, just to try out something new. 
Like in cooking, quality ingredients make a better final product. Excellent materials can make our job easier, may save money in the long run, and may mean that the work will have better archival quality. 
As you may know from previous posts, this summer I am adding oils to my painting skills.  Oil paints cost more than acrylics and more than most other art materials and some of my favorite colors come at a premium.  I try to squeeze out just what I'll use, but I can't stand being stingy with what I need.  Still, it pains me, if I am not going to be back in the studio over the weekend, to scrape my palette clean and toss out the still good remaining paint.  The idea of saving it and mixing it into an unappealing grey doesn't appeal to me at all.    Any ideas? 


Pottery Studio Visit, and Shady Grove, painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Shady Grove, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 24x36
This past Saturday I spent part of the day at Rinny Ryan's studio.  Rinny has a fabulous location, way, way out in a shady grove on Everglades Boulevard in Golden Gate.  It's tricky to find it among the winding dirt roads, but well worth the trip. I went on Saturday because of an invitation to a "Kiln Opening," the first of the season for back-from-the-north prolific potter. 
Pottery is displayed everywhere.  There are shelves and tables full of beautiful work.  By the time I got there the kiln had been open.  Rinny was displaying her new work, and some innovative new glazes rich with sensuous color.  Im not an artist, she insists, but a craftsman.  She shares her ideas easily, and enjoys teaching.    
I'm not a potter, in fact have never made a pot.  But pottery, particularly functional pottery, has a special place in my heart.  I love the idea of clay and hands and fire coming together to make useful things, and that people have been using these methods to make the things we use in our daily life for centuries.  Each piece has a human touch and an artist's touch. 
My coffee mug comes from a potter, my mixing bowls and much of my ovenware come from the hands of someone who cared about it's making.  Soup at my house is served in a handmade bowl, and I eat my dinner on a handmade plate.  Each piece brings me joy as I use it, and beauty to my kitchen and home. 
Clay artists Annabelle Johnson, Rinny Ryan, and Richard Rosen in Rinnny's Studio
The event was supported by other well know potters.  Annabelle Johnson uses images of our natural work to enhance her work.  You can find her at the Marco Island Farmer's market from October to April. Clay artist Richard Rosen's beautifully colored decorative pieces enhance any home.  Contact him in his studio to see what shows he's doing this year.  And you can find Rinny's work at ArtCrafter shows in Naples, the 2nd Saturdays from October through April in Cambier Park.
Since the event took place near the Picayune State Forest, I saw some of your tax dollars at work restoring Everglades flow.   Does this amazing floating machine have a name?  It was scooping out an invasive vine that was clogging the canal.  It was fun to watch and I wish I had thought to take a video!



Moonshine, painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Moonshine, 2013, J0-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 12x12
Magical, mystery moon!  The moon's glow seems even more exotic when viewed between the palms.  The light from the moon is cooler than that of the sun, so lights and shadows are more subdued and tinged with blue. 
Cool as it is, seeing the moon in the night sky warms my heart.  If you are interested you can get daily information about the night sky in the northern hemisphere here.  If you do, you'll find  a constellation featured that was new to me.  A teapot! 
Which brings me to remind you that the Center for the Arts on Marco will be featuring a multimedia show of teapots in November with intake on October 31.  Visit the website for more information, but start your teapot artwork now. 


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

Lily Pond, 20143, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on canvas, 12x12
The effect of light on this little lily pond in France varied with the weather.  If it was cloudy, as it was much of the time, the pond would remain dark and mysterious and full of hidden character.  When the sun was out, the reflection of the sky in the pool was much lighter, and the pond would dance and sparkle with color. 
The day I painted the pond, to the sound of the two large bullfrogs croaking to gain the attention of a rotund female, the day was overcast.  But by the time I finished, the sun had come out, warming and opening the lovely pink flowers.
I chased the light in this painting -- something students are advised not to do because of the danger of painting shadow shapes and lengths inconsistently as the day progresses.  I think it works here, though, because of the dark mystery of the early morning really set off the bright flowers of noon.   


Everglades Protection, and Close Family, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Close Family, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 8"x8"
When talking about my book, Embracing the Everglades, in my last post, I should have mentioned  that when I sell a book, $1 goes as a donation to groups that work to protect the Everglades. 
I belong to several such organizations, and want to support them with my work.  Friends of the Fakahatchee, a support group for the Fakahatchee Strand State Park, is close to Marco and does a great job of promoting and education people.  Their budget is not large, and it gives me a warm feeling to know that my small bit helps. 
One of the problems I see with Everglades protection is that there are so many stakeholders spread over such a large area.  They need to work together to have their voice heard.  The Everglades Foundation works to gather and build consensus among the myriad of Everglades support groups, so they can speak with one, hopefully a bit louder voice.  I like it that my contribution might be used for this purpose.'
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, in the Ten Thousand Islands is also close to home.  The reserve works with coastal communities to promote good coastal stewardship, something I also believe in and support.
The Everglades are fragile and at risk now.  If we don't take care of our environment, it will not be there for our children and grandchildren.  There are many other organizations that promote awareness and protection of the wonderful Everglades environment we live it.  Google "Everglades protection" and pick an organization of your own to support?  Even a small donation makes a difference! 
This post was inspired by Seth Godin's blog "Just Give."  Thanks for reminding us to be generous, Seth!


Open Praire, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Open Prairie, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 5x7
The soil of the open prairies of the Everglades contain very few nutrients, and the grasses are either up to their knees in water in the wet season supporting an abundance of thriving life, or parched and thirsty, struggling to survive during dry season. 
Extremes.  That seems to be the way the Everglades landscape was designed.   
If you'd like to learn more about the Everglades landscape, you might enjoy my book, Embracing the Everglades, with photos of my paintings, and words about the workings some of the the Everglades systems. 


Palm Island, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Palm Island, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 5x7
This little palm island is on Four Stakes, a prairie I visited earlier this year. The light was fabulous and remains in my memory.  I hope to get back there soon! 
There are fewer visitors to the studio in the summer, so I'll spend some time over next few weeks giving the studio a summer fresh-up.  Here is just a partial list to get me started.   
  • Painting that haven't sold will be critically reviewed.  Once in a while this will mean a make-over for a piece I thought was done, but realize later it can be improved.  
  • Frames will be examined to make sure that they haven't become damaged with the wear and tear of being moved around in the gallery.  
  • Shelves will be cleaned off and dusted, paintings and furniture moved, floors washed and light bulbs replaced.
  • Paint and brush supplies will be inventoried and ordered.  I know I have plenty of canvases, but will check sizes to make sure I have what I need plus some extras.
I enjoy working in an organized space and having what I need handy.  My gallery space is welcoming, and I love having it ready for your visit. So please do--visit, that is!   


Abundance, and Off Rt. 27 by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Off Rt. 27, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 5"x7"
It's the doldrums of summer, when the ever present heat and rain really start to get to some of us.  Every morning when you open the door to the outside you gasp for breath as a blast of humidity-laden air fills your lungs.  Even though umbrellas are rarely used by those of us who live here, they are kept close at hand for the torrential downpours the beat the houses and the landscape and flow generously through the gutters.  
The water level is high, and the animals and plants of the Everglades rejoice as nature brings them the bounty of summer.  Frogs and fish are abundant and the wading birds and the little ground owls are growing fat. 
The light is fabulous, and makes the landscape come alive with color.  And if you're lucky, you'll catch a breeze under an awning or a palm, and at the end of a day see a magnificent sunset, reminding you how wonderful it is to live here.


Table Bouquet, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Table Bouquet, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
oil on board, 5"x7"

It's fascinating to me that most of the artists I know all see our world just a little differently.  I see the light in broad swaths, while one friend sees it in tiny dots, and another takes little notice of it perfering to emphasize colora movement.  One artist I know revels in painting exact replicas of a scene, while I prefer a looser interpretation of a subject.

 I'm usually drawn to subjects who's shape creates interesting negative spaces around it.   Negative space is the space surrounding the object, while the object itself is considered postive space.  

That's why the palm trees in the Everglades are such a wonderful subject for me.  Their fronds are bold against the sky, and their trunks are a strong vertical movement in a largely horizontal landscape. 

Today's little vase excites me in the same way.  Each branch, reaching out for space, is defining a negative space around it's edge, and each of these spaces are varied and interesting to me eye.  If the flowers were all in a ball shape, or I had to paint every petal, I wouldn't be nearly as interested in painting it!  
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