It’s the explosion of colour that caught my eye… Then I got to know Melbourne creative Deb McNaughton and found out that not only was she a very talented artist but also a caring and thoughtful woman with oodles of ambition and drive. Whether raising her boys, adding to her fabulous collection of art and accessories or raising funds for a cause very close to her heart, you can bet that Deb does everything with great intention and an inspiring energy.
Recently I had an opportunity peek into Debs colourful world and chat about how she manages to keep the ball rolling, whilst jumping out of her comfort zone often and believing that she CAN do all she sets her mind to!
Meet the wonderful Deb McNaughton and her stunning creations…
Leigh: You work with Acrylic, Ink, Watercolour and Resin. What influences the styles, products and colours that you paint?
Deb McNaughton: My main influence is curiosity. ‘What happens if I pour this over the top of that?‘ ‘I wonder what it looks like to go against the common trends and create my own?‘ ‘I think I’ll break the rules and put these two colours together – even though ‘they should never be seen’.
My styles change as I grow as an emerging artist and explore new techniques. It’s very interesting to look at my earlier work compared to the work I am producing at the moment. It’s a natural progression. Who knows what the future will hold?
LV: Your motto is “A life without risk is a life half-lived”… Is it this attitude that has seen you collaborate with some big names? Who has been your favourite to date?
DM: Without a doubt. You never know until you give it a go. And hey, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Rejection? Then you take a deep breath and say “oh well, it was worth a try”
My absolute favourite collaboration to date has been that with the girls behind Fat Mango (Em & Rik). To this day, we still haven’t met, or even spoken on the phone but our working relationship, and continued collaboration is a lot of fun and kicking some serious goals.
LV: You travelled to Africa with your mum in 2010 in your fathers honour, tell us about that? Did this trip inspire your creative side?
DM: After losing my Dad to cancer in 2009, I decided I needed to do something. Something to help deal with our loss and focus our energy onto a positive goal and perhaps inspire others to do the same. I decided we would climb Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa on the 1 year anniversary of losing Dad and in the meantime we would madly fundraise for cancer research and do our bit to make a difference. We held numerous events in the lead up to our trip and had an online campaign with The Australian Cancer Research Foundation. We made it to the top and raised $26,300 with the support of our incredible family and friends and complete strangers who wanted to get behind us. The support was mind blowing and still makes me emotional. We have continued to fundraise since the climb and the current tally raised is approximately $48,000 with a percentage of my 2017 artist calendars going directly to the ACRF.
I think the trip inspired me more than I realised. I painted an African painting the week we returned back to Australia and have an African theme running through our home. I am inspired by the patterns of the Maasai and the natural beauty of the prints and patterns within the wildlife.
LV: You have recently used your talent to collaborate with Postcard Swimwear and help design their 2016 Summer range. Is there no end to your creative talent? Tell us more!
DM: Ash from Postcard Swimwear is a creative genius. An absolute pleasure to work with and a delightful collaboration project. It is still surreal to see my artwork on swimwear and better yet, to be able to wear them and say “I did that”. I would love to explore this area further in the future.
LV: As a mum to two little boys, how do you manage your time? When do you find time/inspiration to paint?
DM: I am very, very fortunate to have a huge amount of support from family and friends and the transformation of our shed into a beautiful creative studio. Without those two things, my business wouldn’t be possible.
While the boys are still young, I take full advantage of their day naps and work while they sleep. One of the biggest struggles with my business is the juggling act and finding balance. I am so fortunate to be able to spend these precious years with my boys at the same time as following my own dreams and creating the life I love but managing and prioritising is still something I am working on.
LV: Not only do you create bold, bright artworks to hang but you also produce beautiful Nursery Artwork, Cushions and Greeting Cards. Is variety important to you?
It’s really important to be able to offer my clients, followers and supporters a range of products in varying price brackets. It’s nice to give people the opportunity to purchase a broad range of products for their home or for gifts.
LV: As an artist, who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by my children, Koby and Lenny, and a sense of fun and play with colour.
I am inspired by my husband, Cam, encouraging me to follow my dreams and use my creativity as a career (before having children, I was a general Primary School Teacher)
My favourite artist is Anya Brock – her artwork and use of colour and texture is as good as it gets for me.
And I am motivated by the support from family and friends who have believed in me and encouraged me from day one.
If you believe, you can achieve…