Artwork

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.

Egeli Gallery

Shaped by the Sea (Provincetown Dunes), 12" x 16", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

I'm pleased to announce a new gallery I'll be exhibiting with, Egeli Gallery in Provincetown, MA. They've got a great roster of artists in the gallery who have a deep interest in working with color, so that's exciting for me to be a part of. The Egeli family has a great artistic tradition that covers at least three generations of artists, and more than one generation studied with Henry Hensche, a noted artist of Provincetown and student of Charles Hawthorne.

Egeli Gallery opens April 25 for the summer season on the Cape, and you can visit them at 382 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA 02657, 508/487-0044.

Gold Coast: Paintings of Southern California

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

Does Your Heart Beat Slower? (Joshua Tree National Park), 24" x 20", Oil on canvas mounted on panel, © Eric Merrell

"Gold Coast: Paintings of Southern California by the California Art Club" is a new exhibition that opens April 30 - June 12, 2011 at the Oceanside Museum of Art. I'll have two paintings in the exhibit (not the coast, for sure, but definitely Southern California!). A reception will be held on April 30 from 1-4 pm.

I love desert moonlight - it's so bright you really don't need any other light source to get around (it does help to have a little book light or something for painting though). It's a great challenge to paint what you actually see - it's the big masses of shapes, the big statement that creates the emotional impact that interests me, not the details.

Out Now: California Light book

Now available: "California Light: A Century of Landscapes," by Jean Stern and Molly Siple (published by Skira Rizzoli, NYC). Though you can buy it on Amazon (for slightly less), if you get your copy through the California Art Club for a few dollars more, those extra dollars will greatly help the non-profit club continue to organize great exhibitions, lectures and paint-outs. There is also a very limited number of copies signed by all of the authors - this is available exclusively through the CAC. This beautiful coffee-table sized book (276 p., full color) features historic and contemporary members' artwork, as well as the history of the first 100 years of the club. Authored by Jean Stern, Director of the Irvine Museum, and Molly Siple, a frequent author on California art. As the Club Historian, I wrote the brief chronology of the club that was also included (Reducing 100 years' worth of history to fit on two pages is incredibly hard - here is the expanded version if you're interested.)

Artist Talk at the Salton Sea Museum

Near the Oases, 12" x 16", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

As part of the inaugural exhibition Valley of the Ancient Lake: Works Inspired by the Salton Sea at the newly renovated Salton Sea History Museum, Andrew Dickson, Joe Forkan and myself are scheduled to speak at the museum on April 23 from 1-3 pm on "The Artist’s Eye: Landscape Painting in the Desert," covering our individual approaches to painting on location in the desert and talking about some of the different goals we're trying to achieve. The exhibit runs through April 30 and is accompanied by a full color catalogue, available for purchase in the museum bookstore.

The Salton Sea History Museum is located inside of the historic North Shore Beach & Yacht Club on the north shore of the Salton Sea. Recently restored, this architectural landmark was designed by famed mid-century architect Albert Frey, who went on to design many homes and buildings in Palm Springs. The Club was a favorite hangout of the Beach Boys, Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra and many other entertainers during it's heyday in the 1950s and 60s.

UPDATE: The exhibit has been extended until June 30, 2011.

Read more on the exhibit at CaliforniaDesertArt.com - Inaugural Salton Sea Exhibit Opens April 1.

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.

Salton Sea Museum Exhibition

Salton Sea, Haze, 30" x 30", Oil on canvas mounted on panel, © Eric Merrell

In conjunction with Desertscapes: A Month Long Celebration of Plein Air Artwork occurring throughout the Coachella Valley during April, the Salton Sea History Museum will present its inaugural exhibition, Valley of the Ancient Lake: Works Inspired by the Salton Sea. The opening reception will be on Sunday, April 3 from 3 - 7 p.m. The museum is open daily from 10 am-4 pm (closed Wed. & Thurs.)

Andrew Dickson, Late Afternoon Down Harbor Drive, 11" x 24", Oil on canvas, © Andrew Dickson

The exhibit will include work by Bill Leigh Brewer (photography), Cristopher Cichocki (new media), Andrew Dickson (artist), Joe Forkan (artist), Mary-Austin Klien (landscape artist), Christopher Landis (photography, author of In Search of Eldorado: The Salton Sea), Deborah Martin (American realist painter), Eric Merrell (artist), Joan Myers (photography, Salt Dreams), Kim Stringfellow (photography,  author of Greetings From the Salton Sea). Accompanied by a full-color catalogue and curated by Deborah Martin, the exhibit will also include historic works of the area.

The Salton Sea History Museum is located inside of the historic North Shore Beach & Yacht Club on the north shore of the Salton Sea. Recently restored, this architectural landmark was designed by famed mid-century architect Albert Frey, who went on to design many homes and buildings in Palm Springs. The Club was a favorite hangout of the Beach Boys, Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra and many other entertainers during it's heyday in the 1950s and 60s.

Amongst numerous artist talks and lectures during April, Joe Forkan and myself will speak at the Salton Sea History Museum on April 23 from 1-3 pm on "The Artist’s Eye: Landscape Painting in the Desert," covering our individual approaches to painting on location in the desert.

Read more at CaliforniaDesertArt.com - Inaugural Salton Sea Exhibit Opens April 1.

100th Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition

Embers: The San Gabriel Mountains After the Station Fire, 24" x 32", Oil on canvas mounted on panel, © Eric Merrell

I'm so thrilled to be included in this historic exhibit with these two paintings that I decided to make this announcement early. The California Art Club, founded 1909, is continuing to celebrate their Centennial by presenting the 100th Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) from April 3-24, 2011, with a special Gala Reception on April 2 from 6-9 p.m. Hope you can make it!

Casting Shadows - The San Gabriel Mission, 12" x 9", Oil on canvasboard, © Eric Merrell

Featured Artwork

The Point of Departure (Spring Sunset in the Arroyo Seco), 12" x 16", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

As featured in my March 2011 eNewsletter - click the image for a larger version. To make sure you receive the eNewsletter with the latest info, send me an email.

Painted on location in Pasadena's Arroyo Seco, this is a popular place for joggers, dog-walkers and equestrians. On this spring evening, though, everyone seems to have departed as the sun sets on the far side on the arroyo. These (painting) situations with lots of color variations within a close value range are a favorite of mine.

Featured Artwork

Piru Farm, Santa Paula Valley, 12" x 16", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

As featured in my February 2011 eNewsletter - click the image for a larger version. To make sure you receive the eNewsletter with the latest info, send me an email.

This was painted on location in the Santa Paula Valley just north of Los Angeles. Still very rural, it's packed with miles of orange and avocado groves reminiscent of Old California. Chickens roam about freely, fresh produce and fruit stands dot the highway as it winds west towards the Pacific. I've tried to get a sense of the crisp, clean and healthy sense of this life in this valley during winter. I've always felt that if I wasn't painting, I'd be involved somehow with agriculture. Both of my parents work in this field (heh): my dad in vegetable and flower seeds, and I grew up running around in my mom's vegetable gardens and fruit trees, so I've always loved working in the yard.

Cape Cod Exhibits

A Window on Provincetown, 12" x 12", Oil on canvas mounted on panel, © Eric Merrell

Paintings from the recent group trip to Cape Cod and Provincetown will be presented January 15 - February 28, 2011 in  Creative Convergence: Cape Cod, exhibited at the Cape Cod Museum of Art (60 Hope Lane, Dennis, MA 02638) and Addison Art Gallery (43 Route 28, Orleans, MA 02653). A reception will be held on Saturday, February 19, 2011, from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the museum. You can read a little bit about the trip in one of my previous posts here. Check out the show online or in person via the gallery website; it should be very interesting to see each artist's approach to painting the small art colony of Provincetown.

This first piece above was painted on one of the rainy days we had. I loved the cool light outside and the (relative) warmth we had painting inside. On most of these days we painted from a model, but on the last rainy day I decided I wanted to do this unique view of the P-Town shoreline.

Moored on a Mirror (Cape Cod Bay), 12" x 12", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

Far across the water, past the moored sailboat, you can see the thin sliver of Cape Cod. The title was partly inspired from a conversation I had with local artist and Hensche student Hilda Neily, about how Provincetown light is unique in that it is surrounded on three sides by water.

Shaped by the Sea (Provincetown Dunes), 12" x 16", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

When the sun came back I headed out to the dunes with Ian Factor. As soon as I sketched my thoughts into my sketchbook I knew I was hooked on this composition. Something about the undulating shapes kept my eye moving, stopping occasionally at a spot of color. It became an analogy of sorts for our trip - artists moving restlessly around the peninsula while painting all day, pausing for a bite to eat or a quick cup of coffee, and moving on to the next location.

Wishes for a Happy New Year

Thanksgiving, 20" x 16", Oil on canvas panel, © Eric Merrell

This year flew by - I got married to my sweetheart Ramona! Adding to that excitement, I had a solo exhibition at The Forbes Gallery in New York City, gave a lecture on California art history, and took trips to paint out in Cape Cod and the Salton Sea, among other places. I'm looking forward to 2011 - lots of exciting new projects and travels!

One particularly neat item coming to fruition is a new book titled California Light: A Century of Landscapes. Due to be published in April 2011 by Rizzoli International, this will be a beautiful coffee-table sized book featuring the artwork and history of the first 100 years of the club. Authored by Jean Stern, Director of the Irvine Museum, and Molly Siple; little ol' me even has a credit for contributing the chronology of the club! You can purchase an advance copy online here.

Wishing you a warm and happy holiday season and a prosperous 2011. Here's a toast to all Art that adds to our lives, creates memories, opens our eyes to new things, challenges us and gives us a sense of purpose: Prost!

Back to Back: An Art Lecture and Showcase

I'll be giving a lecture this coming Sunday in Pasadena on the history of the California Art Club, specifically the 1940s. That decade was an exciting and turbulent period for the organization - it found itself squarely in the midst of the red-hot controversy over modern art in Los Angeles, contributed locally to the war efforts, and lost its beloved clubhouse. I'll share insights on the club's inner workings as well as how they fit into the changing national landscape of art and the theater of World War II.

"In the Trenches: The California Art Club during the 1940s" Sunday, October 24, 2010, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

$10 CAC Members/$15 Non-members

The Historic Blinn House at the Women's City Club of Pasadena 160 North Oakland Avenue Pasadena, CA 91101 626/796-0560 www.womenscityclub.com | Directions

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Evening in the Foothills, 16" x 20", Oil, © Glenn Dean

Shadows on the Mountain, 30" x 40", Oil, © Logan Hagege

Spaceship Landing (The Salton Sea), 30" x 30", Oil on canvas mounted on panel, © Eric Merrell

Alexey Steele's Classical Underground, a collection of world-class musicians and artists performing in an intimate studio setting in Carson, CA, has gained quite a following since its inception only a few years back. From the beginning, Classical Underground has featured contemporary paintings along with amazing classical performances unlike anything you'll find elsewhere.

The next concert on the evening of Monday, October 25, 2010 will feature work by Glenn Dean, Logan Hagege and myself, These events have limited seating and sell out quickly, so you'll need to purchase your tickets soon after they go on sale. You can find more info (and buy tickets) on the Classical Underground blog.

Painting in Provincetown

 

 

I've just returned from nearly two weeks of painting out on Cape Cod in Provincetown, Massachusetts. A great group of guys with some new faces too. Though we had mostly great weather, there was some wind and rain, so we hired models and painted indoors on those occasions. Provincetown has a great history of artists living and working there : Charles Webster Hawthorne (we were given access to paint in his beautiful old studio), Henry Hensche, Richard Emil Miller, Edwin Dickinson, John Whorf, Edward Hopper, Henry David Thoreau and many many others (Is it a coincidence that so many great towns began as artist colonies? Laguna, Pasadena, Indian Wells, Greenwich, Santa Barbara, P-Town...). After the end of each day of painting we'd gather for dinner and look at everyone's work, back at the houses or at a local "pirate ship" with lots of history and character(s). Lots of conversations about art, music, history, color, food, tequila and other stuff not fit for print (!) And man, some of these guys in the group can cook! Also met some local artists working in the Hensche color tradition - Hilda Neily and John Clayton. If you go to P-Town, be sure to check out the burgers at The Squealing Pig, the Cape Cod Rueben at Tatiana's by the wharf (just like a traditional rueben, but instead of corned beef and sauerkraut they use haddock and coleslaw. Amazing!) and the Egeli Gallery on Commercial Street.

Here is a great article featuring Jerome and the P-Town trip.

Quite an exciting and energizing time! I haven't had a chance to photograph any of my paintings yet, but hope to get some of those online soon. An exhibition of work from the trip will be featured at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, January 15 - February 29, 2011.

Here are links to the artists' individual sites:

Jeff Bonasia, Rick Casali, James Coe, Dan Corey, Ian Factor, Frank Gardner, Jerome Greene, Logan Hagege, Marc Hanson, Ignat Ignatov, Pete Kalill, Stapleton Kearns, Michael Klein, Jeremy LipkingEric MerrellErnesto Nemesio, Colin Page, Paul Schulenberg.

 

 

New Paintings

Sunset in Bronson Quarry, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, 18" x 24", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

Here are some new pieces I've been working on, all done on location over a series of days.

Summer Twilight, 16" x 20", Oil on canvasboard, © Eric Merrell

The San Gabriel Mission, 12" x 16", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

Charred Landscape (Angeles National Forest), 12" x 16", Oil on panel, © Eric Merrell

This is from the area of the Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest/San Gabriel Mountains last year. It's still open to drive through, but it seems like fully half the forest was torched. Eerily beautiful. Lots of strong new growth too.

A Reflection of a Reflection of a Reflection (San Gabriel Mission Bell Tower), 12" x 12", Oil on canvas mounted on panel, © Eric Merrell

Article on CaliforniaDesertArt.com

Spaceship Landing (The Salton Sea), 30" x 30", Oil on canvas mounted on panel, © Eric Merrell

If you're in New York, my exhibit opens today at The Forbes Galleries with an opening reception next Tuesday, July 20 from 6-8 p.m.

Article below by Ann Japenga of californiadesertart.com:

"Most Manhattan gallery-goers don’t know the names Jimmy Swinnerton or John Hilton; they can’t tell a smoketree from a cholla. While desert art is expanding its geographic appeal, it hasn’t reached the east coast yet. That transcontinental link may finally be forged, though, with Eric Merrell’s show “No Man is an Island”, opening July 14th at the Forbes Gallery in the lobby of Forbes Magazine headquarters in New York City. The exhibit is a collection of Merrell’s paintings made during an artist’s residency at Joshua Tree National Park in 2009."

"Will east coast viewers take to the yuccas..." [Read more]