Oceans Biro Drawing Workshops
Robinson-Gay Art Gallery, Hexham
17 November 2019


Two workshops for both adults and children were held within the enchanting walls of Robinson-Gay Art Gallery, a gallery brimming with beautiful art created by Northumbrian artists. 

Robinson-Gay Art Gallery

Jane delivered a presentation about her art practice and a discussion about why wildlife and our oceans are important, highlighting Sir David Attenborough's incredible BBC series Seven Worlds, One Planet :

  • Like never before, the series Seven Worlds, One Planet is laying bare the fact that humans are destroying our planet: "If we damage the natural world, we damage ourselves" David Attenborough
  • Wildlife is not only beautiful we need wildlife for the survival of our habitat, planet Earth
  • The air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat all rely on biodiversity
  • A wide variety of species means a healthier planet. Losing species means our ecosystems can become sick and this can impact on our food production, cause water to become polluted as well as create dramatic changes to our climate
  • Human overpopulation and overconsumption are the largest threats to nature and our planet. Habitat destruction to clear land for farming is the biggest contributor to species decline
  • There are now 16,306 endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List
  • We have reached a critical point in the history of our planet and it will take collective responsibility from all of us to save what we have left

Beluga's inside Russia's 'Whale Jail' image credit: Moscow Times

The facts are clear about the health of our oceans

  • Turtles are eating plastic, whales are being washed up with stomachs full of plastic bags, albatross are feeding their chicks plastic, microplastics are being found in the fish we eat and plastic is being found in the Arctic
  • LOOK after your own back yard! Looking after local environments can help biodiversity flourish, no matter where we live. Plant pollinator-friendly plants from seed in gardens, pots and window boxes. STOP using pesticides
  • REDUCE CONSUMPTION, CHOOSE products that are sustainably and ethically sourced & RECYCLE
  • CONTACT your local MP and voice your concerns about the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.
  • SIGN PETITIONS – they often work. 100 whales kept in Russia’s ‘Whale Jail’ have just been released following public outcry. SHARE PETITIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
  • TELL others about climate emergency and biodiversity crisis – WORD OF MOUTH is key
  • DONATE or RAISE FUNDS for conservation organisations to help them help wildlife
Art is a very powerful form of expression. If we want to save wildlife, it is vital to make emotional connections with animal species "If we care, we want to conserve." Through art, your portrait of a marine animal could inspire others to get involved in their conservation.


Hiroshima Unicorn 2017 green Biro drawing detail, Jane Lee McCracken


Attendees from age 6 upwards made spectacular colour Biro drawings of marine creatures including:

Black Tipped Reef Shark
King Penguin
Humpback Whale
Horned Ghost Crab
Picasso Triggerfish
Polar Bear
Leather Back Turtle
Leafy Sea Dragon

The standard of drawings produced in both workshops was extraordinary with some attendees drawing for the first time in many years or some thinking they couldn't draw. From six-year old Will's sensitive and expressive Walrus drawing, Noah aged seven who at such a young age created a bold and accomplished drawing of a black-tipped reef shark to mother and daughter Gill and Nikki's beautiful and delicate drawings of a baby leather back turtle and horned ghost crab, the array of styles displayed in this workshop was something to behold!

From the afternoon workshop Irini's sensitive mark-making saw her octopus drift across the page, 12-year-old Frieda drew an outstanding shark and Alisa got her drawing underway making a stunning drawing of the head of a King penguin, focusing on it's beautiful eye. Jane was particularly proud of Sophie, Ollie, Mel and Ben who worked hard to create their beautiful drawings. There are still some works in progress and images of these will be published when they are finished.

With kind thanks to Sarah Robinson-Gay for hosting the workshops in her beautiful gallery and to all the talented attendees for creating such wonderful drawings!


Black Tipped Reef Shark 2019 colour Biro drawing Noah age 7


Picasso Triggerfish 2019 colour Biro drawing Millie age 10


King Penguin 2019 colour Biro drawing Anna age 8


Walrus 2019 colour Biro drawing Will age 6


Baby Leather Back Turtle 2019 colour Biro drawing Gill


Horned Ghost Crab 2019 colour Biro drawing Nikki. Work in progress above and finished artwork below


Humpback Whale 2019 colour Biro drawing Yvonne, finished at home (below)


Humpback Whale 2019 colour Biro drawing Yvonne, finished at home


Black Tipped Reef Shark 2019 colour Biro drawing Joan


Baby Leather Back Turtle 2019 colour Biro drawing Daisy age 10


King Penguin 2019 colour Biro drawing Lindsey


Octopus 2019 Biro drawing Hannah


Polar Bear 2019 Biro drawing Philippa age 8


Picasso Triggerfish 2019 colour Biro drawing Constance age 8


Baby Leather Back Turtle 2019 colour Biro drawing Ellen age 12


Polar Bear 2019 Biro drawing Ollie


Baby Leather Back Turtle 2019 colour Biro drawing Louise


King Penguin 2019 colour Biro drawing Gill



Black Tipped Reef Shark 2019 colour Biro drawing Frieda age 12


Horned Ghost Crab 2019 colour Biro drawing Carolin


Humpback Whale 2019 colour Biro drawing Sam


Walrus 2019 colour Biro drawing Violet


Marine Sheet 2019 colour Biro drawing Edie age 6


Horned Ghost Crab 2019 Biro drawing Edie age 6


Polar Bear 2019 Biro drawing Sophie age 9


Octopus 2019 colour Biro drawing Irini


Polar Bears 2019 Biro drawing Ilia age 9


Leafy Sea Dragon 2019 colour Biro drawing Mel


Walrus 2019 colour Biro drawing Ben


Horned Ghost Crab 2019 colour Biro drawing Daisy age 9


King Penguin 2019 Biro drawing Alisa


Post workshop: Alisa's penguin embellished with text from a poem about penguins