Artist to showcase international paintings in Solana Beach home


From the California coast to the French countryside, John Modesitt travels across the country and around the world to paint scenic surroundings.

“I get restless and need new scenes,” said Modesitt, who has lived with his wife, Toshiko, in Solana Beach for more than 20 years. “There’s a lot to see.”

Beginning Valentine’s Day, Modesitt is holding a five-day exhibit, his first since his weeklong September show. The latest exhibit will feature about 50 new paintings, inspired by his late fall and early winter excursions.

Modesitt recently spent about a month traveling through France. He painted the French countryside and canals from the Loire Valley to Burgundy, and from the French Alps to the Swiss Alps. After returning to the U.S., he spent two weeks painting the coast of California and the mountains of Colorado and Montana.

“If you like Impressionism, you’re going to love this show,” Modesitt said. “It’s going to be a major exhibition.”

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

“Impressionism is all about the light,” Modesitt said. “Painting outdoors and the impressionist techniques that I use — it’s the only way you can get a feeling of light and atmosphere.”

Modesitt began studying art at Santa Barbara City College under painter Robert Frame. By the early 1980s, he had 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.

Modesitt’s paintings are on display in the Waterhouse Gallery in Santa Barbara. His work is also featured in a group show at the Olaf Wieghorst Museum in El Cajon.

Modesitt’s favorite time of year, however, is when he welcomes the public to view his work at his studio, which is in his Solana Beach home. Modesitt typically holds two home-based shows each year. His latest will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 14-18.

“These paintings have never been seen before,” he said. “This show has a lot of color and energy and hope.”

At 3 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, he will do a painting demonstration, relying mostly on his imagination. The painting will be available for auction with proceeds benefiting the winning bidder’s charity of choice.

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