Desert Nocturne

Desert Nocturne

By Kathy Bauer

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Local L.A. artist Eric Merrell captures the mood and mystery of the desert by moonlight in his series of nocturne paintings, painted on location. His work is the inspiration for Desert Nocturne, a project that teaches the students about the fragility of the high elevation flora and fauna, plein air painting, and what happens when plein air painting sessions stay past sunset.



What new shapes and creatures emerge? What new colors does the moon cast? Using the plein air technique of “direct painting,” students will mix their own values to create a night scene depicting Joshua Tree National Forest.


“Being on location gives me the opportunity to know the place better and to discover why I’m going to paint.”  Even Vincent Van Gogh said, "Just try going outside and painting things on the spot! All sorts of things happen then.”   

                     Eric Merrell

In this documentary short from director Alec Ernest, we take an overnight trip with the artist to Joshua Tree National Park, where night falls and the desert takes on a surreal and mysterious beauty, where edges blur and shapes transform, and solitude takes on a whole new meaning.

In the Company of the Moon

In the Company of the Moon By Eric Merrell

Alternate Universe

Alternate Universe by Eric Merrell

Journey to the Oasis

Journey to the Oasis by Eric Merrell

Dreaming Desert

Dreaming Desert by Eric Merrell

Santa Monica Pier Nocturne

Santa Monica Pier Nocturne by Eric Merrell

When the Night Comes

When the Night Comes By Eric Merrell

Places to Visit

Joshua Tree National Park

Autry Museum of the American West (in Griffith Park by the Zoo for the
Masters of the American West Exhibit February 10–March 25, 2018

Eric Merrell's website and facebook 

Riford Library in La Jolla