I sat in bed Saturday morning and wondered what I should write about in this week's Tuesday's Treasure post. Then I happened to look at my John St. John painting on the wall and thought: That's a treasure that deserves a post of its own. This is the story of how the painting came to be here with me:
In the spring of 1983, I drove up to Solvang, the small Danish town (and tourist trap) in the Santa Ynez Mountains above
. I imagine I wanted to get away from LA for a few days and get a taste of Danish pastries and Swedish culture and food. These are the mountains where President Reagan's ranch was located and later Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. Santa Barbara, California
I meandered around Solvang, bought some books in Swedish, some food, and had wonderful coffee and Danish pastries in a lovely café. Then I came upon a bright and modern art gallery and wandered in. The owner was the artist John St. John and he was the only one there. I instantly fell in love with his art. His oil paintings of mountains, clouds, and sky were wonderful. We started to talk and somehow became instant friends. He was an old man by then, somewhere in his 70s I would guess, and had a bad heart. He did not look well, but was still so full of life. He had that wonderful spirit and appreciation for life and for each day that you find in creative people.
I must have spent a couple of hours in there and we talked about art, about his life, my life and we connected in a special way, I felt. I decided I had to own one of his paintings and I bought the small one that now hangs on my bedroom wall. And now, every time I look at it, I remember that day and that wonderfully alive and interesting old man, John St. John.
Before I left, he gave me this book of his art, called Visions of Reality in oil paintings.
Inside, he wrote this and dated it, May 15, 1983.
He was a very, very special man and his paintings are truly beautiful. After I Googled him, I found out that many people enjoyed their visits to his art gallery and their conversations with him. If you are interested you can read more about him here.