Portrait Testimonials


Absolutely Dug His Style

I met Rob Maniscalco first when his paintings were featured at a local gallery in West Ashley and absolutely dug his style. At the same time both realistic and surreal in a way I cannot quite beg, his paintings breathe life that isn’t exactly life. Like the impressionistic ghost of an image with colors more popping than the eye perceives, that’s his art. On top of that, he’s involved with some really cool projects and is all around a great guy. Whenever I see him, he’s been incredibly kind and funny and a bit goofy. He supports arts in Charleston 100%, so I find that very cool. He’s interested not only with sharing his work but uplifting the artistic visions/voices of others. I dig that. That being said, my favorite work is his portraits. Something he captures in the human expression speaks to me. Derek Berry
Derek Berry

Can Anyone Resist?

Can anyone resist Will Harvey? So many questions, so curious, so ready to become whatever he chooses.

I’ll stop here but I want you to know how very much I enjoyed your work and I’ll visit your site again for more of the same. R. Sue Dodea

R. Sue Dodea

Captured in a Split Second

portrait painter of little girlsThe McDonnell girls have been captured in a split second since there is no time when they are still. The younger sister, pigtails flying, her little feet still baffled by the intricacies of walking, is nearly lost within her voluminous pink dress. She has no concern for such things, there is so much to see and do. Her older sister barely notices her, lost in her own play, her graceful arm extended as she reaches out for more, more, more of whatever this life may be. She is poised and ready, a thinker and a doer.

R. Sue Dodea

Compelling Image

Next, young Carlton Campbell perched in the fork of a tree far older than he, possibly older than all of us. His face, his body, his clothing are all spotless with the inexperience of youth while the tree has been so frequently punished by nature as to seem a battered survivor, which is what we must all hope one day to be. The contrast of his perfect white little shoe that has taken so few steps with the ragged bark is a compelling image. From his expression, Master Campbell does not need to be rescued from the tree. He plans to climb many more, and bigger, and let nothing stop him in the ascent.


R. Sue Dodea


Tonight I was visiting M.L. Leiber’s website and he includes a link to your gallery. I thought I’d just stop by and take a glimpse. Hours later, it has been a great pleasure for me to view all of your portraits. The more of them I saw the more I could see the painter inside and outside which was a lot of fun. I don’t know how often someone tells you how much they like your work and mean they really looked at it. Add me to the list. There were several portraits that just enchanted me and make me want to show them to someone else and say “Look at this, look how he posed this, look at the light, the hand, the draping of cloth, the child’s doll — ” These are the portraits I’ll come back to see.


R. Sue Dodea

Graces Our Hearth

portraits of familiesThank you for the wonderful painting that graces our hearth. Roman Madgidenko

Roman Madgidenko

Captures the Essence

Thanks to Rob Maniscalco for sharing his artistic gift with us. We really love the portrait and can’t wait for friends and family to see it. We know that it will remain in our family forever. It captures the essence of Ryan and CJ at a very special time in their lives and we are so very pleased with the detail and quality of the portrait. Rob Maniscalco is truly gifted and we are thankful that he lent his talent and professionalism to us. Jeanette Franck

Jeanette Franck

Beautiful Portrait

Kay’s beautiful portrait sure served a timely purpose! It’s presence at her funeral was really special. I cannot tell you how much it means to me to walk by it in our hallway several times a day. Loving regards, Bill Ward

Bill Ward

Artistry of Your Efforts

E Ray Scott

Rob, a formal ‘thank you’ for the fine job you did on my portrait. It was quite obvious that there were many, many other issues going on in my life at the time. I didn’t fully appreciate the artistry of your efforts…not only in painting skills, but the ability to shed pounds as well! I have received numerous compliments. You know full well that it would not have come to fruition without the perseverance of E Ray and you. Robert O’Leary

Robert O

Memorializing My Son

portrait artist posthumousPlease forgive this somewhat impersonal method of communication but I wanted to contact you quickly. I am John Diebel’s brother and I just received your magnificent portrait of my son and me in our surgical attire. I was overcome by the fact that you captured so well the relationship. He was not only my son but also my colleague, confidant and best friend. We worked closely together in our medical practice for five years. I was truly blessed to have had this kind of a relationship with my son for the time that we had. Unfortunately, life takes some unexpected turns and his life was cut tragically short. Again, thank you so much for applying your gifts and talents to memorializing my son. Sincerely, N. Donald Diebel, Sr., MD

N. Donald Diebel, Sr., MD


Every time I look at those portraits, I think of the genius you are. Peter and Elizabeth look just like they did then. The detail in Sarah’s is amazing. Beth Dixon

Beth Dixon

Thank You for the Portrait

Russell and I would like to thank you for the portrait you did of me. I know that I will never have anything like it ever again. It’s very special to us and we so appreciate all of the hard works that you put into it. God Bless, Good Health, Jen Bartolotas

Jen Bartolotas

Thrilled and Delighted

I am thrilled and delighted with the portraits of my grandchildren and so is everyone who sees them, especially the children. Thank you for a job well done. Mae Gallagher

Mae Gallagher

Captured the Essence

portrait artist granoExcerpts from the speech given at the official presentation of Professor Joseph Grano’s portrait to the Wayne State Law School in 2003: On behalf of my family I thank you all for coming to my father’s portrait unveiling. . . I want to acknowledge Robert Maniscalco for the fine work he did in painting my father’s portrait. Robert demonstrated such professionalism in this portrait. He captured the essence of dad without ever meeting him. He spent much time hearing stories, looking at pictures, and building the persona in his mind so that his portrait could radiate dad’s character. . . This portrait will enlighten students and faculty to how important teaching was to him. It will also acquaint new students with the kind of professors Wayne Law desires. . . Finally, let me offer these words. As a current prospective law student whose traveled to many schools, I have not paid close attention to the portraits in the school’s halls. However, after considering what my father’s portrait says about the professors of Wayne, I realize the men and women whose portraits are hanging on the walls of a school are as much a part of the law school as the ones in the class rooms. In the next few months, I will consider schools’ legacies by paying closer attention to the portraits in their halls.  Daniel Grano

Daniel Grano
Wayne State Law School

We Treasure Every One

We will tune in on The Today Show on Thursday and can not wait till the day. Wow! How exciting for you and my hope is that the world finds out about your wonderful gift. We treasure every one of our portraits and today it’s the one thing we would stand heartbroken if we had a fire. So David took out a new insurance plan to replace the one we had.

Nora Mimms
Mimms Enterprises

This Could Not Have Gone Any Better

April Moore portrait artistMichael absolutely LOVED the portrait! I am so relieved. I really was very nervous about giving it to him-I was afraid it was egotistical of me but he actually said “after years of asking you finally gave it to me!” ( I think I told you he had wanted professional photos, etc. and I never had them done). He told me today that he is “obsessed” with commissioned artwork now and says he eventually wants one of all three of us together. This could not have gone any better and I really appreciate so much everything you have done. The more I look at the portrait, the more I love it. You really did do an amazing job. THANK YOU!!!!

April Moore

Truly a Treasured Item

portrait painter of little girlsI hope this email finds you and your family doing well. I wanted to touch base with you in regards to the portrait you did for my wife and I of our two daughters back around 2003. I was excited to see it featured on your web site. Your portrait of our girls continues to be the focal point of our living room and both Jill and I enjoy it daily. Your skill and mastery went beyond capturing just their likeness by also capturing their respective personalities. The painting is truly a treasured item for us.

Mike McDonnell



I love showing the portraits off. Everyone thinks they are amazing. It’s funny most people think that Bennett’s is right on and Audrey’s is


okay. But then there are others that think the exact opposite. Everyone has an opinion. All that matters is that I LOVE THEM, you have captured my babies on canvas and I am so grateful. They are framed and look great.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

AM Smihal

Our Treasured Family Heirloom

portrait artistWe all LOVE the portrait. It will be our treasured family heirloom forever. Thank you!!!!!

Chilton Simmons

You Captured Her Personality

portrait painter of womenThe department just unveiled your portrait of our previous Chair, Jan Lage. WONDERFUL.  I worked with her for almost 5 years and I think you caught more than just her appearance; you captured her personality.  She was a super Chair for this department but a frank, kind, informal person.  You got it.  Thanks.

Dr. Jerry Squires
MUSC Department of Pathology


Baby/Parent Charcoal sketches (with Conte) 9" x 12"THEY LOVE THE PORTRAITS! Thank you so much. So much joy on their faces when they saw what a beautiful job you did!

Jason Zwiker
Charleston City Paper

Wonderfully Positive Influence

I have experienced firsthand the wonderfully positive influence of having one of your portraits of myself influencing and inspiring my own dreams and self confidence. When I feel challenged, or worse, I look at that portrait and think, “she can do it! She can get through this, overcome this, win this battle.” Thank you, Robert Maniscalco for reminding me of who I really am.  Jan Titsworth

Jan Titsworth

Gifted Artist

Robert Maniscalco is a very gifted artist. He has done 2 magnificent large portraits of our 3 daughters. His detail is amazing and his style is wonderful. Thank you Rob, we enjoy these portraits daily and think of you. I strongly recommend to anyone reading this, if you want a magnificent portrait to pass on through the generations of your family, Rob is the artist worth commissioning. And he is kind and fun! We are so lucky and happy we have him as a friend. Oil portraits are such a great investment and so much more magnificent then large photos. With gratitude, Anthony and Theresa Selvaggio theresa selvaggio
theresa selvaggio

A Pleasure to Work With

I recently had the opportunity to work with Robert from afar. He is in Charleston, I am in New Orleans. Over a period of several months we shared lots of photos and ideas for layout. Robert was a pleasure to work with and even more fun when Tish and I traveled to Charleston to view the finished product and make final touches. I have recommended Robert to other members of my bench.

Ray Steib

America’s Best

I regard Rob Maniscalco’s art as some of America’s best! His portraiture is some of the most animated, alive creations I have ever seen. When I look into the eyes of his people, I feel that I can read them and their “lives,” as if they were standing in front of me in the flesh! He has a rare gift, and I am privileged to have his work in my library! I must also add that I am proud to share his genuine concern for the welfare of world humanity and its destiny which is so evident in his art! Rob Litchfield
Rob Litchfield

Expertise and Wisdom

Thank you for sharing your incredible expertise and wisdom. As a portrait student, I’ve been refreshed and revived and inspired by your teaching. I’d endorse you any day! Artistically yours, — Mary Hoffman

Eye for Seeing Right On

Your eye for seeing this child was right on. He is an extremely intelligent young man. He is a builder, wants to be an engineer.  He builds cities in his house with train sets, building blocks of all kinds.

I really do appreciate you and what this instruction is doing to lift up my artwork to a higher level. As an artist, this has been a dream come true, to be able to understand light and shadows. You’re a very special teacher. I thank you. — Marueen Gonsalez

My Heart is Truly Full

Just a thankful “Thank you.” I have my grandson’s portrait on my table inside my foyer of my home. I love this little guy more. It will be hard for me to send it to my daughter now, lol. Thank you Robert! My heart is truly full! I shall remember you as a “knight in shining armor!” The way you paint reminds me of that era, for some reason. Your talent is truly amazing. — Maureen Gonzalez

Maureen Gonzalez

It’s Gorgeous

wilkinsonOh MYYYYY, you’re making me fall in love all over again! That’s fantastic brutha! (tear in my eye). Luv U. It’s gorgeous!!! You’re the best! Absolutely wonderful!
Looking forward to receipt of the masterpiece and displaying for all to see. Such a fantastic happy loving portrait Robbie, very happy indeed. Thanks again for the the love you put into it 🙂 will be a joy for years/decades to come. Jason Wilkinson

Jason Wilkinson

Naturalness of the face


I really like this painting. I can’t think of fancy words to describe why. I like the face. I like the casual way the hair is painted and the naturalness of the face. I like the way the woman is placed on one side of the canvas. The placement is simple but unique. I feel like it was painted in a calm mood and it makes me feel calm.

Kay Maniscalco

Evolution and Range

I met Robert back in 1998 at one of his exhibitions at the Maniscalco Gallery. Robert was already a very talented painter, but it’s truly incredible to see the evolution and range of his work over the years. I think 2022 will be the year that I finally commission Robert to paint my portrait, one in a good old fashioned regal southern style! I have the perfect spot for it in my den! C. Aldo

Christian Aldo

Heart of Soul

stephen Holmes (1992-2021)You are a very talented artist Rob. Art takes an even greater depth when influenced from the heart or soul. 🎨💙  Michele Raab Stroh
Michele Raab Stroh

Painting is Amazing

stephen Holmes (1992-2021)

Steven Homes

[This] painting is amazing and thank you for sharing the special story of the bond between you and these men. Also saw your exhibit at the GP War Memorial. You are so very talented. I remember seeing your paintings in your home and was amazed ( way back) then. Even more amazing now. Congratulations on getting the recognition you so deserve and know this is just the beginning. Bari Berger Engel
Bari Berger Engel


bill brusilow

Portrait of Bill Brusilow

Bravo on Bill’s portrait. It is perfect. A beautiful legacy continues.  David Coleman


In so many ways this is awesome, but especially, to see the portrait along side the artist, and the person…priceless!  Dana Gamarra
Dana Gamarra

Makes Me Gasp

“Quench” at GPAC

Congratulations! Your art makes me gasp it is so great!!! Dawn Mears

Dawn Mears

A True Master


“Quench” at GPAC

I went to see Rob Maniscalco’s exhibition at the War Memorial in Grosse Pointe. Walking through the gallery, I noticed his paintings are varied in subject, style and color palette. As I stood in front of each individual painting, they drew me in. I was immersed in each as an individual experience. As an artist, I noticed every single brushstroke in full vibrant color and texture, but they come together to create a realistic style. Each painting has its own personality, whether it’s a landscape or portrait, and you want to explore it more. His brushstrokes are meticulously placed without hesitation, a trait of a confident painter – a true master, which Rob is. His show stayed with me, long after leaving it, because his paintings made a real connection. – Frits Hoendervanger


Frits Hoendervanger

Mastery of Brushstroke

I met Rob Maniscalco in 2004, when he hosted Art Beat Detroit, a local weekly PBS series that was broadcast on WTVS Public Television.  In 36 episodes that ran from 2003 to 2005, Rob introduced and profiled Detroit-based artists in their studios. I was one of his interviewees in 2004, when I had a studio in the 4731 Gallery building northwest of downtown.

As an art show host, his manner seemed a bit odd to me, kind of offbeat, like a showman’s.  It was the very opposite of what I had expected given my early exposure to PBS artists Bill Alexander (The Magic of Oil Painting, 1974-1982) and Bob Ross (The Joy of Painting, 1983-1994). While I never really was impressed by their work, they did define for me the manner in which I thought TV artists should conduct themselves. Not Rob. As with his art, Rob had his own approach.

I did know that Rob was a practicing artist but was unaware that he also had had formal training as an actor, director and playwright. Looking back, I would say that that served him well as an entertainment host for a TV show about artists, each of whom had their own quirks and uniquenesses. As I learned more about him, in particular about Rob the artist, my first impression faded…not entirely; His wit, puns and penchant for surprise continue to amuse, for I, too, have acting, writing and directing within my artistic repertoire.

What I discovered about Rob is that before much formal training, his father, portrait artist Joseph Maniscalco, provided formable lessons in their unique style of painting. Joseph was schooled in the (Frank) Reilly Method, which emphasized a value-based palette. His ability to render also was steeped in the traditions of Rembrandt, Velazquez, Hals and Sargent. So, it is not surprising that color or hue is inherent in the signature Rob Maniscalco style today. When you look at a Maniscalco painting, father’s or son’s, the influences are apparent in how light and form are used to create mood or in revealing a subject’s character.  Another inherent aspect of a Maniscalco portrait or in other work even of animals is the detail within the subject’s eyes, a reveal of the soul it is often said.

Rob, the actor/painter describes himself as an Expressive Realist, no doubt drawing (pun intended) from both art and theatre backgrounds. Every artist is categorized one way or another, so I guess his descriptor is as fitting as any other. Simply put, in all genres of landscape, figure, and still-life, I would summarize Rob’s work as a blend of amorphous, colorful backgrounds with distinctly rendered subjects and foregrounds: simultaneously expressive and realistic, with an employ of strong side-lighting to define and render shapes. He is not timid when it comes to laying on the paint evidencing his mastery of brushstroke and use of impasto.

I believe that artists must be willing to leave what they know and attempt to push forward, to explore and extend their knowledge yet not having to surrender what they’ve accomplished or achieved.  While doing what he knows best – portraits – Rob is unafraid to step out from what he excels at, to express in paint in multiple ways. Even in his quasi-Daliesque/surreal works or pure abstractions, the Expressive/Realist will tell a story, or present his point of view, or manifest an emotion based in the Maniscalco tradition.

The 32 pieces in his exhibition, “Quench,” on view through March 26, at the Grosse Pointe (Mich.) Artists Association, retrospectively demonstrate his lingering thirst to make and teach art. Yes, Rob also is an instructor, passing along his knowledge as a painter and artist and TV host. His exhibition features recent works as well as some of his favorite landscapes, still lifes and portraitures.  In each, the Maniscalco signature of hue, light and form is amply revealed.

Victor Pytko
Detroit. Mich. 48207

Here’s a short video created in 2014 by my friend, Victor Pytko “The last Artist” is a witty, sharp critique of our society’s throw away culture. We no longer seem to value original artwork. Our image driven, selfie obsessed society cares little for the original work of the creative, postulating that we have so many images we no longer need artists to create more, something myself and other creatives have been railing about for years. This satirical account of the last artist bites hard into the superficiality of our culture, imagining a world without artists. Why own an original with so many ways to experience (steal) the image? Because one is real, the other is imitation.

Victor Pytko

Original Art

Thanks Rob! Since I live with original art I know the deep value of seeing the brush strokes of an artist’s joy in creating something that lives beyond its subject matter. It is the joy of an artists showing you something beyond mere image but the life within the subject. Take time with art to BE with it and feel the presence of real life! Cessily Wotring Thalacker

Cessily Wotring Thalacker

Really Lovely

Hello, Robert. I went by the War Memorial today to look at your show. Really liked the portrait of Evan, but also the one about what happens to “the cute little kid that grows up” and the really lovely one about the child with her father. Frederic Sibley

Frederic Sibley

Really Lovely One

A Father's Love

A Father’s Love

Hello, Robert. I went by the War Memorial today to look at your show. Really liked the portrait of Evan, but also the one about what happens to “the cute little kid that grows up” and the really lovely one about the child with her father. Frederic Sibley

Frederic Sibley

Incredible Artistic Gifts


Rob, your incredible artistic gifts somehow enable you to paint warmth and emotion and light. This precious image takes my breath away…you truly painted empathy.  Cheryle Kahl  ❤️

 Cheryle Kahl

Absolutely Beautiful


Absolutely beautiful💕Thank you for sharing this!  Jack Faragasso

Wonderful Job

Archbishop Allen H. VigneronThank you again for the wonderful job on the portrait. The Archbishop is very pleased with the work and many people really like it. It is already hanging up in the board room and looks great! Fr. Craig Giera

Mesmerize ME

Awe Rob, you know I’ve always been your number 1 fan. Your paintings mesmerize me, you are so talented and genuinely a great person.

Congratulations always. 💞   Loreen Wallace Stay
Loreen Wallace Stay

Deserve the Recognition

Totally agree- Leyla is so professional and smooth talking creating such a comfortable atmosphere for you to expertly answer her great questions. I hope that this is just the beginning of many many more interviews for you. Besides your great and warm personality and amazing acting skills, your talent as an artist is outstanding and you deserve all the recognition that comes your way. Wishing you continued great artistic success stories! Bari Berger Engel

Bari Berger Engel

Turned Out Beautifully

Jesus Sending his Holy Spirit giclee part of Brian and Marth Ingalls collectionJesus sending his holy spirit giclee with Martha and Brian IngallsBrian absolutely loves “Jesus Sending His Holy Spirit!! [Brian’s birthday present] really turned out beautifully!! Many thanks! Martha Ingalls


She Just Feels so Real



I purchased this piece recently at Piccolo Spoleto, and it’s a new favorite in my collection! Wow, so hard to put things into words. I kept coming back to “Butterflies.” I passed by the tent twice, came by the next day just to look at it, and then finally came back a final time to see her and buy her. I just couldn’t get her face out of my mind. You know, I never go for portraits. It’s just not really my style—I far prefer abstract works. She just feels so *real*, so alive. I feel like she knows something I don’t, but not in a threatening way. I feel like I know her, like she’s a real friend even though she’s a painting. There’s a spark in her eyes that I can’t put into words, and her smile just looks so authentic and almost in motion, not like a “portrait” of a smile. There’s something haunting about her in a warm way. I feel genuinely honored to have this piece in my collection.

Christrina Xan


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I’d like to share my latest #artwork. Your #feedback helps me find the best way to present my #work and the #direction I need to go. I think this #oilpainting is something of a #breakthrough for me. Pushing the envelope of what, at least for me, what a #portrait can be. What do you think? #art #artistsoninstagram #artcollector #artoftheday #artlover #capers #boneyard #sea #seascape #ocean #theshore #shore #beautiful #damselonthebeach #charleston #sc #create https://maniscalcogallery.com/product/emerald-siren/

I’d like to share my latest #artwork. Your #feedback helps me find the best way to present my #work and the #direction I need to go. I think this #oilpainting is something of a #breakthrough for me. Pushing the envelope of what, at least for me, what a #portrait can be. What do you think? #art #artistsoninstagram #artcollector #artoftheday #artlover #capers #boneyard #sea #seascape #ocean #theshore #shore #beautiful #damselonthebeach #charleston #sc #create maniscalcogallery.com/product/emerald-siren/ ... See MoreSee Less

I get a glimpse now and then of how I am known in the various communities of which I am a part. Sadly, few people know me. My humanity is left completely out of the equation. 

I’m guessing this is the same for most of us. No one spends enough time with people to really know them. This, in my view, is the greatest tragedy of our time and the reason for most of society’s woes: the dehumanizing of “the other.”

I get a glimpse now and then of how I am known in the various communities of which I am a part. Sadly, few people know me. My humanity is left completely out of the equation.

I’m guessing this is the same for most of us. No one spends enough time with people to really know them. This, in my view, is the greatest tragedy of our time and the reason for most of society’s woes: the dehumanizing of “the other.”So true!! So many know of you but don’t know you because they listen to others about you. #womanofimperfection #books #flipthepages #gettoknowmeforme #dontjudgeabookbyitscover
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Last call for any holiday portraits. . .Image attachmentImage attachment+Image attachment

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Shout out to my newest followers! Excited to have you onboard!

Sue Pavlatos, Roland Moseley, Margie Camardelle, Ronald Mccann, Sandra Russell, Yuriy Bekker

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Shout out to my newest followers! Excited to have you onboard!

Sue Pavlatos, Roland Moseley, Margie Camardelle, Ronald Mccann, Sandra Russell, Yuriy Bekker

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A portrait is the closet an inanimate object can get to the real thing. No other material possessions express and preserve our identity and our loved ones’ identities like a portrait. 

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A portrait is the closet an inanimate object can get to the real thing. No other material possessions express and preserve our identity and our loved ones’ identities like a portrait.

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I’ve been meaning to #paint this #portrait for some time. “The #Longshoreman”is my latest #oilpainting  and is a #deep #exploration of #character. 


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I’ve been meaning to #paint this #portrait for some time. “The #Longshoreman”is my latest #oilpainting and is a #deep #exploration of #character.


#art #artcollector #artist #artistsoninstagram #charlestonartist #charleston #lowcountry #portraiture #sc
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