Matthew Hayden Tracey Keller Sporting Legend Work in ProgressSo, you know I don’t like to boast but did I tell you already that Australian cricket legend Matthew Hayden is a big fan and collector of my work? (Oh yes, now that I mention it, I think I did…).

Anywaaay, I got thinking a couple of months back (yes it does happen from time to time) about doing a series of paintings about sporting legends and Matt immediately came to mind as someone I’d love to paint.

And to make it even more satisfying, I thought it would be cool if we could turn it into a fundraiser. Of course, Matt was right into it and so here’s what we did…

We teamed up and decided on the shot that captures the essence of Matt’s batting style. The long sweep of the bat, the confident stance and the absolute focus that Matt has when he’s in the batting zone.

We also agreed on the charity that we’d support for the project – Marist College, Ashgrove – of which Matt is a proud ‘old boy.’

I did my usual sketch and the painting, now called Wind and the Willow, pretty soon came to life.

Matthew liked what he saw and today, we wheeled it out at the Champagnat Trust Sports Lunch. This event raises funds each year for families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to send their children to Marist College.

Talk about sporting (and other) legends! Other guests included rugby legends John Eales (another Marist old boy) and former All Black (and Australian Rugby League player), Brad Thorn, and current Australian Netball Captain Laura Geitz. MC for the occasion was Actor/Comedian, Shane Jacobsen.

Tracey Keller and Matthew Hayden with Wind and Willow - 1st in the Sporting Legends seriesIt was a glittering occasion and I’m pleased to say that the guests really dug deep. We auctioned off Wind and the Willow and raised $7,000, all of which goes to the Champagnat Trust.

That’s great news and I’ve gotta say, I’ll hit the pillow tonight satisfied that my efforts have helped some young men get an education that would otherwise be out of their reach (perhaps the next Matthew Hayden or John Eales will be among them).

But the story doesn’t stop there. Matt has kindly let me agree to do 200 Hand Finished Limited Editions of Wind and the Willow. What’s a Hand Finished Limited Edition? It’s the next best thing to an Original – a print that’s been hand touched by me to give it a textured finish that’s so much like an original that most people have trouble telling them apart.

Each one is unique – same same but different – and each one comes with a Certificate of Authenticity signed my Matthew and me. There will only be 200 of these produced and 30% of all purchases will be donated to Marist Brothers Ashgrove.

I have no idea what these will be worth in the future but, if you like my work and are a cricket fan and like to support education, I’m pretty sure you’ll get great value out of investing in your own copy of Wind and the Willow. You can order a copy here and they’ll be produced on a first-come first-served basis (yes, these are made to order) so, if you want to be at the head of the queue, you know that to do. (And if you’re not in the market for one yourself, please share it with friends that might be so we can raise as much as we can for such a worthy cause).