LAKE WYLIE -- A River Hills resident's paintings have been drawing attention since she was a precocious elementary student. Now, she is sharing her work in an exhibit through June 22 at River Hills Country Club.
Stephanie Schwarmborn Girolami's artistic talents emerged in the first grade when she was asked to paint a large mural about different forms of transportation. In the third and fourth grades, she won a magazine art contest and one of her paintings was selected for the Lever House Grade School Art Show.
Girolami also won the highest art scholarship in New York City, and studied at the American Artists School and Art Students League of New York. While there, she was commissioned for several assignments.
Following art school, she worked for Nabisco's art department. After getting married, she continued her art studies on Long Island, N.Y., studying under many well-known artists who helped her sharpen her skills in drawing, commercial art, anatomy, oil painting, acrylics, watercolor and abstract designs in mixed media.
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"I love all mediums, as each has their own unique characteristics," she said. "Painting in oils is very demanding and disciplined with lots of time spent on preparation and cleanup.
"Pastels are wonderful and easy to work with but the breathing of pastel dust could be an issue," she said. "Watercolors travel well with little preparation, whereas acrylics can produce good results as long as the paint doesn't harden."
While working for the Long Island Arts Council, she taught and gave art demonstrations and exhibitions throughout Long Island. Then, the Mayor of Freeport, Long Island, hired Girolami to develop scenery design and oversee special events for the city.
"I enjoy painting everything including landscape, still life and people," she said.
Her talents carried over into designing movie sets and scenery design for theaters in New York City and Wilmington, N.C. While in the Charlotte area, she worked for Paramount Studios and designed scenery for the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. She also was a docent for the Mint Museum.
A member of the Pastel Society, Girolami enjoys spending time with her six grandchildren, and sharing her love for the arts and water sports. Having a second home in Massapequa, N.Y., as a child she was able to enjoy water-related sports such as speedboating, deep sea fishing, crabbing and clamming.
When her husband, Louis, sold his company, the Girolamis moved to Wilmington and subsequently to River Hills.
"We have met so many wonderful people here," she said. "We live on the water and enjoy boating, tennis and golf."
For information about the exhibit, call 803-831-2126.