jo ann manolis photography

Welcome to the blog of Jo Ann Manolis Photography! I’m a wedding, portrait, and fine art photographer based in Santa Cruz, CA. I’ve created this blog as a means of sharing my work and life with my clients, family, and friends. I’ll be updating it regularly with my latest work, thoughts and ideas regarding photography and art, and links to many fabulous artists and vendors. So, take a look around, enjoy, and leave me a message here if you’re inspired. I can also be reached directly by e-mail via my website:, or by phone at: (831)359-7948. Thanks for stopping by!

Category Archives: Blue Apple Studios

Announcing Two New Workshops at Blue Apple Studios!

Polaroid Transfers for Kids!

Every Monday in November (Nov. 3rd, 10th, 17th, & 24th) 4:30-6:00 PM

In this four-part workshop young artists will transform a series of their own photographs into classic and timeless Polaroid Transfer images. Each artist will prepare his/her own piece of wood and affix the images onto it. The end result will be a series of your child’s original images presented in a unique and beautiful way. There will be a heavy emphasis on the artistic process, series development, and finding a unique perspective through the camera’s lens. Watch your little artist branch out into a new medium and create something really special. Start looking for a space on your wall because these masterpieces will come home ready to hang! A digital camera of any kind is needed in order to participate. This workshop is recommended for ages 7 and up.

Workshop Fee (includes all supplies): $135.00

Polaroid Transfers for Parents!

Saturday, Nov. 15th and Sat, Nov. 22th. 10 AM-12 PM

This two-part workshop is for any parent who wants to turn family memories into works of art. Your three or four favorite family photographs will be transformed into Polaroid Transfers and affixed onto wood. The end result will be your special images with a stylish look and a vintage feel, beautifully presented and ready to hang. These pieces make wonderful family heirlooms or holiday gifts. Treat yourself to a few hours of creative fun this fall! A digital camera of any kind is needed in order to participate.

Workshop Fee (includes all supplies): $110.00

Both workshops will be taught by local photographer Jo Ann Manolis. Jo Ann works mostly in the digital world these days, but has yet to lose her love for Polaroid Transfers and other quirky yet beautiful film based mediums. She loves sharing these treasures with others!

Please contact Jo Ann to register for a workshop.

mobile: (831) 359-7948

Blue Apple Studios is an art house for kids. It is located in Redwood Village in Aptos, a few doors down from Surf City Coffee and right behind Piggy’s Market.

**Spaces in both workshops are limited in order for artists to receive individual attention and assistance.  Both workshops will most likely fill up quickly, so please contact me if you’re interested and I’ll add you to the list!


Blue Apple Studios ~ fall classes!

I just found out that I’ll be at Blue Apple Studios teaching classes again this fall. Yeah! The details aren’t finalized yet, but I’ll announce the class dates and times next week. Look for more Polaroid transfer classes for kids as well as a special workshop for parents. We’re also kicking around ideas for a Holga class…oooh yeah! Good stuff on the way!

Blue Apple Studios: Class this Friday.

A reminder to Blue Apple artists and their parents: The last Polaroid Transfer class of the session will take place this coming Friday (April 11th) at the usual time. Please bring any mixed media materials that you’d like to use for your final project. I will have everyone’s slides ready. I look forward to seeing all of you again and can’t wait to see your finished projects…see you on Friday!

I’ll be posting images of the artist’s final projects early next week, so check back!

Blue Apple Studios Week 4: Warhol-Inspired Project

I’m a bit behind on my posts this week as I’m getting ready to leave for the WPPI convention in Las Vegas (more on that tomorrow).

For now, I’d like to backtrack and post some of last week’s images from the Polaroid Transfer class that I’m teaching at Blue Apple Studios. Last week, each artist worked with his/her series of transfers and altered each one…enough so that each image looked different, but without losing the feel of the original image.

As an example, I shared Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe images with the class. We talked about how, at a glance, the images all look identical. As we looked closer, however, each image was different. Sometimes Marilyn’s eye shadow was simply in a different place, sometimes her lips were black instead of red, and sometimes the entire image was a darker tone. I encouraged the artists to be as obvious or subtle as they wanted, but to make sure that the viewer could still recognize that the original images in the series were the same.

I thought I’d also mention that the following images were all actually photographed by the artists.

Isabel’s before:

And after:

A closer look:



The watercolor paint “spilling” out of the frame really adds to this one!

Beau’s before:

And after:

Amazing colors!




Ethan’s before:

and after: Ethan’s mom whisked this piece away to be framed!

I love that Ethan chose not to alter the first image in his series, as it is simply gorgeous. The truth is that none of these images really need altering, but it’s always fun to push things and to see where it leads…



Gabby’s before:

and after:

I really like the way that this series flows.




This photograph by Lauren makes a simply stunning Polaroid Transfer:

Tune in next week to see how Lauren adds her Warhol touch to this series:

This image is a photograph of Austin’s cat. In Photoshop, we cropped it to just a patch of fur on the cat’s head. I can’t wait to show you what becomes of this abstract piece!

I cannot express how much I’ve been enjoying teaching this class, I look forward to Fridays even more now! Check back next week to see more work by more artists!

Blue Apple Studios: week 3

I’m just now posting some images from last Friday’s class. It was an exciting one because the artists were able to work with their own images. I sent their digital images to, an online company that turns jpegs and other digital files to slides. ( did an awesome job and the turnaround time was impressive. I highly recommend them if anyone is looking for this service!) Using the slide of their images, the artists went to work making transfers. Here is what they came up with:

Beau took this image at Land of Medicine Buddha

…and reproduced it five times in a row here!

I love this image that Ethan captured…

…and I also love the way that he stacked them up here. (Pay no attention to my fingers in this shot, and don’t worry…I am a complete professional;)

Gabby’s red flowers really “pop”.

She intentionally made the emulsion pull off in the last image in this series, which I thought was really cool.

And Isabel’s daffodil, I love the composition of this one, it is so graphic and fun.


Gillian used one of my slides, but will be doing her own soon, I really like the fact that two are upside-down, another happy accident. We’ll be working further with these multiple images this coming Friday. I cannot give the project away in its entirety, but…..think Andy Warhol!

We had some time left over, so we did a little experimanting. Isabel found that transfers look awesome on paper towels!exp1.jpg

We also experimented with manipulating the images by dragging and/or twisting them as we transfered them onto the paper.

I love this one, it came out looking like a watercolor painting.

Impressive, huh? Check back next week for the results of our “image series” projects!

Blue Apple Studios: week 2


This Friday we took our transfer samples from the first class and added to them with watercolor and acrylic paints, fabric, wire, beads, and other found objects. The assignment (and I use this term loosely) was to alter or add to their image without completely losing its essence. I wanted the artists to experiment and to see how far they could push things while keeping some of the feel for the original image. I’ve also been doing the projects myself so as to provide examples of what can be done (and I admit, because it’s really, really fun!)

This was the transfer image that I did as an example on the first class, a hibiscus flower from a trip to Mexico a few years ago:

And this is what it turned into. I used watercolor paint, found objects, a needle and thread and images of Mexican art and maps in order to tie it all together and create a theme. orig2_w2.jpg

I encouraged the artists to just go with their instincts and not to worry too much about the end result as this was meant to be experimental. They dove in without reservation and I was blown away once again. Here are some examples of their work:


The fabric is beautifully pieced together in this one, creating a really cool effect.

Here is a perfect example of the artist “going for it”

These photos don’t do them justice, but the detail on the next 2 pieces is unbelievable.


I love the simple and graphic elements of this one.

It was fun seeing the artists either match, compliment, or juxtapose texture and color with the original images.


I love the brushstrokes on this one.

A fabulous example of symmetry that works really, really well. These transfers were cut out and pasted onto a larger piece of paper.

Santa Cruz, aahhhh…

The depth in the painting on this one is amazing.

This artist chose to cut out images from his transfers, paste them onto a separate piece of paper, and create a collage with paint. I love this piece’s color palate and imagination.

As I said, I was blown away. Next week the artists will be working with images that they themselves captured. Check back in a week for this coming Friday’s report!

First Class at blue Apple Studios

I’ve decided to do a weekly blog post on the Polaroid Transfer class that I’m teaching at Blue Apple Studios. This way, the artists and their families can see their work online. Also, an online diary of the class will give my blog readers a feel for the creative process at work, which is a truly amazing thing. Look for the Blue Apple posts within the first half of each week for the next 5 weeks. I’m really excited to see where this class takes us!

Friday marked our first class. The artists caught on incredibly quickly and ended up producing three samples each (I had planned for one or two). We had a really good time and I was blown away by the results:

We hung the samples up to dry. I loved how elegant they looked displayed in this way.




Here are some quick shots of individual pieces. I love the antiquated and exotic look of this one:

…And the texture of this one:

Bright colors like orange and red really pop out on Polaroid Transfers.

All of these transfers were made using slides of photographs that I’ve taken over the years. The artists will be using their own images next. I’m excited to see what they come up with. The following three images are of Mayan Ruins in Tulum, Mexico.



And some flora from around the world:


I absolutely love the emulsion peel on this one. This is a perfect example of something that can never, ever be duplicated.

I’ve been experimenting with some future projects for class and I wanted to share. I took a photograph of the Blue Apple Studios sign with my digital camera. Using Photoshop, I cropped it to a 3×8 inch image and then divided this into 4 parts and had slides made. I then pieced the images together onto printmaking paper, re-creating the sign in Polaroid Transfers!

This was the original image that I used:

Our next step will be altering the above pieces with paint and other mediums. Check back to see the evolution of these samples!