The Rancho Santa Fe Post

Painting the 'Old California' Style of Rancho Santa Fe

What could be more enjoyable than to paint on location in the manner of the French Impressionists right here in beautiful Rancho Santa Fe?!

With the abundance of Eucalyptus trees and sage covered hills, RSF has that “Old California” feel, perfect for artists to capture the essence of what originally attracted the early 19th century painters.

In fact, the turn of the century artists that painted outdoors were coined the “Eucalyptus School” painters. Maurice Braun, Guy Rose, and a handful of other prominent painters painted this area.

“I enjoy painting RSF because it has a lot of the elements that make a painting pleasing to look at, especially eucalyptus trees. At certain times of the year, and, depending on the amount of rainfall, you can get lucky and still find patches of lupines or poppies, presenting the perfect subject matter,” states John Modesitt, a local artist.

“Even if you have never painted before, go ahead, take a sketch book or some watercolors outdoors and sit in the sun and give it a try. RSF is the perfect environment to do so.”

“The key,” Modesitt claims, “is to keep it simple.” He says it gets complicated when you bring a lot of equipment and twenty tubes of the newest colors of paint.

"When I teach, I always explain that students should keep it simple and then work toward more difficult subjects. Instead of attempting to paint a large vista with trees and buildings, simply try painting a single eucalyptus tree with the surrounding sage. Most importantly, have fun!” he says.

Modesitt paintings can be seen at the RSF Club House.