California

104th Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition

When the California Art Club returns to USC's Fisher Museum of Art to present their 104th Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition from March 29 - April 19, 2015 this spring, I'll be exhibiting a new large painting titled The Rush. This piece is located in the Pinto Basin of Joshua Tree National Park.

Purchase tickets to the Opening Night Gala Reception here.

The Rush, 24" x 48" © Eric Merrell

The Rush, 24" x 48" © Eric Merrell

Seeing Color in the Desert - International Artist Magazine

My article Seeing Color in the Desert (originally posted on CaliforniaDesertArt.com) has been reprinted in the August/September 2014 issue of International Artist magazine. It originally started with notes from my sketchbook about what I was observing while out painting, and what to do about certain problems that color posed or provided a solution to.

On Seeing Color in the Desert

By Eric Merrell

(Originally published on CaliforniaDesertArt.com)

I really began to develop some of the color ideas during my Joshua Tree residency in 2009. In the desert in summer, especially in JT, there are strong shadows early in the morning and late in the afternoon, but for 5-6 hours when the sun is overhead there is hardly a shadow for miles.

Caravan of the Moon, 22" x 24", © Eric Merrell

Caravan of the Moon, 22" x 24", © Eric Merrell

After struggling with it for awhile, I realized that when the shadows disappeared I lost artistically the ability to use value contrast (lights and darks) in a painting, but I still had color contrast. During the middle of the day (as in moonlight), we can still perceive distance, the masses and forms of boulders and trees, and the world continues to exist in three dimensions without the help of shadows (value), so I began to see that color was the way to try to convey that sense of light. One begins to mix all sorts of interesting colors to try and solve the problem. Painting is really problem solving.

These color ideas apply to any situation and any location. But the particular brightness of the desert, where everything exists in such a high-key situation – sand, mountains, sky, brush – it provides a wonderful problem for exploring the richness of color. Just as a white tablecloth reflects the ‘truest’ colors of outdoor light (when we look at something ‘white’, we are seeing the full spectrum of visible light), the desert reflects a great deal of light back to our eyes, back into shadows.

Students in my workshops often comment to me that they see color afterwards that they didn’t see before the workshop. When we study our visual world and what we see in terms of color and paint it is like exercising a muscle: the more often you use it, the stronger it becomes. In the scheme of art history, it also makes sense that our use of color continues to become more and more sophisticated.

Color is a way we interpret our perceptions – truthfully, painting is another language, and not at all related to photography (which is itself another genuine art form). I think it is a language that almost everyone in the world understands, with its ability to bridge cultural barriers, because we all live in a color-filled, three-dimensional world, but most people are not very fluent in it (for many reasons).

In her fascinating book Color, Victoria Finlay remarks that the section of wavelengths that we can see, visible light, includes about ten million variations of color. So the more colors I have on my palette, the more variations I can mix, and the more subtle my vision can become. As well as being descriptive, I can also use those colors to provide an emotional element.

Finlay’s book is about the history and cultures surrounding actual paint pigments. The part I like most, though, is the idea that objects don’t have a static ‘color’ – they’re constantly changing throughout the different light of the day and over time. An orange carrot in the dark isn’t orange.

Molten Universe (View of the Salton Sea), 12" x 16", © Eric Merrell

Molten Universe (View of the Salton Sea), 12" x 16", © Eric Merrell

As Finlay writes: “The best way I’ve found of understanding this is to think not so much of something ‘being’ a color but of it ‘doing’ a color. The atoms in a ripe tomato are busy shivering – or dancing or singing; the metaphors can be as joyful as the colors they describe – in such a way that when white light falls on them they absorb most of the blue and yellow light and they reject the red – meaning paradoxically that the ‘red’ tomato is actually one that contains every wavelength except red. A week before, those atoms would have been doing a slightly different dance – absorbing the red light and rejecting the rest, to give the appearance of a green tomato instead.”

I’ve been compiling some thoughts as a way for me to better understand color myself, because it’s so multi-faceted. Cezanne was spot-on with his observation that “Painting from nature is not copying the object, it is realizing one’s sensations.” Here are a few notes:

  • Painting involves all the senses, not just sight. Sound plays a big role: One of my favorite parts of painting in the desert is crunching through the sand to my location. Also, when painting at night where our visual perceptions are reduced, audio increases and even small noises are very noticeable, like a lizard scooting by.
  • There is no such thing as “local color.”
  • Society today is so heavily bombarded by photography, film and other mechanical forms of art that we accept it as unbiased truth and don’t look any further or deeper (an individual camera lens doesn’t ‘see’ the same way our eyes do, in stereo, and a photograph can be incredibly biased. Painting in many forms has become a sub-category of photography, aimed at technical prowess, not in its own realm.
  • ‘Color’ is a man-made invention, as is the concept of value. These terms are helpful to us in understanding what we’re seeing, but it becomes very hard to get away from names (i.e., a tree is brown and green, the sky is blue, rocks are gray) – what color is a ‘green’ tree in moonlight?
  • Artists rely too heavily on science to ‘explain’ what they’re seeing instead of developing an eye for color. Art shouldn’t need an explanation. It’s interesting to know, but the scientific reason for why mountains appear bluer as they recede into the distance isn’t necessary to artists. The relationships between the colors however is very important – because, in other words, artists shouldn’t be painting a solely objective scientific vision of the world but should include their own subjective vision with all of the variables that entails.
  • Have confidence in your opinion.
  • We don’t have many historically-based examples of artists using rich color because stronger pigments weren’t available until fairly recently, so artists like Rembrandt had to rely much more on value. Aside from the recent history of Impressionism, when stronger color is used it tends to move away from perceived light in the natural world towards Expressionism or Fauvism, where color is ‘liberated’ from its role (i.e. when AndréDerain paints a bridge, he might paint it bright Cadmium Yellow.) If Rembrandt were alive today, I’m pretty sure he would take advantage of as many contemporary colors as he could, but his earthy palette was a result of the time he lived in.
  • When someone looks at a painting with color, they tend to single out one spot of color – especially if they can name it, say a blue shadow – and look for that individual color in the landscape. Color doesn’t exist in a vacuum like that – that spot of blue is very purposefully placed next to whatever colors surround it, just like in the landscape.

Merrell Looks at Color in his Own Paintings

A couple of these paintings are very dependent on color contrasts – The Heat Lingers at Dusk was done after sunset.

The Heat Lingers at Dusk, 12" x 18", © Eric Merrell

The Heat Lingers at Dusk, 12" x 18", © Eric Merrell

The rocky hill is silhouetted strongly against the sky in terms of value, but the greens of the Joshua Trees were visible in front of that and help create more atmosphere. There is space and depth between the Joshua Trees nearest us and the further hill. We can see the color shifts, but we really can’t see any defining features of the spiky Joshua Trees. Also, the hill is still 3-dimensional, so I needed subtle color shifts to convey the idea that the hill recedes away from us as we look up towards its peaks, angling in space.

The Face in the Sand was a challenge – I could see SO many colors shifts in the shadow, but in the painting those colors have to exist in the shadow realm for it to work.

The Face in the Sand, 12" x 16", © Eric Merrell

The Face in the Sand, 12" x 16", © Eric Merrell

It’s counter-intuitive to think that yellow can be a shadow, and ‘dark,’ because we think of yellow as a light ‘warm’ color. All that matters are getting the relationships correct. I try to ask myself what the light is doing, and find some of the color solutions that way. If the yellows were to get too light in value, they would begin to read as part of the sunlit sand on the ground.

Snow Creek Canyon, 22" x 24", © Eric Merrell

Snow Creek Canyon, 22" x 24", © Eric Merrell

Snow Creek Canyon was done on a somewhat overcast morning, but this also needed to show a shift as we visually climb the mountain. The warmer salmony colors towards the base shift towards violets and greens as it gains elevation, shifting and turning away from us.

Shadow of Where a River Once Was, a nocturne, also relies heavily on color contrast. The first impact is value-based with the brightly lit boulders in the foreground alongside a dark shadow, but then our eyes wander up and back into the canyon.

Shadow of Where a River Once Was, 20" x 24", © Eric Merrell

Shadow of Where a River Once Was, 20" x 24", © Eric Merrell

It gets softer and softer, but our eyes can still perceive these little shifts, and value is unable to help us in that arena where it becomes incredibly soft. I’m trying to convey this softness by shifting and playing the colors off of each other while staying in the same value. The sky here is made up of bluish- and reddish-violets, violet-greens, and colors that go beyond naming, but are all relative to the other colors of the painting. Many people including artists think I’m a little nuts for painting in the dark, but if you stand in the moonlight for awhile, your eyes will adjust and you’ll see all sorts of things.

The other pieces have some value contrast in them, but I’ll often use those areas as anchors in a painting to explore other color contrasts. The central Joshua Tree in Echoes and Silence is grounded by its shadow, but I wanted to use that to get to the hill behind it, the bright orange-ochre with shifts towards red and violet, against the sky. It really looked like that, and could have been done without the tree, but that value contrast kept it from getting too abstract in this instance.

Echoes and Silence, 14" x 14", Private Collection, © Eric Merrell

Echoes and Silence, 14" x 14", Private Collection, © Eric Merrell

Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language. –Aldo Leopold

I like this quote by Aldo Leopold, which to me is encouraging us to dig deeper artistically. Sunsets, flowers, late afternoon sunlight are all beautiful subjects for painting, but there’s more. Artists have more tools today than artists working 50 or 100 years ago. I think we can go beyond what our artistic forefathers did, in terms of color, composition, and impact. We need to expand our color beyond the predictable and into those areas “as yet uncaptured by language.”

Eric Merrell is a Signature Artist Member of the California Art Club, and a historian for the club. For more on his work see:http://www.ericmerrell.com

Parched Air, 16" x 16", Private Collection, © Eric Merrell

Parched Air, 16" x 16", Private Collection, © Eric Merrell

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

Glenna Hartmann Invitational

Glenna Hartmann, pastel

Glenna Hartmann Invitational Fine Art Exhibition February 19-21, 2010 Artists Reception: February 19, 6:00-9:00 p.m. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History 2559 Puesta del Sol, Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Glenna Hartmann (1948-2008) was a well-known artist, loved by everyone who knew her. This exhibit of 100 new works by 60 California artists has been organized in her honor. A bio on Glenna from the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History's website:

An accomplished plein air pastelist, Glenna Hartmann began her lifelong passion for nature and painting at an early age. Growing up in New Jersey, she found great pleasure in exploring the hundred acres of protected woodlands bordering her family's home. She received formal art training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where she was guided and inspired by her mentors there: Arthur De Costa, Will Barnet, Dan Miller and Marshall Glazier. The Academy awarded her a Schiedt Traveling Scholarship which took her to Europe for independent study.

After moving to Southern California in 1975, her focus on figurative work, portraiture and animals gradually shifted to pure landscape. She began painting outdoors with artist friends in Santa Barbara and eventually these friends formed the nucleus of the Oak Group – a group dedicated to raising funds from their art exhibitions for environmental causes. Today, nationally recognized for their preservation efforts, the Oak Group has donated over $1 million to organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Center, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Land Trust for Santa Barbara County, and Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Even though painting is a solitary experience, she enjoyed the camaraderie of painting with other artists. Some of these invitational trips have taken her to the Forbes' Chateau de Balleroy in Normandy, a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon, Yosemite Valley, and with the Plein Air Painters of America, Catalina Island and Lake Tahoe. Glenna was a Signature Member of the California Art Club and a member of the Oak Group.

Two of my paintings will be in the exhibition:

Further Along the Path (Ellwood Mesa, Goleta, CA), 24" x 24", Oil on canvas mounted on panel, © Eric Merrell

Orange Groves, Santa Paula Valley, 11" x 14", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

Participating artists: Meredith Brooks Abbott, Whitney Brooks Abbott, Peter Adams, Jamee Aubrey, John Budicin, Marcia Burtt, Chris Chapman, Patricia Chidlaw, John Comer, John Cosby, William B. Dewey, Dennis Doheny, Michael Drury, Erika Edwards, Michael Enriquez, David Gallup, Rick Garcia, Karen Gruszka, Robin Hall, Anita Hampton, Whitney Brooks Hansen, Jeremy Harper, Tom Henderson, Jeff Horn, Ray Hunter, John Iwerks, Larry Iwerks, Hans Kegler, Mark Kerckhoff, Peggi Kroll-Roberts, Jean LeGassick, Calvin Liang, Manny Lopez, Eric Merrell, Laurel Mines, Clark Mitchell, William Mitchell, Charles Muench, Dan Pinkham, Jesse Powell, Scott Prior, Camille Przewodek, Ray Roberts, Rob Robinson, Ann Sanders, Rick Schloss, Frank Serrano, Randy Sexton, Skip Smith, Arturo Tello, Libby Tolley, Kevin Turcotte, Thomas Van Stein, Sarah Vedder, Ralph Waterhouse and Jim Wodark.

Paintings from Joshua Tree

See more paintings and photos from the trip on Facebook. Roaring_Rock_s

The Roar of Time, 14" x 11", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

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Joshua Nocturne, 10" x 10", Oil on board, © Eric Merrell

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Near Desert Hot Springs, Afternoon, 10" x 11", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

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Fallen Joshua Tree, 10" x 10", Oil on board, © Eric Merrell

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After the Storms, 14" x 14", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

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Out Over the Desert, 10" x 10", Oil on board, © Eric Merrell

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Fire Victims, 11" x 14", Oil on canvas mounted on panel, © Eric Merrell

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Hidden Valley, 10" x 8", Oil on canvasboard, © Eric Merrell

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Lack of Shade, Midday, 10" x 11", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

Meet Me in Long Beach

No More in a Moment-s No More in a Moment, 24" x 24", Oil on canvas mounted on panel, © Eric Merrell

This painting will be part of a three-week long exhibition and auction, Art Auction 13: Nothing But Blue Skies, at the Long Beach Museum of Art, on view from September 4-19. The exhibition precedes the auction, which takes place on the 20th, proceeds going to benefit the museum. Some of the other artists I admire in the exhibition: John Budicin, F. Scott Hess (one of my teachers at Art Center), Tom Redfield and Michael Situ.

Always glad to support our local museums, and the Long Beach Museum of Art is situated in a great historic building right on the coast.

No More in a Moment_detail_s

Click on the detail above to see a some of the different textures in the piece.

Sequoia Riverlands Paint-Out

battle-mountain_s1 Battle Mountain Ranch, 12" x 12", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

I've just recently returned from painting in the beautiful foothills on the western side of the Sierras, just outside of Visalia. A few locations including a working ranch were made available to a small group of artists for the week. The flowers are pretty spectacular right now; fiddlenecks, poppies, lupine, "popcorn" flowers and others. The drive to get to the locations took about an hour from my campsite at Lake Kaweah, sometimes a little more, as they were pretty far removed from the main roads. But the drive was amazing - like old postcards of California you can find in antique stores - cows grazing in a field of flowers, foothills and the Sierras in the distance. Some of the other artists painting up there were Karl DempwolfDave Gallup, Ray Harris, Scott Prior, Junn Roca and Jason Situ.

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Yokohl Valley Sunset, 6" x 8", Oil on canvas panel, © Eric Merrell

I hope you can see the subtleties in the backlit hill above, those were really the reason for the painting. Both of these pieces were painted on location during the trip. The opportunity was made possible by the Sequoia Riverlands Trust, a wonderful group dedicated to preserving their area of the San Joaquin Valley and bringing attention to their part of the state. Along with all of the ranches interspersed throughout, there are thousand of acres of stone fruits, citrus, walnuts and all sorts of other produce filling the valleys.

The photo below is from the first morning - when I woke up the thermometer read 32 degrees and my truck had a layer of ice on it. Pretty chilly. Luckily, the nights warmed up into the balmy 40's after that. (Nobody else ended up camping, they all stayed in hotels! So of course I had to tease them about their sense of adventure.)

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Nature is Noisy If We Could Only Hear It

uplifted-spirit_s Uplifted Spirit, Malibu, 11" x 14", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

The newest installation of Celebrating the Golden State: Recent Artwork by Contemporary Members of the California Art Club just opened at the Old Mill in San Marino, California last Thursday. These exhibitions at the CAC Gallery are fun because they're unthemed, you get to see what each artist prefers to paint if left to his or her own devices. Check out the link above for images of the artwork. The two paintings shown here are in the exhibition. Just when I was finishing up the landscape above and packing up my gear, I head a loud noise approaching. As I glanced up, a large hawk swooped around the cliff behind me and flew overhead about only 25 feet off the ground. The hawk appeared to be carrying a large hose or something in it's claws, but as it got closer I realized the hawk's luggage was actually a large rattlesnake. Instinctively I tried to move out of the way (of the hawk or the snake, I don't know which, best to avoid both!) but the hawk continued its flight over to the edge of the shadowed cliff seen in the painting, the angle just above the turn in the road. Apparently it wasn't interested in dropping a rattlesnake onto my palette, instead bringing the catch back to the nest for dinner. (At least the hawk waited until I was finished painting to break the silence; I can't say the same for the the plethora of weekend warriors who were charging up and down Mulholland all afternoon, creating a racket for my sole enjoyment. Motorcycles are just as horrible as golf courses and leaf blowers. The noisiness of nature is poetic next to our urban din.)

The colors of the cliff in shadow were the substance of this piece, the exciting warm and cool seen there. The patterns of light and shadow on the distant hills were important to the design of the piece, too - I always begin my paintings fairly two-dimensionally, considering the impact of the abstract design and how it supports the intent of the piece. This abstract content is what subconsciously attracts viewers who connect with it. When you're walking through a museum, for example, you usually walk past dozens of artwork before you stop at one that interests you. This attraction is usually quick and unstudied; the work has connected with you on a subconscious or gut level. After that initial attraction, you may become more aware of "things" in the painting, but the interest began with the abstract design and color harmonies. 

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January Light, 7 1/4" x 7 1/4", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrel

I will also have a few pieces in the California Art Club's booth at the upcoming Art International: A Fine Art Fair, March 13-15 at the Pasadena Center, Pasadena, California. The Special Opening Night Preview on March 12 will benefit the Centennial Celebration of the CAC, and the whole weekend will showcase lots of galleries and some great paintings. Last year I remember seeing beautiful portraits by Theodore N. Lukits (1897-1992) and Hovsep Pushman (1877-1966), as well as many great historic California landscapes.

East Coast Ideals/West Coast Concepts*

ramona_s Ramona and I have just returned from a great trip out to Boston and Cape Cod, our first time to Massachusetts. The Cape is a really fascinating place with a long history of art, still going strong today. California could learn a few things about aesthetics from the area.

We flew out for the openings of Painting New England Together at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis, MA and Paintapalooza at Addison Art Gallery in Orleans, MA. (Lots of photos are online on Facebook.) I've got to give a big California Thank You to everyone out there for making our stay so hospitable - Paul and Pharr Schulenburg, Peter and Kathleen Kalill, Jeff Bonasia, and Helen Addison along with Domonic Boreffi over at Addison Art Gallery for their huge effort in making this all happen. It was really wonderful meeting everyone at the receptions.

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We spent some time up in Provincetown (P-Town) and saw the studios of Charles Webster Hawthorne (1872 - 1930) and Henry Hensche (1899 - 1992). We got to check out the small but nice collection at the Provincetown Art Association & Museum, and visited the historic Beachcomber's Club too, of which a number of the guys in our exhibition are members of. [Two artists who were members of both the Beachcombers Club as well as the California Art Club: Richard Edward Miller (1875-1943) and Christian von Schneidau (1893-1976).] I made a good effort to seek out work by Hawthorne and Hensche while we were there - they're hard enough to come by on the east coast, and virtually nowhere to be seen out in California. That search led me to Vose Galleries in Boston, which has been a leading gallery in that area for six generations(!). We met Carey Vose, and she and the staff were kind enough to pull out some amazing paintings by Hawthorne, Paul Dougherty (1877-1947), and Childe Hassam (1859-1935) that they had. You definitely need to stop at Vose if you're going to Boston; it's really much more like a museum than a gallery.

 

detail of "Still Life" by Hawthorne

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 Looking forward to our next trip back east! Who knows, maybe there will be a sequel - Paintapalooza: P-town.

 

*I borrowed this title from a 1997 exhibition that focused on the artistic lineages of the Boston School and the California Impressionists.

Beware of Fish Scapulas, etc.

salton-sea_s Spaceship Landing, 10" x 10", Oil on board, © Eric Merrell

I recently took a trip out to the Salton Sea to explore and paint with my friends Andrew Dickson and Samantha. Man, what a gorgeous place - but so inhospitable. Not the people, though; we met some very nice folks, including Leonard Knight who built Salvation Mountain. We checked out some of the small "towns" like Bombay Beach and Niland, really more like clusterings of houses and trailers, though Niland does have a Chinese restaurant. Quite a few abandoned places that have seen a lot of weather.

The Salton Sea is a very austere place, with no real amenities around. I wanted to paint something that spoke of the simple beauty and the harsh life that residents of the area endure and become a part of. 

The beaches are mostly made of old coral and fish bones, at least from what I saw there was hardly any sand, and the water doesn't look very inviting. Not the kind of beach you'd want to frolic at on the weekend (though it was a hugely popular destination in the 1950's.) We did hear a rumor that there may be a new attempt to fix up the sea, but the odds seem to be against that type of endeavor...

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

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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.)

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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.

Leaves Fall and Lebküchen Rises

newgrowth_s New Growth, Upper Yosemite, 18" x 24", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

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Orange Groves, Santa Paula Valley, 11" x 14", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

Winter is fantastic in California. Snow falls in the mountains, the oranges start to ripen on the trees and the vast vignobles create their own miniature version of the fall color in the northeast United States. This is a great time to be thankful and appreciative for what we have and where we live. Plus, December is always exciting for me, heralding the beginning of persimmon cookies and lebküchen for the holidays.

Also, a quick update on the movie Local Color which is hitting theaters nationwide this Friday, December 5th. Check your local listings and go out to support this film! A wonderful story of pursuing your passion, told through the story of art.

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.

Welcome to my new blog

Eric Merrell in Malibu, California. Hi everyone - I hope to keep this new adventure updated with current and upcoming exhibitions, events, ideas and more. I am primarily interested in how we as artists can use beautiful color relationships to create light, and I spend a lot of time outdoors sketching on location to study those subtleties.

Please visit my website to see more of my work: www.ericmerrell.com

If you enjoy this blog or my website, please let me know and link to them if you like.