Stephanie Moraca’s paintings will whisk you away to Hawaii or take you on an adventure to Yosemite National Park, or maybe, to a wedding at the Fox Chapel Golf Club.
“When you see her realism paintings, you feel like you’re there. I always love her Hawaii paintings. I’m like, ‘Please take me to Hawaii!,’ ” said Jane Joseph, who has known Moraca since their days at Chartiers Valley Middle School.
In September, Moraca, 28, launched “The Painting Stoof,” an art and entertainment business that she runs full-time out of her Bridgeville home which she shares with her husband.
At “The Painting Stoof,” which pays tribute to Moraca’s childhood nickname “Stoof,” she offers in-home painting parties where you provide the people and she brings the supplies and teaches everyone how to create their own masterpiece.
As part of the business, Moraca also paints as entertainment for events and is commissioned to paint pet portraits and landscapes of people’s favorite destinations. She also sells her realism oil paintings online, at shows, galleries and festivals. You can see her work at thepaintingstoof.com .
“I love painting,” Moraca said. “It came very naturally to me.”
She’s been painting as long as she can remember.
At Chartiers Valley High School, Moraca would head to the art room during lunch, just to sneak in some extra time. A 2012 University of Pittsburgh graduate, Moraca majored in both geology and studio arts.
“She’s the whole package,” Joseph said. “She’s brilliant, but she’s also extremely talented.”
Fresh out of college, she took a job in geology in the environmental consulting industry. But that meant more nights on the road than at home. Moraca always brought her art supplies with her. If they didn’t fit in her bag, she’d make a quick trip to Walmart so she could paint in her hotel room. It kept her occupied on those long trips.
During a trip to Alabama, Moraca decided it was time to give painting a go full-time. Thus, “The Painting Stoof” was born.
Already this year, she was part of the entertainment for a wedding at the Fox Chapel Golf Club where she painting a balcony scene that included the wedding guests with the bride and groom looking over them. The couple took home the portrait at the end of the evening.
She’s held painting parties, and the No. 1 thing she’s commissioned to paint these days is pet portraits, followed by landscape scenes. She hopes to paint more golf course scenes in the next year and expand on what she’s been doing.
Her clients are a mix of Pittsburgh folks and those from across the country, all the way to California.
Moraca, who did work in Yosemite National Park, is working on paintings that reflect on her time there. While an 8-inch-by-10-inch painting can take about eight to 12 hours, she still has it on her list to finish that 4-foot-by 5-foot painting of Zion National Park.
Her work is so versatile, her friend sometimes wonders “Is there anything you can’t paint?” Joseph said with a laugh.
Stephanie Hacke is a Tribune-Review contributor.