First Place - Painted Category
I had a successful egg artist tell me once that when she grew up she wanted to be Marg McCarthy. Not surprising, when it comes to ultra-realism, there are few artists of McCarthy's caliber. She is able to capture not only the movement of the subject, but also it’s personality. It is as though she has caught that one perfect moment in time and frozen it on an eggshell. You expect that at any moment the movement will begin again.
Painting on this fragile canvas instead of a more traditional surface seems right to Marg. She finds the simplicity and shape of the shell itself to be both an art form and a challenge. The curved shell varies in texture and color, even within the different bird species. She has worked on everything from finch eggs no larger than a jellybean to ostrich shells over 20” in circumference.
Each animal portrait is done entirely freehand. “The eyes seem to be the best starting point for me.” Marg tells us. She went on to say that she uses both acrylic and water-mixable oil paints on the shells. Among her customers the emu eggshell seems to be the consistent favorite because of the color and texture of the shells. The egg above and to the left is called "Free Spirit" It's on an Emu shell that didn't get the top cuticle so it's the lighter aqua color.
"When I Grow Up" won 1st Place in Hand Painted at the Dallas Eggs-ibit International show. You can see how protective the Mother Egret is of her babies.
"You can bet I wore the magnifier glasses to do this one." jokes Marg. No wonder, this dove shell is only 1" high, even with the stand it only reaches 2". Four tiny Chickadees circle the egg, which won First in Miniatures this year at the Dallas Eggs-Ibit International.
"Hangin' With the Big Guys"
Marg occasionally does an egg as a donation piece. The emu egg above, "Hangin' with the Big Guys" is for The Gabriel Foundation in Aspen, Colorado, a non-profit parrot rescue/sanctuary. The tiny little Hahns Macaw is being looked over very carefully by the Blue and Gold Macaw. There is a Scarlett Macaw, a Severe Macaw and a giant Hyacynth Macaw. The Hahn's being the smallest of the Macaw family and the Hyacynth being the largest.
In 1999, Marg was chosen by the American Egg Board and the Colorado Egg Producers to paint an egg representing the state of Colorado for a display at the White House. As she worked on the egg, it became her quiet tribute to the children and teacher killed at Columbine High, Littleton, CO in 1999. The state flower is the Columbine as well as name of the school. The Rufus Hummingbird is a symbol of friendship. The egg was on display at the White House in April 2000, during the one year anniversary of the tragedy. Marg has been chosen to paint an egg for 2002.
A member of the International Egg Art Guild, she recently won her Intermediate Master's rating. "It is a tough program because they want to see your best work. I flunked the Intermediate the first time I tried it and it really gives you the "push" to try harder because the only competition is yourself." Marg encourages new egg artists to push themselves too, and to try painting. “It can be used along with just about any other form of eggshell art to give an extra little spark to their creations.”
Read more about Marg McCarthy in Karen Meyer's article "A Passion for Art, Animals and Eggs"
Visit her website, The Eggcellent Collection™