“DRAWING for Endangered Species” School Workshops in aid of the BORN FREE FOUNDATION

"Drawing for Endangered Species Workshops" Brochure cover by Jane Lee McCracken

“Drawing for Endangered Species Workshops” brochure cover by Jane Lee McCracken and Jack Lowe Studio

This week sees the launch of an inspirational school workshop project ‘Drawing for Endangered Species’ which shares my great passion for drawing and animals.  25% of each workshop fee will be donated to the Born Free Foundation in aid of the vital work they do for wildlife.

'Chimpanzee', Jemma aged 8, East Lothian, black Biro drawing

‘Chimpanzee’, Jemma aged 8, East Lothian, black Biro drawing

Children possess a natural passion for drawing and interest in animals.  In creating an art and educational based workshop, I hope by enthusing children to express themselves through drawing, to create a domain where individual interest and awareness of threatened wildlife and habitats thrives, and continues into adulthood.  Schools give fundamental education to children about the environment and my workshops are designed to respond to individual school curriculums.  I believe teaching children about environmental issues just as I was fortunate enough to be enthused as a child, helps secure a broader understanding for preserving beautiful habitats and wildlife each generation has the privilege to inherit.

'Brown Bears', In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia', black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘The Orphans’, Brown Bears, In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’, black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

The workshops are inspired by my recent drawing series ‘In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’.  Bringing a small pop-up exhibition of my Biro drawings to the classroom and encouraging students’ drawing skills, the workshops also explore positive ways children can help save endangered and threatened species through an interactive science based discussion. Students are then given the opportunity to celebrate the beauty of endangered species through an expressive drawing session using colour Biros.

Year 5, St Peter's Roman Catholic School, Scarborough with their artwork produced during 'Drawing for Endangered Species' workshop

Year 5, St Peter’s Roman Catholic School, Scarborough with their artwork produced during ‘Drawing for Endangered Species’ workshop

Endangered Species badges for each student using an image of their drawing made during workshops are also included.

Endangered Species badges with artwork by Year 5, St Peter's Roman Catholic School, Scarborough

Endangered Species badges with artwork by Year 5, St Peter’s Roman Catholic School, Scarborough

For bookings and enquiries or to receive a brochure with further information about workshops please contact jane@janeleemccracken.co.uk

A huge thank you to brilliant art teacher Mrs Haddington of St Peter’s Roman Catholic School, Scarborough for all her help with this project and to Head Teacher Mrs Louise Finlay, her staff and the students of Year 5 for so generously welcoming a pilot workshop to their school and for all the beautiful artwork they produced.  Also to Jack Lowe Studio for all the hard work and help completing the brochure design.

And an enormous thank you to the Born Free Foundation for supporting this project.  For further information about the Born Free Foundation and the inspirational work they do please visit their website at  www.bornfree.org.uk

'Siberian Tiger', 'Ice Fox' and 'Tiger', limited edition archival pigment prints

‘Siberian Tiger’, ‘Ice Fox’ and ‘Tiger’, limited edition archival pigment prints

In conjunction with this project I will be donating ALL profits made from the sales of the three limited edition archival pigment prints above, beautifully crafted to order by Jack Lowe Studio, to the Born Free Foundation.  Prints are priced at £40 each plus postage – for further details please visit my shop.

 

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NEW WORK COMING SOON – Meet ‘Old Foe’ and ‘Odyssey’

'Old Foe' The Dreamers, 2013 original Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Old Foe’ The Dreamers, 2013 original Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

New work is on its way!  Made late last year prototypes ‘Old Foe’ and ‘Odyssey’, two of seven figurines of original Biro drawings on china form part of a wider project about life and death in the animal world, both naturally and at the hands of man.

'Odyssey', The Dreamers, 2013 original Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Odyssey’, The Dreamers, 2013 original Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

Inspired by Goya’s Los Caprichos, ‘The Dreamers’ represent the innocent physicality of sleep whilst the torrid kaleidoscope of dreams cascades through the brain.   ‘The Dreamers’ also represents the quiet moments of peace and daydreams before the inevitability of life’s realities steals ‘innocence’.  Dreams play out like films in our minds, abstract fragments of the brain’s data input of information and our fears and hopes.  Much of my work is based on the subject matter of loss through war and disaster or environmental destruction, represented in layered Biro drawings using stills from films often creating an abstracted phantasmagoria of images and thoughts.  Films transport and capture our minds just like dreams do; they face our fears, portray our hopes and can be therapeutic tools in our waking hours as dreams are deemed brain therapy in our sleep.

I made a random collection of figurines from local charity shops, so that my philosophy of simply using what is close at hand, such as a Biro for drawings was upheld with the choice of figurines available on each day.  Damaged and repaired figurines were still selected to retain the memory of the figurine’s previous life and owner.  Each figurine was then painted white, purifying them from the original manufacturers painted design and stripping each figurine back to the foundations of its physical representation thus creating a blank canvas.  This brings a sense of life to each figurine without the distraction of painted design before the original black Biro drawings are drawn onto the painted surface as well as white representing the purity of ‘a being’ at sleep.  An incredibly hard surface to draw on, these pieces were challenging and remain precious for the intimacy shared with each piece by holding them in my hands as I drew on them.

'Old Foe', The Dreamers, 2013 original Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Old Foe’, The Dreamers, 2013 original Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Old Foe’ (Unmarked Japanese Ceramic mouse figurine) – Inspired by of layers of still images from the Chinese animation ‘Black Cat Detective’, Shanghai Animation Film Studio, 1984 – 2006 and images of the my late mouse Tinkerbell! The origins of this piece represent the age-old feud between cats and mice ultimately leading to the natural but often cruel, death play of the cat with the mouse. ‘Black Cat Detective’ is noted for being particularly violent above other cat and mouse animations such as ‘Tom and Jerry’.  The animated cat’s face is replaced by a black panther’s face, representing the ‘Panthera’ species’ of cats, many of which are under threat of extinction from traditional Chinese medicine.  The flying mice suggest traditional animation representations of death as winged mice fly to heaven.

'Odyssey', The Dreamers, 2013 original Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Odyssey’, The Dreamers, 2013 original Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Odyssey’ (Lomonosov Foal) – A lying foal ‘Odyssey’ dreams of his odyssey through life – black Biro drawing made of layers of images inspired from ‘The Red and the White’, Miklós Jancsó, 1967, ‘White Mane’, Albert Lamorisse, 1953 and ‘Les sang des bêtes’, Georges Franju, 1949.  Hope for a bright future is portrayed in the innocent form of the young foal’s figurine as Odyssey faces his journey through life, tracing his playful youth as a colt ridden bareback by a young boy to cavalry horse of the revolutionary Red Army, to its journeys end at an abattoir.  This piece depicts the fate of many war-horses, often cruelly treated and asks whether this is a fitting demise for an animal who has given its life to war service for humans, or if it’s destiny into the meat trade alongside other livestock is justified?

Further images will be released as this project continues.

THE LEGEND OF THE LAST SOUTH CHINA TIGER: PART TWO

'Butterfly Lover', black and neon orange Biro drawing made especially for SAVE WILD TIGERS by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Butterfly Lover’, black and neon orange Biro drawing made especially for SAVE WILD TIGERS by Jane Lee McCracken

THE LEGEND OF THE LAST SOUTH CHINA TIGER

PART II Butterfly Lover’, (Drawing Two donated to SAVE WILD TIGERS)

Amoy has survived and thrived under the protection of the Tigress Warriors and grown into the most magnificent male tiger that ever lived in China.  He rolls on his back in the sunshine and plays with butterflies.  Softly the music of the ‘Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto’ drifts over him and turns into musical notes glistening on his sleek fur.  Then, the butterflies begin to transform and suddenly the beautiful face of Zhu Yingtai appears on the wings of the first butterfly.  Amoy is so entranced by her beauty, he begins to dream of a mate.  All of a sudden the face of the most beautiful tigress he could ever imagine emerges on the wings of the second butterfly.  Zhu Yingtai and Liang Shanbo, the ‘Butterfly Lovers’, begin to appear on his fur.  Amoy smiles – he rolls over and dreams of his mate and the survival of his species, and continues to play with butterflies.

(Written especially for SAVE WILD TIGERS The Legend of the Last South China Tiger  accompanies a drawing diptych, of which the second drawing ‘Butterfly Lover’ has been donated to Save Wild Tigers and will be exhibited alongside the work of 20 inspirational artists, curated by Lauren Baker, in ‘THRIVE’ Exhibition, Sanderson Hotel, London, 14th – 19th May and auctioned at the Mango Tree Tiger Dinner, 20th May)

Postscript

I wrote this legend especially for Save Wild Tigers‘Yin and Yang’ was inspired by images from the films ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’, Ang Lee, 2000, ‘Hero’, Zhang Yimou, 2002, ‘House of the Flying Daggers’, Zhang Yimou, 2004, ‘Red Cliff’, John Woo, 2008 and ‘2046’, Wong Kar-wai, 2004.  Taking still photographs of all five films I used these images as inspiration for this drawing. Chinese actresses Zhang Ziyi and Faye Wong become the Goddesses in the clouds of Yang.  The fate of some captive South China tigers is reflected on the sword of the most powerful Tigress Warrior.  ‘Butterfly Lover’ the second drawing made specially for Save Wild Tigers, was inspired by the epic and moving ‘Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto’, Chen Gang and He Zhanhao, 1959 (梁祝小提琴协奏曲 the Chinese title appearing on the fur of Amoy’s shoulder).  The face of the heroine Zhu Yingtai from the old Chinese legend ‘Butterfly Lovers’ is that of Faye Wong from ‘2046’. The drawings symbolise the fate of the South China tiger subspecies, which is thought to only survive in captivity but also carries a message of hope, that Save Wild Tigers are working tirelessly to ensure other tiger subspecies will continue to play with butterflies.

There are less than 3500 tigers left in the wild and thought to be no South China Tigers surviving in the wild.   Join SAVE WILD TIGERS today and help save wild tigers!

20 limited edition archival pigment prints of ‘Butterfly Lover’, made by Jack Lowe Studio will be available to purchase from 14th May with ALL profits donated to Save Wild Tigers.  ‘South China Tiger’ diptych will be released later this year as part of my fine China limited edition plate series “In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia” to celebrate the majesty of tigers and highlight their decline through wildlife crime.

THE LEGEND OF THE LAST SOUTH CHINA TIGER: PART ONE

'Yin and Yang', black and neon orange Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Yin and Yang’, black and neon orange Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

THE LEGEND OF THE LAST SOUTH CHINA TIGER

(Written especially for SAVE WILD TIGERS The Legend of the Last South China Tiger  accompanies a drawing diptych, of which the second drawing has been donated to Save Wild Tigers and will be exhibited alongside the work of 20 inspirational artists, curated by Lauren Baker, in ‘THRIVE’ Exhibition, Sanderson Hotel, London, 14th – 19th May and auctioned at the Mango Tree Tiger Dinner, 20th May)

 

Yin and Yang’, Drawing One

And so the legend of the last wild South China tiger begins …

Under the constellation of the White Tiger of the West, protected by the sacred Tigress Warriors of Yin, the last wild South China tiger cub, Amoy cowers behind the most powerful of the Tigress Warriors. Amoy can hear the reverberation of horses’ hooves coming closer. In the East under the constellation of the Azure Dragon, the warriors of Yang ride out in search of Amoy. Clouds of dust raised by the galloping cavalry form Goddesses of Love in the sky, anticipating his capture, for the Azure Dragon prizes the bones of the White Tiger’s children. Misguidedly he thinks tiger parts cure disease and heighten passion and has slain Amoy’s relatives one by one.   But the Tigress Warriors are brave and fearless and their swords are sharp. Amoy’s eyes widen with fear as the cavalry draws closer…

Part Two of the legend and the second drawing will be revealed soon…

There are less than 3500 tigers left in the wild and thought to be no South China Tigers surviving in the wild.  But the inspirational SAVE WILD TIGERS UK charity is working tirelessly to save the last remaining wild tigers.  Join them today and help save wild tigers!

20 limited edition archival pigment prints of the second donated drawing, made by Jack Lowe Studio will be available from 14th May with ALL profits donated to Save Wild Tigers.  ‘South China Tiger’ diptych will be released later this year as part of my fine China limited edition plate series “In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia” to celebrate the majesty of tigers and highlight their decline through wildlife crime.