The worlds of cricket and art collided at Lord's earlier this week. Former England wicket-keeper turned professional artist Jack Russell unveiled the first ever oil painting created on a canvas of cricket bats at the Home of Cricket.
The Chance to Shine charity commissioned Russell to create the unique piece of ‘Cric-art’ to celebrate its flagship event, ‘Brit Insurance National Cricket Day’, on 23 June where thousands of schoolchildren will take part in cricket-themed activity.
‘Chance to Shine supported by Brit Insurance’ is the biggest grass-roots sport development programmes ever undertaken in Britain. The scheme, run by the Cricket Foundation charity, helps link cricket clubs to local state schools and aims, initially, to reach two million children in a third of state schools by 2015.
Working on a giant canvas of 36 full-size Slazenger bats, joined together in two rows of 18 - measuring 6ft 4in by 5ft 5in and weighing 130lbs - Russell has painted a quintessentially English village cricket scene, celebrating the sport that he loves.
The painting took Russell around 100 hours to complete over a three week period, using a dozen tubes of paint. It is an amalgamation of the many local cricket grounds he has seen over his 25 years of professional painting.
A ‘speeded up’ video of Jack Russell painting ‘Cric-art’ can be viewed at www.youtube.com/thecricketfoundation and on the right.
After Brit Insurance National Cricket Day, the aim is to exhibit the painting at venues like Lord’s during the summer before auctioning it off to raise funds for Chance to Shine.
Speaking at the launch of Brit Insurance National Cricket Day where the painting was officially unveiled, Russell said: “Painting on a canvas of cricket bats was certainly different, but I enjoyed the challenge and it’s a great way to celebrate Chance to Shine’s day of cricket in schools. I hope the painting can also raise some money for the charity which is bringing cricket to thousands of children in state schools every year.”
Joining Russell at the launch was England’s strapping 6ft 7ins fast bowler Chris Tremlett, an ambassador for Chance to Shine. He said: “Brit Insurance National Cricket Day is a fantastic idea to get kids playing and learning through cricket. Schools across the country are gearing up for the cricket-themed school day on 23 June. It’s good for Chance to Shine and good for cricket in general."