One of the first artists to show at Harvest Gold Gallery, Tom Merriam is also one of the most prolific! An accomplished painter in both acrylics and watercolor, a woodcarver, storybook author, song writer, and storyteller, Merriam is a central figure in the local art scene. His carvings and paintings are now on display at Harvest Gold Gallery, in Center Lovell.
A Maine native, Merriam began carving at the age of 12, and worked in the family business carving log benches. He graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music as a Piano Technician, and began working as a piano repairman and tuner. Continuing to carve in his spare time, Merriam began creating commissioned carvings for local clients. Merriam turned to carving full-time in 1982, when he went to work for a sign company in North Conway, and won six national awards for Dimensional Sign Design.
A self-taught water colorist, Merriam went on to study under George Carpenter. Carpenter was the last surviving member of the Whiskey Watercolor Association, and he passed many of his techniques on to Merriam. Often beginning his work plein air (working outside, painting what is seen in that moment), Merriam begins by painting small, quick studies of his subject matter. In these studies he captures those variables that swiftly change in the outdoors: the wind, light, and movement of a scene. He then returns to his studio in Bridgton or Portsmouth to complete a larger final piece based off of the study.
Merriam is well known for his miniatures. These paintings range in size from 4” x 4” squares, all the way down to the size of a postage stamp! At one plein air painting session, Merriam showed up to paint with only an Altoids can in hand. He opened it up and used the top as an easel for his tiny paper, and used the bottom section as a palette! Often capturing the likenesses of birds, gardens, or houses in these miniatures, Merriam’s eye-catching watercolor style plus the tiny size of these paintings make them truly unique and fun.