November 2017 Newsletter
Welcome to the November 2017 edition of the Jack Russell Gallery Newsletter.
We hope you enjoy reading about what we've been up to.
Jack Russell MBE
So many things to tell you and not enough space to fit it all in! Our Summer exhibitions started at The Oval and finished up with a couple of days at Colwyn Bay, with many new venues for us in between. For our first exhibition we were stationed just outside the club shop at The Oval. Facing south the sun blazed away for the whole three days! Despite being early April short sleeves and sunscreen were a necessity. The temperature was officially hotter than the Mediterranean!
In contrast another new ground for us was Welbeck Colliery CC for a one day match between Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire where the temperature was the other end of the scale!  With the strong winds it felt like 'minus something,' but we thoroughly enjoyed our day with the local ex-mining community. 
The beautiful scene at The Saffrons in Eastbourne has been noted for a future painting, and it was great to catch up with old friends at Hove, Grace Road and Chester-le-Street. The lads Mike and Terry managed to put up with me long enough to enjoy an end of season couple of days on the coast at Colwyn Bay. It's a ground I never had the pleasure of  playing  at,  but I will have the pleasure of painting at some point as quite a few members there would like a limited edition print of the ground. To everyone that came up and supported us, plus the staff of all the counties and clubs involved, thank you for making it a delightful Summer. We look forward to seeing some of you again next year.
There were two very historic test matches played this Summer in England. The first was at The Oval where they were hosting their 100th Test Match.  Only the fourth ground ever to have done so, along with Melbourne and Sydney in Australia and of course Lord's. The other was at Edgbaston. Not only was it their 50th Test Match but it was the first ever day night test match played on English soil. I had the pleasure of being at both.

I had to paint The Oval because of the significance. It was a must to capture on canvas a rare piece of history. Thanks to Richard Gould and Jon Surtees from Surrey CCC I was positioned day one up in the big OS stand along side the Sky TV cameramen and right in front of the Sky Cricket studio. The best seat in the house! 
Needless to say there were various visits from old commentator friends from the commentary box and a cameraman constantly over my shoulder filming every brush stroke. I have to confess the picture isn't finished yet (you can read the excuses for yourself as you scroll down the page!) but I hope to have it done in time for us to publish a limited edition print ready for the start of next season.  
Painting the day night test match came about as a result of a conversation at Guildford CC a couple of years back with Warwickshire CCC's Chief Executive Neil Snowball who invited me to produce a painting as an official record on canvas to hang at Edgbaston. As it turned out I was also invited on the first day to take part in the Edgbaston 50th Test Match parade. I was delighted to accept of course but it in accepting both I had given myself a major problem. One, I hadn't worn a suit for years, would it fit? And two, how was I going to paint and not get paint all over my 'best clobber'?
As it turned out everything worked out perfectly. Because it was August the lights wouldn't come into effect until late evening so that gave me an excuse to enjoy lunch in the Chairman's suite with a lot of old pals during the lunch interval (4 o'clock in the afternoon!) and then do a quick superman change into to my painting clothes, plus an official ECB  "go anywhere" HiViz bib supplied by Neil, and pick anywhere on the ground to set up my easel without getting arrested and thrown in jail for the night. (Not a lot of colour to work with in a prison cell, apparently! Could always do a wall mural as a last resort I suppose?) 
In the end I took my trusty paint box and set up close to the boundary edge. I couldn't see anyone else on the ground painting that day so I think this picture of "Cook Batting" under lights must be the first ever picture painted on the spot live of a day night test match in England. Thank you Neil for making it possible! The colours around 9pm that evening were amazing and hopefully I've captured the very different atmosphere and colours well enough in the final painting. It's a little bigger than anticipated. We agreed 30" x 20" but it's grown into 64" x 28". Such was the amazing day I had and the atmosphere so electric that night, I got carried away (again!). It's nearly finished. Warwickshire CCC will be having a small number of limited edition prints to sell in the club shop so if you are a Warwickshire fan and would like an official historic record of your ground you can contact the club.
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During the Saturday of the Edgbaston test I had to shoot down to Radlett Cricket Club in North London to paint a picture of their ground for them. It had to be started on that Saturday because it was the last time their first team were playing at home in the league this season. Fortunately the weather was perfect and I managed to capture all the necessary colours. As the day went on an increasing number of people came around to see how the painting was progressing so I persuaded all of them to be in the picture somewhere around the boundary edge. Admittedly they are not full blown portraits as each figure is only a few millimetres high, but hopefully people can recognise themselves.  
There are so many that we've printed a limited edition sketch which will act as a 'key' to say who's stood where!   The sketch is a limited edition of only 30.   If  anyone is interested in having either one of the limited edition sketches or the colour prints (or both) please contact Tony Johnson at Radlett CC for details as they are trying hard to raise funds for their club.  Oh, and in between all that I managed to do a wicket-keeping masterclass for Sky Cricket on the nursery ground at Edgbaston.  Messers Atherton and Ward were hosting and I had an thoroughly enjoyable time doing it. Quite a hectic few days really!
It was around this time I was contacted by Mick Newell, Director of Cricket at Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club. They wanted a portrait of Chris Read to hang in the Long Room in the pavilion to commemorate Chris's brilliant career as he was retiring from first-class cricket to take up a teaching post at Uppingham School.
I was delighted and honoured to accept the invitation, the only problem was they wanted it for their end of season presentations!  Not only was the timescale tight but Chris would be spending most of the rest of the season playing matches and I needed him to do two sittings at least to have any chance of getting the picture somewhere near right!  But thanks to Chris and burning plenty of the midnight oil we managed to get it completed with a day to spare.
September saw the passing of one of my painting heroes, landscape and wildlife artist David Shepherd CBE. If it wasn't for David I'm not sure I would have taken up painting and become a professional artist, but it was the stories of David having no painting ability at all early in life and then teaching himself from scratch, with the help of fellow painter Robin Goodwin, to become one of the most successful painters of all time that inspired me.  Because of him I decided to teach myself to paint by having a go and not being afraid to fail. 9 out of 10 of my early pictures were thrown straight in the bin, but knowing that he had succeeded spurred me on and not to give up. 
The art 'establishment' never really accepted him as successful, in fact The Slade School of Art threw him out before he'd even got in, saying he would never be a painter. Well he didn't listen to the criticism, told them to get lost and proved them all wrong. The truth is, people constantly bought his paintings throughout his life, so who the hell are the so called 'art establishment' to say he wasn't successful? Sounds pretty successful to me! And a lot of fun! Famous for his wildlife paintings, in particular elephants, he was also a brilliant landscape, aviation and transport painter. Along with Cuneo in my opinion he is one of the best train painters I've seen. His paintings have an amazing 3-D effect on the flat canvas. Simply brilliant. And his unquenchable enthusiasm for making a difference while you're on this planet is second to none. Rest in Peace my hero. Thank you for the inspiration.
We've only two copies left of our leather bound and boxed special limited of Eighteen Counties. The other 16 have gone!
Each book has an original sketch inside chosen by you so if anyone would like to have one before Christmas please send me an email to and we can discuss the subject for your sketch. 
You will need to confirm your order by 11th December. Price £375 inc uk p& p.
Next year I'll be celebrating the 30th Anniversary of my becoming a professional artist so please keep in touch with our website to find out about our exhibitions and latest paintings to commemorate being 30 not out. 

Thank you everyone who has supported us in 2017. You know I couldn't do this without you! Have a wonderful Christmas and brilliant 2018!!!

Jack Russell MBE 
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