Frank J. Reilly books – The Elements of Painting

Book reviews

“As a former student of Frank Reilly I was delighted to see this book. I met Ralph Garafola in Reilly’s class at the Art Students League. I still have my notes in rough form but Ralph has captured Reilly’s messages word-for-word. Reading this book is like listening to Reilly speak. Many of Reilly’s former students wanted him to write a book but he never did. I believe this is the book he would have written.”

Don Martinetti, Artist and member of the Delray Art League

“This book contains a treasure trove of information about the process of painting in the Reilly method. It is an extremely valuable resource and reference guide for students of all level, for those just learning to paint or the experienced painter. It can be used to reinforce an instructors lesson or as a point of discussion between students. The information is presented in an organized and precise manner that can be referred to by the student as they progress through the process of learning to paint.”

Frank Falotico, Artist/Educator and Director duCret School of Art


“What do Michael Aviano, Ted Seth Jacobs, Clark Hulings, Tony Ryder, Robert Maguire, Marvin Mattelson, Fred Fixler, James Bama, John Ennis, Morgan Weistling, and Jeremy Lipking all have in common? These artists are just a few of those who can claim to be part of the lineage of that great instructor, Frank Joseph Reilly, who, over the course of more than 35 years of teaching, changed the face of American art and art education forever.

The author, Garafola, studied with Reilly for seven years at the Art Students League in New York and served as Reilly’s classroom monitor. The Elements of Painting is Garafola’s tribute to an icon who was both the author’s mentor and father-figure, and so true has Garafola been to Reilly’s lessons, that other students of Reilly who have seen the book have given it the glowing recommendation that “reading the book is like listening to Reilly speak.”

I have my copy now, and hope to review it soon, but if Reilly’s methods already interest you, this is a good time to make a purchase, rather than wait for my meager opinion. All I can offer right now is that Garafola appears to be a kind and generous teacher.

Matthew Innis/Underpaintings Magazine

“Hey Ralph, I received your book and wow. What a work of art it is! The book is absolutely gorgeous; the layout, paper, everything is first-class. I had a hard time imagining it would be worth $125 until I saw it, and then I was convinced! Congrats on a job well done.”


“I want to tell you that the contents of your book are fabulous. It is a joy and so well written and presented and something that every artist should have in their library. And the size of the print is excellent. Much Continued success to you and I sincerely mean that…He is leaving quite a legacy for the art world by doing this book.”


“I have read through half the book on the first day I got it. And I can say that it is definitely amazing textbook on painting. It contains numerous information: painting shadows, how to turn the form, value and how it works etc. I am one satisfied customer. Would recommend this book to any painter, as a reference book or to reestablish the basics of painting. It is great for both beginner and advanced artists. Would buy it again.”


“This is the book a lot of us have been waiting for. You deserve every sale you make as this is such a wonderful thing that you have done. When I have more time, I am going to write you and tell you why I am so grateful for this book. Enjoy!!! “


“Last Spring I took your course at the Sarasota Art Center. I had painted with water color for about 6 years and wanted to try oil painting. I purchased your book (Frank J. Reilly The Elements of Painting) and have been working through it. I have much more to learn of course, but I wanted to let you know that I learned a great deal from you in that course, and what a valuable source your book is. I am looking forward to taking another course from you this coming fall.”

Bruce, Garafola’s student

“A native Sheepshead Bay girl myself, I had just graduated Brooklyn College in 1966 with a major in Art. Either you or your Mom and Dad knew my parents or grandparents. They gave me a message from you that I should call the Reilly School of Art at 111 West 57th St. in the city to continue my training. I have no idea how I had the courage or wherewithal to take that advice; but I did. I studied with Mr. Reilly from that summer in 1966 until he died. Those classes and his lectures (I still have my notes) changed my life. After he passed, successful students like Jack Faragaso tried to keep the school running. Of course, the attempt was not long lived. I took away with me more knowledge of drawing and painting than I had learned in four college years.  I live now in Newtown, CT and I have actually met another Reilly student, artist and art teacher, though our local association. What fun comparing our experiences back then. I went on to become a middle school art teacher and a watercolor artist/teacher in my home studio. I am now retired from school and am enjoying my new “time” continuing with my own work and workshops in watercolor and branching out into pastels. I still refer to the Reilly method and am so glad that it is still alive and well with you. My sincere thanks to you, my fellow Sheepshead Bay-er! It’s nice to know that you made such a difference in someone’s life – mine.”



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