Spotlight: Maureen McNaughton, MDA
Maureen began her teaching career in Canada in 1974 and was teaching internationally by 1980. She is an active and supportive member in two international associations. Now an honorary lifetime member of BADFA (British Association of Decorative and Folk Arts), Maureen participated in the first convention in 1996. In 1998, she was the convention artist for the BADFA Tudor Rose convention in London England.
Also an active member of the Society of Decorative Painters, Maureen received her CDA in 1988, and passed the Master Stroke in 1991. In 1999 Maureen was appointed to the SDP Task Force, Excellence in Teaching. Its purpose was to develop a program to raise the standard of teaching in our industry through training and evaluation. The Teacher Development Program was launched in 2001, and Maureen continues to be involved.
In 2005 Maureen created a painting for SDP’s Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. A cloisonné lapel pin was made of the painting and proceeds from this pin go to the campaign. This pin is available on the SDP web site.
Maureen has written a number of articles for the SDP magazine “The Decorative Painter,” including the Developing Skills series in 1999 and again in 2004. Maureen’s 2003 cover, Issue 3, was voted Best Cover of the Year. A pin with this design is available from the SDP offices. In 2000, the Decorative Painter commissioned Maureen to do artwork which is used to decorate the various columns and departments in each magazine.
How did you get started painting?
In 1974, I was looking for a hobby. I had always been artistic, so I hoped I could find something that was creative. I was lucky enough to find a ceramic studio in Toronto that specialized in handpainting. After a month of classes, my teacher suggested I attend a seminar with a guest teacher from California who taught brush strokes. I was mesmerized. Imagine my excitement at seeing a two-toned shape created with just one stroke of the brush. Then I watched those brush strokes combine to create a beautiful flower before my eyes. It was magic! A month later, I quit my nursing job and a year later I was teaching brush stroke seminars.
What type of painting do you do?
I do strokework almost exclusively and I love it.
What has been your biggest challenge?
That would have been about twenty years or so ago when my brush manufacturer at the time could not provide me with flat brushes for at least six months. So, I had to come up with a technique using rounds and liners to basecoat, shade, and highlight. This is when my tipping technique was developed. What had almost been a disaster proved to be the best thing to ever happen for my career.
When did you start using DecoArt products?
I started using DecoArt in 1985 when it was first introduced to the decorative painting market. However, it was around 1996 when I started using DecoArt for all my projects.
What impact do DecoArt’s products have on your work/life?
DecoArt is a company that is dedicated to education and to supporting our teachers. They work closely with The Society of Decorative Painters to implement programs that will bring more painters into our fold and increase our membership. They have designed “Learn to Paint” programs which are excellent course curriculums for new teachers to get started. On an international scale, DecoArt is promoting decorative painting in Asia, Europe, and South America.
DecoArt has a dazzling array of different mediums for every facet of decorative, fine art, and hobby painting. They are constantly researching the market to provide us with exciting colours that are used in today’s home decor market. Every time I see one of their new series of colours, it gets my creative juices flowing. As an author and teacher, it is important that my students can find the colours that I use and that they are affordable. DecoArt is more than helpful in directing the consumer to a retailer nearby and if there is none, they can even purchase the product directly from DecoArt online.
How long have you been a Helping Artist?
Ever since the program began.
What has been your best and brightest moment as a Helping Artist?
I took part in developing the first DecoArt Learn to Paint Program which was designed to give our teachers a program of four projects with a lesson plan for each. All projects were designed around just a few colours and brushes, so it was very affordable. I believe it was responsible for bringing many new painters into decorative painting.
What’s your favorite DecoArt product?
I love the creamy consistency of the DecoArt Americana acrylics. However, the most important product for my technique is Easy Float. I mix this concentrate with distilled water to make an extender that I add to all the colours on my palette. Just one drop per colour allows the two colours in my brush to blend together into beautiful streaks. I also use this same Extender for doing wet-on-wet techniques, floated colour, and faux finishes. I can adjust the open time of the extender with the ratio of water to Easy Float. For most climates, it is 3 parts distilled water to one part Easy Float. But in dry climates, we add less water, and in a desert situation it could be straight Easy Float.
What has been your greatest success, so far?
I take pride in designing the Breast Cancer Rose pin in 2006 for SDP which continues to sell and has raised thousands of dollars for research. But I am perhaps most proud of being on the SDP task force Excellence in Teaching that wrote and developed the Teacher Development Program.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I will be painting and designing, but my travel teaching will be cut back. I am 64 and looking forward to traveling with my husband and hopefully enjoying grandchildren by then.
Who is your favorite artist, and why?
Without a doubt, it is Johnnie Liliedahl. I have been truly blessed to count Johnnie as a friend. I am also blessed to have had the opportunity to study with Johnnie many times in her seminars of Old Master Reproductions. The paintings, which hang in my home, are the ones I did under Johnnie’s guidance and they are the paintings of which I am most proud. She was one of the most talented and gifted teachers and artists I have ever known. Johnnie created excitement in the classroom and her enthusiasm for art history was infectious.