Merrill was born in Utah and developed an interest in art at an early age. After graduating from high school, he went to Brigham Young University for two years as a Fine Art major with an emphasis in Ceramics. After moving to Virginia in 1985, he studied oil painting at Maryland School of Art and Design in Silver Springs and Art History at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) Woodbridge, VA. It was through art history that Merrill developed an interest in Impressionism. However, the Plein Aire style that came later and spread through the USA in the early 1900s has remained his main focus and interest as well as studying color and the effects of chiaroscuro (‘light and dark’). Today, from these studies, Merrill discovered current artists with much of the same interests and studied under their direction in California, Idaho and Texas. He currently lives in Cumberland, MD and is a member of the Allegany Arts Council, the Allegany Area Art Alliance, Center for the Arts, Manassas and the Bedford County Arts Council.