13 Dec 2021Mont Marte

Nestled in a backyard shed in Aspendale Victoria, artist Deb McNaughton, (@deb.mcnaughton) paints a colourful blend of pastel pinks, animal prints, squiggly shapes and bold patterns.

We caught up with featured artist, Deb McNaughton to chat her recent mural, why she loves teaching and how she works best to let her inner creativity flow.

Deb McNaughton in studio holding paint palette next to a pink chair.

What does creativity mean to you?

Creativity means thinking with your imagination and organically thinking outside the box. It means allowing your intuition to take over and unique possibilities to present themselves.

What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on?

I am so fortunate to have worked on MANY projects. The Rainbow of Hope mural I did for the Kingston Council during lockdown in 2020 will forever have a place in my heart as it had such a positive response from the community. So much so, that it has led to a ‘Rainbow of Hope’ permanent sculpture I am currently working on. This is definitely a career highlight and milestone so far.

White living room with 5 different sized frames of abstract paintings of bright jars.

How do you set up your painting studio or room? Thinking Environment, music, anything else to set the scene?

My studio is our backyard shed. It’s not perfect but it’s convenient and it’s a space I am allowed to make a mess in. I had some double door windows installed for natural light, a heater and air conditioner and WIFI for my ‘creative juices’ playlist. I am always changing the studio layout depending what project I am working on at the time. Currently, it is set up for commission work as my list is growing by the week.

What type of things do you teach people in your workshops?

Oh I LOVE my workshops. It’s one of my favourite parts of my business. Being an artist can be very lonely at times so when I have an opportunity to run workshops and interact with like-minded creative people, I dive right in. I have run all sorts of workshops from alcohol ink and acrylic to pot painting and life drawing. My most recent workshops were for kids aged 7 – 14. I hired a beautiful blue and gold Macaw and the kids did a live life drawing session followed with an opportunity to hold the macaw for a photograph.

Deb in her workshop wearing an apron next to 25 pots holding her dog.

What was your experience entering the business side of things with art? Did you ever face any big barriers? And how did you break them down?

Haha! The toughest area of my business IS the business. I have had to make mistakes and learn every step of the way. I may be creative but I am certainly not business minded and it is a constant struggle to pivot and evolve as the business grows. I have recently hired my first assistant and she is amazing. She has been taking care of the business end of things while I concentrate on creating. It’s probably the best business move I have made so far.

Where does your mind drift to when you paint?

That completely depends on who or what I am painting for. If it’s a commission for a client, my mind is pretty focused on the brief and ensuring I meet the client expectations. If I am just free painting, my mind simply enjoys the music and the process. I don’t overthink my artwork, I let intuition take its course.

Deb McNaughton next to a window mural at Shirley Burke theatre Melbourne.

What’s your favourite Mont Marte product?

I absolutely LOVE the abstract expression brushes. When I paint, I am quite vigorous and spontaneous with my marks. These brushes get a great surface coverage with a smooth finish. They also don’t drop their ‘hairs’ like a lot of other brushes on the market. I use them and recommend them in my pot painting classes too as they are the perfect size and grip for the undercoats.

What colour palette do you lean to and why? How do you pick it?

I am naturally drawn to pinks, purples, blues and turquoise because these are the colours that make me happy. Picking my palette ranges from a spontaneous, on the spot selection from my shelf to very deliberate and specific choices from the colour wheel.

Colourful splats painted on to a canvas in a colourful art studio.

What’s your favourite piece or pieces of art you’ve done?

My absolute all time fav is ‘The way I remember you’ because it is painted over one of my very first paintings commissioned by my Mum and late Dad. My style had changed so much since I did that painting for them but I was very deliberate not to paint over the entire original underneath. It’s a combination of old meets new and it has so much symbolic meaning to me personally.

How do you pick which art piece you want to do on the day?

If I am working on a commission, it’s simply a matter of working on the next one on my list.
If I am in the studio to paint something new, I need to be in the right frame of mind, make sure the studio is warm and set my music to something upbeat and happy. The rest kind of just happens. I will never stop experimenting and evolving. Some paintings are a complete disaster but I learn from it and I grow.

Abstract painting of bright blue and purple geometric shapes with zebra print.

We hope Deb McNaughton’s art and story, sparks your creativity. Show us what you create and share your projects with us! #montmarteart or tag @montmarteart on Instagram or Facebook.

Or check out more of our featured artists here.