Self, 12x12 Oil

Self, 12x12 Oil



Joyce Danko is a continually emerging artist, as she will always challenge herself to improve and develop her style. Her diverse talents are a result of adapting to various creative environments. She was a successful commercial muralist in booming Dallas and a restorative architectural artist in Baltimore. In 1986 she was honored by selection to the all women artist team that painted the decorative finishes in the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Upon relocation to the Lehigh Valley, Joyce developed her custom decorative art service.

Joyce’s murals centered on residential clients and show house venues until 2010, when she was able to concentrate on the more intimate scale of easel painting. Oils became her new medium. She regularly attended atelier classes and workshops where established artists pass on the traditional foundations of composition and color mixing. She finds the classic methods most appealing and beneficial as a representational realist painter.

Interestingly, Joyce’s first subject was the dog portrait, inspired by her fondness and study of the animal artists of the past; particularly Edwin Landseer, Rosa Bonheur, and their contemporaries. Her portraits gained national recognition at canine competitions and Joyce became known for her ability to capture the emotion of the animal and a connection to the viewer. Her love and skill in portrait work has continually expanded and she enjoys still life compositions as well. Joyce accepts commissions nationally and exhibits at juried shows in her hometown of Bethlehem, Bucks County, and Philadelphia. Her two Jack Russell Terriers are frequent, willing models for her animal paintings.


I have been told by many to “paint what you love”, and I am especially drawn to the portrait. Whether the subject is a person or an animal, my challenge is not only the likeness, but to connect in a contemplative way, engaging beyond what is on the surface. My initial focus is the process, the construction of form, the “topography”, the correct values, and subsequent control of color. I seem bound to rules, but I find them liberating when followed. I am continually discovering the benefits of patience, observation, and careful selection. There needs to be a rhythm as there is much to express. It is gratifying to watch the layers build, and the image emerge. I aim to convey what I see of the intimate beauty around us. There are plenty of aggressive colors and images in today’s chaotic world. If I can arrange and present everyday objects, a pitcher of water, the dog at your feet, a sweet glance; in a thoughtful way, an invitation to linger and enjoy, then the experienced beauty is its own reward.