Boy, 6, Paints Like a Master
The art world's newest sensation isn't an Oscar-winner-turned-painter or a brooding ladies' man. Rather, the name rolling off the tongues of Britain's art cognoscenti is Kieron Williamson, a 6-year-old boy with a knack for painting beautiful watercolors.
Kieron, whose first show will open at the Last Picture Show in Town gallery in Norfolk, England on Sunday, is being lauded for having talent, "well beyond his years," writes the Daily Mail. The paintings of harbor scenes, animals, landmarks, and rural vistas are rendered in muted colors and shadow, baring an emotional depth usually found in the works of adults. As a result, some media outlets are calling Kieron a "prodigy," placing him among a select group of children whose talents both awe the public and raise its suspicions.
"I like painting because ... it makes me think of places I can't see," said the young artist, who's father Keith is an art dealer.
Art didn't interest Kieron very much before he visited the coastal towns of Devon and Cornwall with his parents and younger sister Billie-Jo, mom Michelle told the Daily Mail. The boats and local landscape inspired the young boy to ask for paper and begin drawing; his mom described those early works as typical of his age group.
When family friend and artist Carol Ann Pennington saw Kieron's work, however, she recognized his potential and gave him lessons. Ms. Pennington owns the gallery showcasing Kieron's paintings. The young boy has already sent an original to the Queen of England and plans to send one to Prince Charles as well, reports the Daily Mail.
Child prodigies become media sensations once discovered and sometimes the attention turns ugly. In 2004, the U.S. became taken with a 4-year-old girl named Marla Olmstead whose works were compared to Jackson Pollack. At the time, Marla's paintings were selling for as much as $24,000 and she was featured in The New York Times. The overwhelming praise for Marla led 60 Minutes to video tape her creative process and show the footage to a psychologist specializing in gifted children. The expert was underwhelmed and cast a shadow on the authenticity of the prodigy from Binghamton, N.Y. Marla continues to paint today.
Kieron will experience his first gallery opening two days before he turns 7. As the highly anticipated paintings make their debut, the world might do Kieron a service by holding back the "prodigy" label until the boy can deal with the accompanying baggage.
This article was originally published on Aug. 4, 2009.
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