By VICTORIA LEGGETT
Monday, November 1, 2010
Child art prodigy Kieron Williamson showed off his talent in front of a captivated audience yesterday as his parents revealed similar demonstrations will be increasingly rare in the future.
As a little boy in a stripey t-shirt and age eight jeans - with a turn up - expertly worked the materials in front of him, a watching crowd craned their necks to get a good view.
But this demonstration, in front of an audience of art lovers in Swaffham yesterday, looks set to have been one of the last opportunities to see prodigy Kieron Williamson in action.
As his parents consider leaving Norfolk and investing his money in a home in Cornwall, mum Michelle said her little boy had provided more than enough proof that he really was the talent behind his amazing works of art.
Schoolboy Kieron, of Holt, became a worldwide sensation in 2009 when news of his ability saw him featured in newspapers and on television screens as far afield as Australia.
Just 15 months on and he has held three sell-out exhibitions - with each painting or drawing fetching thousands of pounds each - and has a waiting list of more than 5,000 people.
As Denis Bishop, of Swaffham Rotary Club which organised yesterday’s demonstration as part of the town’s inaugural visual arts festival, stood just a couple of metres from the eight-year-old, he summed up the mood of the room.
“We have all been very fortunate to be here,” he said. “Remember this day.”
Yesterday, Kieron spent just 60 minutes standing at a table in the Assembly Rooms recreating an image from a photo taken at Morston looking back towards Blakeney.
With his back to the lucky few who had secured tickets for the demonstration, he expertly worked with pastels to create a stunning and detailed drawing, right down to the church tower in the distance.
Stopping only to occasionally wipe his hands on a rag, Kieron seemed oblivious to the adoring crowd behind him and the praise being heaped on him from all directions.
Talking the audience through the youngster’s rise to fame, Adrian Hill, of Picturecraft Gallery in Holt, which has hosted his past exhibitions, said: “Kieron starts with nothing and finishes with a beautiful painting. Genius? Yes. Unique? Yes. Unrivalled to date? Yes.
“He has been broadcast in front of billions of people worldwide, and that’s not an exaggeration, and I have had no-one come back to me to say there is another little boy or girl out there that can achieve what he has achieved..”
Situations like this are understandably nerve-wracking for Kieron’s parents Michelle, 37, and Keith, 44, who are keen to ensure their elder child remains protected.
As the youngster finished his piece and instantly reverted back to life as an eight-year-old - heading to a table to play cards and eat crisps with six-year-old sister Billie-Jo - he seemed little affected by the hype.
But in the days leading up to the demonstration, the eight-year-old had not been in the mood to paint and Mrs Williamson said she was concerned about the affect committing to events would have on him.
The mother, who has adopted a strict policy with her husband that Kieron should only paint when he wants to, said: “Your first instinct is to protect your son and pull him out of situations like that.”
After finishing his painting, the youngster said he liked people watching him paint and draw but admitted it did make him feel nervous.
His mother said appearances like the one at Swaffham were likely to become very unusual, with the family no longer feeling the need to demonstrate Kieron is doing the work.
She said: “After today this will be incredibly rare. We’ve come to a stage where we feel he’s on the map, people know it’s his artwork. It’s been a massive imposition but at the same time important for us to tell his story.”
And for people in Norfolk, just the sight of Kieron and his family could soon become a rarity as they seriously consider a move to Cornwall.
His parents have always intended to invest some of his money in a property and have plans to buy a family home in the south-west which they would rent from him.
Cornwall is one of the first places that inspired the youngster to take to an easel and he continues to list Polperro as one of his favourite places to paint.
Mrs Williamson said the whole family would benefit from the move and, with family still in Holt, they would have the opportunity to come back as often as they wanted.
If they do go, they will definitely be returning next summer, when Kieron’s next highly-anticipated exhibition will take place at Picturecraft Gallery.
If you have not got anything planned this weekend then have a look at some of the great events going on this weekend.