TH woman meets Costner through painting
Dorothy Shromoff has been painting her entire life, but she said she never imagined it would be the key to meeting one of her favorite celebrities.
With a little persistence and a lot of artistic talent, however, the Two Harbors woman wiggled her way into a backstage meet-and-greet with Kevin Costner.
“He’s really good looking,” Shromoff told the Lake County News-Chronicle with a laugh.
Shromoff, 69, lived most her life in Two Harbors, working more than two decades for Lake County. She retired to South Carolina in 2000, where last year she heard that Kevin Costner and his band, Modern West, would be performing.
“I’ve always enjoyed him as an actor,” Shromoff said. “I started hearing about his band and kept checking on him.”
She went to the concert and watched from near the stage, where she snapped a couple of pictures. Shromoff normally paints still lifes based on photographs she’s taken of animals, flowers and landscapes. But one of the photos she took at the concert inspired her, so she set out to paint a watercolor of Costner playing guitar.
“This was kind of an exception,” Shromoff said, adding that she rarely paints portraits of people.
Shortly after she finished the painting, she found that Costner was returning to the area to play another concert with his band, so she bought tickets for the April 23 show in North Charleston, S.C. and decided to try to give Costner her original painting.
“I knew I wouldn’t be able to bring that painting into the venue,” she said, so she made alternative plans.
Shromoff went to the venue the afternoon of the concert to see if she could catch Costner and his crew unloading their bus. She lucked out when the actor’s RV pulled up that afternoon and she was able show her painting to a security guard who called over to a band member.
“All of the sudden, I’m in front of one of the band members. He said, ‘Wow, you painted that?’” she recalled.
Costner wasn’t there – he would arrive by plane later that afternoon – but his bandmate offered to put the painting in his dressing room and give Shromoff two passes to the meet-and-greet event before the concert. She got just a minute with Costner, but asked if he’d seen the painting. He hadn’t. Shromoff said she was disappointed, but pleased that she was photographed with Costner and was able to enjoy the concert
“They’re good,” she said of the band.
Though it’s unknown whether her picture is now hanging in Costner’s private collection, Shromoff’s paintings are in the homes of thousands of South Carolinians. Her work was featured on the cover of two local phone books after her talent stood out in a cover art competition. She also won a contest run by the North Carolina Arts Festival in 2008 and her entry – a painting -- appeared on 40,000 brochures, posters and t-shirts.
Jackie Carlson of Duluth went to high school with Shromoff – they graduated from THHS in 1963. She said Shromoff brings a painting to Two Harbors for their class reunion each summer and they draw names to see who gets it.
“She’s just a natural,” Carlson said. “It’s just incredible to look at all the many types of painting she’s done.”
She added that all the girls in the class of 1963 are jealous that Shromoff got to meet Costner.
Though Shromoff has no formal training, her natural talent is obvious. Her paintings are detailed and lifelike, with deep colors that are rarely achieved in watercolor. Her inspirations are many, from Kevin Costner to Lake Superior.
“Whenever I see something that would make a good painting, I take a picture,” she said.