Eric Merrell

Life and Death on the Colorado Desert (The Ghost of Una Palma)


oil on canvas on panel
24 x 32 in.
29 x 37 in. (framed)
In November 2015, I set out to find a trio of fan palm oases in the remote California desert. Hiking with a friend, we found two of them (I painted a large nocturne of one of them for Masters 2018), but couldn’t triangulate the third, which consisted of a lone palm tree growing somewhere out among acres and acres of low, sunbaked mud hills. I learned later that we had only just missed it, the palm having fallen over a month or so before we went looking. I returned in November 2020, found the toppled palm, and made a watercolor sketch. It had stood in that spot for at least 60 years, probably many more.