Accomplished impressionist painter to hold exhibit in Solana Beach


From the coast of California to the mountains of Montana, John Modesitt’s paintings showcase scenic surroundings from across the United States and around the world. Much of his work features the quaint villages of France, where the longtime Solana Beach painter lives part-time.

“There’s still an old feeling of the Old World era,” said Modesitt, an impressionist painter who has lived with his wife in Solana Beach for more than 20 years. “The smells, the sounds, the birds, the wind, the trees — you get all those ingredients together and it makes a beautiful symphony of nature. That’s what inspires me. It’s so quaint.”

Modesitt developed his love of Impressionism at an early age. Although his father worked as a nuclear physicist, he was passionate about art and had a poster collection of French impressionist paintings, which fascinated Modesitt as a young child.

Modesitt went on to spend decades studying Impressionism, a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists.

“Painting in an impressionist style actually expresses the emotional impact you have when you’re there,” Modesitt said. “So when somebody looks at my work, they get the feeling of what it’s like to be there.”

Modesitt began studying art at Santa Barbara City College under painter Robert Frame. By the early 1980s, he moved to the East Coast to learn about the work of renowned impressionist painters featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Since then, Modesitt’s work has also been displayed on walls across the world. His paintings have been featured at the Butler Institute of American Art Museum, the New Britain Museum of American Art, and the auction rooms of Christie’s in New York, London and Paris.

Currently, Modesitt’s paintings are displayed in the Waterhouse Gallery in Santa Barbara. His work will also be featured in an upcoming exhibit at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.

But Modesitt’s favorite time of year is when he welcomes the public to view his work at his studio, which is located in his Solana Beach home.

In September, Modesitt is holding a weeklong exhibit, his first since the three-day show he held in February.

“The best thing about this show is people get to visit my studio, they get to see works in progress, they get to see all my materials and they get to ask questions,” Modesitt said. “And I get to meet new people, which is really nice.”

His latest exhibit will feature California and Montana landscapes, but much of it will feature the quaint villages of France he is most inspired by. He spent about three weeks in May painting along the shores of Loire, the longest river in France, where he captured springtime in the European country.

“I want people to fall in love with the places they see on my canvases,” he said. “They’re going to want to go there.”

Modesitt’s latest exhibit will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 13-19 at his home.

If you are interested in viewing the collection, call Modesitt at 858-232-8906 or email him at For more information about Modesitt and his art, visit