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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New Website – Take a Look and See…

Details of eyes from various Biro drawings by Jane Lee McCracken

Details of eyes from various Biro drawings by Jane Lee McCracken

Launched today, new website with new work, new projects and news of up and coming projects.  Take a look and see…

www.janeleemccracken.co.uk

Tiger Logo Butterflies 2

‘Kaboom! Where Did All The Animals Go?’ – WAR AND WILDLIFE

Kaboom where did all the animals go - Copy

The catastrophe of war affects not only humans but wildlife also. During war, landscapes are destroyed.  Within every square foot of a landscape there is some form of life.  Every shell that exploded in the fields of Flanders in WWI, every mortar detonated in the forests of the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge, had a direct impact on the eco-system within each area.  The insects, the small mammal populations, the birds, the large mammal populations – the blind fear inflicted upon them is yet another tragedy of war.

Where do the animals go?  Many of them are killed as their habitats are destroyed.  Others evacuate the area.  It is a subject that is rarely discussed as the impingement of war on humans takes precedence.

'Lying Stag' by Nymphenburg, Germany, Artist's own collection

‘Lying Stag’ by Nymphenburg, Germany, Artist’s own collection

I wanted to make a memorial to all the animals that have been affected and will continue to be affected during each outbreak of war.  Creating a halcyon forest scene of peace and tranquility, my drawing features an exquisite bisque ‘Lying Stag’ by Nymphenburg, Germany, designed by August Göhring in 1939.  Deer are the epitome of elegance and exude an aura of serenity – but their fine, slender features betray the fragility not only of their own bodies that can so easily be broken but echo the delicacy of the ecosystems they inhabit.  The fragility of porcelain symbolises the fracturable nature of ecosystems, so easily shattered.

The Emerald City, 'The Wizard of Oz', Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The Emerald City, ‘The Wizard of Oz’, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1939

I decided to draw the porcelain stag as if it were made of ethereal Uranium glass, not only representing the green of forests but also the colour of the Emerald City in the film ‘The Wizard of Oz’, 1939, thus creating a halo of wonderment as we encounter the stag lying amongst the beauty of a pristine forest.   The Emerald City seems a place of beauty and promise like the forest in the drawing, but it is an illusion masking the true reality of life behind the green walls, as war creeps ever closer to the hooves of the restful stag.  A carved section of my Grandmother’s dressing table, circa 1940 reflects the harmonious relationship man is capable of having with forests, managing them properly so that sustainable wood is used for the making of furniture and carving of objects.

Artist's still photograph of a deer from 'A Prophet', Jacques Audiard, 2009

Artist’s still photograph of a deer from ‘A Prophet’, Jacques Audiard, 2009

But a drawing of a still from the film ‘A Prophet’, 2009, Jacques Audiard of a herd of deer running down a road, caught in the headlights of a car before the film continues to show one of the deer brutally run over, represents the onslaught of war.

Still photograph of this morning's Sky News bulletin as the crisis deepens in Ukraine.  Ukrainain soldiers attempt to negotiate command of their headquarters with Russian soldiers who fired into the air upon their unarmed, flag carrying approach.

Still photograph of this morning’s Sky News bulletin as the crisis deepens in Ukraine. Ukrainain soldiers attempt to negotiate command of their headquarters with Russian soldiers who fired into the air upon their unarmed, flag carrying approach.

With crisis looming in Ukraine, war is never far from any of us.  It is in our nature to feud with one another.  One twitchy pull of the trigger on a gun can release the bullet that sparks the conflagration of war.  The consequences affect every living organism that encounters the fallout from that one bullet.

As I wrote the words above I happened to look up at the television and saw the images caught in my photograph of the Sky News bulletin about the Ukraine crisis and watched as a Russian soldier fired into the air at unarmed Ukrainian soldiers as they approached to try and negotiate with the Russians.  It seemed a strange and poignant co-incidence.

Kaboom where did all the animals go - Copy

Luxury Archival Pigment Prints of ‘Save Us!’ made by the excellent Jack Lowe studio are available to order from my website