Spaceship Landing, 10″ x 10″, Oil on board, © Eric Merrell
I recently took a trip out to the Salton Sea to explore and paint with my friends Andrew Dickson and Samantha. Man, what a gorgeous place – but so inhospitable. Not the people, though; we met some very nice folks, including Leonard Knight who built Salvation Mountain. We checked out some of the small “towns” like Bombay Beach and Niland, really more like clusterings of houses and trailers, though Niland does have a Chinese restaurant. Quite a few abandoned places that have seen a lot of weather.
The Salton Sea is a very austere place, with no real amenities around. I wanted to paint something that spoke of the simple beauty and the harsh life that residents of the area endure and become a part of.
The beaches are mostly made of old coral and fish bones, at least from what I saw there was hardly any sand, and the water doesn’t look very inviting. Not the kind of beach you’d want to frolic at on the weekend (though it was a hugely popular destination in the 1950’s.) We did hear a rumor that there may be a new attempt to fix up the sea, but the odds seem to be against that type of endeavor…