"I believe that only the basic elements of a beautiful painting exist in nature. The sentiment and feeling that flow from the mind and heart of an artist are what create the highest beauty of landscape painting."
McNaughton is a rising artist from Utah whose paintings are attracting the attention of collectors from across the country. Open gates leading into lush gardens paths; quiet streets; charming homes and poetic landscapes. The artist’s memories are the focus of his paintings. “I have often found on returning to nostalgic places of my past that they were not as lovely as I remembered in my mind’s eye. For this reason I choose to paint from my heart rather than working from photographs. Usually a small pencil sketch is enough to spark a painting. I suppose I choose to look at the world through my rose colored glasses.”
McNaughton's roots trace back to the small town of Grafton, Utah. He feels a deep love for the land of his pioneer heritage. He says it was instrumental in developing his artistic tendencies. From an early age McNaughton showed great promise that eventually led to a full art scholarship to Brigham Young University. Only two out of 2000 received the award. While a student, McNaughton received both the Art Talent Award and the Design Talent Award from the university.
McNaughton describes his work as the "essence of nature". After spending many hours observing and studying the varying nuances of the landscape, he will return to his studio and paint from memory. Refusing to work from photographs, mental notations and an occasional pencil sketch are enough to inspire a beautiful painting.
McNaughton's artistic style stems from his study of the forerunners to the Impressionists. As he studied the writings of the early Impressionists, he noticed a common reference to the French Barbizon School of painting which was popular from about 1830-1875. The works of these artists deeply moved him. Softly painted landscapes depicting genre scenes around the French countryside with subtle tones of color and light were a springboard for McNaughton’s creative inspiration. These Barbizon painters were a great influence to many of the early Impressionists. Artists such as Monet, Pissaro, Van Gogh, Renoir, and others made frequent reference to them. Because the Barbizon artists painted during the 19th century, few artists today follow in their footsteps.
McNaughton has specific goals for what he hopes to accomplish in the future. “It is my hope that my paintings will reach the viewer on more than a superficial level to touch something inside them which may not easily be reached. I hope the paintings will speak to them and say something like, ‘you’ve seen me before and yet you have never seen anything completely like me’. When they walk away, I want to leave a feeling with them they will never forget because what they have seen has become a part of them.”
WHERE DID MCNAUGHTON RECEIVE HIS TRAINING?
Jon McNaughton went to Brigham Young University on a full tuition art scholarship. After two years in the Art program Jon switched to the Design department to pursue a more formal art education verses the less appealing emphasis of modern art he was taught in the Art Department. Jon graduated with a BFA in Design, emphasis in Illustration in 1993. "Most of my growth and training as an artist have come from just being out in the field and painting from nature. Studying the masters, hands-on experience and soul searching are the best teacher an artist can have."
WHERE IS MCNAUGHTON FROM?
Jon McNaughton was born and raised in Mesa, Arizona. At age 14 his family moved to Utah. Jon currently lives in Spanish Fork, Utah with his wife and six children.