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Artist Spotlight: Mary McCullah

Posted: June 25, 2013 - 4:11pm
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Cattails and Carolina Wrens   SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Cattails and Carolina Wrens

Biologist, writer and ecologist Rachel Carson once wrote: “Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.”

Mary McCullah’s three-decade journey with her art has drawn her to the beauties and mysteries of the earth, capturing “the wonders of the natural world in such a way that the viewer will be emotionally moved with a smile, a memory, or a desire to experience nature,” she says. “My journey was a progressive one that started when my son was small, with art classes, working from my own photographs, to decorative arts, teaching at conventions and workshops, writing art books and articles, and teaching seminars all over the United States and Argentina.”

After McCullah joined the National Society of Decorative Arts, the organization was asked to paint Christmas ornaments for the White House, Blair House and the Smithsonian Collection.

McCullah’s ornaments were chosen, and two were presented to the White House. Her ornaments were also given to Blair House and the Smithsonian over a period of years.

McCullah’s work in preservation and conservation began when she volunteered with the Decatur, Ill., zoo, where she was a docent and visited area schools with the zoo animals. She continued to volunteer wherever the family moved.

In Tennessee’s nature preserve she was introduced to a pack of gray wolves. She helped socialize three young wolves before they were released into the enclosure with the existing wolves.

“In Tennessee I worked with the birds of prey, helping design, build and staff the preserve’s raptor center,” McCullah said. She has also worked with the University of South Carolina Aiken Science Education Center, re-educating a hawk and an owl.

When she and her husband retired to this area in 2006, McCullah decided to cut back on traveling and began focusing on exhibiting, selling and commission work. In 2010, she was selected as one of the artists in residence for the South Carolina state parks and accepted to Cheraw.

“I stayed a week in the park, sketching, hiking, and painting and produced a painting for the park within 90 days – a requirement of the program. In Cheraw, the osprey had an active nest, which was exciting for everyone. In 2012 I decided to apply again to experience Poinsett, which is on the coastal plain and provides many low and high vistas,” McCullah says.

She has completed 17 works of art, in acrylics and watercolor, inspired by her time at Cheraw and Poinsett, which were featured this spring during a solo exhibit at the Aiken Center for the Arts.

Her work was selected for the South Carolina Watermedia Society’s Annual Exhibit in 2009. She has won first place awards with the Aiken Artist Guild, the North Augusta Artists Guild and the South Carolina State Fair in the professional division-watercolor.

Reach McCullah at mmmcmagic@comast.net or visit her website http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/mary+mccalluh/all.

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