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


Arts on Marco, and Palms by the Water daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Palms by the Water, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"
Things are finally calming down after a few very unsettling weeks.  I'm delighted to know that I will be in the studio/gallery at the Esplanade for another three years.  I just couldn't image having to start all over elsewhere! So now there's time to focus on other things.  
The new director of the Marco Center for the Arts has hit the ground running, and the center is now experiencing a renaissance.  There are a number of new activities for both artists and art lovers.  The upcoming Miami trip on May 31 should appeal to both groups, and will be a blast!  Guests will visit the new and special Perez Art Museum, (called PAMM by those in the know) and the Miami Museum of Contemporary Art.  A nice day trip by luxury motor coach  including lunch.  Space is filling up, so check it out and make your reservations now.  If you are a member of the Marco Center, you will get a discount until April 30, so don't delay!  Nice to have something happening in "off season."
If you can't make the trip, check out their redesigned website.  There are some wonderful choices for summer classes, including classes for children, in conjunction with Marco Parks and Rec. department.  You can sign up to get their emails so you'll know what's going on if you are interested in the arts on the island.  There are also new member opportunities, so if you are an artist who hasn't been a member for a while you may want to re-join. 
There's also a new arts alliance in the works called the Marco Island and Goodland Alliance for the Arts.   The organization of Marco's cultural groups, will including the Center for the Arts, MIHS the Goodland Alliance, MIFA, and the Marco Players and the Island Players.  Terrific to see them working together for the benefit of the arts!


Acrylic mediums, and Up to my Knees, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Up to my Knees, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"

Here's some information I'd written a while ago about acrylic mediums and never posted. I don't really like using them, because they feel a bit sticky to me, but have tried quit a few and insist my acrylic students do, too. 
I don't like working with mediums as they make the paint feel someone sticky or "plastic, but they do have some important uses to consider.  For those who like the paint to stay opened longer, a little medium is terrific.  It is also good for extending paint into large areas of the canvas, like some skies.  The most important reason to use a little now and then is to increase adherence.  This is especially important when you are using it with a lot of water.  A ratio of 50% water can cause the paint not to adhere properly, and just a little medium will ensure it stays in place. 
Acrylic mediums come in a choice of matte or gloss, and are the consistency of thick cream.  They are most usually made of acrylic binder, the same thing that holds the pigment together in your paints, and can act as a colorless paint.  Acrylic medium is works very well for glazing transparent or opaque paint, and can also be used as an isolating and protection layer on a finished painting. 

There are a number of gels available for use with acrylics, each with it’s own special use.  It’s fun to try these out now and then and when I hold a class I bring a number for students to try.  These can act as a binder for another additive, like sand, can thicken the paint to improve the retention of brush marks, and double the volume of paint with little loss of color. 

Additives, as opposed to mediums, do not contain binders, and  should not be overused without consideration for adherence.  After all, you want to make sure your textures last long into the future.  Using a little medium with the additive can extend your options while still being sure that the quality remains high. 

If you’re an acrylic painter, learn as much as you can about the additives available for your use.  Liquitex, my favorite brand, provides a handbook with detailed information about they’re mediums and additives.  This Guide can be read online or downloaded.


Lease, and Spring Morning, painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Spring Morning, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 8"x 10"

After being told by the landlord that my studio/gallery space was going to be leased to someone else even though I was a "model tenant," I've been given a reprieve. Barring any unforeseen issues, I'll soon be signing a new, three-year lease to stay at the Esplanade.  

In the interim I've thought of little else.  Every option was considered. Find space elsewhere. Paint at home and have a show now and then.  Join in with other artists. (thank you VERY much for the invitation!) Go back to outdoor shows or the Farmer's market.  Look for a gallery. Retire.  Retire?  Nothing felt quite right.  

In the end, keeping the studio/gallery was what seemed best for me, so I asked the landlord to reconsider this decision.  Upon receiving my business and marketing plan, financials, and a strongly worded plea, I was reconsidered as a tenant and approved for a three year lease.  It's not all roses, since the new lease is a tough one and I'll have to work very hard, but I'm comfortable that the decision is the right one.

So I'll sign the lease and be at the Esplanade for another three years.  Many thanks to all of you who comforted me, stood up for me, spoke up for me, called me, emailed me, helped with the financials, review the legal stuff, and generally supported my plea. It wouldn't have happened without YOU and I am most truly grateful for your support. 

Come in for some coffee and art chat.  I'll be at my easel!


Acrylic brushes, and Edge of the Gulf daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Edge of the Gulf, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5" Sold

I’ve been putting off talking about brushes because I treat mine so badly.  Hog Bristle is my brush of choice, and I often scrub with them and use them until they’ve been worn down into a whole new shape! 

Brushes come in many sizes and types.  Both synthetic and natural bristle brushes are great for acrylic, and each has its advantages.  Natural bristle brushes are best for soft edges and drybrush, and synthetics hold a lot of paint but  generally make harder edges.  I personally like brights, a rather square brush with shorter bristles because they’re a little stiffer than longer bristled flats, great for scrubbing, but as Emil Gruppe would say, “why pay for less, since you’ll eventually wear it down anyway!”  A couple of rounds are good too, since they are versatile and very responsive to your arm and hand movements in the early stages of a painting.  

As you become familiar with different brushes you will probably only use only a few favorites most of the time.  But for some people, it’s almost like shoes and you can never have enough.  If you do collect a few of each kind and you will occasionally find uses for most of them.  Before ordering brushes, go to an art supply store and hold and feel a number of brushes to see what feels best in your hand.  If you are just staring out, you can get by with a few flats and filberts, and a rigger, or thin, pointed brush for signing paintings. 

Start your block-out with the largest brush you can and work over the whole canvas.  You can decrease in brush size as the painting progresses.  It’s always a mistake to get tied up nitty-gritty small brush details before you have developed the underlying character of the painting.  


Flor500, and Joewood by Jo-Ann Sanborn

Joewood, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 12"x16"

This  painting was done for Flor500, a participatory project created by Miami artist Xavier Cortada, and combines art, nature, and a history project.  You can find out more about the project here.

As part of this project, 500 scientists named 500 wildflowers that grew in our state 500 years ago, and 500 artist were asked to depict them.  Joewood grows along the barrier islands in Collier County, and I chose it because if it's delicate flower and the name, similar to mine.

You can see the southwest Florida artists here.  I took number 376, and you can see the painting  and more about the flower here.

In conjunction with the Florida Native Plant Society Conference, the paintings will be on display at the FGCU gallery from May 17-June 13, with a reception on May 17.  Should be fun.  


Studio on the Esplanade, and Cold Day, daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Cold Day, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

After being offered a one-year lease for my Esplanade studio the past two years, it was a surprise when the Esplanade leasing agent requested a three or five year lease.  I thought it over carefully, and as Dreama Tolle Perry would say, put on my big girl panties, and responded positively to a three-year lease request.  

THEN, was totally taken aback to receive a phone call telling me that my lease would not be renewed.  Not because I'm not a good tenant--"you are a model tenant, I was told--but because Sunshine Studios did not "fit the profile" of the vision of some marketing people up in Maryland, where the owners of the Esplanade reside.  They think someone selling soft goods or sunglasses would be more appropriate in the space.  

I became mildly (wildly?) hysterical as undesirable options flashed through my brain. Where would I go?  Was it time to retire?  How could they evict me without even giving me first refusal? What about the Everglades? Didn't they see the value of art?  Didn't my gallery provide diversity and interest?  What to do, what to do?  

The space is a perfect size for one artist.  It's a good fit, and I love it.  I'm not ready to retire!  After 24 hours of weighing and rejecting a number of options, I visited some of the other Esplanade tenants and asked them if they appreciated having me as a neighbor, would they, please, put in a good word for me. They DID, and I'm very grateful to them.  Then I called the leasing agent and calmly requested a reconsideration of their decision.  

Granted.  Reprieve.  Now I'm busy writing a marketing plan to show that my being in the space makes sense for their business as well as my own.  It will be presented to unknown people in a far-away place as a request to become an exception to their plan. I've got my fingers crossed, and I'll keep you posted!  


900th Post! Journey, painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Journey, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
Oil on board, 8"x10"

When you get comfortable with the colors on your palette, know what to expect of each one, know how it will react with all the other colors you squeeze out for your working day, and exactly how it will mix, it’s time to add a new color to your palette.  Or perhaps try a whole new palette. 

An artist should never get too comfortable with any materials and methods that allow staying in a comfort zone for too long.  That’s not the job of an artist.  Experiment, try a color, method or material, think about your work with a fresh eye. Comfort equals complacency, and complacency stifles creativity. 

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I’ve been painting the Everglades for a long time now.  Still, after examining my motives, I know I’m not done yet.  I continually see new things, new colors, new forms.  The light continues to be fabulous,  and it intrigues and inspires me.   I don’t copy nature, my paintings come from something deep within me that resonates with this ancient landscape.  The day I feel complacent and the work becomes easy, I’ll try something new. 
I feel the same way about this blog.  I started writing in 2007, and today marks my 900th blog post!  When I started there was no Facebook and no Twitter.  Now I use social media to connect with my collectors, and both art and social friends.  But the blog is my web journal and I'm not ready to give it up completely.  I'm not as faithful as when I named it Jo-Ann Sanborn Daily -- what was I thinking??? Still, look for post 901 soon! 


Color Considerations, and Peaceful passage, daily painting by Everglades Artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Peaceful Passage, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

Color is everywhere today, more color than at any time in the past.  Everyone enjoys color in their home, clothes, and in the objects they use every day.  We relate colors to psychology, and most colors have both a negative and positive connotation.  The way you use color in your painting can set the tone or mood, and provide harmony.  

If you are a painter, considering what colors to use, you may choose a traditional color harmony, such as compliments, triad, or analogous colors, or you may look outside the traditional harmonies as you look for ways to establish a relationship between the objects in your painting.  Here are some points to help with color considerations:
          Color can lead you on a visual path

          Repeated colors can provide a rhythm in the painting

          Colors reflect on and off the objects around them

          Either warm or cool colors should be dominant a the painting

          Colors must support each other rather than clash

          Look for a dominant color, a secondary, and an accent in both color and value
Hope this helps with your color considerations! 


Don't be Fooled!

Pot of Purple, 2014, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7" 
I started painting the Everglades twenty years ago.  I fell in love with the light and the bold forms.  Lately I've notice a number of similar paintings, so that several people have mistaken other's paintings for mine.    While imitation is a sincere form of flattery, it also can infringe on copy right issues.  So here are some hints to help you determine an original Sanborn painting:

1.  The color harmonies and compositions that make up my work are unique.   If it doesn't have subtleties and nuances  it may not be and original Sanborn.

2.  I use high quality acrylics, (occasionally small oils) on archival canvas or hardboard, so your paintings will stand up to good use now and survive being handed down later.   


3.  My signature frames are almost always gold, unless you custom framing.

4.  "Sanborn" is singed on the front, and since 2005, on the back you'll find "j sanborn," the month and year of completion, and the paiting's title in black charcoal pencil

So, don't be fooled!
Thanks to the collectors and friends came to the season's final tea. The African Red Tea was quite popular. On my new new pin-up board at the studio/gallery there are photos of people with their Sanborn painting. If you want to join in, bring in a photo or send me one to add to the collection.  You'll get a bag with some special tea as long as they last.

As the season draws to a close, I'll miss the many friends and collectors who have visited the studio/gallery. Your kind compliments, and purchases of precious Everglades landscapes  have made me glad to be painting what I love the most.  Thank you!

Have a wonderful Spring, and take a moment to notice all of nature's small wonders!
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