‘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, 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
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
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
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
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