John McNaught in lockdown

Today we are taking a closer and more thoughtful look at the wonderful paintings of John McNaught. John has been coming to Project Ability for over a decade. In 2006, as an adult, married with children, John suffered a major stroke which altered the course of his life drastically.

The stroke took away many things, but with his family and a lot of patience, John’s recovery gave way to a new life, which included time for painting. And this became a therapy for him which before long uncovered an innate talent. John McNaught creates beautiful paintings of all kinds. Portraits, landscapes, still lives – they are all delicately painted, with a real appreciation for the material itself, the paint.

Today we will look at just a few of his most recent works, made during 2020 lockdown. It’s worth mentioning that John had Covid back in March 2020, and he was very ill for several weeks. Very sadly his brother in law, also called John, passed away from Covid around then, so the virus hit close to home straight away for John and his family.

Once John felt well enough to return to the studio he has in his garden, he began working on a new series of paintings. To explain to us a bit about these paintings, John’s wife Patricia has written out for us some of John’s thoughts about these works. They show a serene reflection that is part sad but also optimistic and hopeful.


The abstract, Picasso style self portrait: John was a painter and decorator before his stroke in 2006, and this painting looks back at the person he was back then, and how much has changed. He and Patricia were keen travellers, having visited Mexico, Canada, Holland and Australia. Travel wasn’t possible after his stroke, and in that way the Covid lockdowns are a little similar.

John McNaught the artist, self portrait  in the style of Van Gogh


About the Clown Portraits John has generously offered his reflections,    “This was how I felt after I suffered from having Covid. I felt alone, isolated and sad. The clowns are also sad because of the lives that have been lost to Covid, including my brother in law.”




The final series of work John made after he recovered from Covid is this collection of landscapes. Together they are titled ‘Happier Times’.  An absolute favourite of our customers and a recurring theme for John, these landscapes are serene and calming.

“These are cottage and boat scenes in Lochgoilhead. These are the things and places I look forward to seeing again once this virus is under control. It’s the simple things in life I look forward to.”






These paintings show John’s eclectic painting practice, and his ability to successfully put his paint brush to any style, from realism right through to abstraction. You can see some of these paintings in our current online exhibition, ‘As Time Stood Still, Part Two’

More of John McNaught’s work can be seen here on his webpage.

John had a solo show with us in 2019. You can see the work from that, ‘This is me, in homage to’  show here.

We look forward to when we can welcome John back into his usual Friday Aspire workshop in the Project Ability studios. Until then, we are happy knowing he will be keeping creative in his studio garden shed.

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