Pay it Forward


Painter-sculptor Marga McBride believes in sharing gifts

Marga McBride sees the sublime in the simplest of images. The brilliant red seeds of a towering magnolia. The determination in the face of a toddler who sees himself as Captain America. The pain of racism radiating from a grown man’s eyes.

Both a painter and sculptor, McBride believes it’s important for artists of any ilk to share their gifts. “When you’ve been handed certain gifts and sensitivities from another realm,” she says, “it’s your duty to share.”

A Nashville native, McBride was creative even as a child. She studied painting at the University of Tennessee and began working with clay at age 35. She has worked at art galleries, including Bennett as gallery director, taught painting on board ships for Crystal Cruises, entered pieces in shows across the country while also practicing and teaching yoga. She and husband Jay McBride moved last August into their home beside Fort Loudoun Lake, where she can always find inspiration among the birds, the flowers, the light, and the water. With separate studios for painting and sculpting, she has both the space and the time to create.

Her work in clay began with the creation of altars, small paintings she framed in clay. “They were very simple and all about the spiritual messages in nature and art. I thought of clay as a frame for the paintings. Then I started making more of the frames, making them more intricate. Then I made a sculpture.

“When I found clay, I found a very seductive medium that’s all about feeling, all about intuition,” she says. “I was mesmerized by it. You can make anything out of clay. Then you can paint it.”

One of her larger installations can be found at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. She created a fountain and surrounding images on the third-floor courtyard adjacent to the hematology/oncology clinic. The work includes a bronze sculpture, aluminum cutouts, stained glass, and mosaic tiles. It depicts water flowing from hands in the clouds into a child’s hands, and from there into the fountain’s base. “The idea behind it is we’re given gifts and then we need to pay them forward.”

McBride relies on yoga and meditation to keep her mindful and creative. “Being still is big. I don’t want to be so busy that I miss the point.”

Learn more at her website,   

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