Girl, 10, made £50k from her floral paintings – and donated it all to charity
Daisy Watt only started painting four years ago when two of her grandparents were diagnosed with cancer and she painted them a picture to cheer them up.
Since then the 10-year-old, dubbed the “mini Monet”, has gone on to make £50,000 from her floral landscape paintings, which can sell for up to £10,000.
But instead of keeping the money for herself, the kind-hearted artist has donated it all to charity.
After being impressed with the picture she painted for her grandparents, Daisy’s mum, Karen, 50, asked if she'd like to paint a canvas to be displayed at a local gallery and auctioned for two cancer charities.
Bidders from all over the world fought to buy the work featuring forget-me-nots for those who had died and bright flowers for those who survived, and it eventually sold for £9,500.
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Daisy’s parents, Karen, a primary school teacher, and project-manager Charlie, 50, say their humble daughter gets embarrassed by praise and is totally unaware of her artistic talent.
“She’s always been into arts and crafts and has been ever since she could hold a paintbrush,” mum-of-three, Karen, from Misson, South Yorkshire, explains.
“But over the past few years her work has really caught people’s attention.”
And despite having a degree in art Karen says her daughter is the better artist.
“One time we were sitting down painting tulips and I turned to her and said ‘right how are we going to figure out the shape here?’
“I was trying to work it out and in that time she was dipping her paintbrush in different paints.
“Then with three different colours on the brush she started to paint.
“It just comes so naturally to her.
“It was just the perfect tulip and you can’t knock talent like that.”
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Daisy painted a garden scene to show her maternal grandfather Arthur before he passed away in 2016, aged 75 and her paternal grandmother Polly, now 89, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer around the same time.
Karen loved the painting and asked a local gallery if they’d like to auction off another similar artwork by Daisy, in aid of cancer charities Firefly and Cancer Research.
It sold in 2017 for £9,500 and was so popular 100 special edition prints were commissioned and snapped up by buyers as far afield as Canada and Hong Kong.
It sparked a true passion for Daisy, and now she paints most days, heading out of her studio and into the garden with her paints - tester pots from B&Q.
“I’ve always kept a lot of flowers in the garden and we live in the countryside so that probably inspires her,” her mum explains.
But there’s a hidden meaning behind the floral subject matter with each flower representing a different stage in someone’s fight against cancer.
“The daffodils are people surviving cancer but haven't beaten it yet,” Karen explains.
“The stars represent people who have lost their battle while the sun represents people who have beaten it.”
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Since selling her first painting Daisy has now auctioned around 25 pictures for charity.
Cancer Research UK features one of her works on its ‘thank you’ cards to families whose loves ones make legacy donations.
And last November, Daisy won the Yorkshire Young Achiever for Arts award and has won The Don Valley Festival for the past four years.
During lockdown she painted a rainbow of miniature daisies, as a tribute to frontline workers.
She raised nearly £1,700 for the NHS with magnets and cards of the design.
“She’ll spend anything from five minutes to half an hour painting away,” Karen adds.
“But she has to be in the mood to do it.
“She knows how to make something from a standard flower painting into something really quite special.
“She doesn't have to draw an outline and will splat the paint in just the right place.”
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Despite her artistic success, the shy 10-year-old still isn’t used to the attention.
“When I tell people and they go over to compliment her, she always says 'Mum why did you have to tell them?'
“She cringes at the attention and doesn't see what all the fuss is about.
“I hope when she's older she realises just what a special thing she has been doing.
“Every single penny she raises goes to charity and it’s making a big, big difference to people’s lives.
“I’m just her biggest fan!”