A New Worldview is a theme that I have been pursuing in my studio for many years, using eggshells as the medium. The Big Egg Hunt Project allowed me the largest manifestation of this theme and use of materials I have successfully used in previous Egg/Art pieces.
I have painted topographical images of Planet Earth for over 2 decades, which comes from my love of maps, and the sheer physical beauty of our Earth. I often note that our planet is as fragile as an eggshell, and this representation of the globe on eggs manifests this idea. Eggshell encrusted surfaces also show a potential for things breaking up, adding to the visual statement of the Planet’s fragility and our need to protect it.
Materials & Execution Details:
First, I drew the outlines of the continents, then eggshell encrusted the egg shaped resin sphere. The land areas were encrusted in a way to reveal brown (or white for polar regions) chicken shells, the water areas – the inside of white and brown eggshells. I then painted the eggshell with a topographical view of the Earth as I have done with every size eggshell (from Chicken to Ostrich) as well as eggshell encrusted globes and boards.
Once finished I heavily lacquered the exterior of the shell to seal in the design, which protects the attached eggshells and further adheres them to the form. The land surfaces were then rubbed with steel wool to tone down the highlighting of the gloss lacquer, to allow for a visual differentiation with the water areas. This also allows the viewer to see the difference between the convex shells forming land areas with the concave surfaces of the water/oceans.
Paul Wirhun, hard at work in his studio
What I learned while making this piece:
It took me a week to encrust the cast resin egg; two weeks to paint and lacquer it. I LOVED every minute of it, as it allowed me to geek out on the topographical painting. I found that I could use the cracks between the shells to paint river valleys, and this caused me to see that all rivers come from mountain chains that are watersheds; and how we need to keep water systems clean. While I painted I listened to a lot of Persian Classical music as I found the rhythm, the flow of the melodic line and the timber matches the flow of the topography.