Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday's Treasures & Things

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 Santa Barbara, California. 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.

I meandered around Solvang, bought some books in Swedish, some food, and had wonderful coffee and Danish pastries in a lovely cafĂ©. 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.


  1. That picture draws you right in. How wonderful that every time you look at it, you can remember a man who became an instant friend.

  2. What a pleasant memory and the painting is really a treasure! I don't know why, but the name is familiar.

  3. Louise: The painting is small, but you get the sense of a large mountain and big weather.

    Sharon: Of course it is impossible to Google someone with a name like St. John. I used the book title to find him. You may want to click on the link I provided to read more about him. He painted murals in Florida and lived in the South too.

  4. That was so interesting Inger, a lovely memory. xxx

  5. How nice! It's great when we can go back to a specific time and place and remember that good feeling we shared with someone.
    That painting looks huge and certainly gives one the impression of the place.

  6. I see swirling thougts....Do I make any sense?

  7. Inger what a lovely picture and story to go with it ~ and such a lovely memory ~ Ally x

  8. Very nice... and I was really wowed by his beautiful handwriting!

  9. Tracey: Yes, it is lovely. The memory.

    Jabacue: The painting is small, but the mountain is huge and so is the storm. At least that's how I see it.

    Liesl: Yes, it could be thoughts too.

    Ally: It's nice to have something to remember that day by.

    Chambray Blue: Can you believe that handwriting. After I googled him, I learned he was 72 at the time. No shaky hands there.

  10. I also love his handwriting! Lovely painting and story.

  11. OH I so love the foggy hilside painting.

    As a NW girl I know the feeling well to be up someplace and only have "low clouds" as a friend

    I have seen many a hike with only gray rocky slope as the view.

  12. Sometimes we just never know where our adventures will lead us -- how wonderful that you found a kindred spirit in that little community. His paintings are lovely -- I'm sure you do treasure both the art and the memorable experience.

  13. Farmchick: Thank you.

    Upupaepops: I'm so glad you like the painting.

    Nancy: That's what is so much fun about traveling alone I always thought when I was younger.

  14. Lovely! What a wonderful memory. :)

  15. So glad you have these special memories to go with your lovely painting.


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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