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Meet Figurative Artist Danielle Piloto

Updated: Oct 31, 2020

Danielle poses with her work, "Dragonfly Serenade"

Danielle, who resides with her family in St. Charles, IL, enjoys telling a story through her art. By tucking in meaningful details and editing out the superfluous, she inspires her viewers into creating their own narrative about her work. “I love giving people something to think about,” she says.

Painting realistic figures in oil demands much mixing, glazing, and paint layering to duplicate that person’s unique skin tone. “You need to have fun with this process,“ she advises. “If you get frustrated, it will show in your work.”

Danielle noted that many artists paint people they either know or love. However, she chooses subjects a bit differently. “Interesting people are all around me and inspire my work,” she explains. “I take lots and lots of photos and enjoy the journey of where my inspiration takes me.” Once she selects a subject, she asks herself why she’s connecting to that image; what are they thinking, feeling? She then lets the concept simmer inside until she can’t wait a minute longer to start drawing.

Preliminary work on “Audition for Oberon” (see below) required many photos of the subject who happens to be an actor. However, none of the photos seemed quite right. “Let’s go outside to a park,” she suggested. Once there, another idea popped up resulting in just the shot she was looking for.

“He began reciting Shakespeare –the Fairy King’s lines from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” -- and that was it!” she recalls excitedly. “I got exactly what I needed to tell his story as an inspired actor.”

Although describing herself as “self-taught”, she’s been drawing and learning-by-doing since childhood. Decades ago, she watched her father paint with oils, and noting her interest in what he was doing, he gave her paint-by-number sets. She longed to attend art school when the time came, but the finances weren’t there for more than a short stint at the American Academy of Art. Without Facebook or online tutorials so readily available today, she relied on books to hone her artistic abilities.

Despite setbacks for formal education, her fine illustration skills have resulted in steady employment and current work as a package designer. Through the years, her paintings have garnered numerous awards and appeared in many galleries.

Recently she was selected by Water Street Studios in Batavia, IL for a solo show that will feature 25 of her paintings. Originally scheduled for this year, it has been postponed to Summer 2021.

She concludes: “Art is our coping mechanism. Figurative drawing—my favorite--is a two-way street. I observe and love to tell the stories I see through the filter of my own eyes. In doing that, I get back a fulfillment that’s hard to explain – a sense of gratification and achievement that’s therapeutic.”

For more of Danielle’s work click:

"Audition for Oberon"

"Ghost Girl"

"Autumn Mosaic"


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