Junn Roca

Art & USC's New Church

USC has just completed a new church on their campus called Our Savior Church. They commissioned local artists to create works to be part of the church, and included fourteen Stations of the Cross painted by Peter Adams, eight large stained glass windows created by Judson Studios in Highland Park, and a large bronze crucifixion by Christopher Slatoff (not pictured).

The author as John the Beloved.

The author as John the Beloved.

Along with a number of other artists and models including Alexey Steele, Tony Pro, Richard Probert, Junn Roca, and the Director of The Irvine Museum, Jean Stern, I posed for Peter's Stations in the role of John the Beloved (wearing white with a red headscarf). I don't usually find myself on the other end of a paintbrush, but enjoyed being a part of this process. The completed paintings are beautiful and a great contribution to the church.

Your truly as the Good Samaritan (with turquoise scarf).

Your truly as the Good Samaritan (with turquoise scarf).

Coincidentally, some of the artists from Judson Studios came over during the photo shoots for Peter's reference, and since everyone was in costume they shot reference of their own for the stained glass. You can see me again as the character of the Good Samaritan in the windows. It's slightly amusing to be able to recognize nearly all of the historic characters portrayed in the church as friends of mine. As a window into oneself and a great point for contemplation, the art complements the church and creates a wonderful experience.

Tejon Ranch Paint-Out

I was recently invited to join a small group of artists to paint on Tejon Ranch, 270,000 acres of protected open space located about an hour north of Los Angeles. A private ranch since 1843 used for raising cattle (and in recent years, film productions from Los Angeles, check out this page for photos of the Ranch), it has all sorts of varied landscapes from snow-covered mountains to joshua trees to fields of poppy and lupine and hillsides covered with a woody bush with yellow flowers something like a coreopsis. From what I understand, we were the first group of artists allowed access to paint there (though artist Charles Muench was the first to work there in 2008).

New work at Edenhurst Gallery

Pioneertown Corral_s Pioneertown Corral, 11" x 14", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

Some of the paintings from my summer residency in Joshua Tree can be seen at Edenhurst Gallery, 73660 El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA. Edenhurst has a neat collection of historic art, lots of early California paintings, as well as some good contemporary work by Junn Roca and Lynn Gertenbach. If you're in the area, stop by the gallery, it's like visiting a museum. Plus, you can always get a date shake at Hadley's, just down the road in Cabazon.

This corral is near the post office in Pioneertown, not far from Joshua Tree. The sign hanging over the entrance gate actually reads "O.K. Corral." The town was started initially as a filming set by Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, complete with an "old west" street. If you go, make sure you stop by Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace.

Forbidding Lands_s

Forbidding Lands, 11" x 14", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

Roaring_Rock_s

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

This was painted the day that Ted Kennedy died. I had heard it mentioned on the radio, and when I drove up to the park later in the morning, the flag was at half-mast. When I found this rock near the Hidden Valley area, it reminded me of the "Lion of the Senate."

The Southern Sierras and Yokohl Valley

These pieces, created on location (I paint primarily en plein air, French for "in the open air", to study the way light reveals our world) during a painting trip to the Visalia area this last March, will be part of a new exhibition: Paintings from the Southern Sierra Foothills - Celebrating 100 Years: Capturing California's Preserved Lands and Historic Districts (that's a mouthful) at the Old Mill (El Molino Viejo) in San Marino, CA. The opening reception will be on Thusday, October 1 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Hope you can make it! This paint-out and exhibition, organized by the California Art Club in conjunction with the Sequoia Riverlands Trust, is one of a number of exhibitions and events to celebrate the CAC's 100th anniversary of its founding in 1909. Yokohl Valley Sunset Framed_s

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

Battle Mountain Framed_s

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

Exhibitions at the Old Mill are free year-round and open Tuesday through Sunday, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. (Closed Mondays)

The Old Mill (El Molino Viejo) [Map] 1120 Old Mill Road San Marino, CA 91108 626/449-5458 www.oldmill.info

Other artists in the exhibition include John Budicin, Karl DempwolfDave Gallup, Ray HarrisScott W. Prior, Junn Roca and Jason Situ.

Battle Mountain_detail_s

Battle Mountain Ranch (Detail)

Pictures at an Exhibition

MalibuReception_s Here are two photos from last night's reception at the Weisman Museum at Pepperdine. They don't reflect the awesome turnout - quite a packed house, great to see everyone there!

As I Sat By Her Side (framed)_s As I Sat By Her Side, 36" x 48", Oil on canvas, © Eric Merrell

malibu09cat_s

The catalogue of the exhibition featuring "Broad Beach Reflections" by Marcia Burtt on the cover.

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.

yokohl-valley-sunset_s

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.)

truck_s

Plein Air Paintings of the Arroyo Seco

Sunday, October 5, 2008 from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

The California Art Club and the La Casita del Arroyo Foundation are joining forces for the second year in a row to present a special exhibition and sale of plein air paintings of the Arroyo Seco, Southern California's most celebrated canyon.

The exhibition will feature new original artwork by renowned contemporary-traditional fine artists, including Peter Adams, Eric Merrell, Junn Roca, Jason Situ, and Yisun Wei, who will paint on location during the week prior to the exhibition to document the environmentally-sensitive Arroyo Seco, which includes the historic Colorado Street Bridge.  Proceeds from the sale of the paintings will benefit the California Art Club's educational arts programs and La Casita's conservation efforts.