Teen Started Painting in Lockdown and is So Good She’s Exhibiting in Galleries, and Getting $10,000 For One Canvas

How’s your corona-hobby going?

A 14-year-old in Wales took up painting during lockdown, and is now selling her canvases for thousands of dollars.

Makenzy Beard from the city of Swansea, has garnered international attention for her portraits of human faces cloaked in jubilant smiling visages after her first piece went viral on social media—a portrait of John Tucker, the farmer next door.

“I had some free time on my hands and my mum used to love to paint so we had paints and canvasses and brushes. I thought ‘why not give it a try’ and it escalated from there,” she told the BBC.

For Tucker, it was simply the case that a local lass asked one day to take a photograph of him while he was bringing hay nets down from his truck.

Now he says that all his family thinks it looks exactly like him.

Beard entered the portrait into a competition, and it won a place at the Young Artists’ Summer Show in the Royal Academy of Arts.

Fast forward to October, when Blackwater Gallery in Cardiff exhibited some of her other works and reported they had sold several to international buyers from the U.S., UK, and Middle East—one of whom offered her £10,000.

Makenzy’s most recent portrait is of her grandfather, Bernard Davies, and is one of the 6 currently hanging in Blackwater. It’s not for sale, however, as Beard plans to keep it for sentimental reasons. It’s not hard to see why—Mr. Davies is depicted with the most heart-warming and grandfatherly smile one could ever imagine.

Her collection, which can be seen on Instagram, consists of workmen and children, mostly the old and the young, in expressions of joy or indifference. They are interspersed with pictures of her other great love—field hockey for Wales.

Playing the sport demands most of her time, but she wants to keep painting.

“I don’t think I want to be an artist as a job but I want to have this on the side… as a hobby,” she told the BBC.

If this is the quality of results from a hobby as a teenager, we can’t wait to see what she does with life in her 20s and 30s!