An English Watercolor Master in the Making

The surprise for the Williamson family came during last summer's vacation, when Kieron - who was just turning six - asked for something different to play with.

"I think Kieron was inspired by the landscapes," Kieron's mother Michelle Williamson recounted to CBS News correspondent Richard Roth. "He asked us to buy him some blank paper and some pens while we were down there."

He began to sketch, and then to paint, and he's been at it ever since. He learned some technique in a local watercolor class before he turned seven this month.

Spurred on by images on the Internet and in art books - and the postcard-perfect outdoor studio that's all around him in Norfolk, on England's east coast, Kieron Williamson has churned out a succession of landscapes and village scenes that have critics decades older raising their eyebrows.

"I was the youngest in the class," recalled Kieron of his only formal training ever. "Everyone else were grownups." Asked whether that bothered him, he told Roth that during class, he simply "didn't think about 'em."

Now, when he's not on the Xbox, his mother says he's at his paint box.

"Kieron will get up at six o'clock, maybe a little bit before, and everything is here in the kitchen for him. He'll come and set up and we're often woken up with the chinking of the jam jar and we know he's painting," says mum Michelle.

In fact, the whole country knows. For his hometown's summer festival, Kieron's work is the featured attraction at a local gallery, drawing fans from all around England. Kieron says that makes him proud.

The English landscape here has been an inspiration to artists for more than 200 years. Part of Norfolk's fame comes from painters who've celebrated its coastline and its countryside.

In a place that's produced a distinguished tradition, Kieron's talent is just developing.

"He could be great, of course he could," says local gallery owner Carol Ann Pennington.

He's working at it. The hardest part, he says, is getting the shading right - the balance of light and dark.

But he is confident he'll master even the elusive shades. How? Simple: "Practice, a lot."

At seven, he's got time.
  • Richard Roth

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