Classes

Master Workshops: Pasadena, Carmel and More

Why should an artist paint on location? How do I know what to paint? How do I create personal work that stands out?

I hope you'll join me for a few workshops that I'll be teaching this October in the Pasadena area, and we'll work on answering those questions. I'm especially looking forward to the Seeing at Night class, as we'll be focused on how to paint on location at night. I think this will be unique, as not many artists work on location to paint nocturnes - I'll show my approach that allows you to see REAL subtlety and color, not invented color.

The Water That Is Entirely Jewels 11" x 14", © Eric Merrell

The Water That Is Entirely Jewels 11" x 14", © Eric Merrell

LANDSCAPE PAINTING, October 4-6, 2013 (3 days)

SEEING AT NIGHT, October 12-13, 2013 (2 days)

I've also partnered with Carmel Visual Arts to do a 3-day workshop in Carmel:

PLEIN AIR ALONG THE SEA, November 9-11, 2013 (3 days) Register here

And if you've been following my California desert workshops, I've just scheduled the 3rd Annual workshops for both Anza-Borrego and Joshua Tree. There aren't many workshops taught in either place, and my experience painting on location in the desert will help to bring the classes to great locations and have a great experience.

3RD ANNUAL ANZA-BORREGO LANDSCAPE PAINTING WORKSHOP, March 14-16, 2014 (3 days)

3RD ANNUAL JOSHUA TREE LANDSCAPE PAINTING WORKSHOP, April 11-13, 2014 (3 days)

Painting Workshop in Joshua Tree

I held my second landscape painting workshop of the year in Joshua Tree during April, a beautiful time to be in the desert. Rain has been pretty sparse the last couple of years, so the annual wildflower bloom was pretty much nil in both the high and low deserts, but the cacti and Joshua Tree are pretty dependable for producing some showy flowers. I've been to the JT area numerous times, but there are always new places to explore and paint. Once you become familiar with different areas, you start to notice differences in elevation, plant life, and color.

We began the workshop at Hidden Valley. I chose a few different locations throughout the high-desert section of the park that would provide different landscapes to paint - open vistas full of Joshua trees, areas packed with huge monzogranite boulders, and mountaintop views of the Coachella Valley and Salton Sea. Even the color of the soil varies from place to place. After painting all morning, the class would take a 3-4 hour lunch break to relax, heading back to hotels or into town for a sandwich. Though we didn't encounter too much wind or heat, the intense light really tires out your eyes, so a siesta is crucial. When we returned in the afternoon after a good rest, everyone was ready to jump back into painting. I began each afternoon session with another demo, same as the morning, and we would paint until sunset. The town of Joshua Tree is not that far off the beaten track (much more established than the sleepy town of Borrego Springs), so we would gather in the evening to eat at one of the good restaurants in town, chat about art, check email, or do a little grocery shopping for a BBQ.

During Day 2 we painted in Lost Horse Valley in the morning and spent the afternoon at Quail Springs. I had initially planned for us to paint at Key's View, a spectacular lookout with views over the Coachella Valley including the San Andreas Fault, the Salton Sea, and San Jacinto, but after we arrived the wind nearly blew us off the precipice. We enjoyed the view for a few minutes before we retreated back down to lower elevations to paint.

Our timing was perfect for nocturnes - the full moon was due to rise just a few days after the workshop ended, so during the workshop weekend a bright moon would already be in the night sky by the time it was dark. I had arrived in the desert a few days before the start of the workshop so I was able to paint a few nocturnes, but after painting all day during the class we just never had enough energy. There was quite an interest in trying to paint the moonlight though, so I'm going to be planning a nocturne-only workshop in the near future. Bookmark this page on my website for upcoming workshop news.

After a very productive workshop and informal critique, we headed out for dinner at Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace, a must if you're going anywhere near Joshua Tree. They feature live music most nights and the food is awesome. The Santa Maria tri-tip BBQ is always hot, and the bowl of chili is amazing. A good evening to wrap up a solid couple of days painting in the Joshua Tree desert.

Painting Workshop in the Anza-Borrego Desert

I've just returned from a week of painting and teaching in California's Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. This was the second 3-day workshop I've taught there, and was excited to return. I love this part of the desert, and this trip afforded me a little more time to explore and paint a few new locations. I also painted a few more nocturnes on location, something that has to be experienced. Even with less than a quarter moon, color temperatures and shapes are apparent, and there is also starlight to see by. NOTE: If you missed this trip, I'll be teaching another 3-day workshop in Joshua Tree next month, April 19-21, 2013.

Each day began with the importance of using your sketchbook - finding what your piece will be about, drawing thumbnail sketches and writing about them. I'm not interested in copying the landscape, but rather finding what it is that excites me about the location. I see painting as a way to dig a little deeper, to try a little harder.

I began with a demo in the morning and did another after lunch. I want everyone in the workshop to come away with a structure or process that they can use to interpret the landscape when they're working on their own. We talked about color, value, shapes, materials, umbrellas, and many other items of concern to artists working outdoors.

We started early each morning while it was still cool, painting until 1 pm or so, and then took a 2-hour lunch and siesta. After the rest, we'd get back out on location for the afternoon. For most folks who haven't painted on location before, one thing they don't realize is how physically and mentally demanding it is. This trip also sprouted a new tradition of starting the afternoon session with ice cream. At the end of a full day of painting, we'd gather for a good dinner at a local restaurant to relax and discuss painting.

I selected three different locations around the park that provided three different types of landscape, with a variety of underbrush, cacti, and change in elevation.

On the last day we created a little shade and held a critique to talk about the work everyone had produced. I'm always glad when I see such a sharp improvement over a short period of time, and there was a notable jump in seeing and painting color in each student's work over the three days. Though we were pretty tired when we departed at the end of the workshop, I think everyone seemed pleased with their efforts and had a sketchbook full of new ideas to put into practice in their own future work.

If you're interested in learning to see and paint color on location, I'll be teaching another 3-day workshop in Joshua Tree next month, April 19-21, 2013. Sign up here: http://ericmerrell.com/workshops.html

The Fine Art Collaborative

Still Life Workshop With the Fine Art Collaborative thefac2012.com Saturday, June 2, 2012 Randy Higbee Gallery, 102 Kalmus Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Irises, 20" x 20", © Eric Merrell

Irises, 20" x 20", © Eric Merrell

These two paintings will be exhibited at the Randy Higbee Gallery in conjunction with the 3 days of workshops and lectures this weekend, June 1-3, 2012. I'll be teaching a still life workshop on Saturday. Some of the artists I'll be working alongside of include Frank Gardner, Logan Hagege, Glenn Dean, Dan McCaw, John Asaro, and Ray Roberts.

Holding Water, 11" x 14", © Eric Merrell

Holding Water, 11" x 14", © Eric Merrell

Still Life Painting Workshop (FAC)

STILL LIFE PAINTING WORKSHOP(in conjunction with The Fine Art Collaborative) I'm looking forward to this great collaboration of artists and instructors coming this summer. Organized by The Fine Art Collective, numerous workshops and lectures will be held over three days by many familiar names, including these folks: John Asaro, Glenn Dean, Frank Gardner, Logan Hagege, Ignat Ignatov, Stacy Kamin, Dan McCaw, Peggi Kroll Roberts, Ray Roberts and myself.

DATES: Saturday, June 2, 2012, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. LOCATION: Randy Higbee Gallery, Costa Mesa, CA COST: $130 INFO: A one day outdoor still life painting workshop in Costa Mesa, including instructor demo and student painting time. TO REGISTER: Visit www.ericmerrell.com or www.thefac2012.com for more information

Painting Workshop in the CA High Desert

No Man Is An Island (Joshua Tree National Park), 10" x 11", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

During the week of Sept. 19-23, 2011, I'll be leading a painting workshop in the California desert where we will explore and paint the unique light of world-famous Joshua Tree National Park. Lodging in comfortable and affordable cabins at a rustic B&B in Joshua Tree, CA (5 minutes from the Park entrance), we'll make daily excursions into the Park to paint the different areas of immense beauty.

If you've never been to the desert, it is simply spectacular. The more time one spends in the desert, the more it opens itself to you and the more you'll see. And, although it sounds remote, there are plenty of modern conveniences nearby in town. On at least one night we'll venture over to the famous Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace for dinner in Pioneertown. This is an experience you'll never forget!

The temperature averages for September in Joshua Tree range from 97°F during the day to 64°F at night - not too different from Los Angeles at the same time of year. The days will be organized to avoid the warmest part of the day: We'll paint in the morning, take a break during the warmest part, and continue painting in the afternoon. This is also a spectacular time of year for desert sunsets.

Limited to 10 students, the workshop is $500 for five full days of painting (Individuals are responsible for accommodations, food, supplies, etc.) Make your reservations today by sending me an email.

Accomodations: The Desert Lily B&Bhttp://www.thedesertlily.com/ Carrie Yeager, Owner P. O. Box 139 Joshua Tree, California 92252-0800 (760) 366-4676

Check out the different cabins and rates on their website above. The cabins are cozy and comfortable, but if you bunk with a couple of others, it works out to about $180 - $300 for six nights, and the seventh night is free! That's $18 - $42 per night! Please call the B&B directly to make arrangements, and mention that you're part of the painting workshop.

CSU Summer Arts Workshop

July 11-15, 2011 - Representing the Figure: Drawing and Painting
I'll be one of four instructors this summer at CSU Fresno Summer Arts program presenting painting workshops along with F. Scott Hess, Yu Ji, and Samantha Minear.

Though the title focuses on the figure as a subject, we'll also be focusing on still life and landscape in my class. These workshops are open to anyone - you don't need to be enrolled in the CSU system to participate, and there are many opportunities for scholarships available.

For more info, click the image above for a larger version or click here.

The New Year @ LAAFA

The winter semester at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art in Van Nuys, California starts next month, and the Landscape Painting Class will be in full swing again beginning Saturday, January 16th, 2010. The class runs for eight consecutive Saturdays, and class size is kept small so students will receive plenty of individual instruction. LAAFA is offering an Early Bird Special if you sign up before January 4, 2010.

In these classes you will learn how to paint what you see, not what you think you see. Learn how to interpret in terms of paint, using light and color to create form. Color relationships, design/composition, simplifying, and the benefits of painting on location will be discussed, as well as how to design and build a painting that carries an emotional impact. Make an investment in your art – gain confidence and knowledge that will inspire all areas of your creativity.

At the Edge (The San Gabriels), 16" x 16", Oil on panel, Private Collection, © Eric Merrell

As artists, we need to be able to interpret what we see and understand what we paint. Ample time is given to demos by the instructor as well as individual painting time. All experience levels are welcome. Limited space is available – call 818/708-9232 or visit www.laafa.org to register your space today!

For more information, please visit www.ericmerrell.com and click on Workshops.

Upcoming Workshops and Paint-Outs

thewindowsglow_s The Windows Glow, 18" x 24", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

VAGlogo

On Sunday, October 25, I'll be painting with the Valley Artists Guild at Topanga Canyon State Park from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. The Valley Artists Guild was founded in 1948 by the sculptor Henry Van Wolf (1898–1982). If you're in the area please stop by and join us. Check out their October Newsletter.

LAAFA

The new Fall schedule begins soon at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art (LAAFA). If you've been wanting to sign up for the landscape class, this is your chance. It runs for 8 consecutive Saturdays beginning this weekend on October 3 from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Visit their website or call 818/708-9232. More class info here.

These classes will show you how to paint what you see, not what you think you see. Learn how to interpret nature in terms of paint, using light and color to create form. Become more proficient at mixing and painting color relationships, design/composition, simplifying, gain from painting on location, as well as creating a painting that has something to say. Make an investment in your art – gain confidence and knowledge that will inspire all areas of your creativity. All levels of experience are welcome.

Exhibition of California Landscape Paintings; LAAFA

pinkham-stillness Daniel W. Pinkham, Stillness, 36" x 30", Oil on board, © Daniel W. Pinkham; Exhibited at the George H. Maxwell House, Pasadena

adams-peter-force-of-light_s

Peter Adams, Force of Light, 30" x 40", Oil on board, © Peter Adams; Exhibited at the George H. Maxwell House, Pasadena

If you happen to be in Pasadena with a little time to spare, check out the on-going (free) exhibition at the historic George H. Maxwell House, 55 South Grand Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105 (Or, see a virtual tour of the rooms - my painting is in the "Library Room-The Bar"). Located literally two blocks from the Norton Simon Museum, the exhibition is comprised of about 20-25 paintings, including work by artists Peter AdamsKarl Dempwolf, Sharon Burkett KaiserStephen Mirich, Daniel W. PinkhamScott PriorMian Situ, and myself, to name a few of the artists. (Contact the California Art Club at 626/583-9009 beforehand to arrange access or a tour of the exhibition.)

searching-for-the-light1

Searching for the Light, San Gabriel Mission, 18" x 24", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell; Exhibited at the George H. Maxwell House, Pasadena

Also, I want to give everyone an early heads-up for the Winter Semester at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art in Van Nuys, California. The next Landscape Painting Class begins Saturday, January 24, 2009. It runs for eight consecutive Saturdays. The class size is kept small, so students will receive plenty of individual instruction. 

In these classes you will learn how to paint what you see, not what you think you see. Learn how to interpret nature in terms of paint, using light and color to create form. Color relationships, design/composition, simplifying, and the benefits of painting on location will be discussed, as well as how to design and build a painting that carries an emotional impact. Make an investment in your art - gain confidence and knowledge that will inspire all areas of your creativity!

Call the school at 818/708-9232 to register.

Landscape Painting @ LAAFA

The Fall Semester at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art in Van Nuys, California is beginning next week, and the Landscape Painting Class will be in full swing again beginning Saturday, October 25th. It runs for eight consecutive Saturdays (excluding the Thanksgiving holiday) through December 20th. The class size is kept small, so students will receive plenty of individual instruction. 

In these classes you will learn how to paint what you see, not what you think you see. Learn how to interpret nature in terms of paint, using light and color to create form. Color relationships, design/composition, simplifying, and the benefits of painting on location will be discussed, as well as how to design and build a painting that carries an emotional impact. Make an investment in your art - gain confidence and knowledge that will inspire all areas of your creativity.

Focusing Intensity, 18" x 20", Oil on board, © Eric Merrell

As artists, we need to be able to interpret what we see and understand what we paint. Ample time is given to demos by the instructor as well as individual painting time. All experience levels are welcome. Limited space is available - call 818/708-9232 or visit www.laafa.org to register your space today!

For more information, please visit www.ericmerrell.com and click on Workshops.