Page last updated at 09:12 GMT, Saturday, 28 November 2009

Ex-cricketer bats for art success

Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan creates his artwork by throwing or batting painted balls at a blank canvass in a warehouse

He bowled over cricket fans during his time as England captain and now Michael Vaughan is hoping his batting skills will hit Cardiff art lovers for six.

The retired batsman may have left the field but he has hung on to his bat and ball - and has used them to create his own collection of abstract art.

Using a technique he calls "artballing" he has batted balls painted with symbolic colours at a blank canvas.

The colourful results are on display at Castle Galleries, Cardiff Bay.

Day Night by Michael Vaughan
For Day Night Vaughan batted red and white painted balls

Vaughan, who led the England squad to a long-awaited Ashes victory in 2005, said his love of art was cemented in the first part of this decade when cricketing team mate Ashley Giles took him to the art galleries in Shoreditch, during rained off matches in London.

This fuelled his passion for abstract expressionist art and sparked the idea for combining the two art forms of cricket with art.

Escaping to a warehouse in Yorkshire, Vaughan created the art at over 100mph, which he said also provided a therapeutic tonic to his emotional retirement from international cricket.

He said: "It is a very rare thing to be able to follow a career path that you love and the opportunity to combine my two greatest passions - art and cricket - has been a sublime moment in an extraordinary life of highs and low, dreams and sometimes nightmares.

"Artballing captures the drama, speed and excitement of cricket in one precious, dynamic visual moment that, unlike the perfect six, lasts a lifetime."

Power Play by Michael Vaughan
Power Play is another piece being exhibited in Cardiff

The former Yorkshire player used his favoured cover drives, square cuts and pull shots, to create his art collection.

The From Crease to Canvas pieces include the Day/Night image, where he used white and red balls against a black backdrop and Yes, No, Maybe? featuring red, orange and green to symbolise the universally recognised symbols of stop, go and indecision.

Vaughan's style follows in the footsteps of a long line of artists who practised abstract expressionism or action painting between the 1940s and 60s.

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