Former Scotland defender Kevin McNaughton could be set to forge a new career path – as an artist.
The Inverness Caley Thistle player has come under the wing of esteemed artist Darren Baker – who has painted The Queen, Pope John Paul II and Sir Alex Ferguson among others – to develop a talent which first flourished at school. The 34-year-old put away the brushes to focus on a football career which has seen him make more than 500 appearances at Aberdeen, Cardiff, Bolton, Wigan and Inverness.
But McNaughton’s passion for art has resurfaced to such an extent that he could now make a living from it when he finally hangs up his boots.
“I did a bit of painting at Cardiff, but it was when I was stuck in a hotel at Bolton for three months [while on loan in 2013] that I thought I was going to get into it a lot more,” said McNaughton, who will have a testimonal in March for his years of service with Cardiff.
“I went on YouTube and picked up bits and pieces from tutorials, started sketching and it snowballed from there.
“People liked it and asked me to do some paintings and said ‘Why don’t you give it a go?’ I’ve started taking it more seriously, and I will do it whether I make a living out of it or not.”
Baker has himself painted a portrait of McNaughton being chaired off the pitch by jubilant supporters as Cardiff celebrated promotion to the Premier League in 2013.
And Huddersfield-born Baker has no doubt that McNaughton has a promising future. “I’ve been blown away with Kevin’s drawing ability and painting, we’ve got Damien Hirst in my gallery in London and they’re not a patch on some of these,” said Baker.