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Neilson Carlin

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master of classical realism
Artist Neilson Carlin

Neilson received a BFA in Illustration from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He completed his studies privately under figure painter Michael Aviano, a pupil of the legendary instructor and illustrator Frank J. Reilly. Through Aviano, Neilson traces his instructional lineage directly to the academic painting tradition of 19th century France.

After years of working in both the commercial and gallery art markets, a conversion to Catholicism prompted Neilson to commit his talents and career to serving the Catholic Church. He now specializes in large-scale sacred and devotional art for new and renovated parishes.  His client list includes parishes and shrines across the country, and he was the artist selected to paint the official iconic painting of the Holy Family for the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

In addition to his easel work, Neilson has spent the last 20 years teaching drawing and painting out of his Kennett Square studio, and through workshops and painting demonstrations in institutions across the Philadelphia area.

Neilson’s gallery work has been exhibited at the Arnot  Art Museum, the Arts Club of Washington, the Louise Well Cameron Museum, the Salmagundi Club, and the State Museum of Pennsylvania. In 2003, his painting “Transcendence” was awarded First Place in the Still Life category of The Artist’s Magazine’s 20th Annual National Art Competition. In 2004, his painting “Emergence” received Second Place in the Portrait category of The Artist Magazine’s 21st Annual National Art Competition. Both paintings were selected from over 12,000 entries nationwide. 

Neilson’s work has been published in the Spring 2006 American Artist Drawing Magazine, the book Strokes of Genius: The Best of Drawing, and the book How Did You Paint That?: 100 Ways to Paint Still Life & Florals.

For more information on Neilson Carlin and his work, go to

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