CAE Reading and Use of English Part 7
You are going to read a newspaper article about a very young artist. Six paragraphs have been removed from the article. Choose from the paragraphs A – G the one which fits each gap (41-46). There is one extra paragraph which you do not need to use.
Is Kieron Britain’s most exciting artist?
Peter Stanford watches an amazing seven-year-old artist at work.
All the time we are talking, Kieron Williamson is busy sketching on the pad in front of him with quick, fluid movements of his pencil. He is copying from a book of pen and ink illustrations by Edward Seago, the twentieth-century British artist, before he adds touches of his own to the sketches.
Kieron is clearly caught up in what he is doing, his blonde head a study in concentration as he kneels in the from room of his family home. But he’s not so distracted that he doesn’t sometimes look me in the eye and put me right. ‘You’ve added a bit more detail here,’ I say, as he is reproducing Seago’s sketch of an old man in an overcoat. ‘Seago’s’, I explain, ‘is lighter.’ ‘Not lighter,’ Kieron corrects me. ‘You call it looser. Loose and tight. They’re the words.’ Seven-year-olds don’t often give adults lessons in the terminology of fine art.
Kieron actually can and does, and has been hailed as a ‘mini-Monet’, on account of his neo-impressionist style, or the next Picasso. Recently, buyers from as far afield as South Africa and America queued up outside his modest local art gallery – some of them camping out all night — to snap up 33 paintings in just 27 minutes, leaving Kieron ?150,000 better off. How did it feel? ‘Very nice,’ he replies politely. ‘Did you talk to any of the buyers?’ ‘Yes, they kept asking me what else I do.’ And what did you tell them? ‘That I go to school, that I play football for my school and that I am the best defender in the team .’
His exhibition, the second to sell out so quickly — has brought him a lot of attention. Several American TV networks have filmed him in the family flat already and today a camera crew is squeezed into the front room with me, Kieron’s mum, Michelle, his younger sister, Billie-Jo and two sleeping cats
“These are ones I did last night when I was watching the television with Billie-Jo,” he says, handing me a sketchbook. It falls open on a vibrant fairground scene. Kieron finds the page in the Seago book that inspired him. There is the same carousel, but he has added figures, buildings and trees in his drawing in the sketchbook.
As accomplished as Kieron’s paintings are, part of their appeal is undoubtedly the story of precocious talent that goes with them. If he’s doing similar work when he’s 28, it may prompt a different reaction.
But Kieron is having none of it. He looks up sharply from his sketching. “If I want to paint,” he says, “I’ll paint.”
A An example is his pastel Figures at Holkham, an accomplished composition with big blues skies, a line of sand dunes framing to either side and two figures, one with a splash of red in the centre to draw the eye in. There is such an adult quality to his work that you can’t help wondering if someone older has been helping him.
В Standard seven-year-old boy stuff there. Kieron, however, is being hailed as a child prodigy. ‘They only come along once in a generation,’ artist Carol Pennington tells me later, as she explains how she helped nurture this early-blooming talent, ‘and Kieron is that one.’
C Michelle Williamson is aware of this. ‘I fully expect Kieron in a few years’ time to focus on something else as closely as he is focusing on art right now,’ she says. ‘Football or motor racing. There may well be a lot more ahead for him than art.’
D Yet, in the centre of the melee, Kieron seems utterly oblivious and just gets on with what he does every day, often rising at 6 a.m. to get on to paper a picture that is bursting to get out of his head. He will be painting every day of the school holidays, relishing the freedom denied him during term time.
E Each one takes him only a few minutes – horses, figures huddling in a tent, men and women in unusual costumes. ‘I’m going to do this one, then this one, then this one,’ he tells me, ‘but not this one – the eves aren’t looking at anyone – or this one – it’s too messy.’
F This, it is clear, is no mechanical exercise in reproduction. To underline the point, Kieron takes it back off me and adds a smudge of dark under one of the groups of people.
G But then Kieron Williamson is not your average boy. Aside from his precocious articulacy, he is singlehandedly illustrating that familiar remark, made by many a parent when confronted with a prize-winning work of modern art, that ‘my seven-year-old could do better than that’