Frank Cernelli

Photo of Frank Cernelli
Military Service

Branch: Army
Dates: From 1975 to 1977

Specialty: Polymer Tempera


I work figuratively because I believe realism best expresses the song of life.


I was born in Pittsburgh and spent my childhood in rural Pennsylvania and my teenage years, California. However, since 1985 I’ve called New Mexico home. At age seven after being given a set of how-to-draw books I started drawing and never stopped. After deciding to pursue fine arts as a career, I studied art in both California and Pennsylvania. Today I devote my time exclusively to fine arts although I have worked as a draftsman, technical illustrator, art director, and freelance graphic artist. During the Cold War, I was an Illustrator/Information Specialist/Illustrator at the Defense Communications Agency and I am a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.

How I Work

I use acrylics on wood panels and make some of my paints from dry powdered pigments and acrylic medium. I call my painting technique Polymer Tempera, because I use acrylics in the traditional Tempera method of painting with small touches and strokes of color. My goal is to maintain a translucent quality in my brushwork so the ground and the various colors of both the underpainting and the overpainting all combine to contribute their effects to the finished painting.

I’m more of a colorist than a value painter, however I also like the bold, dramatic values that can be achieved with pen and ink, which is another medium I enjoy working with.


  • Kutztown University of Pennsylvania – Master of Science
         Honors: Summa Cum Laude
  • Kutztown State College, PA – Bachelor of Fine Arts
         Honors: The Dean’s List
  • California State College at Los Angeles – Studied Fine Arts
  • Citrus College, Glendora, CA – Associate in Arts

Other Art Studies

Had Life Drawing and Painting classes with the painter Myron Barnstone, who had studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University, England

Juried Art Show History

I am an award winning artist, having won a Best of Show and also numerous First, Second, and Third place awards, as well as Awards of Excellence and Awards of Merit.

My work has been juried into many areas shows including: the RGAA Encantada, New Mexico Veterans Art, The Art League, Magnifico, Corrales Annual Fine Arts Show, Masterworks of New Mexico, and the Fusion. Also at the New Mexico Theater Gallery in Santa Fe and The New Mexico State Fair Professional Fine Arts Exhibit.

I have also been in many national and regional juried shows: Allied Artists of America – New York City, Audubon Artists – New York City, National Society of Painters in Casein-and acrylic – New York City, Salmagundi Club – New York City, The Philadelphia Sketch Club 118th Annual Small Oil Exhibition – PA, The Allentown Art Museum – Allentown, PA, Reading Public Museum and Art Gallery Juried Regional Exhibition – Reading, PA, Hazleton Art League Juried Regional Exhibition – Hazleton, PA, Annie S Kremmer Museum Invitational Drawing Show – Bethlehem, PA, Muhlenburg College Center for the Arts Invitational Award Exhibition – Allentown, PA, Art Zone Annual Juried Eight State Regional Show – Denver, CO.