Exhibitions

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

3rd Annual Artistic Horizons

This is the third year I'll be participating in Artistic Horizons, January 19-23, 2015 at Montana State University's Helen Copeland Gallery in Bozeman, MT.

Proceeds from this sale benefit Arts Without Boundaries ,a non-profit organization which brings free arts instruction and performances into public schools.

A Place of Stillness, 24" x 26" © Eric Merrell

A Place of Stillness, 24" x 26" © Eric Merrell

Above Ediza, 12" x 12" © Eric Merrell

Above Ediza, 12" x 12" © Eric Merrell

Like Sunlight on Snow, 12" x 16" © Eric Merrell

Like Sunlight on Snow, 12" x 16" © Eric Merrell

Coors Western Art Show

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I'm stoked to have five of my paintings - all being shown for the first time - at the Coors Western Art Show in Denver, CO opening next week as part of the National Western Stock Show. Check them out online now and then go see the works in the Gallery at the National Western Club starting January 5, 2015.

Purchase tickets to the Red Carpet Reception on January 6th here. The exhibition runs through January 25, 2015.

The Moon Makes Its Escape, 30" x 30" © Eric Merrell

The Moon Makes Its Escape, 30" x 30" © Eric Merrell

Joshua Trees in the Snow, 24" x 24" © Eric Merrell

Joshua Trees in the Snow, 24" x 24" © Eric Merrell

Evening Crumbles into the Hills, 12" x 12" © Eric Merrell

Evening Crumbles into the Hills, 12" x 12" © Eric Merrell

Canyon of the Birds, 12" x 12" © Eric Merrell

Canyon of the Birds, 12" x 12" © Eric Merrell

Dreaming Desert, 21" x 24" © Eric Merrell

Dreaming Desert, 21" x 24" © Eric Merrell

Desert Mythos

Four fresh and recent paintings are in a new group exhibition at Altamira Fine Art in Scottsdale, AZ opening next week. Check out all of the work for Desert Mythos online now and then go see them in the gallery starting January 5, 2015. Two pieces are from Joshua Tree National Park and two from Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. One work was painted from memory. Can you figure out which one?

Amidst the Slowness, 24" x 28" © Eric Merrell

Amidst the Slowness, 24" x 28" © Eric Merrell

Worlds Drift Away, 11" x 14" © Eric Merrell

Worlds Drift Away, 11" x 14" © Eric Merrell

Two Rivers, 12" x 12" © Eric Merrell

Two Rivers, 12" x 12" © Eric Merrell

Washed in Moonlight, 20" x 22" © Eric Merrell

Washed in Moonlight, 20" x 22" © Eric Merrell

Jackson Hole Exhibition

Four of my paintings are in a new group exhibition at Altamira Fine Art in Jackson Hole, WY opening next week. Check out all of the work for Holiday LookBook online now and then go see them in the gallery starting December 15, 2014.

Shadows Between the Sky, 16" x 20" © Eric Merrell

Shadows Between the Sky, 16" x 20" © Eric Merrell

The Sun Watched Silently Over the Land, 12" x 16" © Eric Merrell

The Sun Watched Silently Over the Land, 12" x 16" © Eric Merrell

Keep Yourself Alive, 12" x 12" © Eric Merrell

Keep Yourself Alive, 12" x 12" © Eric Merrell

Ancient Seabed, 14" x 14" © Eric Merrell

Ancient Seabed, 14" x 14" © Eric Merrell

El Velorio

I'm excited to participate this year in El Velorio, a Day of the Dead themed art exhibition and event held November 8, 2014 at Plaza de la Raza, 3540 N. Mission Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90031 (Lincoln Heights). Check out the artwork in the exhibit here.

This family-friendly event will have face painting, music, food, and plenty of art to enjoy. Get your tickets soon, as this popular event will sell out quickly.

"El Mariachi Muerto," 24" x 48" © Eric Merrell

"El Mariachi Muerto," 24" x 48" © Eric Merrell

The inspiration for “El Mariachi Muerto,” my large ofrenda or altarpiece which will be exhibited at El Velorio, came from the many visits to Dia de Los Muertos on Olvera Street with my wife and her family over the years. My father-in-law has built an altar on the plaza a number of times, and I was inspired to create my own after witnessing the vivid colors surrounding the event. The colors of the food, costumes, and decorations gave me an opportunity to build and paint my own altar. I wanted to convey the richness that surrounds this annual celebration of family present and past.

For purchasing inquiries contact El Velorio Curator Erika Hirugami.

El Velorio 2014
El Velorio 2014

Crested Butte Plein Air Invitational

I'm making frames and double-checking all of my tubes of paint, getting geared up to head out to Colorado next month for the Crested Butte Plein Air Invitational in Crested Butte, Colorado. I'll be painting on location in Colorado for about two weeks prior to the exhibition opening, which will be July 11-13. If you plan to be in the area please stop by and say hi!

I'll also be teaching a 1-day painting workshop on July 3 in conjunction with the Crested Butte Center for the Arts - check it out!

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

102nd Annual Gold Medal Exhibition

I've just learned that the painting shown here will be included in the California Art Club's 102nd Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition in June, held this year at USC's Fisher Museum of Art. For me this painting is personally important as it contains my deep affection for the wild open spaces of the desert, but it was also contains artistic growth for me, pushing myself to paint new things I'm seeing, such as the subtleties of dusk and other areas of visual perception that can sometimes take on an abstract quality but are nonetheless made more "real" solely by context. In other words, our perception of the world is often abstract, but certain things ground that perception and help us understand it.

I'm also honored to have been recently elected to Signature Artist Member of the CAC.

Amidst the Slowness, 24" x 28", © Eric Merrell

Amidst the Slowness, 24" x 28", © Eric Merrell

Eclectic L.A. - Four Perspectives

These paintings will be exhibited along with a few more of mine at American Legacy Fine Arts (ALFA) in Pasadena, CA, as part of the exhibit "Eclectic L.A. - Four Perspectives." One of the fascinating parts of Los Angeles is it's history, which it always seems to be trying to sweep under the rug as the city tries to reinvent itself daily or weekly with shinynewfacades and such. The truth is, L.A. has a great amount of history: colorful, storied, and widely varied to suit any interest, but Hollywood and it's parade of celebrities make all the noise and so receives all the attention. Swing by the Artists' Reception on November 10, 2012 from 4 – 6 P.M. and see another side of Los Angeles.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House, 12" x 16", © Eric Merrell

Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House, 12" x 16", © Eric Merrell

In "Eclectic L.A." you'll also find work by these three fellers: Scott W. Prior, Tony Peters, and Alexander Orlov. The exhibition runs from November 10 - December 8, 2012.

Hollywood Reservoir, 12" x 16", © Eric Merrell

Hollywood Reservoir, 12" x 16", © Eric Merrell

Striking a Note: Sunset on the San Gabriel Mission Campanario , 12" x 12", © Eric Merrell

Striking a Note: Sunset on the San Gabriel Mission Campanario, 12" x 12", © Eric Merrell

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

Paint-Out to Benefit Mojave Desert Land Trust

Desertscapes Paint-out in The Joshua Tree North Wildlife Linkage

Evening reception and art auction at Joshua Tree Art Gallery Saturday, April 28, 2012, 5 - 7:30 p.m.

Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT), along with California Art Club, is hosting an open air painting event on Saturday, April 28th in a beautiful natural area known as the Joshua Tree North Wildlife Linkage.  This paint-out will support MDLT’s current campaign, The Wildlife Linkage Campaign, which aims to preserve several undeveloped parcels in the Joshua Tree North Wildlife Linkage that connects Joshua Tree National Park to the Bartlett Mountains to the north.

From 9am until noon, artists from the California Art Club, Coachella Valley Watercolor Society, and the Morongo Basin will set up their easels and create paintings that will be auctioned off during an artists’ reception at the Joshua Tree Art Gallery (JTAG) later that evening. The paint-out will take place on Section 11, which sits adjacent to the northern boundary of Joshua Tree National Park and within the Joshua Tree North Wildlife Linkage. This beautiful area is home to a diverse population of wildlife and is one of the most scenic hillsides on the south side of Joshua Tree. The artist’s reception and art auction at JTAG will be held that evening from 5-7:30pm and include light refreshments, wine, and of course, the beautiful works of art created that day. Featured artists include:

Diane Best Veronique Branger Chuck Caplinger Richard Calderhead Jean Choi Connie Collins Jim Draughon Hermann Fischer Annette Fragasso Andrew Gillespie Patricia Kodet Ray Lanowy Eli Lund Del Lunde Elaine Matthews Terry Masters Eric Merrell Diane Moore John Ressler Nancy Rizzardi Kathleen Scoggin Esther Shaw Silvio Silvestri Liliana Simanton Sylvia Smith Lisa Spencer Barbara Wells-Roberts Connie Zane

This fun-filled day provides a unique way to support the work of MDLT and The Wildlife Linkage Campaign.  The Joshua Tree North Linkage provides important habitat for animals such as desert tortoise, bobcat, fox, coyote and dozens of bird species.   Mojave Desert Land Trust has preserved 2,126 acres in this wildlife corridor, but acquisition of additional parcels is needed if we want to succeed in protecting this critical linkage.  Find out more about how you can support the Wildlife Linkage Campaign by clicking here.

We look forward to having you join us for this wonderful event! The artists’ reception and auction will be held at Joshua Tree Art Gallery (JTAG), located at 61607 Twentynine Palms Highway, Suite B, in downtown Joshua Tree. To RSVP or for more information, please call us at 760-366-5440.

This event is held in conjunction with Desertscapes, featuring a full month of activities every April in celebration of the Coachella Valley plein air art tradition. More information about Desertscapes, as well as a schedule of events can be found at www.desertscapes.net. The artist’s reception and auction is generously sponsored by Joshua Tree Art Gallery (JTAG). Directions and information about JTAG can be found at www.joshuatreeartgallery.com. The Section 11 Paint-out is co-sponsored by California Art Club (CAC). Information about CAC is available on their website at http://www.californiaartclub.org

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

101st Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition

A Place of Clarity; Crystal Lake, San Gabriel Mountains, 30" x 30", Oil on canvas, © Eric Merrell

"A Place of Clarity" will be part of the upcoming California Art Club's 101st Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition opening March 31, 2012 at a new exhibition venue: The Autry National Center, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 95614 (in Griffith Park). The Artists Gala Reception will open the exhibition on Saturday, March 31 from 6-9 p.m.

This was painted at Crystal Lake, one of my favorite new locations to paint in the San Gabriel Mountains, way back up Highway 39 out of Azusa. This area has been closed for about 9 years, since the 2002 Curve Fire which burned much of the area. Crystal Lake is apparently the only natural lake in the entire San Gabriel range, being fed from snowmelt and rainfall. As I painted there over last summer, I did notice the water level drop significantly over the months of warm weather. It's a popular place for fishing, too.

This is a special place, and feels more like the Sierras. These kelp-like plants grew very rapidly (kelp is not a freshwater plant, however, so I don't know exactly what it is, but it very much resembles kelp!) Fun to paint them growing out of the watery depths into the sunlight, swaying with the slight breezes over the surface of the water.

Here are some old photos of the Crystal Lake area.

Here is an interior shot of the secret Neutra studio where I worked on the painting in an undisclosed neighborhood in Los Angeles... :)

Down to Earth Sinks the Sun; The Arroyo Seco, 9" x 12", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

Also in the exhibition is a small painting of dusk in the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena, looking towards South Pasadena with the last of the sunlight hitting some trees in the distance.

CAC Returns to Barnsdall Park

Joshua Tree Nocturne, 30" x 30", Oil on canvas mounted on panel, © Eric Merrell

SAVING PARADISE: The Symbiosis of Landscape Painting and Environmental Awareness March 8 - May 6, 2012 Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG), Barnsdall Park 4804 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027 Conversations with CAC Artists: Friday, March 23, 7 - 8:30 pm (more info)

These two paintings will be in the upcoming exhibition "SAVING PARADISE" at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery in Barnsdall Park, Los Angeles. This exhibit's theme is to designed to highlight the importance between landscape painting and preservation, so both of my paintings are from protected areas in California - Joshua Tree National Park and Angeles National Forest. I'll be at the Gallery on Friday, March 23 at 7 pm along with some of the other artists to discuss our paintings.

Some historic notes: The California Art Club was previously headquartered at Barnsdall Park and specifically used the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House for 15 years, 1927-1942, so this exhibition marks the first time the Club has been back to Barnsdall Park since then. Read about this slice of L.A. history that is only documented on this blog.

A Great Containment: Morris Dam and Reservoir, San Gabriel Mountains, 12" x 16", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

Los Angeles Fine Art Show

Morris Reservoir Shoreline, San Gabriel Mountains, 12" x 12", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

The 17th Annual Los Angeles Fine Art Show opens up tomorrow, January 18th, and runs through January 22nd. Two pieces of mine will be there: a new painting, "Morris Reservoir Shoreline, San Gabriel Mountains" will be in the California Art Club's booth, and "Commanding View, San Gabriel Mountains" will be at American Legacy Fine Art's booth.

January 18-22, 2012 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, West Hall B

Wednesday, January 18th -Collector & Press Preview: 5pm to 6pm -Patron Reception: 6pm to 7pm -Opening Night Premiere Party: 7pm to 10pm

General Show Dates: January 19-22nd -Thursday, January 19th: 11am to 7pm -Friday, January 20th: 11am to 7pm -Saturday, January 21st : 11am to 7pm -Sunday, January 22nd: 11am to 5pm

Commanding View, San Gabriel Mountains, 26" x 24", Oil on canvas mounted on panel, © Eric Merrell

Fresh paint from the Arroyo

Arroyo Seco Afternoon, 12" x 16", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

These are a number of new pieces I've done recently - since moving closer to the Arroyo Seco, I've been painting there almost entirely. And since I'm temporarily without a studio, everything is done on location. It's a fantastic place to paint, and as the birthplace of plein air painting on the west coast and California Impressionism, offers some pretty special light. Jean Mannheim, Franz Bischoff, Elmer and Marion Wachtel and William Lees Judson are just a few of the artists who lived on or near the Arroyo. The high western edge of the Arroyo casts a shadow a little earlier than sunset and creates some unique painting opportunities - below are some examples of this: "The Arc of Evening" shows the eastern rim of the Arroyo and "In the Gloaming" looks up at the western edge.

The Arc of Evening, Arroyo Seco, 9" x 12", Oil on canvas panel, © Eric Merrell

Summer Heat in the Arroyo, 11" x 14", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

San Rafael Bridge from the Arroyo, 11" x 14", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

Hillside Oaks and Shadows, Arroyo Seco, 11" x 14", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

These three paintings, "Hillside Oaks and Shadows," "In the Gloaming" and "Down to Earth Sinks the Sun" have been great challenges. I spent at least three consecutive days working on each, developing the color and subtleties.

In the Gloaming - Arroyo Seco, 12" x 9", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

Down to Earth Sinks the Sun - The Arroyo Seco, 9" x 12", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

Palm Desert and Pasadena events

This Too Shall Pass - Arroyo Seco, 9" x 12", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell (Private collection)

I'll be giving a short presentation about my work at 1 pm on Saturday, October 15, 2011 at the Henderson Community Building, 72559 Highway 111 at El Paseo (Entrada del Paseo) in Palm Desert for the 6th Annual Desert Garden Community Day, presented by the Desert Horticultural Society, the City of Palm Desert, and the Desert Garden Center in Palm Springs. The events will be a combination of artists and their work along with workshops about desert landscaping. The Palm Springs Art Museum is not far from there, so stop by and make a day out of it!

On Sunday October 16th I'll be exhibiting new paintings of the historic Arroyo Seco along with other artists from the California Art Club. The exhibition will take place from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm at La Casita del Arroyo, 177 S. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena, CA  91105 [map].

Solo Exhibition Pasadena

Realm of the Desert Tortoise (Joshua Tree Highlands), 12" x 16", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

I'm excited to announce that I'm now represented by American Legacy Fine Arts (ALFA) in Pasadena, CA, and they will be hosting a solo exhibition of my desert paintings and still life next month titled "Romance of the West - and the Western Spirit." There will be an opening reception on July 16 from 5-7 p.m., and a catalog will be published to accompany the exhibition. It's really an honor to be working with this gallery and listed alongside the many great artists on their roster!

Eric Merrell: Romance of the West - and the Western Spirit July 16-August 13, 2011 Opening Reception: July 16, 2011, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

American Legacy Fine Arts 949 Linda Vista Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91103 Open by appointment Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Echoes and Silence (Near the Old Wall Street Mine, Joshua Tree National Park), 28" x 28", Oil on canvas mounted on panel, © Eric Merrell

Joshua Tree Nocturne, 30" x 30", Oil on canvas mounted on panel, © Eric Merrell

Colors of Summer - Blooming Epiphyllum, 20" x 24", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

The New Sublime

An article about the current exhibit at the Salton Sea History Museum will be coming out in the new June issue of Palm Springs Life, written by Ann Japenga and titled "The New Sublime: Artists Working at the Salton Sea Capture the Beauty and Decay with a Fresh Perspective." Click on the images above to read the article.