About Jane Lee McCracken

Artist

‘Red Wolf’ Limited Edition Prints for Critically Endangered Wolves

'Red Wolf' 2016 original red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken for the Wolf Conservation Center

‘Red Wolf’ 2016 original red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken for the Wolf Conservation Center

Beautiful, adaptable and rare, the elusive Red wolf was once common to the eastern United States where it roamed for thousands of years. Now, critically endangered the wild population of just 45 individuals inhabits northeastern North Carolina, while a captive breeding program includes 200 wolves. Jane’s red Biro (ballpoint pen) drawing entitled ‘Red Wolf’ made for the Wolf Conservation Center, New York captures the beauty and fragility of this enigmatic creature whose wide-ranging habitat once included swampland.

Member of the Wolf Conservation Center's Red Wolf Pack. Photo Credit: Maggie Howell WCC 2016

Member of the Wolf Conservation Center’s Red Wolf Pack. Photo Credit: Maggie Howell WCC 2016

With kind permission of WCC Jane used images of their Red wolf pack as inspiration for her drawing. She asked Executive Director Maggie Howell and Curator Rebecca Bose what their own personal favourite qualities of the Red wolf were, and they both agreed “a strong sense of family”. Therefore ‘Red Wolf’ celebrates the three stages of a wolf’s life from pup to juvenile through to adulthood. While an adult Red Wolf treads quietly across a page of history, through a forest of Cypress trees covered in Spanish moss like lacework through its fur, its young pup waits in the den. A Whitetail fawn drinking from a forest pool suggests the tranquillity of nature. Sibling juvenile Red wolves tentatively emerge from the forest, inquisitively exploring the world around them while the adult watches over them.

A limited edition of 50 signed and numbered ‘Red Wolf’ prints is now available from Jane’s SHOP.  Each print sold benefits WCC’s vital work ensuring the survival of Red wolves.

For further information about the Wolf Conservation Center visit www.nywolf.org

Detail of 'Red Wolf' red Biro drawing, Jane Lee McCracken

Detail of ‘Red Wolf’ red Biro drawing, Jane Lee McCracken

 

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‘A Spoonful of LAIKA’ – Cosmonaut Heroine of the Soviet Union

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‘A Spoonful of Laika’, 2010 black and red Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

On 3 November 1957 Лайка or Laika, a Moscow stray was launched into space onboard Sputnik 2. She had been selected by Soviet scientists to become the first dog in space on a mission to honour the 40th anniversary of the Bolshevic Revolution. Laika was knowingly sacrificed, as the technology allowing spacecraft to de-orbit had not yet been discovered. The launch of Sputnik 2 was on the insistence of Nikita Khrushchev, Russian Premier, and yet little scientific knowledge was gained from this mission.  Official propaganda up until 2002 led Russians to believe that Laika had died from lack of oxygen or been euthanised after enduring four days in space.  ‘In fact stress and overheating in the capsule had killed her in less than five hours’. (Laika, Nick Abadzis, 2007)

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Cosmonaut Laika, 1957

Jane Lee McCracken’s drawing ‘A Spoonful of Laika’, depicts Laika sitting in the bowl of a Russian Khokhloma wooden painted spoon from Jane’s Russian artefact collection.  Laika’s innocent stance represents the unknowing sacrifice she would make for human gains during the Space Race.  The spoon is an allegory to the song from ‘Mary Poppins’, suggesting a ‘spoonful of dogs’ is as remedial as sugar for the unconditional love and devotion they instinctively give humans.  This artwork also signifies that man’s reciprocation towards canine loyalty is not always with acts of kindness and care.

Laika Gallery:

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Commemorative Laika Memorabilia

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Laika in training, 1957

 

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‘Soviet Sputnik Musical Cigarette Case’, 1957 USSR from Jane Lee McCracken’s collection

 

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‘Laika Cigarette Packet’, USSR circa 1958

Laika’s heroism was immortalised in 2008 with her own statue in Star City, Russia.

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‘Laika Monument’, Star City, Russia, 2008

Nick Abadzis’s beautiful graphic novel, ‘Laika’, 2007 memorialises the life of the Moscow street dog of Siberian Husky mix, who was named after the Russian word for ‘Barker’ or ‘Husky’, by the scientists who trained her.

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‘Laika’, Nick Abadzis, First Second, 2007

The end plate of ‘Laika’ is devoted to the poignant and moving 1998 quote by Oleg Gazenko, the scientist who led the Soviet Animals in Space Program and trained Laika:

“Work with animals is a source of suffering to all of us. We treat them like babies who cannot speak.  The more time passes, the more I’m sorry about it. We did not learn enough from the mission to justify the death of the dog.”

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Oleg Gazenko at a press conference in 1960 holding Belka and Strelka who safely returned to earth after their space flight. Image courtesy of Chris Dubbs collection.

NEW – Greetings Cards

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New greetings card range by Jane Lee McCracken – four designs depicting original Biro drawings.

This spring sees the launch of Jane’s new greetings card range featuring a selection of her most iconic Biro drawings to date.  Printed in the UK, these high quality 15 x 21cm cards capture the intricate detail of each poignant drawing.

 

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Greetings cards range depicting ‘Russian Doll’, ‘The Sideboards II’, ‘Sweet’ and ‘Our Forefathers’.

In stock at Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s premier design store Whosit & Whatsit, Jane’s cards are now available to purchase from her online shop.

Sets of 4 cards are individually wrapped with envelopes and priced at £10 including postage and packaging per set.

 

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To purchase cards sets please visit www.janeleemccracken/shop

 

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‘The Sideboard II’ Greetings Card

 

For further details please contact jane@janeleemccracken.co.uk

 

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‘Angel Girl’ Prints Released

'Angel Girl' 2015 black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Angel Girl’ 2015 black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

This year’s original Biro drawing for the Wolf Conservation Center ‘Angel Girl’, is a portrait of Alawa one of WCC’s Ambassador Wolves.  It focuses on Alawa’s haunting eyes which speak of the innocence of animals and implore consideration of the wolf’s integral role as a keystone species. There are hints of blades of grass where Alawa is lying to remind us of the wilderness, the domain of wild wolves.

‘Angel Girl’ will be sold by WCC to raise vital funds for wolf conservation.

An A3 limited edition series of 50 signed and numbered archival pigment prints of ‘Angel Girl’ is now available with profits going directly to the Wolf Conservation Center.

To purchase a print please visit my shop

Howls from Alawa and the Wolves of WCC!

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Alawa – Photo Credit: WCC

 

 

Seasons Greetings

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This year’s Christmas card focuses on the plight of refugees and animals caught in the crossfire of war through a little sculpture tattoo drawing in Biro on a found china hand.

Season greetings and a happy and peaceful 2016 to all.

Best wishes,

Jane

Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken, on a china hand purchased in a local charity shop

Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken, on a china hand purchased in a local charity shop.

Reflection of dove drawing on the back of china hand.

Reflection of dove drawing on the back of china hand.

Reflection of back of china hand with drawing of Lily and dove.

Reflection of back of china hand with drawing of Lily and dove.

Sculpture tattoo on glass shelf.

Sculpture tattoo on glass shelf.

‘War + Peace’ Book Update

'War + Peace', Selected Biro Drawings 2008 - 2014 by Jane Lee McCracken, Front Cover

‘War + Peace’, Selected Biro Drawings 2008 – 2014 by Jane Lee McCracken, Front Cover

This October book No.1/50 of ‘War + Peace’ was auctioned at the Savoy, London and raised £400 for Save Wild Tigers, an organisation dedicated to saving the last 3,200 wild tigers.

There is still time to order a copy before Christmas!  ‘War + Peace’ is a limited edition publication of 50 books worldwide, signed and numbered with an original gold tiger drawing made on the back page of each copy.

Here are some page images of ‘War + Peace’:

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‘War + Peace’, ‘Kaboom! Where did all the Animals Go?’, 2010 ”TV Screen III – Where East Meets West, Forests’ Memories’, 2010

 

'TV Screen II - Where Wolves and Bears Dare', 'War + Peace', 2014

‘War + Peace’, ‘TV Screen II – Where Wolves and Bears Dare’, 2011

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‘War + Peace’, ‘Butterfly Lover’ 2014

'War + Peace', Selected Biro Drawings 2008 - 2014, by Jane Lee McCracken, 'American Dream' 2014

‘War + Peace’, ‘American Dream’ 2014

About:

“War + Peace’, brings together a selection of my Biro drawings from several bodies of work produced between 2008 – 2014 including ‘Tales from the East’, ‘The Woodcutter’s Cottage’, ‘In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’ and recent artwork for conservation projects. Inspired by my passion for childhood memoirs, fairy tales, travel, forests and animals and continuing exploration of the themes of ‘war’ and ‘loss’, these multiplex, layered drawings in colour or black Biro are often used as inspiration to create objects and installations. Taking photographs of films and documentaries, my muse Lily, people, animals and found objects as the foundation for my work and building layers of drawn images in Biro, my aim is to make art that represents the beauty and brutal reality of life thus creating ‘memorials of lives lived, both human and animal and ways of life lost’.”

To order a copy or for more information please visit my shop.

Original Gold Tiger drawing on back page of each copy.

Original Gold Tiger drawing on back page of each copy.

Biro Colour Palette and New Work in Progress…

Detail of colour Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

Detail photograph of colour Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

The following photographic images detail small fragments of a new colour Biro drawing in progress.  The drawing is part of a new body of work exploring the meaning of the word ‘War’.  This particular piece has been months in the making.

Detail of white horse, new colour Biro drawing

Detail of white horse, new colour Biro drawing

The colours in my drawings are mixed one on top of the other using 8 – 10 different colour Biro’s from a pack of 20 pens, in order to create the exact colours required. When painting in the past I would create a spectrum of colours using Red, Yellow, Cobalt, White, Paynes Grey and Yellow Ochre but with the pack of colour Biros I use this is impossible as the colours are geared towards children and include fluorescent hues.  You have to be inventive when mixing the colours within the drawing!  However Biro ink is a beautiful gelatinous ink which when applied to a surface achieves a vibrancy and volume rather like print pigments – one of the reasons I love Biro!

Detail of Roxy, colour Biro drawing

Detail of Roxy, colour Biro drawing

When painting, colours can be ready mixed on the palette so they can be reused within the canvas.  When using colour Biro each colour has to be created or recreated within the drawing by layering different colour pens on top of one another.   It takes a day to achieve 1/2 – 1 inch of a colour composition because you are often quadrupling the amount of pen layers as opposed to the fewer layers required to create the shades of a one colour drawing.

'Pilgrim', small detail of colour Biro drawing

‘Pilgrim’, small detail of colour Biro drawing

Within my work I like to use images of people, animals and objects that play a part in my life and this particular drawing memorialises a yearling and a mare who belonged to friends and sadly are no longer with us.

Still some way to go…