My Little Pep Talk

Why Are YOU Doing This?

We all have different reasons for wanting to pick up a paint brush and learn how to paint a beautiful painting. Some of you are here because you want to do professional quality painting. Some want to be good enough to sell their paintings, or win the blue ribbon – the top award at a prestigious art show. Some want to develop a latent talent that they had to put off for family or career. Perhaps some of you just want to paint good enough that people don’t wince at the sight of it!

These are ALL good reasons, but you need to understand that this is for YOU, and nobody else. If you are painting to please your spouse, your mother, friend, or anyone else – you will be frustrated!  Only one time have I seen a student give up during a class. He was doing great, but he told me the second day that his reason for taking the class was a dare from his wife – he really had no interest in painting.

DESIRE IS THE KEY ingredient to whether you will be successful. If you have the desire to paint and learn this I can guarantee you will succeed! I am a firm believer that we CHOOSE OUR TALENTS. Sure, there are people that just have a knack for it, but that is not enough. Natural talent is NOT ENOUGH.

Two Kind of Students:

One kind of student are those who pick it up super fast and are naturally gifted, but because they can’t do the painting as well as me on the first few paintings, they give up. They are the kind of people that are pretty good at a lot of things, but not super-good at any one thing. Their perfectionist insecurities prevent them from succeeding. I see their potential, but they won’t believe me.

The Second extreme kind of student are those who completely STINK from the start. (I don’t tell them that.) They can’t seem to chew gum and paint at the same time, but they LOVE IT! They keep at it, and like watching grass grow, one day they look at their painting and can’t believe how good they have become. Which of these two students do you think will succeed with the McNaughton Art Classes? Some of my most successful students today were those kind of students. I am always amazed at how people surprise me.

Talent is over-rated. Anyone can learn to paint well who has desire and lets me teach them the tricks. Unless you are clinically blind, or have a physical impairment, YOU CAN LEARN THIS!

This is not a competition. Remember, there is always someone better than you and always someone less skilled. Just enjoy the process! Don’t ever throw away a painting even if it doesn’t turn out the way you like. These are stepping stones for your future work. Often you can come back later when your skills have improved and fix it.

How long does it take to get really good at this?

There seems to be a bell curve with the development of most of my students. There are those who pick it up almost instantly, and those that have a slower pace at it, but here is what most may expect:

  • After you have done about three paintings the brushstrokes will start to feel more familiar. Things like mixing paint and putting it on the board will be less of a chore.
  • After about five paintings you will feel that the method is more intuitive and you will know what to expect as each step has a familiarity to it.
  • After about ten paintings you will notice you hit the “homerun” more often. You will see that you are finishing the paintings in almost half the time the first one took to paint!
  • After about twenty paintings you will feel that some paintings are too easy. You will have the itch to paint something larger.
  • After about 30-50 paintings you will feel the need to create your own compositions. You’ll be nervous and your first effort will be difficult, but you persist.
  • After about 100 paintings you can’t believe how good you have become. Your work has a professional quality as you have learned the principles and methods of the McNaughton Art Classes. Your family and friends are fighting over your paintings and you wonder if you should have not sold some of them!

I can teach you all the principles that are required to become a great painter, but to become a master painter it requires something I cannot teach. This is your personal vision and only you can determine that.

The “Grand Master Key” is the final principle I teach to my Apprentice Students and it will ultimately determine if you become the master of your art.

I wish the best to you all, and remember – treat each painting is if it were your MASTERPIECE!