Solana Beach artist to hold exhibit

By Kristina Houck

John Modesitt grew up in Southern California, but he finds his inspiration in France. The Solana Beach artist lives part-time in the European country to paint the scenic surroundings.

“The beauty is just overwhelming,” said Modesitt, an impressionist painter. “It’s so inspiring. Artists, writers, musicians get inspired.”

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.

“He loved art and always wanted to be an artist, but he ended up being a nuclear physicist,” Modesitt said. “So when I wanted to be an artist, he was very encouraging.”

Like his father, Modesitt was fascinated by impressionist art.

“With all of the paintings — you feel like you want to be there,” said Modesitt, who has lived with his wife in Solana Beach for more than 20 years. “I want to be there. There’s no stress there.”

Modesitt has spent decades studying Impressionism, a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists.

He 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.

“I was basically self-taught through studying in museums,” he said.

Modesitt’s work, too, is 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.

“I hope people take inspiration from my work,” Modesitt said. “That’s really what art is all about. It should uplift and inspire.”

Some of Modesitt’s work showcases California landscapes, but much of it features the quaint villages of France.

In the last two years, he has spent several months painting on the shores of Loire, the longest river in France. A few dozen of these pieces will soon be shipped to public and private collections overseas. Before the paintings leave his Solana Beach studio, Modesitt is inviting the public to view the collection.

The exhibit will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 14-16 at Modesitt’s home.

“All of these paintings will end up spread around the world and never grouped together again,” Modesitt said. “Come over and enjoy them while they are here.”

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