As a native Californian, Eric Merrell spent his formative years on both East and West Coasts. Early art classes in Northern California preceded art school, which he attended first in Philadelphia and later in Pasadena. After graduating from Art Center College of Design, he jumped wholeheartedly into outdoor painting.

Merrell was selected for a Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency in 2009 where he spent two summer months painting in the desert. In 2010 he presented a solo exhibition in New York City, and another the following year in Pasadena, CA. He was recently awarded a 2019 Artist Residency from the Mojave National Preserve Artist Foundation.

After making a connection to California’s vast deserts nearly fifteen years ago, the color and light found in these quiet and often overlooked arid lands have provided endless inspiration for the artist. There is a mystery to these places during the day which only increases at night; as a result, desert nocturnes have become a significant part of his oeuvre.

Merrell’s work has been exhibited at The Autry Museum of the American West, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, and in the Coors Western Art Exhibition in Denver, among others. He has consistently exhibited for over a decade in the California Art Club’s Annual Gold Medal Exhibition.

Merrell continues to follow his own course, creating work that is rooted in and inspired by our contemporary world, but is not bound by formula or category. His paintings have been noted for their distinct aesthetics and use of color, which are common threads throughout the work - whether depicting an urban metropolis, a portrait, or solitude in the vast desert night, they stand apart.


Near White Tank1.jpg


Mojave National Preserve Artist Foundation (2019)
Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency (2009)


California Art Club, Signature Artist Member



Art Center College of Design (2018)
Annual Desert Workshops (2011-present)
CSU Summer Arts (CSU Fresno, 2011; CSU Monterey Bay, 2015)
Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art (2004-2009)

Nocturnes, a short film about Eric's approach and dedication to painting the mystery of night, was released in January 2016. Watch Nocturnes here.


Lone Star Film Festival, Fort Worth, TX, Nov 10 – 13, 2016
St. Louis International Film Festival, St. Louis, IL, Nov 3 – 13, 2016
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Hot Springs, AR, Oct 7-16, 2016
Alameda International Film Festival, Alameda, CA, Oct 7 – 9, 2016
Tacoma Film Festival, Tacoma, WA, Oct 6 – 13, 2016
Great Lakes International Film Festival, Erie, PA, Sept 22 – Oct 1, 2016
Joshua Tree International Film Festival, Joshua Tree, CA,  Sept 16 – 18, 2016
Atlanta Underground Film Festival, Atlanta, GA, Aug 19 – 21, 2016
DocuWest International Film Festival, Denver, CO, May 11 – 15, 2016
RAW Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA, April 24, 2016


"A Sense of Wonder," by Norman Kolpas, Southwest Art, June 2018

"Still Life: Eric Merrell Looks at the Orange and Agave," by Ann Japenga, CaliforniaDesertArt.com, February 6, 2017

"While the World Sleeps an Artist Paints the Moonlit Desert," by Priscilla Frank, Huffington Post, January 2016


"Is Plein Air in Moonlight Possible?" by Eric Merrell, Artists on Art, Issue 17, January 2016

“Seeing Color in the Desert,” by Eric Merrell, International Artist magazine, Aug/Sept 2014, p56-63

“On Seeing Color in the Desert,” by Eric Merrell, CaliforniaDesertArt.com, May 2014


Bette Ann Albert, Colorado Springs, CO
Loretta Basey, Los Angeles, CA
Christian Brenckmann, Houston, TX
Rick Casali, Annapolis, MD
Bruno & Lisa Cavelier, South Pasadena, CA
Sybil Davis, Malibu, CA
Kevin Fisher, New York City, NY
Terri & Fran Flanagan, Pacific Palisades, CA
Christopher Forbes, New York City, NY

Michael & Janet Fourticq, Los Angeles, CA
Frederick Fulmer & Jim Berg, Joshua Tree, CA
Morgan Gray, Berkeley, CA
Logan Maxwell Hagege, Culver City, CA
George Hagerty, Denver, CO
Don & Cathey Humphreys, Dallas, TX
Pamela & Thomas Ingwers, San Diego, CA
Loren & Sheryl Katzenberger, Belgrade, MT
Diana & Warren Loomis, Pasadena, CA

Paul Messerly & Mika Horiike, Sherman Oaks, CA
Mr. & Mrs. Mohammed Mohebi, U.A.E.
Catherine Parr, Los Angeles, CA
Paul Rawley, Palm Desert, CA
Charles & Eileen Read, Pasadena, CA
Tom Redfield, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Robert & Shelly Reisch, Pasadena, CA
Mark Sellers, Philadelphia, PA
Ann Wolfe, Rockport, MA