This summer, we paid our final respects to a loved painter, an Art League School instructor, and a wonderful man: Ross Merrill.
Some know him as the former Chief Conservator of the National Gallery in Washington, DC. Others may recognize his name as an internationally known landscape painter and fine artist. He was also a beloved teacher to many here at The Art League.
Ross passed away in December after a valiant fight against cancer. It was his wish that his students keep painting and to have one last paint-out at his beloved haunt, Sycamore Point, on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake before it was sold this summer; a place where he had held many painting workshops and shared many wonderful hours with friends and students.
His final wish came true on Saturday, June 11. Friends, family and students gathered at Sycamore Point for a fine day of painting and a wonderful potluck meal, as was tradition at Ross' events. It was agreatday! Many familiar and long-lost Art League faces were among the artists painting that day, including Ed Cooper, Ed Ahlstrom, Bob Gamblin, Michael Skalka, Sara Poly, Nancy Tankersley, Donnie Seale, Janice Connally, Beverly Krysa, Chris and Sally Hazard, Patricia Spitalieri, members of the Washington Landscape Society, the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association and many, many more. We discussed making the works created that day into an exhibit in Ross' honor. More details on that to come! Ross, I miss you! He, Alice and I used to go over to Mai Thai for dinner before his travel workshop information nights, and for dessert we would always share an order of their coconut ice cream. It was great fun. It became a ritual. It was so...like Ross. Ross, I can still hear your uniquely deep voice as you would come into the Torpedo Factory, saying hello to everyone. I never had to ask if you had arrived..... Iknew you were in the gallery. Your memory is with us still, and always will be.