Painting brings comfort, joy and a new career to 87-year-old man – Delco Times

COLLINGDALE – Robert “Bob” Siliani, a longtime Delaware County resident, has faced many challenges in his life. One of the most important has been figuring out how to cope after losing his beloved wife Josephine in 2016, after 62 years of happily married to her best friend.
“Without Josephine, I felt really empty and heartbroken,” said Siliani. “Losing my wife was the most difficult battle I have faced in my life. One morning I woke up and remembered something my wife told me. She said that ‘ one day I would come back to art.
Shortly after recalling his wife’s premonition, Siliani put a brush on the canvas and hasn’t stopped since. To date, the artist has created 440 original paintings, selling many and donating others to charity. What started out as a vital hobby quickly turned into an enjoyable career.
“When I was a kid I loved painting as a hobby, but after I became an adult I was always busy with my job and raising a family, so I never took it back even though I did. always liked it, ”he said. declared.
Saliani, who lived in Collingdale for 37 years before recently moving into her daughter’s West Chester home, turned 87 on Tuesday, surrounded by family and an assortment of award-winning artwork that the talented artist creates for five years.
The talented octogenarian’s preferred medium is oil and he enjoys painting landscapes, seascapes, animals, architectural and religious art.
Saliani exhibits in various juryed art and craft exhibitions every year, with the help of his son Steven, who drives, transports the art and gives his father a hand in setting up the exhibition, among other things. exposure tasks. They bring around forty works to exhibit at each exhibition.
“I couldn’t do any of this without my son Steven,” the artist explained.
“I couldn’t be happier doing this for my dad,” Steven said in response. “Seeing my dad at 87, with all his arthritis, doing these beautiful paintings and enjoying them so much has inspired us all. “
Due to the pandemic, the duo only exhibited at three or four art festivals last year. However, even with the discounts, Siliani sells at least eight of his paintings at each exhibition.
The duo look forward to exhibiting at the tenth annual Malvern Retreat House Art Show, February 2-6. This will be the fourth year that Saliani will exhibit part of his work in the prestigious exhibition.
Saliani has won numerous awards for his work, including the First Place Overall ribbon at the Media Arts and Craft Show, sponsored by Town Talk Newspapers.
Siliani has also expanded to do order work across the country, as well as for customers in Switzerland and Italy.
“Thanks to my website and my Facebook page, I can now say that I am creating art on an international scale,” said Siliani. “People see my work and then contact me to discuss ordering from me for a painting they want to do. “
He made two paintings of the Swiss Alps, as well as a city in Italy so realistic that a third could identify the exact location of the painted scene. He was recently commissioned to paint an award-winning horse for his owner after the horse competed in the country’s top three races.
The artist, who has never taken a single art class, explains that he painted more than 200 paintings before developing his own style.
“You have to paint frequently to discover your personal artistic style,” explained Siliani. “I have never started a painting and given up. I think a lot about each piece before picking up a brush.
When asked to categorize his style, the talented artist thinks for a few minutes before responding: “contemporary impressionist”. Now that he’s found his style, he paints much faster, often painting a picture in a single day, working 12 hours or more.
“No matter what I paint, I have to be inspired,” explained Siliani. “I have to feel passionate and excited about what I’m painting – feel it inside of me.”
The largest painting he has ever made to date measures 30 by 20 inches. When he first started painting he used a photograph to learn the process, but now he sketches a freehand prototype before painting it on canvas.
“When my uncle Bob started painting, he put all his dedication to his wife Joséphine into each of his paintings. He started with this first painting and didn’t stop, ”commented Leah Siliani, Robert’s great-niece. His late grandfather was Robert’s twin brother. “He has a huge heart full of passion for what he does. “
The artist has a creative background. After graduating from Upper Darby High School and marrying his beloved Josephine, Siliani enlisted in the military as a sergeant, Corps of Engineers. During his years in the military, Siliani taught junior officers at Camp Pickett in Virginia. Upon returning to civilian life, Siliani accepted a civil engineering designer position for Gannett Fleming Corddry and Carpenter, where he worked for 36 years. After his retirement, he worked in road signage with Orthodgers and Associates for 14 years, followed by part-time employment with Allied Security.
Robert has three children, Robert Siliani of Bethlehem, Steven Siliani of Hatfield and Maria Gallagher of West Chester, as well as eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Prior to painting, Siliani enjoyed working with wood, selling his designs of small furniture, cedar chests, picture frames and more, mostly through word of mouth. He once appeared in the Delaware County Daily Times after constructing a special mahogany vet display cabinet for the family of a deceased Vietnam vet to honorably display his medals and other valuables. Siliani was forced to give up woodworking due to worsening arthritis, so he was happy to replace it with another creative endeavor.
“I’ve been a designer my whole life,” said the octogenarian. “You have to know what you want to do and stick to it. “
When not creating art, Siliani enjoys watching the Eagles, Phillies and Flyers, as well as spending time with his family.
“When I paint or discover something that I want to paint, I get excited all the time,” Siliani shared. “I really appreciate the art world. “
To contact Bob Siliani, call 484-467-8182, follow the “Heirlooms in Art” Facebook page or visit

Comments are closed.