‘Weeping Durga’, Tiger Inspired Art

'Weeping Durga', 2015 colour Biro Drawing

‘Weeping Durga’, 2015 colour Biro Drawing, Jane Lee McCracken

‘Weeping Durga’ Icon, inspired by Hindu iconography celebrates the beauty and majesty of the Bengal Tiger and represents Durga the Tiger Goddess weeping for her tigers threatened with extinction.  It is the companion icon for ‘Blue Tiger’ Tattooed Sculpture (work in progress).  ‘Blue Tiger’ sculpture stylised and painted white to reflect ancient art and drawn over in blue Biro, looks towards ‘Weeping Durga’ for hope she will protect him.  But Durga now looks for the compassion of humans to save tigers from extinction.

'Blue Tiger' Tattooed Sculpture, work in progress

‘Blue Tiger’ Tattooed Sculpture, work in progress

‘Weeping Durga’ encapsulates the vibrant colours of Indian culture and Hinduism.  It layers drawn images of Bengal Tigers over a drawing of a traditional Hindu icon painting set around a jewel like representation of Durga, which incorporates layered drawn images of two iconic Bollywood Actors, Rekha and Shabana Azami.  As with most of my pieces symbolising  threat of extinction to a particular species, there are unfinished areas of the drawing representing ‘disappearance’.

Detail of Bengal Tiger and Durga, colour Biro drawing

Detail of Bengal Tiger and Durga, colour Biro drawing

The drawing took 3 months to make with around half a square inch completed per day.  Only 8 colour Biro pens were used with the colours mixed on top of one another within the drawing to achieve the finished palette.

Detail of Bengal Tiger, colour Biro drawing

Detail of Bengal Tiger, colour Biro drawing

 

‘Weeping Durga’ has been donated to Save Wild Tigers for their upcoming event ‘Be Inspired’ at the Savoy, London 9th October 2015.  Splendid tiger inspired artwork courtesy of 18 artists to be auctioned in benefit for Save Wild Tigers is now being previewed on Paddle8 with bidding opening on 22nd September – 8th October.

For further information about Save Wild Tigers Savoy Gala Event on 9th October please contact:

Indy@savewildtigers.org

 

Tiger Sculpture Tattoo coming on!

Tiger Sculpture Tattoo drawing in blue Biro

Tiger Sculpture Tattoo drawing in blue Biro

Rarrrrrr! Voila, le tigre!

Blue Biro tattoo drawing on my tiger sculpture is coming on.  As mentioned in my previous post Tiger Sculpture Tattoo…Work in Progress, this is the hardest surface I have drawn on to date as the clay sculpture has been painted to replicate ancient sculptures and icons. Therefore the surface is not smooth and more difficult to achieve fine detail.

Detail of sculpture tattoo blue Biro drawing on curved back of tiger figurine

Detail of sculpture tattoo blue Biro drawing on curved back of tiger figurine

The layers of images are starting to appear within the blue Biro drawing.  Over the body of the Hindu god a roaring tiger’s face is emerging like a graphic t-shirt!

Back of tiger sculpture with blue Biro tattoo drawing.

Back of tiger sculpture with blue Biro tattoo drawing.

This piece celebrates the beauty of tigers, one of the most iconic animals on earth, their survival for over 1.8 million years longer than humans who’s existence is relatively short in comparison and our cultural heritage of representing tigers through art.

Much to do!

Tiger Sculpture Tattoo – Work in Progress …

Tiger Sculpture painted white, prepared for drawing on

Tiger Sculpture painted white, prepared for drawing on

First sneak peak of blue Biro tattoo drawing in progress on my tiger sculpture … it’s the hardest surface I’ve drawn on to date!

I sculpted the tiger figurine using air-drying clay and it stands one and half feet in height. Inspired by ancient statues and icons, representationally its form echoes ancient and prehistoric art and our need to express the world around us, a world tigers have existed in for over 1.8 million years longer than humans. The sculpture also symbolises the beauty and cultural significance of humanity’s ancient art heritage, which often depicted imagery of wildlife.

Side view of tiger sculpture with beginnings of blue Biro tattoo drawing

Side view of tiger sculpture with beginnings of blue Biro tattoo drawing

In preparation for the blue Biro tattoo and in order to replicate ancient statues I painted the tiger sculpture white rather than give it a contemporary finish. However painting the sculpture creates a textured surface of tiny brush marks, leaving it extremely hard to draw on.  But equally the Biro settles over the brush mark grains and forms spontaneous patterns within the drawing

When drawing in Biro your brain adjusts to predicting when the Biro is likely to blot. I use a blotting sheet to remove ink-blots periodically from the nib before continuing drawing. The predictive response working on this surface is lessened as Biro blots more indiscriminately on an uneven surface.

Detail of blue Biro tattoo drawing in progress

Detail of blue Biro tattoo drawing in progress

With humanity’s cultural heritage in mind the face of the Hindu deity in the tattoo design is significantly layered with a traditional Hindu icon painting and an image of a human face, yet to be revealed! The culminating face celebrates our multi-cultural world and our natural and artistic legacy. The use of an illustrated face layered with a photograph of a real human face retains an animated quality seen in iconography combined with realism.

Note the optical illusion within the face where the layering of the two faces create a sense of movement around the eyes and mouth area.

Overall view of tiger sculpture back and beginnings of tattoo drawing

Overall view of tiger sculpture back and beginnings of tattoo drawing

This piece has been made in solidarity against the destruction of wildlife and ancient art.

Much work to do! Watch this space for further updates on progress and the subject matter behind the drawing.

 

Iggy Pop’s Staff Taxi Passenger

Experimental TV photo montage inspired by staff taxi journey's, 2005

Experimental TV photo montage inspired by staff taxi journey’s, 2005

St Mark’s Church, Oval 3am 1990’s –

In pools of amber light the graveyard paving stones age worn and large were ideal for a wake up game of ‘lines and squares’.  Waiting for staff taxis by a slumbering Oval Station, the surrounding streets were often tumbleweed silent. Sirens from the Metropolitan Police Brixton Grand Prix would suddenly blow the silence out of the city. London Underground jacket sleepily off the shoulder in summer, zipped to the chin in winter, my uniform issue hold-all always tossed to the ground, its contents – emergency railway lamp, manuals, hi-vi and Sartre’s ‘Nausea’, in disarray.

Jack Straw, a near neighbour passed by now and again in a chauffeur driven government Jaguar, tailed by grim faced bodyguards, his bespectacled eyes focused on white papers.  Passing cogs in the wheel of night working.  The feelings of vulnerability ‘taxi waiting’ on ‘earlies’ and ‘lates’ never depleted. Those friend or foe senses proved right time and again when a stranger appeared in the ghost town and you knew they weren’t going to just walk on by. The rarity of being female train crew in the 1990’s came with its own target board.

When the Hackney Carriage charger arrived conversation usually followed, intriguing and diverse; London cab drivers are notorious fountains of knowledge. Sometimes other train and station staff were picked up at stations like Borough or Bank, adding to the vibrant exchange as the cab juddered north along the route of the Northern Line. But sometimes the journey was silent and London by night could be appreciated. Art has accompanied me 24/7 since my first memory. Those moments of solace were all too brief and swiftly disappeared in the blinding yellow lights of the depot station. Vision eventually focused upon the bleary, bloodhound eyes of the duty manager booking on train crews and profanely sending us on our way to the grimy depot and the retrieval our trains.

Iggy Pop and David Bowie, Berlin 1977

Iggy Pop and David Bowie, Berlin 1977

Memories of those journeys and moments of freedom impacted and were expressed through several photo montage experimental pieces in the mid 2000’s layering film stills and photographs from that era. This experimentation led to the layering of images I use in my artwork to date.

The ingenius Iggy Pop’s  ‘The Passenger’ was the soundtrack of those consoling moments.

‘The Passenger’, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, 1977 You Tube

And everything was made for you and me – the firefly glow of St Paul’s dome, the blanched trace of fluttering wings on the backs of pigeons flying off London Bridge, polka dot flashes of halogen, red, green and amber illuminating the blank faces of sporadic night people, a car pumping out Drum and Bass, the beats swept away along the heavy breath of Old Father Thames.  And all of it is yours and mine.

Art Judging or the Mechanics of 1959 Stock Tube Trains?

Judging has finished for the first art competition I have recently held at a local primary school and soon it will be prize giving.  I thought learning how to fix the mechanics and electrical systems of 1959 and 1972 stock tube trains was the hardest thing I had ever done, having not been blessed with the advantages of a scientific brain.  But judging an art competition has proved to almost surpass the taxing entities of even this experience!

1959 Stock Tube Train

1959 Stock Tube Train

1997, London, a 12 week intense course studying mechanical engineering, electrical circuits, rules and regulations, learning how to drive tube trains and the reward – passing out as a guard/emergency tube driver, one of only six women at a Northern Line depot of nearly 300 guards and drivers.

Life was a blast on the Underground.  Hours spent in tunnels and artificial light only to emerge after a shift into the sunlight and see true colour again, created a juxtaposed euphoria on the senses that has been hard to recapture.  Bursting out of the tunnel, clattering along open track through the leafy suburbs of North London, watching foxes play in the railway sidings. Writing my first novel on the back of a train. There are many tales and perhaps one day I’ll tell them!

1972 Stock Tube Train

1972 Stock Tube Train

It was a job I loved, full of extraordinary acquaintances both staff and passengers. Late nights going down to the depot to pick up your train, looking up at the stars alongside a guard who knew every constellation in the clear indigo sky of a London night.  Early morning rising with the pigeons and seeing a beautiful, soulful London few experience.  Assaulted, spat on, nearly pulled off a moving train by a drug infused passenger – such events were frequent during my time working on trains.  All these things were a catalyst to future inspiration.

I don't have any photographs of my time as a guard/driver but this image was for an art project around the time I worked on the Underground.

I don’t have any photographs of my time as a guard/driver but this image was for an art project around the time I worked on the Underground.

I left London in 2003 due to illness and came back North.  Four years of illness followed and art was everything, art was all I had.  Tough times come to most forms of life in varying degrees at some point, and those years after London were just one more tiny drop in the ocean of knocks alongside the cetacean splashes that others sadly experience.  I am indebted to art for staying with me through thin and thick.

Art is therapy.  To bring art to children of all backgrounds and abilities and see faces light up with the achievement of producing a beautiful drawing is a priceless gift.  Making art provides a means of escaping the world around us and is an integral tool for emotional expression – we are all capable of creativity in some form. Judging art is hard because art is subjective, but subjectivity creates the much needed spice of diversity. The greatness that is art, gives us I believe the opportunity to understand our expressive, creative needs; art is one of life’s necessities, to enjoy, revel in and marvel at the wonder of our senses.

'The Russian Doll', red, black, blue and green Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘The Russian Doll’, red, black, blue and green Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

 

‘Wild and Endangered’ Drawing Competition Launched!

Print design of Years 5 & 6 endangered species Biro drawings

Print design of Years 5 & 6 endangered species Biro drawings 2014, inspiration for competition poster design

Judging of ‘Wild and Endangered’ my new drawing competition for school students commenced today!  And what a day!  Piloted at a local primary school in North East England, the competition focuses on developing students drawing skills, whilst learning about endangered species.  The first competition has seen an overwhelming response with nearly every student participating.  The standard of artwork is extremely high with ardor and creative expression evident in each entry, Judging is proving tremendously uplifting and challenging in equal measure!

The competition is simple, “create an A4 drawing made with a drawing medium of your choice, of an endangered species of your choice”.  Entry fee is £1 per entrant.  Profit after prizes goes directly to eminent international wildlife charity the Born Free Foundation and a charity of the school’s choice.  The competition seeks to further encourage children’s natural passion for drawing and animals and was inspired by ‘Drawing for Endangered Species’ workshops.  Donating my time to judge the competition and design a poster from winning and runner’s up entries is an uniquely rewarding experience.

The poster design of students artwork will be presented to the school as an opportunity to raise funds through poster sales.

Competition prizes include:

First Prize:  Signed and numbered framed print of ‘Sweet’.

First Prize signed print of ''Sweet', by Jane Lee McCracken

”Sweet’, by Jane Lee McCracken

Second prize:  Signed and numbered framed print of ‘Malaysian Forest’:

Second Prize signed print of 'Malaysian Forest' by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Malaysian Forest’ by Jane Lee McCracken

Third prize: Signed and numbered framed print of ‘Orangutans’

Third Prize, signed and numbered print of 'Orangutans' by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Orangutans’ by Jane Lee McCracken

Winners and runner’s up will receive a copy of the poster design that includes their artwork. Winners will be announced during the summer term.

A huge thank you to the staff and students of this local school for their hard work and enthusiasm participating in the first competition.

‘Wild and Endangered’ is a project I hope to bring to other schools.  For further information please contact:

jane@janeleemccracken.co.uk

 

 

‘War’ – New Multi-media Project

Photo image of new colour Biro drawing in progress

Photo image of new colour Biro drawing in progress

After a year making art for conservation, a new body of work on the subject of war is in progress!

This multi-media project inspired by found images, objects and films will explore the impact of ‘war’ on humans and animals in a series of pieces examining the emotional and physical implications of war, eternally memorializing the subjects featured.

With an ongoing theme aiming to view victims as individuals not statistics, ‘War’ will consider in-depth the equality of suffering between both animals and humans as well as analyzing the word ‘war’ in other contexts.

Keep up to date with project progress at:

www.janeleemccracken.co.uk/news

‘Coyote’ – For the Song Dogs of North America

‘Coyote’, 2015 black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

On 23rd May 2015 at Niagara on the Lake, Coyote Watch Canada will be holding ‘A Song Dog Celebration’, their first fundraising Gala event.  Coyote’s are known as ‘Song Dogs’ for their haunting vocal artistry and are one of the most adaptable and charming animals on the planet.

“Coyote” which was made exclusively for CWC’s ‘A Song Dog Celebration’ reflects on the harmony that once existed between coyotes and man, the destruction of that relationship, and the hope for a return to understanding and co-existence.

At the left of the piece are three images of coyotes. Coyotes form tight family bonds, one of the traits they share with humans. Like coyotes, First Nations people and Native Americans have suffered at the hands of ignorance and greed. While celebrating the harmony between native peoples and coyotes, “Coyote” also memorializes the loss experienced by both.

Reigning over the drawing is an image of Mother Nature as a native princess. The background is derived from Edward S. Curtis’s beautiful portrait of Hattie Tom, Chiricahua Apache (1899). Overlaid is an image of Audrey Hepburn’s face. Hepburn played Rachel Zachery in John Huston’s The Unforgiven (1960). The film, while flawed, attempted to explore the issue of racism towards Native Americans.

At the heart of the drawing is a coyote’s face layered through an image of the Rocky Mountains, suggesting the majesty of nature. A fifth coyote flashes through the piece, running towards the future. In Native American mythology, the coyote was seen as the Creator and sometimes took the form of man. Thus, layered through the coyote’s body is a representation of a native man, symbolizing the morphing of man and coyote into one being, forever entwined through mythology and history.

Finally, migrating monarch butterflies are projected on the coyote’s fur, representing hope and joy. They symbolize celebration of the work of Coyote Watch Canada in its quest for compassionate co-existence with coyotes and other wildlife.

This piece is for North America’s Song Dogs.

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‘Coyote’ original drawing will be auctioned at ‘A Song Dog Celebration’

 A Limited edition run of 50 A3 signed and numbered prints of ‘Coyote’ are available now with all profits going directly to Coyote Watch Canada:

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

A special thank you to wildlife advocate David Shellenberger for his kind introduction to CWC and for his help and advice towards ‘Coyote’.

Great Successes Achieved by PAWS Team for Animals of Paxos

 

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

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

January has seen the publication of PAWS (Paxos Animal Welfare Society) Newsletter and a review of 2014’s successes for animals on the Greek island of Paxos.  PAWS brings voluntary veterinary care to the animals of the small Ionian island. With no practicing vets living on Paxos, islanders had to travel to Corfu to seek veterinary care for their animals until PAWS was founded in 2005 by tourists Lindsay Geddes and Linda Parker.

‘Cats of Paxos’ original Biro drawing will be exhibited from April 2015 on Paxos and auctioned later in the year to raise funds for PAWS.

Enjoy news from Paxos and PAWS!

Page 1 Credit: Paxos Animal Welfare Society – Registered Charity 1155941

Page 1 Credit: Paxos Animal Welfare Society – Registered Charity 1155941

 

Page 2 Credit: Paxos Animal Welfare Society – Registered Charity 1155941

Page 2 Credit: Paxos Animal Welfare Society – Registered Charity 1155941

 

Page 3 Credit: Paxos Animal Welfare Society – Registered Charity 1155941

Page 3 Credit: Paxos Animal Welfare Society – Registered Charity 1155941

Page 4 Credit: Paxos Animal Welfare Society – Registered Charity 1155941

Page 4 Credit: Paxos Animal Welfare Society – Registered Charity 1155941

Page 5 Credit: Paxos Animal Welfare Society – Registered Charity 1155941

Page 5 Credit: Paxos Animal Welfare Society – Registered Charity 1155941

Page 6 Credit: Paxos Animal Welfare Society – Registered Charity 1155941

Page 6 Credit: Paxos Animal Welfare Society – Registered Charity 1155941

Page 7 Credit: Paxos Animal Welfare Society – Registered Charity 1155941

Page 7 Credit: Paxos Animal Welfare Society – Registered Charity 1155941

‘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