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. Though he graduated with a BFA in Illustration from Art Center College of Design, his goal was always to paint outdoors.

Merrell was selected as one of six artists from around the world for a Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency in 2009. The following year he presented a solo exhibition at The Forbes Galleries in New York City, and in 2011, another solo exhibition at American Legacy Fine Arts in Pasadena. He has consistently exhibited for over a decade in the California Art Club’s Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition, currently held at The Autry National Center in Los Angeles.

After making a connection to California’s deserts over a decade ago, he has taken special pride in painting the color and light found in these stark and often overlooked arid lands. There is a mystery to these deserts during the day; even more so at night. Merrell has made a special focus of painting nocturnes on location – not only is it possible, but he feels that this is an area that is relatively unexplored, as technological advances now allow an artist to actually experience what moonlight looks and feels like, working from direct observation rather than from memory or other methods.

With a foot in both the ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ camps, Eric strives to combine the methods of the former with examples of individuality from the latter, using his own sense of color and design to create work that is singular and timeless. His works have been noted for their distinctive aesthetics and brushwork, developed over years of pursuing his personal vision.

Nocturnes, a short film about his approach and dedication to painting on location at night, was released in January 2016. Watch Nocturnes here. The film is currently being screened at festivals across the U.S. through the end of the year.


Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency
July & August 2009, Joshua Tree, CA


Signature Artist Member of the California Art Club


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


"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

"Nocturnes: The Paintings of Eric Merrell by Alec Ernest," Los Angeles Review of Books, 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, Emirates
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