an interview with kieron and his mum Michelle
Hello, My name is Kieron Williamson
Where are you from?
I live in Norfolk with my younger sister, Billie-Jo, My mother and father. I was born 04/08/02.
What are your interests?
I enjoy all the things that other boys my age enjoy – catching up with friends and family, playing football, swimming, cycling, watching formula one. I’m a big Leeds United fan, Billy Bremner was my dad’s hero, I like Germany and supported them in the world cup. We have two Norwich Terriers and they keep me busy. But most of the time I enjoy looking at other artists and researching different techniques.
What got you into art?
I began wanting to draw my own pictures during my first family holiday, in Cornwall in 2008. before that time I had not enjoyed drawing so much but enjoyed colouring in dinosaurs and birds of prey that I would ask family members to draw for me. I asked my parents to buy me a drawing pad and they did, that evening I went to the local bay along the Helford river and drew what I saw.
So, It was a natural progression from there?
Yes, I just continued to draw, using colouring pencils, watercolour paints, acrylics, brush-pens, then oils and pastels. I choose to use oils, pastel and watercolours now intermittently.
Who are your favourite artists ?
My favourite artists include Edward Seago, a Norfolk painter and Alfred Munnings. I bought my first house in May 2011 in Ludham, just down the road from Seago’s house, I love knowing that he walked the same roads as me, and painted the same skies.
Do you continue to see art as your future?
I would like to continue to be an artist and perhaps travel the rest of the UK and the world to paint what I see. I also enjoy playing football.
Where do you find your inspiration?
The types of things that inspire me include nature, traditional farming methods, ways of life, big skies, different cultures.
Have you had any lessons?
I had 9 lessons in watercolours at age 6, after a tutor and artist saw my ability to mix colours. I also has 3 lessons in oil painting, and 6 lessons in pastels. I no longer have lessons but prefer to paint alongside other artists, lots of artists I know are happy to share advice with me. The art lessons were great fun, apart from the first few minutes of apprehension, but as soon as I started to draw the outline, I soon got into the swing of it. I wasn’t put off being surrounded by adults, I’ve never seen age as a boundary, or the fact that they were all sitting behind me, when I could see other people’s work, it helped me to feel confident about my own efforts. Everyday is a lesson in art.
What do you love painting most?
I love painting landscapes, cityscapes, seascapes. I sometimes try to include figures in my work but always a bird if I can, it helps to add life to the painting. I finish off by signing my initial and putting a bird in the picture. I did my own self portrait when I was 8 years old but I didn’t like it!
Do you enjoy painting?
Painting is exciting, it helps to relax me, I forget about the day and I enjoy looking at inspirational places on the internet.
Does any of your family paint?
No other member of my family can paint, but my parents started to collect the paintings of local Norfolk Artists just before I was born, so I have grown up with paintings on the walls. I loved looking at them and would know instantly if any of them had changed. I loved seeing paintings of Blakeney and Holkham on the wall and to be able to visit these places at the weekend and enjoy the scenery, the mud, the smells and the skies.
How do you sell your art?
I have been fortunate enough to be supported by Carol Ann Pennington at her gallery The Last Picture Show in Town for my very first window display and picture sales. Since then I have exhibited and sold my work annually through Picturecraft Gallery, in my home town of Holt, Norfolk, and also at Delamore Arts Festival in Devon, which runs for the whole month of May and raises money for charity.
How do you choose what charities you support?
We receive numerous requests for charitable donations. Delamore Arts festival is a great project to be involved in and they choose a different charity each year. We prefer to make personal donations to own chosen charities. Sometimes projects can take me out of my comfort zone and become too demanding on time, media requests etc, so it’s a fine balance.
What was the most expensive painting?
My most expensive painting to sell to date was for £45000GBP.
Hello, My name is Michelle Williamson,
I am Kieron’s mum
Were Kieron’s early art works a typical child’s “refrigerator door” art?
Yes, to begin with, although he has always enjoyed, birds, boats, and other things that depict the natural outdoors
Do you think he would have progressed without professional instruction or was that essential?
I think Kieron would have progressed without professional tuition because he was accepted into the adult class because of his ability to mix colour, and his perspective. Kieron is a keen self-motivator and would have sought answers to his questions. I do think that the few lessons that he had has helped him to realise how good he is. Some adults learn for many years and still struggle, or are fearful of drawing people, or animals, Kieron will practice until he gets things right, he is not afraid of trying new things
I noted that he doesn’t like poster paints, how important is it to provide many types of media to children?
Kieron wanted to use proper artists materials, my daughter will still empty the recycling bin, I think it is down to the individual child, art can be just as beautiful drawn in the sand, or made with flowers, glass, tiles, etc. I think he achieves an ‘adult standard’ painting because of the materials, but also his chosen subjects.
Is his overwhelming interest now art or does he still enjoy sports and other activities?
Kieron’s artwork is his best friend, its there when he wants to chill out of an evening or do something before school. Kieron still has time to do all the other things children his age do, swimming, football, riding his bike, etc. It’s a nice balance, other children choose computer games, that’s all.
How do you help inspire him or does Kieron tell you what he would like to see or do for inspiration?
Haha, Kieron has a list most days of what he wants to do, and what he wants us to do!! Kieron chooses his locations to paint, we try hard to support him in this, because he works so hard at it and is so determined, he’s hard to say no to!!
When encouraging a child in regards to art do you recommend giving positive feedback all the time or should parents be critical?
Do you ever say that you don’t like one of Kieron’s paintings? We strongly believe that praise, encouragement and enthusiasm are free and are the key in allowing children to know what their strengths are. Its easy when parents are busy to miss a moment that could have allowed the child’s achievements to shine, we always look for moments to acknowledge their efforts. We also believe in being honest, so if guidance over errors or things need to be shared, then these comments are given inbetween two positives, so as not to knock the confidence.
I noticed that he does a lot of nature scenes. Is that his primary interest or have his tastes changed with time?
Kieron is exposed to many styles of art in the town’s galleries, internet, programmes on other artists etc, but he always seems to choose something that he is likely to see, he will try to make his colours more dramatic at times, more impressionistic, he is learning to draw figures close up at the moment, but will go back to landscapes etc.
In personality, is he a typical younger child who changes his mind every little while?
Kieron has got quite an old head on young shoulders, and is quite mature for his age, he has quite selective choices, but every so often will try something new, perhaps when he gets bored of a particular medium, or topic.
I noticed that he uses many different types of media in his work but has he tried a hand at sculpture for instance or other art besides drawing/painting?
He doesn’t ask to try these things, he will play with some clay if his sister is using it, he doesn’t want to ‘miss out’ but he simply enjoys drawing and painting.
How do you provide balance in his life? Is it a situation of schoolwork first and art later?
YES, most definitely school work first. The balance is there because of all the other things he chooses to do, there are some days, weeks or months when he doesn’t paint. But he is happier when he is painting.
Many articles refer to him as the “Mini Monet” would you rather that people don’t make comparisons?
We are very aware that these comparisons are media driven and it does place Kieron under a huge amount of pressure, we would prefer them not to of course!! It’s a little bit early to making those comparisons and comments, it is great that other people can see his current standard of work though and compare him to adult, and well known artists. I think that people have seen his improvements since last August, and are excited about his future.
Do you treat both your children equally, how difficult is it to support both of their needs?
My career has been spent working with people of all ages with all abilities/disabilities, so I am used to seeing each person in their own right, with their own unique needs and wishes, so I prefer to concentrate on their uniqueness, rather than worry if I am being equal. You would need to ask the children if they think I am fair!! They both want different things, therefore our support is different, I am glad that they are different, but that they get on well together and are mutually supportive.
What advice would you offer other parents or children?
Like most parents, children are complex and don’t come with instruction manuals!! What works for us may not work for other people, the most important thing for us is that we spend time together as a family and we are all friends, all equals, living in close proximity of each other in a 2-bedroomed flat meant that we had to get on with each other, so we made the best of it. If you know and understand your children, they will make their needs known, its important that they feel ‘invested in’ not necessarily financially, we couldn’t afford to spoil them, but listened to, taken seriously, given a chance to be praised up for their efforts, a ‘eureka’ moment will last a lifetime, its just about creating one, and all it takes is genuine praise and recognition. How many times do we half listen to our children and say ‘that’s nice dear’ you need to give then half an hour of real quality attention, rather than half hearted time and attention. We are all busy, but by the time we realise this its too late.