Russell was Canadian-born and began his training at Halifax School of Art, followed by the School of Art in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1911 he left Canada to study in Paris, at the Academie Julian and the Academie Colarossi. At the outbreak of World War I he moved to London where he was commissioned by Lord Beaverbrook to act as an official war artist for the Canadian Government. His paintings of northern France in 1918 were featured in the Canadian War Exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1919, with many examples now in the possession of the Canadian War Museum.
During the 1920s and 1930s he worked as an artist in film studios, designing railway posters, lecturing and writing. World War II was spent as an acting petty officer in the Royal Navy Patrol Service. In 1944 Russell, now married, moved to Yorkshire, continuing his career as an artist and lecturer at Doncaster School of Art.
During the years 1949 to 1953 he paid many visits to Cornwall from his home in Yorkshire. Polperro and Mevagissey became his favoured locations. A 1949 article, in a series that he produced for The Artist magazine on 'Sketching Out of Doors' contained an image of a sepia wash sketch of Polperro from Chapel Steps, and a sketch of Mevagissey. He travelled around Cornwall in a gypsy caravan, producing railway posters advertising the charms of local fishing ports.
In 1953 Russell moved to Penarth in south Wales and visited Cornwall less regularly. He continued to paint until his death in 1970.
Painter, designer, lecturer, writer
works and access
Works include: Polperro; Polperro Rooftops; Penarth Head (oil on canvas), at National Maritime Museum, Falmouth
RBA; RI; ROI; RSMA
Public Catalogue Foundation (2007) Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly: Oil Paintings in Public Ownership
Tovey, David (2021) Polperro - Cornwall's Forgotten Art Centre - Volume Two - Post-1920, Wilson Books
Whybrow St Ives (1921-1939 list pp 219-21)