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Friday, 15 January 2010

Home-grown Art Prodigy

Having just written a post about child art prodigies, I now hear we now have our very own home-grown version.  About time too, I was starting to feel a little left out, since America and Australia both have their own! (You can read about them here in my earlier post).  Even better, ours is a boy (the others are girls) and works in a representational style, which is unusual for prodigies as young as he is.  Kieron Williamson is just 7 years old, but apparently has been painting for 2 years.  Based in Norfolk, he specialises in landscapes, and his paintings sell for figures in excess of £900.  He currently has a waiting list of 680 people waiting to buy his paintings and his last exhibition sold out in less than 15 minutes.

Like the other prodigies previously discussed, Kieron has a supportive background; his father is also an art dealer.  There is no doubt however that his artwork is astonishingly good for his age, although not worth £900 a painting in my opinion - the prices and the waiting list, seem to be generated more by his age than the quality of the paintings in their own right, and tellingly, there have been offers to buy his schoolbooks too.  I think the excessive demand is being created by those who feel that if he is going to be a 'Great Artist', then buying one of his early works for just £900 is a worthwhile long-term investment.  A highly risky strategy though since child art prodigies don't always turn into adult artistic geniuses, and luckily for Kieron his parents seem to have quite a healthy attitude to his talent, being willing to let him stop painting and pursue something else if that's what he wants.  Another one to watch then!

Finally, here are Kieron's top 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."

You can read the full Guardian article here
Photos by Graham Turner - The Guardian


  1. I think this actually upsets me a little, yes he has great skill for a nine year old, but being in the stoplight so young, can hardly be a good thing can it. All this praise must make an ego very big, no metter how hard parents work to keep him grounded it must be hard.

    Just the comment on going on holiday to "where you really want to go" exudes a certain class and selfishness!!

  2. Yes, I know what you mean - that level of attention for one so young (he's actually 7) can't be good. Apparently though he's not from a particularly wealthy background - one of the reasons he took up painting was because the family had to move to a small flat with no garden.

  3. His parents sound genuine and not money grabbing, although it's slightly worrying that they're beginning to feel pressure from all the clients waiting for their paintings. It sounds like it started as a nice way of being close to his father after his accident, and then untapped his innate talent. He sounds like a nice lad. I wonder what he's like when he's not 'copying' paintings as such.

    I went to university with someone incredibly, incredibly bright who could talk for hours about Schopenhauer and Nietzsche and all these philosophers that even the lecturers were in awe, but it was really sad as his parents were normal working class people. He found he had absolutely nothing in common with them any more and they were mystified by his intellect.

  4. I think that's the problem with 'prodigies' - it can make them out of touch with their peers and can lead to a lonely life. As you say, they seem a nice family and it would be a tragedy if all the pressure from the amount of attention he's getting ended up getting in the way of a normal childhood and family life.