What Do You Think of This Painting?

Do you like this painting? Well, it was painted by a six-year-old named Kieron Williamson.

Called the next Picasso, Williamson is now 7 and has amazing talent as a painter. At seven, I recall trying to control embarrassing drooling and cursive writing.

Williamson’s paintings are selling like hot cakes and attracting considerable buzz on the Internet, here and here and here.

With a religious nut attacking a grandfather and granddaughter with an axe this week and other extremists pushing our species to extinction, young Williamson reminds us that we are capable of so much more — and perhaps there is hope after all.

For 19 paintings by the young master, click here.

For the full story, click here.

48 thoughts on “What Do You Think of This Painting?”

  1. CM,

    You may have a point there. I’ve never seen a Pollack in person, only photos. And no matter the skill of the photographer, it’s not the same. Manet taught me early on that color on canvas to eye looks different than color through lens and paper to eye.

  2. As a matter of fact, some of Max Ernst paintings have a quality of appearing to have detail at different scales.

  3. With Pollack I think the thickness of the paint is probably important so seeing a painting live would be more of an experience than just seeing a reproduction in a book, nevertheless seeing a reproduction will still be worth while. Blue Poles for example has a landscape like quality while not actually being a landscape, it appears to have structures of similar shapes occurring at different scales.

  4. I saw a documentary on Jackson Pollack once and the quality that he was trying to capture in his paintings was that fractal quality that natural landscapes have. He would dip his brush or maybe it was a stick in a can of paint, then wave it over the canvas holding it at various heights above the canvas and wiggling. What he produced were lots of coloured wiggly lines of various wavelengths, lengths and thicknesses. Natural landscapes including trees, brush, grass etc have similar shapes occurring at different sizes. If you magnify or reduce a picture of a landscape you will still see messiness no matter the magnification, if you put one blade of grass from the landscape under a microscope you will see a complicated structure, increase the magnification so that you are looking at just one cell and you will still see slightly irregular structure.

    This quality of being fractal was what Jackson Pollack spent years trying to capture in pain. It is worth while getting a book on fractals and chaos theory, this is now one of the hottest fields in mathematics.

  5. naschkatze: “What draws me to Pollock is that the paintings are unquestionably flat, two dimensional, but when you stand in front of a real Pollock (not a reproduction), you can wander into those two dimensions quite deep, as if into a thicket or forest. That tension between surface and depth really gets me.”

    I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing his work in person. I like everything of his I’ve seen (pictures of) but he did a few paintings that were memorable to me for the depth apparent in even pictures of them.

    It gets weird now- I was going to try to describe the most memorable one of them and decided I could probably get the name from a Google image search more easily; it was such a memorable image to me that I’d know it instantly if I saw it. Well, it turns out that it’s Blue Poles #11! The one Carlyle Moulton referenced in an earlier posting that now resides in Australia. Amazing. I’d really like to see some of his work in person because of that tension you describe. Even in his most monochromatic paintings it’s got to be a major component of the overall appeal of his work.

  6. Blouise, “Then I say a quiet prayer that he be given a responsible adult who will protect him from the dangers of his gift.”
    It has always seemed to me that the greatest danger of a gift or natural talent is that its potential, once manifest, goes unrealized. The other great danger is that it becomes hijacked by others for their own purposes or that in others misguided attempts to mold and direct it in their charges, they choke the joy out of it for the person possessing it.

    “It is NOT an easy existence.” “Sadly, I was not meant to be a Renaissance woman.”
    I imagine that music is one of the most difficult arts to master with an incredibly high burnout rate. Its a rigorously mathematical, tonal language and just mastering the technical aspects of it and an instrument are daunting to most. It seems oddly logical and perverse that the greater the talent the more it consumes of the rest of ones life. I too hope that Kieron stays with it and develops his art because HE wants to.

    Some other impressive children:

  7. Lottakatz.

    Actually my memory says L’oiseau fleur was the name of the painting of the plant metamorphising into a bird with a worm hole in one of its leaves/wings.

  8. Lottakatz.

    “Never buy a book based on its cover”.

    This is a rule I have always ignored when buying Science Fiction and much to my benefit as in buying Fifth Planet. I just checked my book catalog and I still have that book that I bought some time when I was in high school. Penguin used avant garde art on the covers of many of their science fiction titles.

  9. I was a child prodigy in music giving my first performance at the age of four. It is NOT an easy existence. I spent my entire youth, teenage years, and early 20’s in one conservatory or another practicing or on stage performing. You all may notice that I mainly post late at night or very early in the morning. That is one of a performer’s life habits for most all engagements are in the evening with parties to follow.

    My children and grandchildren are awash in toys for at the age of thirty I took great joy in buying for them that which I had no time to play with as a child.

    At the age of 35, I went to our local Community College and for the next two years took every chemistry class they offered. I loved chemistry but never had the time to take it in high school or college as music filled every elective.

    By the grace of God and a particularly good string coach who started working with me in 3rd grade up through my 30’s, I avoided many pitfalls (drugs, alcohol, and pills) that ruined many of my peers’ lives and talents.

    I look at this young boy’s art and am filled with wonder. Then I say a quiet prayer that he be given a responsible adult who will protect him from the dangers of his gift.

    In fourth grade, my teacher told me that the apple tree I had laboriously drawn looked like the work of a kindergartener. Sadly, I was not meant to be a Renaissance woman.

  10. Carlyle, “The 5th Planet”; I had to Google it because I wasn’t familiar with Magritts’ paintings by name. The google name for today (1-4) is kind of appropriate though as it resonates (after a fashion) with one of his most famous painting. Thanks for pointing me in that direction, it was fun.

  11. The first time I encountered Magritte was on the front of a Penguin Science Fiction paperback. i forget the title of the book but the Magritte painting was Le oiseau fleur.

  12. Carlyle Moulton
    Magritte and Max Ernst are my two most favourite surrealists.

    One of our local universities had Ernst’s “Eye of Silence” in one of its galleries, on loan for years, and I was knocked out the first time I saw it. A detail from that painting was used as the cover art for a SF book I had read and bought on the basis of the cover art. It was like finding a box full of diamonds to see the real painting. I was just delighted by it and would visit it every time I had occasion to be in the art school galleries. His painting was right outside the doorway to the Max Beckman gallery.

    They had dozens of Max Beckman paintings because he taught there. He was an expressionist and was possessed by demons, you probably came across his work. The Ernst painting was always a soothing and otherworldly end to a visit into the particularly German hell of Beckman’s paintings.

  13. I find it hard to believe that these paintings are by a six year old. In my judgment whoever painted them of whatever age is indeed a painter.

  14. Picasso could paint, I suspect that he found mass production of absurdities more profitable, however at least some of his absurdities are attractive images which I like. Magritte and Max Ernst are my two most favourite surrealists.

  15. I used to think that former Australian Prime minister E G Whitlam was an idiot for buying Jackson Pollack’s Blue Poles for Australia’s national gallery. I changed my mind after Benoit Mandelbrot introduced the concept of fractals to the world. Jackson Pollack’s paintings exemplify the concept of fractals. Pollack needed lots of practice to get the self similarity at various scales into his paintings. Blue Poles is an abstract painting that exemplifies the messiness that is in nature without being a picture of actual nature. That is Pollock abstracted this one feature from nature and put it on canvas.

  16. What draws me to Pollock is that the paintings are unquestionably flat, two dimensional, but when you stand in front of a real Pollock (not a reproduction), you can wander into those two dimensions quite deep, as if into a thicket or forest. That tension between surface and depth really gets me.

  17. Byron,

    LK has a point. You seem to not like the men because they were both misanthropes. And in Picasso’s case a vile womanizer as well although you didn’t mention that.

    I like some of his stuff. Pollack? Eh, I just don’t find it compelling enough to earn that kind of dollar figure. I’m a better painter than that. Some of it’s pretty enough. But it all kinda looks like Walt Disney threw up on a canvas.

    As men? I’d probably have had to punch them both at least once. Not nice guys. But it doesn’t totally negate what appreciation I do have for their work.

    And I can understand it being personal. I’d sooner light myself on fire than buy anything from that creepy dead pedophile Michael Jackson. I’m just curious as what these two did to earn your ire.

  18. Byron, Vermeer is an artist I like very much along with Picasso, Pollack and Van Gogh, among dozens of others. Art speaks to people first on a pre-intellectual level and you like it or not. Why comes next and later. That I don’t like certain art and artists work doesn’t mean I ascribe base motives to their output though; what so offends you about the artists you mentioned that you seem downright hostility to them as individuals? Srsly, I’m interested.

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