Neilson M. Carlin

American Still Life and Figurative Painter

"Tribute to Venus"

Oil 20" x 16"

"In Communion"

Oil 36" x 24"


Oil 10" x 8"

"Figure Study"

Oil 12" x 6"


Oil 9" x 12"


Oil 12" x 9"

NEILSON M. CARLIN - Biography 

“The function of the artist is to overcome the opacity of human experience – to confront a universe that does often seem baffling and, by judicious selectivity, to reveal its true essence.”     - Ayn Rand

When he was a boy Neilson Carlin wanted to be Catholic priest – a strange desire for one raised as a Protestant.  However, reaching adolescence brought the realization that his true calling was his other great love: painting.

 While earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Neilson was fortunate to study with Martha Erlebacher and Renee Foulks, both leading contemporary figure painters. He concluded his formal studies privately at the Aviano Academy of Fine Art under figure painter Michael Aviano. Through Aviano, Neilson traces his instructional lineage directly to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of 19th century France.

 Using primarily the mediums of figurative and still life painting, Neilson’s work employs allegory to communicate sacred themes. In addition to his gallery paintings, he operates both the Renaissance Portrait Studio and the Brandywine Atelier. Through the portrait studio, he seeks patrons who share his love of traditional portraiture. As an instructor at the atelier, he is training the next generation of artists and advancing the Classical Realist standard.

 Neilson's paintings are found in private and corporate collections including MBNA America, Genesis Health Ventures, The Bayard-Taylor Memorial Library and the Mt. Cuba Astronomical Observatory.

 His work has been exhibited at the Arnot Art Museum, the Arts Club of Washington, the Louise Wells 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” was awarded Second Place in the Portrait category of The Artist’s Magazine’s 21st Annual National Art Competition. Both paintings were selected from over 12,000 entries nationwide. More recently, one of his drawings was featured in the Spring 2006 American Artist Drawing Magazine, and four of his drawings were selected to appear in the upcoming book, “Strokes of Genius: The Best of Drawing.”

In a symbolic sense, Neilson has patterned his life after the one he diverged from in adolescence. Cloistered in his studio sanctuary, he is surrounded by icons of classical paintings. With reverence, he venerates the great artistic saints Michelangelo and Caravaggio. Each day he recites a litany of the principles of drawing, painting and composition. Relying on tradition as his guide, he uses the wisdom of past generations in adherence to classical method. At the altar of his easel, paint and canvas are the sacraments through which he brings his congregation of viewers into communion with the sublime.

Detailed Map and Directions to McBride Gallery

215 Main Street Annapolis MD 21401 • 410-267-7077

Gallery Hours: Monday - Saturday 10:00 - 5:30, Sunday 12:00 - 5:30, Thursday til 9:00pm