Iris Grace Halmshaw is a brilliant six-year-old painter who has become a bit famous. Celebrity Angelina Jolie is a fan and Iris has been featured on Today. Iris was diagnosed in 2011 with autism. And she was non-communicative. Iris expressed her emotions and feelings through all of her brilliant paintings. Angelina purchased one herself.
Iris has been compared to Monet. No small feat when you consider her age of just six. She’s a beautiful mind. She penetrates layers beyond layers of creative aspirations. And she’s a business woman, selling her paintings for thousands of dollars. Iris’ real journey began when her parents encouraged her to paint in the face of failed therapy. Autism is hard. It is complicated. Her parents finally sought out art. Her parents soon discovered that they could finally establish communications with their beloved daughter: through her art. It was a milestone moment in the early life of a complex, highly autistic little girl and her parents.
But then of course, there is the much adored painting assistant, Thula the Cat. Thula has always been at Iris’ side, even during bath time.
And Thula, maybe not even the art, finally got Iris’ to connect to the world around her, not through a painting, but through words. Iris’ mother, Arabella Carter-Johnson, told Today.com, “There were moments when I could almost run around the house with excitement, like when Iris asked Thula to ‘sit cat’ at the painting table or ‘more cat’ when she wanted Thula to follow her,” Carter-Johnson said.
The moments between toddler and pet, between artistis and assistant, between human and friend, continued on.