Proof your mom was lying when she told you the drawing you made at age 6 was genius.
Childhood works of famous artists.

When I was 12 I made this drawing of a horse.  I knew art historians were going to want to refer back to it when I was older and more established as an artist so I purposely put my age on it.  I was thinking ahead to saving the producers of Biography a lot of research time.  I was good like that as a kid.

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I still think it’s pretty good.  Well, I did until I started researching the childhood works of genuine artists.  As a comparison, here’s what Michelangelo was doing at age 12, two years younger than I was when I did the horse drawing.

 

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The Torment of Saint Anthony by Michelangelo – age 12

 

Think that’s impressive?  Picasso did his first notable drawing at age 8 and his first painting at age 9.

 

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Le Picador by Pablo Picasso – age 9

 Salvador Dali at age 6.  Keep in mind age 6 is prime finger painting time for most kids.

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Salvador Dali – age 6

 

Paul Klee, one of the most influential artists of all time.

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Paul Klee – age 7

Now let’s look at some of the world’s greatest artists when they were a bit older.  Teenagers for instance. Like this painting by 19 year old Rembrandt.

 

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Rembrandt – age 19

 

Or Georgia O’Keeffe when she was 19.

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Georgia O’Keeffe – age 19

 

I became obsessed with looking up these early works because I was so amazed at how early their genius showed through.  At age 6 no one has taught you about perspective, colour, shading or technique.  At age 6 most kids are shoving peanuts up their noses.  And as I was Googling and searching I was looking up world renowned artists that have already made their mark on the world.  Picasso, Warhol, Klimt.

Then I had an epiphany and thought … I wonder if there’s an artistic genius out there right now who is the age these artists were when their genius started showing through.  So I Googled “artist age 6”.

And up came a newspaper article featuring the work of a 6 year old boy from Norfolk, England.  Kieron Williamson.

 

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Kieron Williamson – age 6

Kieron was born in 2002 and is 12 now.   He also likes football by the way.

So if your child, grandchild or student’s art looks like any of these you may have an artistic genius on your hands.  In fact, if you have a 50 year old that produces work like any of these you may have an artistic genius on your hands.  This kind of talent is not normal.  It’s special.

 If you have a 50 year old who is still shoving peanuts up his nose he’s special in another kind of way.

Have a great weekend!

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64 Comments

  1. Janet says:

    Honey, I’m 36 and I’d be proud if I drew that horse today. Now excuse me, I need to go dig a peanut out of my nose… damn things keep getting stuck up there.

  2. Aspasia says:

    I drew a bridge when I was six and my parents were convinced I was going to be an engineer (I’m not–not even close). Your horse is better than anything I’ve ever drawn, which sucks because I actually like drawing a lot (well, somewhat less so as I’ve come to realize I have no real talent). But the childhood works of the famous artists you’ve posted are just mind blowing. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Mary W says:

    Fascinating post today and so glad you looked this up. I especially like the present day 6 yo that you found – I wonder how many more are out there? I also drew Pegasus at age 10. This is the magical winged horse from the story The Chimera. To me it was a glorious drawing and (of course I copied) like no other, anywhere. After 50 years, while cleaning, I found that old sketch and wondered why on earth I thought it was so wonderful. That made me realize that art is a Mind Game. You travel to your created world, you experience color in wonderful ways, and your lines become powerful and beautiful, at least when you are a child. Somewhere along the way all that magic disappears and we become dull to the affects of making art. At least most of us. Some creative people manage to still play and enjoy what they are thinking on the paper. I imagine you, Karen, as one of those people who found a way to present your thoughts not with line and color but with keyboards. You are an artist to me for when I read your words, I feel emotion, I am enlightened, and take a temporary new route in my mind. Thanks for sharing your artful life.

  4. c. burrill says:

    I am really enjoying your whit and also the good information you send. Keep up the good work.

  5. marilyn says:

    i LOVE art

  6. Beckie says:

    Funny, if a child did a picture like The Torment of Saint Anthony by Michelangelo now, they would likely end up in some kind of therapy, not applauded for artistic genius. Times change.

    I love the one by Kieron Williamson.

    • Mary W says:

      I was going to write this same thing. Times sure have changed. and we wonder if it is for the better when it comes to our thinking. My kids hear a loud noise in a crowded mall and start looking for cover – as a child I had never heard of people getting shot like that. I was too busy hiding under my desk in case of a bomb LOL.

      • nancy says:

        That’s just so crazy. My son came home from college (in New Orleans). I showed him the new cat toy, a laser, by running it across the room and across his body, he fell to the floor and started shouting at me, practically had a panic attack. I had no idea.

    • IRS says:

      Yup. The first thing I thought of when I saw the Michelangelo piece, is that it would have been nice if a 12 year old Michelangelo had had a 12 year old best friend named Sigmund Freud.

  7. Jane says:

    A friend’s son had to go to emerg to have a pea removed from his ear. When the Dr asked why he’d done it he answered, “I couldn’t fit anymore in my other ear!”. Good thing the Doc asked! LOL Not sure about his artistic talents.

  8. Kim says:

    That horse is awesome! My daughter jammed styrofoam packing material up her nose…bugger to get out too. She doesn’t draw or paint but she has the most wonderful gift of sarcasm somewhat like a certain blogger I enjoy reading….
    Have a great weekend everyone!

  9. Jenny W says:

    Your penmanship is lovely! Your horse? neighhhhh LOL ;)

  10. j says:

    You are a genius in your communication skills-and your ability to inspire others-and make most others feel better about living, with a quirky bit of humor thrown in! Glad I metcha! Who knew there was a blog like yours hiding in my MacBook Pro, and we can be long distance BFF’s every M, W, and F!! Thanks!!

  11. Louise says:

    Karen, I think your horse truly is remarkable! This shows, at an early age, your artistic talent you now display in your photos, your garden, Christmas packages, and the many different things you do!

  12. Grammy says:

    My grandson is six. When he draws people, they all have legs coming out of their head and arms sticking out somewhere in the vicinity of where a neck would be, if only the person had a neck. I thought that sweet boy had no talent for drawing until I looked around at most members of the family…

    • Louise says:

      LOL!

      All of my 7 yr. old son’s drawings of women had large breasts pushed right up under their chins – no neck! I finally realized that I looked like that to him because of his perspective; he was looking up at me!

      • Mary W says:

        That explains a lot. My daughter was an art teacher for many years and when studying child development, she found stages that where common to most kids. The no neck was very common and once they reached a certain age they began drawing necks. Now I understand why that was common. No psychology involved. Thanks for your down to earth observation.

      • Grammy says:

        Yes, I realized that’s what was happening with my grandson. He began drawing people that way at the age of 3 or 4 (whenever it was that he first drew a person) and it’s pretty obvious that from the perspective of someone that height, everybody is pretty much legs as far as they can see, with a smiling head way up thereon top and, of course, arms because somebody has to be able to give you things and pick you up and help you dress. It’s just interesting to me that he has an astute eye for color and form but is not the least bit interested in changing the way he draws people. When it comes to the arts, music is his thing.

  13. Pam'a says:

    My sister shoved a bunch of pussy willows up her nose when she was young… Do you suppose that means anything? (We have yet to see any artistic talent.)

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      Hah! I did that too, many years ago, and have absolutely no memory of it coming out :-/ Guess that explains a lot . . .

  14. judy says:

    I swear your horse picture says age 14 -anyhoo it seems quite accomplished to me for any age. And you are definitely quite accomplished and since I know you have most of the answers to everything can you please please explain to me why I am so tired throughout the day and still wide awake at 2:02 in the morning? Not that it’s an interesting question but that’s what makes it challenging……or not-

    ;02 in the morning?

    • Mel says:

      You may have your days and nights mixed up. Try taking some melatonin. It helps reset your circadian rhythm.

    • nancy says:

      Me too!!! So annoying. I’m awake half the night and all day I have dragging periods. If left to my own, I thrash all night, at 6am I go to sleep and sleep like a cat til 9am. Except that’s not how my life allows me to live. I take melatonin every night about 9 or 10pm. I wonder if that’s the best time.

      Yes Karen, your horse picture says age 14. And you refer to Michelangelo as being 12, 2 years younger than you when you did your drawing.

    • Rondina says:

      She’s right, Karen. I blew it up and that’s definitely a four. Still a great drawing. Keep practicing. One day you could be tea-room gallery ready. : )

    • Lori says:

      I spent far too long looking at that ’14’ also! But in the next paragraph, Karen says Michelangelo was “12, two years younger than I was”, so, Karen, your ’12’ in the first paragraph is a misprint. :)

  15. Lesley Williamson says:

    I wonder if Kieron Williamson is related to me? I mean we’re both from England and … Nah, probably not :(

  16. brenda says:

    as a professor who teaches foundation drawing (and has since 1982) I have to say Karen – you totally get it (I think your horse is abfab) … imagine what you could do by the age of 50 – there are lots of tricks nobody used to tell us but now ‘we’ do (though it does take a lot of hard work)

    • Karen says:

      It’s funny. I can draw if I’m in the mood. If I’m not … forget it. :) ~ karen!

      • brenda says:

        haha – as with almost everything – there seems to be that ten year ‘tipping point’ … The Artist’s Way is a good book for encouraging the creative process and Betty Edward’s books are wonderful testaments to what can be taught and learned in a short amount of time … my most favourite classes to teach are foundation courses – it’s so exciting to watch things take off

  17. JMC says:

    Pretty cool. Thanks Karen.

  18. Laura Bee says:

    I love all your sponsors. I especially love Craft deVille’s optimisim. “Add ALL Items to cart” . In a moment of fabric bliss I might!

  19. Laura Bee says:

    These are beyond incredible. Thanks for sharing ~ your horse is pretty good. I was lied to for sure.

    I have some nice abstracts my daughter has painted. She like water colours. :)

  20. Connie says:

    Your horse is much better than Picasso’s…

  21. Amber says:

    Oh by the Gods and all the kitties. I’m an artist. My work still doesn’t look like that.
    I’m going to practice shoving peanuts in my nose.

  22. ronda says:

    and gardening … and power tools …. and …….

  23. peg says:

    enjoyable art history tour. have a good weekend.

  24. Ardith says:

    Well, you are a genius with words and wit, so there. Cheers, Ardith

  25. Paula says:

    Remarkable!

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