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


Care and feeding of your Muse, Evening Song daily painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Evening Song
acrylic on board, 5"x7"

I spent a lovely hour in a garden by the water last evening, with a little breeze and a friend, restorative and peaceful. It got me thinking about the care and feeding of my muse, needing attention after last months computer woes.

My muse is the Everglades, that vast, wet, humid, green and very unique bit of our still lovely planet. The Everglades have a defined role in the health of our world. Rains come in the summer. Multiple, heavy, soaking rains that saturate the ground, fill the marshes, lakes, and sloughs, and cover the ground in a shallow moving river. The rain brings renewed life to the region, starting a cycle of life that nurtures the estuaries and beyond.

The rains feed the life forms that love both fresh and brackish water, like the fringes of mangroves lining the shoreline. Fish flourish in this mix, and the young feed protected among the roots of the mangroves fringes, and grow to provide food for many species, including humans. Both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean benefit from this bounty of life.

As a muse, the Everglades wetlands and uplands provide me with endless artistic inspiration and exploration. On every visit I see something new and special. It may be the way the light hits a particular waterway, or the way a cloud teases the tops of the trees. Sometimes it's one of the elusive animals that delights me. My muse gives me a lot, and as a result, I want to do it justice.

To help sustain my muse, I've joined a few of the Everglades support groups. I've given donations of both paintings and financial support. In my studio I talk with people about the value of the land and often give visitors a map so they can go and see for themselves.

But most of all I painting the Everglades, almost exclusively. I paint them because exploring the strong forms, bold shapes and fantastic light interests me. My highest compliment is when someone tells me that I've opened their eyes to the beauty of the Everglades landscape. Whether working on site or in the studio, portraying my muse is a joy.

What's your muse, and how do you care for it?

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