spring

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.

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

The Cobb Estate

Afternoon in the Foothills, 11" x 10", Oil on board, © Eric Merrell

These were painted at the Cobb Estate in Altadena this past spring. A beautiful area right at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, on clear days you can see all the way out to the Pacific. Hardly anything besides the original foundation of the 1915 mansion remains amidst great groves of eucalypti and oaks. The driveway is flanked by rows of old pines and cypress, and now serves to lead hikers to trailheads.

No More in a Moment, 12" x 12", Oil on board, © Eric Merrell

These were both painted on location. I knew the moon was due to rise, but I couldn't tell exactly where it would appear over the mountains - so I spent some time pacing the trail, trying to determine where best to paint from. When it finally came into view, shadows were advancing quickly, and I had only 30 minutes or less to paint.