Keith gives back through art

A cruise around the globe with days on the open seas has given Cowboys fan Keith Blake the perfect opportunity to put pencil to paper and reignite his passion for art, a talent he’s now using to give back to others.

A self-confessed rugby league tragic, Keith has combined his penchant for graphite pencil portraiture with his love of the game, drawing his beloved North Queensland Toyota Cowboys heroes – works that will now be sold to benefit the Cowboys Community Foundation and NRL Cowboys House.

“I’ve always been into rugby league, I played until I was 58 in masters and I was CEO of the Brisbane Junior Rugby League for a few years,” Keith said.

“When we got back to Australia from our trip, I thought what am I going to do with the art, so I looked at all the NRL clubs and looked for something I could support and the Cowboys stood out by a mile with their Foundation.

“I think the more that sporting organisations throughout the world can do to give back, as much as the Cowboys Community Foundation does, it would be a wonderful thing because they’re using their image and popularity in such a positive way.”

It was the crew members and passengers aboard the cruise who were the early subjects of Keith’s first works, before he started sketching the likes of Cowboys superstars Johnathan Thurston, Matt Bowen and Jason Taumalolo.

Upon returning to Australia’s shores, he undertook online courses in black and white and coloured pencil to further develop his craft, bringing the subjects to life in his drawings.

With the crew members and passengers speaking highly of his efforts, Mr Blake has one simple hope for when the Cowboys players see themselves in his art: “I just hope they like them.”

A collection of Keith’s portraits will be on sale at the last home game of the regular season on Saturday 3 September, with the artist generously donating the artwork for proceeds from sales to benefit the charity of arm of the club and its life-changing programs.

With the Cowboys providing a unique platform for Keith to put renewed purpose into his pencils, he’s over the moon to be making a difference to boarding students from remote North Queensland communities.

“I really appreciate what the Cowboys Community Foundation is doing, I think it’s an amazing thing,” Keith said. “I’m just so proud to be able to support them.”

“I’m pleased I can put something back into the community through art.”

To view and purchase from the Keith Blake Collection, visit the Cowboys Community Foundation marquee on the Northern Green at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, from 6pm-7.35pm tonight.

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