‘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

 

‘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.

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…

Lakshmi … Work in Progress on Tiger Sculpture Tattoo

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‘Lakshmi’ blue Biro drawing on Tiger Sculpture, Jane Lee McCracken

Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth and prosperity, Vishnu’s wife, embodiment of beauty… this week’s work in progress on ‘Blue Tiger’ Sculpture Tattoo.

Side view of Lakshmi drawing  depicting how her shoulder and arm follow the curves of the tiger sculpture's right shoulder

Side view of Lakshmi drawing depicting how her shoulder and arm follow the curves of the tiger sculpture’s right shoulder

This blue Biro drawing is inspired by a vintage painting of Lakshmi and an image of a beautiful Italian film star!

Detail Lakshmi's face

Detail Lakshmi’s face

Lakshmi’s curves are enhanced by drawing her body over the muscular shoulder of the tiger.Her head is positioned at 90 degrees to Vishnu’s head drawn on the tiger’s back.

Vishnu and Lakshmi blue Biro tattoos on Tiger Sculpture

Vishnu and Lakshmi blue Biro tattoos on Tiger Sculpture

Symbolism plays a large part in the work I make forming an intricate web of analogies. Using objects as I find them for making art is also an important part of the process; imperfections tell their own story and if you look closely there are scratches on the surface of the sculpture that have been deliberately retained.

'King of India' blue Biro drawing part of Tiger Sculpture Tattoo

‘King of India’ blue Biro drawing part of Tiger Sculpture Tattoo

Last weeks tattoo drawing ‘King of India’ was drawn over the tiger sculpture’s back leg.  Vishnu’s hand is layered through the Bengal tiger’s face.

This work in progress highlights the familiarity of tigers iconic beauty and their symbolic importance to humanity.

‘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.