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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Seven year old painting prodigy


Why pay full price for an unknown when you can get a painting from a seven year old that could markedly appreciate? I wonder if any of his paintings decorate the walls of these hedge fund traders that collect art who think they are so good at spotting undiscovered talent?

the story

Kieron Williamson kneels on the wooden bench in his small kitchen, takes a pastel from the box by his side and rubs it on to a piece of paper.

"Have you got a picture in your head of what you're going to do?" asks his mother, Michelle.

"Yep," Kieron nods. "A snow scene."

Because it is winter at the moment, I ask.

"Yep."

Do you know how you want it to come out?

"Yep."

And does it come out how you want it to?

"Sometimes it does."


Like many great artists, small boys are not often renowned for their loquaciousness. While Kieron Williamson is a very normal seven-year-old who uses his words sparingly, what slowly emerges on the small rectangle of paper in his kitchen is extraordinarily eloquent.

This month, Kieron's second exhibition in a gallery in his home town of Holt, Norfolk, sold out in 14 minutes. The sale of 16 new paintings swelled his bank account by £18,200. There are now 680 people on a waiting list for a Kieron original. Art lovers have driven from London to buy his work. Agents buzz around the town. People offer to buy his schoolbooks. The starting price for a simple pastel picture like the one Kieron is sketching? £900.

Kieron lives with his dad Keith, a former electrician, his mum, who is training to be a nutritionist, and Billie-Jo, his little sister, in a small flat overlooking a petrol station. When I arrive on a Saturday afternoon, Kieron and Keith are out. When Kieron returns in football socks and shorts, I assume he has been playing football. But no, he has been replenishing his stock of pastels in Holt, a chichi little place where even the chip shop has grainy portraits for sale on its walls....




With all the people wanting paintings, I ask Kieron if he feels he has to do them. He says no.

So you only paint when you want to? "Yep."

Do you have days when you feel you don't want to paint?

"Yep."

So you only do it when you're in the mood?

"Yep."

How many paintings or drawings do you do each week? One or two? "About six."

Is he a perfectionist? "You've got a bit of an artist's temperament, haven't you?" says Michelle, softly, as Kieron continues wielding his pastels. "You get really frustrated if it doesn't work out. You punched a hole in the canvas once, didn't you?"....



Kieron's tips for landscape painting


1 "Go on holiday to where you really want to go, and be inspired."

2 "Start with acrylics, then watercolours, then pastels and then oils"

3 When you set out to do a landscape, "start with the sky first, top to bottom."

4 "When you do distance, it's lighter, and when you do foreground it comes darker."

5 "If you're doing a figure in the winter, do a brown head, leave a small gap, do a blue jacket and brown legs. Then with the gap get a red pastel and do a flick of red so it looks like a scarf."

6 "Keep on painting."

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