‘Pilgrim’, A Special Commission

'Pilgrim', 2015 colour Biro drawing

‘Pilgrim’, 2015 colour Biro drawing

‘Pilgrim’, 2015 colour Biro drawing.  Sadly Pilgrim is no longer with us, he passed away during a life-saving operation at just a year old.

His kind owner Heidi Carr had agreed to my photographing Pilgrim a few days after his birth and throughout his life in order to capture each stage of his journey and incorporate his image in a new body of work, continuing the exploration of War and its impact on people and animals.  Pilgrim was to feature in a drawing remembering the causatum for horses and livestock during war.  Between us we have many photographs of Pilgrim so he will continue to shine brightly in a future drawing ‘The Road Through France’.   Heidi wished for a drawing of Pilgrim as a yearling, as she remembered him.  I retained the flecks of hay sprinkled on Pilgrim’s forelock as they looked like little stars.  ‘Pilgrim’ attempts to capture the gentle, sweet-natured young horse who touched so many.

 

Pilgrim in a field of buttercups, 2012

Pilgrim in a field of buttercups, 2013

'Running Free', Pilgrim at a few weeks old, 2012

‘Running Free’, Pilgrim at a few weeks old, 2013


		
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Christmas Presents from Malaysia!

Porcupine Family Camera Trap Image. Credit: WCS-Malaysia Program

‘Porcupine Family’ Camera Trap Image. Photo Credit: WCS-Malaysia Program

Being privileged to work on an up and coming project for WCS-Malaysia Program has also brought about receipt of touching gifts – camera trap images all the way from the beautiful Malaysian jungle, capturing the unique and extraordinary wildlife of the Malay Peninsula. The stellar team at WCS-Malaysia Program, part of global conservation organisation the Wildlife Conservation Society, are working tirelessly to secure the future of Malaysian flora and fauna.  “A picture is worth a thousand words” and the following heartening images bring a message of joy and hope this Christmas, of thriving youngsters and WCS-Malaysia Program’s successes in the field.  Thank you to Melvin Gumal Ph.D., Director of WCS-Malaysia Program for these inspirational images.  For more information about their exceptional work visit www.wcsmalaysia.org.  Enjoy!

'Asian Elephants, Mother and Calf' Camera Trap Image.  Photo Credit: WCS-Malaysia Program

‘Asian Elephants, Mother and Calf’ Camera Trap Image. Photo Credit: WCS-Malaysia Program

 

'Mother and Young Gibbon' Photo Credit:  WCS -Malaysia Program

‘Mother and Young Gibbon’ Photo Credit: WCS -Malaysia Program

 

'Young Organutans' Photo Credit: WCS-Malaysia Project

‘Young Organutans’ Photo Credit: WCS-Malaysia Project

 

'Bearded Pig and Young' Camera Trap Image.  Photo Credit: WCS-Malaysia Program

‘Bearded Pig and Young’ Camera Trap Image. Photo Credit: WCS-Malaysia Program

 

'Malayan Tapir and Calf' Camera Trap Image.  Photo Credit: WCS-Malaysia Program

‘Malayan Tapir and Calf’ Camera Trap Image. Photo Credit: WCS-Malaysia Program

 

'Trio of Pheasants',

‘Trio of Pheasants’, Camera Trap Image.  Photo Credit: WCS-Malaysia Program

 

'Sambar Deer and Fawn' Camera Trap Image.  Photo Credit: WCS-Malaysia Program

‘Sambar Deer and Fawn’ Camera Trap Image. Photo Credit: WCS-Malaysia Program

A very Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for 2015!

Slàinte Mhath!

‘Rhino 2014’

'Rhino 2014', In Homage to 'Africa', black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Rhino 2014’, In Homage to ‘Africa’, black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

Revealed, ‘Rhino 2014’, for Mark Thorpe of Sea Wild Earth and Chengeta Wildlife!  An artwork dedicated to threatened wildlife across the globe.

“Inspired by Albrecht Dürer’s iconic drawing Rhinoceros’,1515 , ‘Rhino 2014’ by artist Jane Lee McCracken symbolises man’s curiosity and relationship with the natural world, from Dürer’s epochal representation, to the state of our environment to date. Within 500 years of Dürer’s creative legacy, rhinoceros species teeter on the brink of extinction alongside tigers, pangolin, sharks and other keystone species. Lions, elephants and manta ray have also reached threatened status. Where once rhinoceros roamed in vast numbers, treading a 50 million year old evolutionary path, from the 1600s onwards, rhino numbers have plummeted by 90%. Hunting, habitat loss and poaching for their horns to use in traditional Chinese medicine, factor amongst the reasons for their more recent and rapid decline. From a 16th century artist who executed man’s inquisitive propensity to study species never seen before in the west, Jane’s drawing underlines our vast 21st century intellect of wildlife and the threats that face life on earth. Ultimately this piece accentuates the cynosural qualities of the depicted species and the spirit of Emmy Award winning underwater cameraman, Mark Thorpe’s enlightening quote, “extinction in an age of awareness is simply inexcusable”.

Paying homage to the BBC documentary series ‘Africa’, 2013, Jane uses this as the pivotal inspiration for her Biro drawing as the majority of species represented in this artwork are from the African continent. A monumental wildlife series, presented by David Attenborough ‘Africa’ reveals the breathtaking beauty and fragility of Africa and the species inhabiting its lands. Jane photographed 1000’s of images of ‘Africa’ as it played onscreen to give a sense of cinematic transience to her drawing. There is also an evanescent quality to the piece, symbolising that species are disappearing at a rate beyond that of their natural cycle. By portraying specific animals that feature in ‘Africa’, she presents the individualism of each animal, both aesthetically and characteristically; thus emphasising the fact that each animal is unique and precious to the survival of its species. Selecting some of the most poignant scenes from the documentary, including perhaps the most touching of all, the death from drought enforced starvation of an elephant calf and the “little chat” between David Attenborough and a blind rhino calf, Jane confronts the threats these species face both naturally and at the hands of man.”

“Like it or not this generation is responsible for handing on the world’s wildlife to the next. No one knows what the future holds for this little creature [blind rhino calf], nor indeed what changes will take place on the great continent in which he lives … but one thing is certain, what happens here is more important than it has ever been and that the relationship of the rest of the world to this great continent and the creatures that live in it is more important than ever before. On whichever part of the planet we live we all have a part to play in what sort of future this wild continent has.” David Attenborough, ‘Africa’ epilogue.   

'Rhinoceros', Albrecht Durer, 15

‘Rhinoceros’, Albrecht Durer, 1515

Drawing Layers

'Rhino 2014', detail of elephants

‘Rhino 2014’, detail of elephants

Elephant Calf (Rhino back) – depicting one of the most moving sequences from ‘Africa’ this detail portrays the moment a starving elephant calf, too weak to hold up its head, collapses into the drought-ridden grass. This drawing symbolises that elephants endure natural adversities as well as poaching for their tusks.

Mother Elephant – layered above the dying calf is a drawing of its mother weeping over the death of her calf. Having stood vigil and tried to revive the calf, she accepts its death. Elephants are the only known species apart from humans to practice ritual behaviour when confronting death, including grief and have been known to show the same emotions when encountering human death.

Dead Elephant Calf and Mother Elephant – a tiny drawing through the centre of the piece shows the body of the dead calf lying in the dust and the moment the mother elephant senses she has to leave her calf and return to the herd.  Left behind to tend to her sick calf, the herd has continued its quest to find water and avoid further death.  As she turns and walks away on her journey a faded image of another adult elephant beyond her indicates that she eventually returns to the herd.

Adult Elephant – layered through the dying calf is an image of a triumphant adult elephant drinking from a water hole, celebrating the monumental greatness of the largest land mammal on earth, surrounded by the slight stature of gazelle and zebra.

 

'Rhino 2014', Starlit Rhino detail

‘Rhino 2014’, Starlit Rhino detail

Starlit Rhino – the main face and body of ‘Rhino 2014’ is inspired from a sequence in ‘Africa’ capturing newly uncovered rhino behaviour. Deemed unsociable, film evidence reveals that rhinos actually gather to socialise at a secret watering hole under the stars.

Blind Rhino Calf (drawing on main Rhino face) – one of the stars of ‘Africa’, a blind rhino calf’s every move is guided by rangers.   This drawing symbolises that each individual animal including this calf is precious and holds a key to the future security of its species.

Prehistoric Rhino Etching (drawing on main Rhino face) – prehistoric rock engraving of a rhino found in the Sahara becomes a layered drawing as if tattooed on the rhino’s skin and plays as a reminder as to how long rhinos have existed on earth.

'Rhino 2014', lions detail

‘Rhino 2014’, lions detail

Young Lion – portrait of a noble young lion suggests the majesty of ‘the king of the jungle’, but its eyes betray a reflective demeanour expressing that hunting and habitat loss have seen wild lion numbers plummet from 200,000 a century ago to fewer than 30, 000. The lion gazes up towards an uncertain future.

Lion Cub (under main lion) – portrait of a bright eyed lion cub personifies hope for the future of its species.

Dancing Manta Rays (throughout artwork) – inspired by a film entitled ‘Dancing Manta Rays’ by Mark Thorpe, drawings of manta rays appear throughout this piece and include a group of dancing manta rays layered through the central elephant’s ear. Hunted for their gill rakers to use in Chinese medicine the future of manta rays remains uncertain.

Pangolin (front leg of rhino) – the armoured body of a pangolin clings on to the walking rhino’s leg, suggesting the precarious status of pangolin species, racing towards extinction, caught for food and used in Chinese medicine. Tens of thousands of pangolin are traded every year.

South China Tigers, Mother, cubs & Male (back & front Rhino legs) when Jane began drawing ‘Rhino 2014’ in early summer the official number of wild tigers was less than 3500. By August the official number emerged as less than 3000 wild tigers. There are more tigers in captivity than in the wild. The small tiger cubs represent the future of tigers padding towards extinction, but ‘hope’ that it is possible not only to save wild tigers but all the species depicted in ‘Rhino 2014’.

Great White Sharks (layered through rhino body) – illustrates the grace of an enigmatic animal that has inhabited the earth for 500 million years. Sunlight flickering through the water, dances on the shark’s body, encouraging appreciation of the beauty and necessity of sharks in a bid to dispel their negative populist image. Shark finning for shark fin soup is rapidly depleting shark species populations; eleven species are endangered.”

'Rhino 2014', manta rays, tigers, pangolin and great white sharks details

‘Rhino 2014’, manta rays, tigers, pangolin and great white sharks details

Rhino 2014 will be used to raise funds for the inspirational Chengeta Wildlife working on the frontline to deter the trade of illegal wildlife products, protecting rhinos and elephants.

For further information about Mark Thorpe’s stellar film-making please visit Sea Wild Earth

'Pangolin' detail from 'Rhino 2014' by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Pangolin’ detail from ‘Rhino 2014’ by Jane Lee McCracken

‘War + Peace’, Selected Biro Drawings 2008 – 2014

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

‘War + Peace’, Selected Biro Drawings 2008 – 2014 Limited Edition Hardback Book by Jane Lee McCracken, 2014, Cover

Published today, I am delighted to say that 50 limited edition copies of my new book are now available.  Here is some information about ‘War + Peace’ and a look inside!

” ‘War + Peace’, by multimedia Artist Jane Lee McCracken brings together a selection of her intricate Biro drawings. This beautifully produced hardback book replicates every detail of Jane’s black and colour Biro drawings from several bodies of work spanning 6 years, including, ‘Tales from the East’, ‘The Woodcutter’s Cottage’, ‘In Homage to the Last Carnivores of Eurasia’ and her recent artwork for conservation projects. Inspired by her passion for childhood memoirs, fairy tales, travel, forests and animals and her continuing exploration of the themes of ‘war’ and ‘loss’, multimedia artist Jane makes multiplex, layered drawings in colour or black Biro, using her drawings as inspiration to create objects and installations.  Taking photographs of films and documentaries, her muse lily, people, animals and found objects as the foundation of her work, she builds complex layers of drawn images in Biro as if film still projections, resulting in monotone or colour abstracted pieces with an ethereal, cinematic quality.  Her 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”. Evoking consideration of loss whether through war or disaster, her work draws upon empathy for the emotional or physical scars experienced by humans, animals or the environment.”

EDITION:

Limited Edition of 50 Hardback Books

Signed and numbered in gold with personal dedication option included

Original Gold Tiger Drawing produced in each copy

To purchase or for further information:

www.janeleemccracken.co.uk/shop/artbook

 Here is a taster of what’s inside! 

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

‘American Dream’, ‘War + Peace’ 2014

 

'Our Forefathers' & 'Mummy Bear and Baby Bear', 'War + Peace', 2014

‘Our Forefathers’ & ‘Mummy Bear and Baby Bear’, ‘War + Peace’, 2014

'Butterfly Lover', 'War + Peace', 2014

‘Butterfly Lover’, ‘War + Peace’, 2014

'The Cupboard' & 'Sindy and the Troika', 'War + Peace', 2014

‘The Cupboard’ & ‘Sindy and the Troika’, ‘War + Peace’, 2014

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

‘TV Screen II – Where Wolves and Bears Dare’, ‘War + Peace’, 2014

'Shh, it's a Tiger!', 'War + Peace', 2014, Back Cover

‘Shh, it’s a Tiger!’, ‘War + Peace’, 2014, Back Cover

Original Gold Tiger Drawing in each book.

Original Gold Tiger Drawing in each book.

‘American Dream’ Limited Edition Prints Released!

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

‘American Dream’, Luxury Limited Edition Archival Pigment Print of original colour Biro drawing, 2014 by Jane Lee McCracken

Dream the ‘American Dream’ with a luxury limited edition archival pigment print of of my original colour Biro drawing, celebrating the Wolf Conservation Center’s Ambassador wolves, Zephyr, Atka, Alawa and Nikai.

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.

 

For further information about this artwork please visit:

www.picturesoflilyblog.com/’American Dream’

Howls from WCC Wolves,

Jane

Photo Credit:  WCC

Photo Credit: WCC

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

 

 

 

Postcard logo back

PAWS and the “Cats of Paxos”

"Cats of Paxos", Biro Drawing 2014 by Jane Lee McCracken

“Cats of Paxos”, Biro Drawing 2014 by Jane Lee McCracken

Last year whilst holidaying on the beautiful Ionian island of Paxos, we were captivated by the many island cats, particularly a young black cat who visited us everyday to basque in the attention we lavished on him.  During our visit my husband and I spied a poster in a shop window in Gaios, advertising the opening of a new Veterinary Clinic in Magazia run by UK charity PAWS (Paxos Animal Welfare Society).

PAWS is an extraordinary charity founded in 2005 by Lindsay Geddes and Linda Parker, who met while holidaying in Paxos, and who finally brought veterinary care to Paxos as well as support for winter feeding of the island’s cats and an educational programme in animal welfare.

Visiting the superb new clinic on the opening night we met the remarkable Lindsay Geddes, volunteer Vet Russell Lyon and his wife Chris, who all devote several months each year to tend to the welfare of the island’s animals, particularly cats.  Their dedication to PAWS and animal welfare was truly inspiring.  The opening night was also attended by the legendary Ian K Bleasdale and his charming wife Elizabeth, supporters of PAWS.

“Cats of Paxos” Biro drawing for PAWS portrays some of the island’s cats we met during our stay as well as rescued cats, wee Maggie amongst them who arrived on the opening day of the clinic, having been found abandoned just weeks old with a serious eye infection. PAWS vets successfully treated the infection and Maggie was re-homed.

The artwork will be auctioned in Paxos in 2015 and the money raised donated to PAWS. It will be exhibited in Paxos from April until October both at the museum in Gaios and the art gallery. Prints will also be available.

For further information please visit PAWS website