I enjoy painting interior scenes, because they offer a variety of interesting shapes, romantic possibilities, human interest and ultimately, drama. By seeking out interiors filled with beautiful flowers and antiques, rich color contrasts, sunlight streaming through windows into a dark room, lamps and candlelight, I find my oil paintings imbued with a sense of mystery.
Tool Shed (oil, 16×20).
As I don’t set up these interiors myself but paint others’ furnishings and decor, my work also takes on a humanity and sense of history that I can’t duplicate in other paintings. Each painting involves thought and careful planning to achieve the dramatic effect characteristic in my work.
Picket Fences (oil, 22×28).
When viewing a painting, I find drama touches my soul more than any other aspect of the work. Both Carravaggio and Georges De La Tour created some of history’s more beautiful and mysterious paintings. Painting interior scenes is one of the most wonderful ways to capture human interest in art, especially if careful planning and thought are given to elements necessary to convey this message.
Ross Merrill is Chief of Conservation at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.