Teen who started painting portraits during lockdown is now being offered thousands for her breathtaking artworks

Many people have picked up new hobbies during the lockdown, but only a few could say that they’ve created something truly extraordinary with their free time.

Makenzy Beard is one such person, hailing from Swansea in Wales.

After her hockey career was cut short by COVID restrictions, the 14 year-old began looking for something new to do. She decided to try painting.

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Makenzy found some old acrylic paints, and an easel her mom kept in their garden shed. Next, she began mixing colors on an antique ceramic plate. She also had to cut up old paintbrushes because she didn’t have the very fine ones she needed.

The teen retreated in the rundown shed—which had been sort of a dumping ground—to make her art.

“There was an old rolled-up carpet, bits of driftwood, parts of an old boat,” Makenzy described her work area. “It was dark, dusty, no electrics or anything, so when I was working in here in the winter, I’d have to use the light from my mobile phone.”

Makenzy Beard's painting of a young boy in a boat
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Makenzy fell in LOVE with painting quickly. She would often stay up late in the shed and get up early to paint.

Despite the less than ideal setting, Makenzy managed to produce something incredible in that shed—paintings that have been the talk of the art world.

In fact, one of her portraits is on display at the Royal Academy of Arts.

The subject of the painting was their neighbor, farmer John Tucker, whom Makenzy said has an “amazing face.”

“It’s very kind, like him, and it has character,” she said.

Makenzy Beard's painting of an old man wearing a green jacket
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Makenzy spent approximately 20 hours creating the portrait. John was wearing a neon jacket with a black knitted cap. The teen was able create a coat that looked like it glowed on the canvas.

It was actually Makenzy’s mom who gave her the idea of painting John. One day, she asked John to let her take a photo of him to paint.

Makenzy created a stunning piece that looks like it was made by a professional, but she had no years of experience. Makenzy was just a Year 9 student. She was also new to portrait painting.

The young artist posing with one of her masterpieces.
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John was humbled when he saw the portrait in real life. His family said that the portrait was exactly like John.

“I didn’t expect to see what I did see in the end. It’s absolutely brilliant. It’s like a photograph,” he said. “For her age, she’s a very talented young lady.”

Makenzy’s dad, David, said his daughter “captured the essence of the man” with her brilliant painting. It had soul, and that’s the reason it works.

Makenzy is a master at painting. This teen overflows with talent and drive—she plays hockey for Wales, trains with her football team four times a week, plays netball, and is a qualified lifeguard.

Makenzy Beard's painting of a black child laughing holding a cabbage
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Makenzy enjoyed drawing during her art classes at Bishopston Comprehensive School. She plans to study art at GCSE and has never attempted to paint portraits.

She began to recreate photos she had found on Pinterest after the lockdown forced her into a time crunch.

Makenzy’s art teacher saw her painting of John and knew that it deserved a place in a gallery. So, she entered it for the Royal Academy’s Young Artists’ Summer Show, a national competition for amateur artists aged between five and 19.

The young artist in the process of painting a portrait of an elderly man
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Her painting was among the 32,000 submitted and was chosen for exhibition. Her work has been admired by art lovers in the United States, the Middle East, and the UK.

According to Blackwater Gallery, three of Makenzy’s portraits have already been sold—one buyer offered £10,000 (approximately $13,785).

Makenzy’s school tweeted her work, and it went viral, with many people calling her a Picasso-in-waiting.

Makenzy Beard and her painting of an old man
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This teen is definitely one to watch out for, but she said she doesn’t want art to be the only thing she engages in.

“I’m not sure what I want to do in the future yet,” Makenzy said. “I enjoy too many things but I’d really love to continue with art, I really enjoy it. I’m really passionate about school and sport too. I’d like to see art in my future as well as many other things.”

You can find more of Makenzy’s spectacular artworks on her Instagram.