8-year-old painting prodigy is new art world star
By JILL LAWLESS
The Associated Press
Friday, August 13, 2010
HOLT, England -- He's Britain's most talked-about young artist. His paintings fetch hefty sums and there's a long waiting list for his eagerly anticipated new works.
It has all happened so quickly - he's still getting used to the spotlight - and Kieron Williamson fidgets a little when he's asked to share his thoughts on art.
"Cows are the easiest thing to paint," said Kieron, who has just turned 8. "You don't have to worry about doing so much detail."
Horses, he says, are "a lot harder. You have to get their legs right, and you have to make their back legs much bigger than their front."
Paintbrush prodigy Kieron - dubbed "mini Monet" by the British press - is a global sensation. All 33 of the pastels, watercolors and oil paintings in his latest exhibition sold, within half an hour, for a total of 150,000 pounds ($235,000). Buyers from as far away as the United States lined up overnight outside the gallery, and there is a 3,000-strong waiting list for his impressionistic landscapes of boat-dotted estuaries, snowy fields and wide marshland skies.
He has a website and a business card. Strangers approach him at the gallery, asking him to sign postcards of his work. Journalists from around the world travel to his small home town in eastern England to interview him.
Kieron shrugs off the attention. "It feels normal to me," he says.
It definitely doesn't feel normal to his parents, Keith and Michelle Williamson. They are bemused, proud and a little anxious about their son's talent and its effects.
"It has been overwhelming," said Michelle Williamson, a 37-year-old nutritional therapist. She and her 44-year-old art dealer husband live in a small apartment with Kieron and his 6-year-old sister, Billie-Jo.
Kieron was a normal, energetic little boy, and his parents were surprised when he asked for pencils and paper during a holiday in Cornwall two years ago. They were astonished when the then-5-year-old produced an accomplished picture of boats in a harbor. He progressed rapidly to fully realized landscapes, many depicting the flat, open Norfolk countryside near their home.
"Keith and I don't paint, so we find it difficult to know what's going on inside his head," Michelle said.
"We don't understand it. We don't know where it comes from. But he's adamant it's what he wants to do. When your child has got such a gift and a talent, you have to support him."
To continue the story and photos:
Kieron's Gallery: http://www.kieronwilliamson.com/