Happy Birthday Lily!

Lily

Lily

It’s hard work being a muse… so for Lily’s birthday today we decided to give her an extra special token of our appreciation for her dedication to ‘muse-ing’, a super comfortable Scottish tweed bed!

Got a new bed. Big waggy tail!

Got a new bed. Big waggy tail!

She’s taken to it like a duck to water, with her duck in tow… although she still insists on demonstrating her alpha female status by commandeering the sofa!

Commandeering the sofa

Commandeering the sofa

Happy Birthday Lily!

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Canary Love!

Canary Love! 2014, Jane Lee McCracken

Canary Love! 2014, Jane Lee McCracken

I don’t normally write two posts in one day, but the cutest, ironical thing just happened.  I was busy hand sewing a miniature canary with a transfer of my drawing ‘Wolf the Canary’ as a representation of a cuckoo clock, to put inside a commission of ‘The Wolf’s House’.  Lily was on the floor sleeping.  I went to get the iron so that I could give the canary a last wee press before adding it to the house.  However the canary was nowhere to be seen!  I searched high and low for some considerable time – perhaps it had flown out the window!  Then I spied a piece of yellow silk under Lily’s paw.  Now Lily loves toys it has to be said – Dino Baby being the latest addition to her collection, flown all the way from the set of Breaking Bad, apparently high on crystal meth with those eyes!

Dino Baby - the eyes, the eyes! 2014, Jane Lee McCracken

Dino Baby – the eyes, the eyes! 2014, Jane Lee McCracken

However it never crossed my mind that Lily would have delicately picked the tiny canary up in her mouth (my Sherlock Holmes powers of elementary deduction cleverly worked that out!  Ok, maybe the canary was slightly damp!) to give it a cuddle!  Too small to prop between her paws, she was hugging it with one paw!

I managed to prize her latest conquest from under her paw to check it wasn’t damaged! She looked so sad I popped it next to her one last time.  Sorry Lily, this one’s not for you!

And the irony…Wolf the Canary symbolises the misinterpretation of wolves through fairy tales and the media – Lily could have destroyed the canary with ease but she tenderly looked after it!

Take One Puppy, her First Bed and a Proud Nation of Animal Lovers!

'Lily' aged 15 weeks during the photo shoot for 'The Red Horse and the Wolf Cub'

‘Lily’ aged 15 weeks during the photo shoot for ‘The Red Horse and the Wolf Cub’, 2007

For all those who requested to see the photo-shoot of Lily for the drawing ‘Red Horse and the Wolf Cub’ – here it is in brief!!

Lily on location relaxing during the shoot!

Lily on location relaxing during the shoot!

Lily’s first bed was a red velvet affair with gaudy gold tassels – we called it her ‘Princess Bed’ as it reminded us of the fairy tale ‘The Princess and the Pea’ (for all us children of the 70’s, remember the Ladybird edition of the tale and those fabulous illustrations?).

Lily is given Pengy as a gift for her hard work modelling.

Lily is given Pengy as a gift for her hard work modelling.

She loved her wee bed!  Sadly it went the same way as the demise of ‘Pengy’, reduced to a small rag of red velvet!  Pengy was latterly known as ‘Pengy’s Foot’ when Lily realised she had teeth and would use them!  Sid from Toy Story would have been be proud of her.

"I have teeth woo hoo!"

“I have teeth woo hoo!”

"I'm getting bored and sleepy now!"

“I’m getting bored and sleepy now!”

Pengy’s foot resides somewhere in the dark recesses of Lily’s toy box!  Yes Lily has a toy box – for all you cynics out there who can be heard saying ‘typical childless person treating her dog like a baby!’ dogs are intelligent enough to differentiate between their toys and Lily knows each of her many (hence the need for a toy box!) toys by name and can often be found rooting around in her toy box looking for the particular mutilated creature she wants to play with at 5 o’clock sparrow am.  I always see play as an important part of Lily’s daily routine as it keeps her young at heart.  And can she play!

"I'm tired of the camera flash now!"

“Shh, Lily’s asleep!”

On a serious note many people, whether they have children or don’t have children, sadly or contentedly, or are dog or animal lovers, experience a strength of love for their dog that equates to the love of a family member because dogs are intelligent, pack animals with similar character traits to humans and therefore respond positively to love and affection.

Me and Lily, 2007

Me and Lily, 2007

And what the hell if there are many of us out there who love our dogs like children – they are after all as innocent and reliant upon us, in my opinion as a child is and to give dogs a happy, loving home is surely what they deserve after the legacy we have created through domesticating canines.  Should we not celebrate and promote positively that many of our species share an empathy with and a love for animals? Such empathy defines a nation as a compassionate modern society and a nation of animal lovers is something to be proud of.

Lily and me, 2007

Lily and me, 2007

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated   Gandhi

'Red Horse and the Wolf Cub - After Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone', 2009, red and black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Red Horse and the Wolf Cub – After Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone’, 2009, red and black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

And this is the result of the photo shoot, Lily as the ‘Wolf Cub’.

Limited Edition Luxurious Archival Pigment Prints of the ‘Red Horse and the Wolf Cub’ crafted by one of the best printmaker’s in the UK Jack Lowe Studio are available from my website

A Year in Pictures – Art Muse LILY takes Life in her Stride

Lily, star of many drawings by artist Jane Lee McCracken reveals a year in her life as an art muse, what she will be eating for dinner this Christmas and her special Christmas wish.

LILY CALENDAR DECEMBERLILY CALENDAR

IMG_0089January – “I love snow! I like to run at it with my mouth open like a snow plough so I can eat as much of it as I can in one go.”

IMG_4595February – “This is one of my favourite drawings where I got a big starring role as the white wolf. I liked modelling this cool i-pad cover too!”

20130906_215602 (1)March –  “Early rehearsals began for this year’s nativity! (I put my ears back when I’m happy so could wear Mary’s headscarf with ease)”

IMG_0474April –  “I have to do a lot of sitting around during modelling shoots.  I just go to sleep and boom wake up for the camera”

IMG_8913May –  “In my recreational time I love to lie in the garden amongst the flowers and sleep.  I often dream about rabbits and barking at other dogs”

IMG_1098June –  “I love to go to the pub, particularly the beer garden of the Olde Ship in Seahouses, Northumberland”

IMG_1231July –  “This year I was centre stage in an exhibition at The Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate, England and went down to trip the light fantastic and meet the people of Harrogate who were very nice”

IMG_7296August-  “Summer brings clover and I love to lie in it and pretend to catch bees!”

IMG_1264September-  “This is the year that I learnt to open the back door and let myself in and then I wanted to let myself out again as the football was on!”

IMG_4665October –  “Cuddling my playmate is a very important part of my daily routine and now the mornings are dark I find it increasingly difficult to get out of bed for walks, I’d rather just have hugs”

IMG_4413November –  “Atka’s my pin-up boy, I’d love to meet him one day!”

LILY CALENDAR DECEMBERDecember –  “My friend Joe Bason made me this Christmas bow-tie, isn’ it gorgeous?! I love wearing it when I go to the shops with my owner, it goes with my Red Dingo collar! (Thank you also to my friend Juliet of KimonoKraft Love you Long Time http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KimonoKraft for being the inspiration behind my calendar!)

So Lily what will you be eating for Christmas this year? –

“I just can’t resist it, I’ll be having a bowl of my favourite food, Chappie and then a whole Dentastick after my owners have eaten their Christmas dinner.  But probably when they’re not looking my Granny and Auntie Karen will sneak me roast potatoes and maybe some Haribo Starmix as I love them!”

Have you got any special Christmas wishes? – “My owners bought me from a breeder who didn’t tell them that Northern Inuits can never be left on their own, plus they didn’t do enough research about my breed before they bought me.  I’m lucky, they love me very much, but it’s hard work making sure that I’m cared for 24 hours a day.  I get very distressed if I’m left on my own.  If you can’t give proper care to specialist breeds like me give a rescue dog who’s not a Diva a loving home instead.”

LILY CALENDAR HOWLING 2

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Lily White

'"Sweet". Wolves. In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia', 2013. original black Biro drawing

‘”Sweet”, Wolves, In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’, 2013, original black Biro drawing by Jane Lee McCracken

Post genesis I wanted a white dog.  Well here she is above, the beautiful, wonder dog, Lily.

Yearnings for a white dog were borne from my early addiction to watching television, specifically foreign import programmes such as the hauntingly scored ‘Belle and Sebastian’, France, 1965 and the visually beautiful ‘White Horses’, Hanns Wiedmann, 1965, Germany/Yugoslavia.   Tintin’s Snowy was a particular inspiration.

Aged two being given my beloved Dirk as a birthday present, a Labrador puppy named after one of my mother’s favourite film stars surname Bogart, presented me with a problem, Dirk was black.  But circumstances did not deter and I seized the chance to create my first white dog in a ‘Frankenstein-ial’ effort several months after my birthday.  The beautiful, black puppy and I were in the kitchen of the family homestead in Scotland with my father who was glossing the doors – white.  The doorbell rang and my father clearly not blessed with powers of the second sight left us unattended with a huge tin of gloss paint and a paintbrush.

I distinctly remember Dirk allowing me to paint him while he lay in his wicker basket, he was the most gentle of dogs.  Thoughts of those white dogs I loved Belle and Snowy, sailed through my mind like white furry clouds at each stroke of my goal.  I remember chirping to Dirk as painting commenced although I have no idea what words of reassurance passed between us to put him at ease.  Having managed to get a good way through blanching Dirk before the conversation at the front door ended, my father finally discovered the white metamorphoses that had been created in his absence.  Tears of horror dissolved into the dismay of ‘what am I going to do?’! What he did – he took turpentine and covered Dirk in it. Naturally the turpentine inflicted some pain.

Dirk took control of the situation, ran into the garden and rolled in the earth.  This stripped the paint from his coat and soothed the irritation of turpentine on his skin.  It took a full year of supplementing his diet with olive oil to rejuvenate his black coat and till the day he died, traces of white paint remained on his basket.  I miss him.

Dirk exacted his revenge for the turpentine bath several weeks later when he frenziedly tried to dig through the kitchen wall removing all the newly pasted orange wallpaper in a ‘left on my own protest’.

Several things were cultivated in those first couple of years, my deep love for animals with their consummate loyalty, honest instinct and heart wrenching innocence and my love of films and musings of travel, all entities that I use today in my work.

N.B.  My husband didn’t deliberately choose Lily as a birthday gift for me (old habits die hard) because she was white.  On the contrary she was born with a dark grey mask but Northern Inuit masks can fade and rather like a cygnet to a swan Lily’s grey mask faded and disappeared to leave her face almost white apart from the palest gold ears that reveal themselves in the winter.

'Lily', 2008, original black Biro drawing of Lily aged 14 weeks by Jane Lee McCracken

‘Lily’, 2008, original black Biro drawing of Lily aged 14 weeks by Jane Lee McCracken

Crafted by master photographer and printmaker http://mrjacklowe.com/ – luxurious Archival Pigment Prints of ‘Sweet’ are available to buy from my online shop.:

http://www.janeleemccracken.co.uk/photo_11766659.html

"'Sweet', Wolves, In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia", 2013, Archival Pigment Print from original black Biro drawing

Archival Pigment Print from original Biro drawing of “‘Sweet’, Wolves, In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia”, 2013, 44cm x 44cm

Limited Edition china plates will be available soon.

'"Sweet", Wolves, In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia' Limited Edition China Plate Series, 2013

‘”Sweet”, Wolves, In Homage to the Last Great Carnivores of Eurasia’ Limited Edition China Plate Series, 2013