Dream the ‘American Dream’!

'American Dream', colour Biro drawing, 2014 by Jane Lee McCracken

‘American Dream’, 2014, colour Biro drawing, 60cm x 42 cm by Jane Lee McCracken

This year’s artwork for the Wolf Conservation Center, NY (WCC)‘American Dream’ has taken four months in the making.  Not only does it feature WCC wolves, Atka, Alawa, Zephyr and Nikai but it places wolves at the very heart of the Great American Wilderness highlighting the essential keystone species they are.

ABOUT ‘AMERICAN DREAM’

'American Dream', colour Biro drawing, 2014, detail - Zephyr

‘American Dream’, colour Biro drawing,  detail –  Zephyr

“Winter howls through Yellowstone National Park, sweeping across Ambassador wolf Zephyr’s fur.  An intrepid stag plunges through a deep blanket of snow, pursued by wolves, as a bison battles against a blizzard on the plains between the mountains.

'American Dream', colour Biro drawing, detail - Nikai and Monarch Butterfly

‘American Dream’, colour Biro drawing, detail – Nikai and Monarch Butterfly

A mountain bluebird heralds the arrival of spring, as a bear wakes from hibernation and a bison calf is caught in a spring shower, while Alpine flowers blossom on Zephyr’s legs. Summer shimmers on the wings of a monarch butterfly announcing the arrival of Nikai, the Wolf Conservation Center’s newest Ambassador. Nikai listens to the bluebird’s song as bison rut in a summer meadow.

'American Dream', colour Biro Drawing, detail - Zephyr and Alawa as pups and Atka leaping over a stream

‘American Dream’, colour Biro Drawing, detail – Zephyr and Alawa as pups and Atka leaping over a stream

Fall flickers over Zephyr, as a pup, and turns to winter over Alawa, also as a pup and the wolf pack led by Atka return to their winter trail.  Atka, the leader of the WCC Ambassador Pack, gleams like the sun on the wings of a monarch butterfly. He watches over Zephyr, Alawa, and Nikai in a landscape where wolves roam free.”

"American Dream', colour Biro drawing, detail - Atka and Monarch Butterfly

“American Dream’, colour Biro drawing, detail – Atka and Monarch Butterfly

MAKING  ‘AMERICAN DREAM’

I found inspiration for ‘American Dream’ from the BBC film “Yellowstone” (2009), taking hundreds of still photographs as the film played, searching for images that would best represent the wildlife that has inhabited North America for thousands of years. Also working with beautiful images of wolves taken by Rebecca Bose of the WCC, my aspiration was to try and capture the majesty of the center’s wolves.

Biro (ballpoint pen) is a difficult medium to work with.  There is no room for error as erasing is not possible, Biro blots meaning the nibs have to be constantly cleaned, also the colour range is limited resulting in most colours being mixed directly within the drawing to achieve the palette required.  Making a drawing of this scale therefore takes several months.  But the result is colours of such vibrancy and depth that resemble pigment inks whilst working with the age old technique of ‘drawing’, that still remains with us since the earliest art produced by man, millennia ago.

Ultimately the aim of this artwork was to create a piece that presents wolves as a keystone species while evoking the timeless beauty of the American landscape. Monarch butterflies appear in the drawing highlighting that they too are a vulnerable species, their epic North American migration to Mexico now under threat. The spectrum of colors applied in the drawing reflect the beauty of our natural world, while the dominance of red, white, and blue suggest American traditions and resound ‘hope’ that wolves and other wildlife are thriving again through the inspirational work of organizations such as WCC which dream the ‘American Dream’ and are making it a reality!

‘American Dream’ will be auctioned at this year’s WCC ‘Wine & Wolves’ Holiday Celebration Event on 4th December, with all profits raised going directly to WCC.

Limited Edition Prints

EDITIONS

20 A2 (same size as the original drawing) limited edition signed and numbered archival pigment prints

50 A3 limited edition signed and numbered archival pigment prints

are now available:

www.janeleemccracken.co.uk/shop/conservation art prints

All profits from each print sale go directly to WCC for their vital work conserving wolves.

Wishing Atka, Alawa, Zephyr, Nikai and all at WCC a wonderful ‘Wine & Wolves’!

Photo Credit: Rebecca Bose, WCC

Photo Credit: Rebecca Bose, WCC

 

 

 

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Print No.1/20 Sold at Auction for Save Wild Tigers!

'Butterfly Lover', Luxury large format Archival Pigment Print of original Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Butterfly Lover’, Luxury large format Archival Pigment Print of original black and neon orange Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

STOP PRESS…PRINT NO.1/20 ‘BUTTERFLY LOVER’ 
SOLD AT AUCTION AT THE MAJESTIC TIGER BALL, KUALA LUMPUR FOR £1350($2160)…FOR SAVE WILD TIGERS.
 
HANDFUL OF LARGE FORMAT PRINTS STILL AVAILABLE AT ORIGINAL PRICE…PROCEEDS GO DIRECTLY TO SAVE WILD TIGERS… TO PURCHASE YOUR PRINT AND HELP SAVE THE LAST 3000 WILD TIGERS PLEASE VISIT: www.janeleemccracken/butterflylover
…BEST WISHES JANE…STOP

Detail of new Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken for Save Wild Tigers

War Horse – Remembering all Beings lost in The Great War

'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?

'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

For further information on this piece please visit this earlier post ‘Meet Odyssey and Old Foe’

 

Less than 3200 Wild Tigers Remain

'Shh, it's a Tiger', gold inscription on china plate back, 2014

‘Shh, it’s a Tiger’, gold inscription on china plate back, 2014

Since writing and drawing this inscription on the back of ‘Shh it’s a Tiger!’ china plate for ‘Thrive’, Save Wild Tigers exhibition on 14th May 2014, there are now estimated to be fewer than 3200.  Less than 4 months ago wild tiger numbers were estimated at 3500.

'Shh, it's a Tiger!', luxury fine English china plate by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Shh, it’s a Tiger!’, plate front symbolising the plight of Siberian Tiger one of 6 tiger subspecies.

For further information please visit www.savewildtigers.org

Happy Global Tiger Day! ‘Butterfly Lover’ Prints

'Butterfly Lover', Luxury large format Archival Pigment Print of original Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Butterfly Lover’, Luxury large format Archival Pigment Print of original Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

Happy Global Tiger Day!

There are still luxury large format Archival Pigment prints of ‘Butterfly Lover’ available with all profits donated to SAVE WILD TIGERS.

Beautifully crafted to order by one of the finest master printmakers in the UK, Jack Lowe, these 50cm x 50cm limited edition of 20, signed and numbered Archival Pigment Prints on Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm  are reproduced from my original black and neon orange Biro drawing.

With less than 3200 tigers left in the wild, SAVE WILD TIGERS helping to raise funds for their vital work, saving tigers in the wild.

Prints are priced at £225 including P&P.

For enquiries & print orders please visit my online SHOP.

_______________________

 

‘Butterfly Lover’ is part of my triptych ‘The Legend of the Last South China Tiger’ which was written and drawn especially for SAVE WILD TIGERS ‘Thrive’ Exhibition, curated by Lauren Baker, 14th – 18th May 2014, Sanderson Hotel, London and Tiger Dinner Auction at the Mango Tree 20th May, 2014.   For further information about SAVE WILD TIGERS please visit their website.

 

Machli – Queen of Tigers

'Machli' (Midwinter Fawn Figurine) - black Biro on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Machli’ (Midwinter Fawn Figurine) – black Biro on china by Jane Lee McCracken

New work is on its way!  Prototypes ‘Machil’,  one of seven figurines, ‘The Dreamers’, with original Biro drawings on china, forms part of a wider project about life and death in the animal world, both naturally and at the hands of man.

'Machli' black biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Machli’ black biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

A restful fawn dreams of being hunted by the great tigress Machli – black biro drawing inspired by layers of still images taken of the wildlife documentary ‘Natural World: Queen of Tigers’ BBC 2012/13, Mike Birkhead Associates with Colin Stafford-Johnson.  Machli, the most famous tiger in the world is the pride of Ranthambore National Park, India.  Her life has been documented from cub to old age in two beautiful and moving films by Mike Birkhead Associates.  This piece represents the natural cycle of life and death in the animal world.  It also represents how vital indigenous prey species are for wild tigers.  Tigers are threatened by wildlife crime but also by habitat loss.  With an estimated 3200 tigers left in the wild there are now more tigers in captivity.

'Machli' - black Biro drawing on china by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Machli’ – black 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.

Further images will be released as this project continues.  

For further information about tigers, please visit the amazing Save Wild Tigers, a global initiative dedicated to saving tigers in the wild .

 

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.

‘Our Forefathers, Our Loss’ – Panthera Pardus Orientalis

'Our Forefathers', Amur Leopard, 'In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia', 2013, Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Our Forefathers’, Amur Leopard, ‘In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’, 2013, Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

One of the most endangered big cats in the world in the world inspired Biro drawings for my plate diptych of Amur Leopards.

European exploration from the 15th century onwards saw the beginnings of plundering the natural world and its legacy that has been inherited to date. A fragmented drawing of Rembrandt’s etching, ‘The Windmill’, 1641 symbolises the depiction in European art during the 15th to the 17th centuries of new and exciting discoveries from distant lands and represents man’s fascination with collecting and hunting exotic species.  As few as 45 Amur Leopards exist in the wilds of Ussuriland in Russia at present and only an estimated 7-12 individuals remain in China.

'Our Forefathers' and 'Our Loss', Amur Leopard 'In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia' luxury fine English china plate series

‘Our Forefathers’ and ‘Our Loss’, Amur Leopard ‘In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’ luxury fine English china plate series

Still photographs taken of the leopard from Cartier’s 2012 advertisement, L’Odyssée de CartierBruno Aveillan depict the beauty of leopard species’  in ‘Our Loss’ and convey the possible loss of wild leopard sub species such as the Amur Leopard whilst questioning the training of wild animals to perform for human gratification.

'In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia', Luxury Fine English China Plate Series by Jane Lee McCracken

‘In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’, Luxury Fine English China Plate Series by Jane Lee McCracken

For plate enquiries please contact:

jane@janeleemccracken.co.uk

For plate sales please visit THE NEW ENGLISH

'Our Forefathers', Amur Leopard, 'In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia', 2013, Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Our Forefathers’, Amur Leopard, ‘In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’, 2013, Archival Pigment Print

For luxury Archival Pigment prints made to order by the UK’s best master printmaker Jack Lowe Studio please visit my shop

'Our Forefathers' and ''Our Loss', Amur Leopard 'In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia', luxury fine English china plate series by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Our Forefathers’ and ”Our Loss’, Amur Leopard ‘In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’, luxury fine English china plate series by Jane Lee McCracken

 

 

‘Bang!’ – Odyssey of the Siberian Tiger

"Bang!", Siberian Tiger, 'In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia', 2013 black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

“Bang!”, Siberian Tiger, ‘In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’, 2013 black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Bang!’ is the second drawing in my diptych, ‘Siberian Tiger’, which is part of my luxury fine English china plate and print series. Inspired by the elusive Amur tiger, stealing through the forests of Ussuriland in Scottish film maker Gordon Buchanan’s beautifully shot film ‘Amba, the Russian Tiger’, 2008, a tiger skull placed beside a walking Siberian tiger is layered with a projected image of a group of revolutionary Red Army soldiers posing with a tiger they have shot.  The target of the sniper rifle in the foliage of ‘Shh, it’s a Tiger! is revealed as the walking tiger in ‘Bang!’ through the symbolic bullet hole in the skull.

'Shh, it's a Tiger!' and 'Bang!', Siberian tiger luxury fine china plate diptych by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Shh, it’s a Tiger!’ and ‘Bang!’, Siberian tiger luxury fine china plate diptych by Jane Lee McCracken

The simplicity of this drawing which juxtaposes the complexity of ‘Shh, it’s a Tiger!’ carries an epic message, unless the illegal hunting of tigers by poachers is halted, Siberian Tigers will no longer roam the forests of Ussuriland.  Around 400 Amur Tigers remain in the wild.  Wildlife crime remains one of the greatest threats to their survival. For further information about the Amur Tiger please click on this link to WWF’s website

'In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia', Luxury Fine English China Plate Series by Jane Lee McCracken

‘In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’, Luxury Fine English China Plate Series by Jane Lee McCracken

For plate enquiries please contact: jane@janeleemccracken.co.uk For plate sales please visit THE NEW ENGLISH

"Bang!", Siberian Tiger, 'In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia', 2013 black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

“Bang!”, Siberian Tiger, Archival Pigment Print

For luxury Archival Pigment prints made to order by the UK’s best master printmaker Jack Lowe Studio please visit my shop Website_header_panel_94ef2d8a-1f22-4c1f-b100-2d63e2e8fe93_1024x1024

‘Shh, it’s a Tiger!’ – Amba, Guardian of the Forest

"Shh, it's a Tiger!", Siberian Tiger, 'In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia', 2013, black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

“Shh, it’s a Tiger!”, Siberian Tiger, ‘In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’, 2013, black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

As part of my china and print series ‘In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’ the first Biro drawing in the Siberian Tiger diptych was inspired by two things – a drawing by an old master and an iconic image of India.

‘Landscape with a Woodland Pool’, Albrecht Dürer, 1496

The synonymous image of a Royal Bengal tiger bathing in a pool in Ranthambore National Park, India with its majestic ruined palaces, was the basis for my Russian fantasy of the Siberian tiger. Albrecht Dürer’s beautiful and beguiling drawing Landscape with a Woodland Pool 1496, a photograph of a forest pool in Ussuriland and Ivan Shishkin’s painting, ‘The Forest of Countess Mordvinova’, 1891, form the inspiration for the background drawing layers, creating the fantastical setting for a bathing Siberian Tiger.

'Countess Mordvinov's Forest (Лес графини Мордвиновой)', Ivan Shishkin, 1891, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

‘Countess Mordvinov’s Forest (Лес графини Мордвиновой)’, Ivan Shishkin, 1891, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

At the edge of the lake sits a Dacha birdcage from my own collection.  Reclining inside is a Siberian tiger, further suggesting the image of Royal Bengal tigers shading inside Indian palaces but also indicating the thousands of tigers kept in captivity in comparison with so few remaining wild tigers.  A giant Siberian tiger sweeps through the forest background, emulating the Udege and Nanai name for the tiger “Amba”, ‘Guardian of the Forest’.  Breaking through the forest is a cavalry of Red Army soldiers symbolising the devastation wreaked on the Siberian Tiger population, which was almost extinguished by both Red and White Armies around Vladivostok during the Russian Revolution.

'Shh, it's a Tiger!', luxury fine English china plate by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Shh, it’s a Tiger!’, luxury fine English china plate by Jane Lee McCracken

On the right walks a tiger beside an Udege woman from a still photograph I took of ‘Amba the Russian Tiger‘, 2008, Gordon Buchanan, proclaiming the fragility of not only the tiger population but the indigenous people of Ussuriland.  The tiger in the pool looks beyond a sniper rifle hidden in the foliage, outside the picture towards ‘Bang!’ the second drawing in the Siberian Tiger diptych.  A skull with a bullet hole depicted in ‘Bang!’ indicates what the tiger in the pool is watching, a tiger hunt!

'In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia', Luxury Fine English China Plate Series by Jane Lee McCracken

‘In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’, Luxury Fine English China Plate Series by Jane Lee McCracken


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For plate enquiries please contact:

jane@janeleemccracken.co.uk

For plate sales please visit THE NEW ENGLISH

'Shh, it's a Tiger!', Archival Pigment Print

‘Shh, it’s a Tiger!’, Archival Pigment Print

For luxury Archival Pigment prints made to order by the UK’s best master printmaker Jack Lowe Studio please visit my shop