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John Modesitt
John Modesitt
May 18, 2024


John Modesitt1

  John Modesitt (American, 1955 – Present)


  This oil on canvas painting of a ‘High Sierra Mountain Lake’

  by John Modesitt measures 8” x 10” and is signed lower right, Modesitt.  The painting was purchased from a close

  personal friend of Modesitt’s who was selling a number of his smaller paintings

  that she had from him with dates ranging from 2000 to 2015.  The painting is in good condition with no

  defects or anything that distracts when viewing.  Modesitt, known for his Impressionist en

  plein air paintings of California vistas, coastal, and Sierra Nevada

  mountainscapes makes this beautiful ‘High Sierra Mountain Lake’ scene a

  quintessential example of his work.***Please note that the painting comes unframed***



  John Modesitt was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico on November

  6, 1955, but spent most of his early years in southern California. He started

  painting at the age of thirteen. His father’s poster collection of French

  Impressionist paintings was his initial inspiration to paint and draw. So, from

  early on, Modesitt knew that being an artist was going to be his life’s work. He

  attended a number a of institutions of higher learning in California, including

  Santa Barbara City College, the Santa Barbara Art Museum and Cabrillo City

  College in Santa Cruz.


  He moved to New York City in 1980 to study art more

  seriously. He was engaged in formal study at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

  from 1981 until 1984. While there, he became discouraged by the domination of

  modern art in the galleries and by the teachings of a non-disciplined approach

  to painting. Undeterred, Modesitt decided to improve his technique and

  aesthetic by studying the works of the master painters which lined the walls of

  the Metropolitan, particularly Monet.


  In the fall of 1985, Modesitt moved to the Midwest to enroll

  at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As he had done in New York,

  Modesitt again spent his time studying the collection of the Art Institute,

  especially the renowned paintings of such French masters as Manet, Monet,

  Pissarro and Renoir. In addition to painting outdoors on the Fox River, he also

  found time to teach a class en plein air painting.


  Modesitt returned to California in the early 1990’s and

  established a home and studio in Solana Beach. In 1999 Modesitt and his family

  established a summer residence, a 40 acres estate at Grisailles in the Burgundy

  District about four hours south of Paris. Whether in California or France,

  Modesitt is up early in the mornings and outside with his easel and canvas for

  plein-air painting. In California, he often travels to the deserts or the

  Sierra Nevada Mountains, which have been the content of some of his most recent

  works. "Mountains and seascapes are my favorite subjects. When I am

  searching for a location, I go beyond the developed areas to places where I can

  see nature 360 degrees around me.  No

  houses, highways, or commercial developments. Sometimes I spend days searching

  for a location to paint."


  He is a purist in every aspect of his art from composition,

  color and technique to the paint and canvas materials that he uses. For

  example, all of his pigments are hand ground to a formula and consistency that

  matches the palette of the early California impressionists.  He prepares his canvases (cotton or linen) by

  using a lead-based primer or Gesso. He then coats the surface with an archival

  safe varnish to assure that his artwork will last for many generations to come.

  Once primed the canvases are tinted to give them warmth and depth. "I am

  big on surface quality. Up close I want my paintings to have a rich surface of

  pigment handling, and as you move away into the distance color and composition

  give the subject a sense of rhythm and life.


  John Modesitt’s works are collected in both

  hemispheres from the Dali Lama in Tibet to art collectors in Las Vegas, Nevada.

  Modesitt has exhibited his works in one-man and group shows in Chicago, New

  York, Tokyo and many other national and international venues.  He continually pushes the limits of his

  talent in his never-ending search for perfection.

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