A World of Emotion

Written by on May 3, 2012 in Art - No comments

By Leigh Ann Simpson

Pia De Girolamo, MD, has spent her life collecting inspiration from her travels all over the world, internalizing them to create stunning abstract paintings that convey her emotional responses to the experience.

Unlike most children, De Girolamo wasn’t limited to the neighborhood playground; beginning at the tender age of four, she spent every summer with her grandmother in Italy. De Girolamo says that is was during this time that her artistic seeds were sewn. “Even at that young age I was affected by the beauty of the landscape and by the art and architecture of the cities,” De Girolamo recalls. “I think that by drawing and painting I felt I could capture and continue to feel some of that beauty.” De Girolamo also traveled extensively with her parents to exotic destinations such as Greece, Egypt, France, China and Thailand which also provided her with artistic inspiration for her paintings.

De Girolamo’s parents nurtured her creativity and instilled virtues that affected her career decisions. Her mother recognized her extreme interest and natural abilities at a young age and arranged for De Girolamo and her sisters to take art classes. Her father, an Italian born immigrant, was a family physician and also worked with the Eastern airline, which provided the family with an affordable means of travel. De Girolamo greatly admired her father’s work as a physician because of the way that he was beloved by his patients. Her admiration, fueled by her love and respect for the objectivity of science, ultimately led her to pursue a career as an internal medicine physician. “I wanted to specialize but did not want to limit myself to one organ system. Infectious disease was one specialty that encompassed the whole body,” she explains. “In addition there was a lot of ‘detective work’ involved and I like puzzles and mysteries.”

De Girolamo enjoyed helping people, but after 12 years in private practice, she began to feel overwhelmed by the day-to-day operations and administrative stresses associated with running a medical practice. Like so many physicians, she was consumed with her work and had little time to spend with her family or entertaining her own interest. These feeling of discontent began to awaken her inner artist and she began to feel strong desires to paint again, but she considered this merely wishful thinking. However, her feelings drastically changed after the devastating events in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. In the midst of her hometown tragedy she found inner strength and began to believe that her dream of becoming a professional artist could be real. “At first, it actually seemed a futile and useless desire and then it turned into what seemed the only rational response,” she says. She began spending hours in her studio releasing all of the emotion that had been building inside of her for so many years. “Making art was energizing and I got such a feeling of joy. I was ‘off-balance’ after I left medicine and art restored that balance,” she says.

As an artist, De Girolamo has learned to paint abstract, emotional responses to the natural landscapes that she encounters. She prefers to work with acrylic paint, incorporating other mixed media such as pumice, molding paste, shredded papers and plastics and hand pulled prints. The intensity of the emotions felt in her painting can become quite forceful and moving. “There is a sense of motion in the lines and brushstrokes,” says De Girolamo. “I can get really physical when I work and that comes through in many of my paintings. The marks come intuitively, fast and furious.”

For more information on Pia De Girolamo and her art, please visit:

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