SHE has an IQ almost as high as Stephen Hawking, and she’s a dab hand with a paint brush too.

Five-year-old Heidi Hankins was the subject of worldwide attention when she was accepted into Mensa in April 2012, with an IQ of around 159.

But now she has discovered a new talent for painting after starting to use watercolours just six weeks ago.

Her father Matthew, a lecturer at the University of Southampton, said: “Heidi has always been good at drawing and that clued us in to how clever she is. Like most five-year-olds she was interested in drawing things like pirates and Pokemon, but six weeks ago she asked to use paints. She mixes together six watercolours and she will sit there chatting to you and then knock off three landscapes, and then go off and paint a treasure chest.

“She picks up on things very quickly. She likes drawing birds and you can see they have real shapes to them, not just lines in the sky.It comes from her observation.

“Heidi has always acted her age in terms of her interests, but this is the first thing she has done outside her age bracket.”

He added the family, from Winchester, were considering setting up an exhibition of the paintings.

Meanwhile her work has been praised by the local art community.

Nick Stewart, programme leader of fine art at Winchester School of Art, said: “For a five-year-old these are remarkably mature and confident watercolour paintings. The handling of the medium is subtle and the disciplined minimal quality is extraordinary for someone so young.”

Mr Hankins, of Goring Field, Winchester, said Heidi had settled into life at St Swithun’s School but like any five-year-old is more interested in play than work.

He said: “We were a bit worried because she could read and write at two. There are some things she finds challenging because she does not like to get things wrong. But if she can finish work quickly it means she can run off and play. She is not trying to grow up too fast.”

Mr Hankins and his wife Sophy, an artist, moved to Winchester two years ago from Lewes to be closer to their son Isaac, 11, a chorister at Winchester Cathedral who boards at The Pilgrims’ School.