Thursday, June 27, 2013

Workshop: The Frank Reilly Method in NJ

Neilson Carlin

I love those moments in life when I stumble across something, and before I realize what I am doing, the expression, "Wow!" slips from my lips.  It probably happens most often when I see, for the first time, a painting which simply blows me away.  Sometimes it may be a scene from nature that elicits that response;  other times, a beautiful piece of music, a clever turn of phrase, or a wonderful and personal story.  These moments do not happen often enough, so I treasure that flitting heart-skip each time.

I was not expecting to utter "WOW!" while reading a description about a series of art workshops, but that is what happened nonetheless.  And "Why?" I am sure you are wondering:  I cannot believe the low fee that is being asked for the level of training being offered.  It works out to be as low as just $3.49 an hour!  $3.49 an hour to learn the Frank Reilly Method of painting from two direct descendants of his training is, well . . . kinda crazy.  And did I mention that the palettes and paints are being provided by the workshop host as part of the tuition?  Wow.

John Ennis

Frank Reilly has been mentioned several times before on this blog.  He was a successful illustrator who developed a structured system of drawing and painting that he passed onto his pupils at the Art Students League of New York during the 35 years he taught there.  Among the artists who can claim lineage to Reilly are Ted Seth Jacobs, Michael Aviano, Tony Ryder, Jacob Collins, Jeremy Lipking, Fred Fixler, John Asaro, James Bama, Tony Pro, Jeffrey Watts, Morgan Weistling, and Marvin Mattelson (from whom I learned about Reilly's techniques).  Whether or not these artists still make use of Reilly's system, each, in their own way, has been influenced by his teaching lessons; and the results are obvious.

John Ennis

Teaching the seven Reilly-based workshops offered at The Lyceum Hall Center for the Arts in Burlington, NJ, are two former students of Michael Aviano -  Neilson Carlin and John Ennis.  Neilson is an award-winning painter, best-known for his liturgical paintings done for the Catholic Church, while Ennis is an award-winning illustrator and portrait painter who is also the inheritor of Reilly's original teaching notes (see the earlier post on The Frank J. Reilly Papers).  Both are internationally-acclaimed, busy artists, and that they are offering these classes shows how sincerely dedicated they are to carrying on the legacy of their teachers.

Neilson Carlin

The workshops being offered as part of the A.R.T.I.S.T.S.! (Aviano & Reilly Traditional & Inspirational Summer Training Sessions!) program are:

THE TONAL STUDY with John Ennis
July 14, 10am - 6pm

"Creating a monochromatic, translucent oil study to serve as an under-painting for a full color painting is a technique used for centuries by the masters. The knowledge and skill sets taught in this class will be applied to still life exercises, lessons in value, edge modeling, and the wash-in technique.

This technique will be revisited from workshop to workshop and is an excellent starting point for artists of all levels."


July 28, 10am - 6pm

"If you find yourself guessing what colors to buy and how to mix them to achieve great results, this workshop is an opportunity to master the art of mixing color. Following the instructor’s demonstration, students will learn to distinguish value, hue, chroma (color intensity), and identify which paints will yield the desired effect of light and shadow. Students will paint small still-life items as they learn the relationship between value and color."


August 18, 10am - 6pm

"The first step to successful painting is understanding the contents of your paint box and the full extent of what those contents can do. This workshop focuses on organizing your colors according to the Munsell Color System, creating a comprehensive color wheel, and applying the wheel to basic color exercises.

Make no mistake this is not your average 'make-a-chart and paint color swatches' color theory course. Everything taught in this class will be applied to actual picture painting exercises, designed to fine tune your color knowledge and help you achieve better results on your own, no matter what medium you work in."


July 24 & 25, 10am - 6pm

08/24  "This workshop puts the organizational principles of the Munsell color wheel into full gear while tackling a simple, high intensity still life. Lectures include color analysis, palette preparation, painting procedure, and their applications to a basic still life situation."

08/25  "Building on the lessons from the previous workshop, we fully explore the advantages of an organized color wheel. From start to finish, we dive into a complex, multi-hued still life of varying intensities and values."

* Due to the nature of this workshop attendees must attend the 08/24 workshop to be eligible to attend the 08/25 workshop. Work done the previous day will carry over into the next day's lessons.


September 8, 10am - 6pm

"Students will utilize the under-painting technique learned during the first workshop as a basis for creating a portrait. Topics will include: value, lighting, proportions of the head, placement of features, and use of edges.

If you plan to attend the portrait painting workshops on August 14th and 15th, bring your wash-in from this workshop. The wash-in created during this workshop can be used as the grisaille under-painting for the fully rendered portrait."


September 14 & 15, 10am - 6pm

09/14  'Using the Munsell color wheel, this workshop covers the basics of portrait painting and the application of a controlled palette to the creation of beautiful flesh. Beginning with a discussion of the variations in skin color and complexions, we progress to laying out a comprehensive flesh palette, drawing the head, and blocking in a full color portrait study. This portion of the workshop will be taught by Neilson Carlin."

09/15  "Following a successful lay-in of color, students will learn to capture the models complexion, employ distinctive brushwork technique, and use edge modeling to great effect. This portion of the workshop will be taught by John Ennis. The wash-in from the previous workshop, Beginning the Portrait, to be held on August 8th, can be used as the grisaille for further development during this 2 day workshop."

*Due to the nature of this workshop attendees must attend the 09/14 workshop to be eligible to attend the 09/15 workshop. Work done the previous day will carry over into the next day's lessons.


October 5 & 6, 10am - 6pm

10/05  "Learn to use a landscape palette that will allow you to master atmosphere, overcast and sunny days, and moonlit nights. This workshop, held indoors at the Lyceum will fully prepare you for painting out doors on location! This portion of the workshop will be taught by John Ennis."

10/06  "Building on the information from the indoor landscape workshop, we apply the principles and organized palette to painting in the field. This portion of the workshop will be taught by Neilson Carlin."

* Due to the nature of this workshop attendees must attend the 09/14 workshop to be eligible to attend the 09/15 workshop. Work done the previous day will carry over into the next day’s lessons. 


Enrollment can be per class, or for the entire series. Students who register for the entire series before July 1st will receive a $55 discount, making the final cost $250 (instead of $305). For more information, please contact Shaun Stipick by email at or by phone 609.969.3248. To see the press release, click here.

Neilson Carlin

About the Lyceum Hall:

The Lyceum Hall Center for the Arts is a unique multi-media venue that specializes in exhibiting local, national, and international talent of the highest quality. A municipal project of the City of Burlington, NJ, The Lyceum Hall opened its doors in 2010 with the intent of offering unique artistic opportunities not available at that time in the region. Since its inception, The Lyceum Hall has begun a revolution in regional visual arts education, including but not limited to a recent partnership with the internationally recognized and renowned Studio Incamminati as well as other State and nationally recognized organizations and artisans.

John Ennis


Laurel Alanna McBrine said...

Wow, looks great! Anyone in NJ area has a great opportunity.

Judy said...

I wish this was happening in the Boston area!!!!


The Lyceum Hall said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Lyceum Hall said...

Mr. Innis,

My sincere thanks for mentioning our workshop. A lot of work went into putting this together and John, Neil, and I are thrilled to offer this.

The registration numbers and positive support thus far has been fantastic and I can't thank the artist community enough!

I am going to extend the July 1st registration date until July 10th. I truly want as many people as possible to experience this series in the whole (although the workshops individually are fantastic too) and don't want to exclude individuals that might be reading about this now. Although anyone reading this can register for any individual workshop at any time.

Once again thank you Mr. Innis for helping to get the word out and a big thank you to the artist community for all the support.

Shaun Stipick
Director of The Lyceum Hall

P.S. If anyone has any questions please feel free to call me at 609.614.0542 (leave a message and I'll call you right back...I promise) or email me at

The Lyceum Hall said...

I just wanted to add, that starting in August we will be airing online, via live internet broadcast, select sections of select workshops. While we can't show everything, that wouldn't be fair to the attendees, there might be a snippet of information here and there the viewer might walk away with. Several of those watching will be able to ask a question or two during the limited time period as well. Its a novel idea for a workshop and we are looking forward to employing the technology and seeing where it leads.

I'll post more information towards the end of July.

S. Stipick

PrimeTimeMom said...

"WOW"! is right. I live in CA but am tempted to relocate to NJ for a few months to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. I have never seen such affordable prices for such distinquished worshops.

Rob Howard said...

Great idea. Too bad we sold the paint company a couple of years ago because we did a great deal of research into Reilly's palette, discovered some optical problems dues to the pigments he had available and produced an optically perfect palette of the colors he recommended. The results were noticeably cleaner and without that heaviness that characterized the original palette.
But the company was sold and with it, all of the formulas and research. It's closer to the Munsell ideal and, as a result, the intermixing was more predictable with fewer shifts due to the yellow range being so far off the line. Although we are bound by a non-disclosure agreement, I would welcome Nelson or John to see the color mixes and swatches.

The Lyceum Hall said...


I'm sorry I missed your comment, up until now.

I've followed your work for quite some time and I have a great deal of respect for all the information you have provided to the fine arts community through the years. Your work is fabulous too! The painting world is certainly a better place for all your hard work and dedication. I want to say thank you for the positive comments and will gladly pass your comments on to Neil and John. Thank you for taking the time to read about us and commenting.

The Lyceum Hall said...

We're going live. A week late and I apologize for that but we are finally ready.

The Lyceum Hall and the City of Burlington, NJ are going to broadcast live, on ustream the first half of the High Chroma Simple Still Life with Neilson Carlin. We would love to see you there, in person or online.

Time: 10:30am-1:00pm
Where: 432 high St., Burlington, NJ 08016 or on

Here's the link:

See you soon.