Art of Jess on show

John Morris, of Gleadless, with his painting of athlete Jessica Ennis.
John Morris, of Gleadless, with his painting of athlete Jessica Ennis.
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A TALENTED painter from Sheffield has put brush to canvas to immortalise the achievements of champion athlete Jessica Ennis - and art enthusiasts can see the work for themselves at a new exhibition.

John Morris, of Base Green, Gleadless, has created a large picture showing the Sheffield athlete proudly holding her London 2012 Olympic gold medal, as well as taking part in the various heptathlon disciplines.

The 68-year-old attends meetings of the Heeley Art Club, which is holding a free 10-day exhibition in the Winter Garden, Sheffield city centre, from today, featuring 50 different pieces by members.

The show is called Sheffield in the Frame, as each work has a visual connection to the city.

John said he was pleased with how the acrylic painting has turned out and was looking forward to presenting the painting to the general public.

The former steelworker, who later became a learning mentor for ex-offenders, said: “I started it as soon as she won the gold medal, so it’s taken a lot of hours and a lot of work.

“There are eight images of Jess on the painting in total.

“There’s one of her holding the bouquet of flowers, and others of her doing the shotput, hurdles and the two running events.

“I love painting people in action, and I love doing fingers. Every one of the pictures has got Jess’s hands in somewhere.”

He said he took up painting more than 30 years ago while on strike at the British Steel factory in Rotherham.

John said: “While we were sat around picketing, I painted pictures.”

John took voluntary redundancy 21 years ago, and now spends most days in his studio, set up in the spare bedroom at his home on Basegreen Road.

Heeley Art Club meets every two weeks at the Methodist Hall in Millhouses. The club is Sheffield’s oldest art group and dates back more than 110 years, to 1895.