Peek Inside this Artist Sanctuary
BY JEM ANSHAW
Nestled away in the back streets of Scone is an artist sanctuary like no other.
Janno McLaughlin is a well-known local artist, and along with husband Dick and their three sons, they have lived all over the world.
Dick’s work brought them to Scone in 2013 and they set about finding a home in the Upper Hunter.
“We were looking for somewhere to live and the real estate agent showed us this place but when he pulled up outside at that point, there weren’t any hedges or gardens, there were just three trees out the front and it looked like a shed, I thought ‘they’ve got the wrong read on me, this is not our brief’,” Janno shared of the ever important first impression of the property.
“The lovely Angus Patto said, ‘trust me Janno walk in’. So, he walked me through what was the laundry that was the entrance that they used, and I walked in and oh my god, it’s so beautiful.”
It was the spaces that Janno fell in love with, inside and out, as well as the people in town.
“I keep forgetting we are in a town, even though we are on the edge of a town,” she shared.
Cancer treatment and further study meant the family did not move in straight away, but Janno did get to work on planting over 100 trees around the site, adding hedges and gardens. The house itself had insulation, a solar system, and internal work done as well.
But what is most striking when you walk into the home is the artwork that is so perfectly curated on every wall in every room of the home.
“Most of the larger scale works are probably mine that you can see and they have come from different periods of my exhibiting career,” Janno said.
“I switch it over often; the house is like a gallery because they’re all my stories, I’m a storyteller in the paintings and so they’re reflecting my life stories and our family’s life stories and the things I’m interested in like nature, hope, love, connection, safe places.
“And then I’ve got lots of my best friends who are artists so I collect their work as well.”
Every work Janno collects has a story and is something that she connects with.
“I think the house is a personality in itself, it’s like a living being, it’s like I need to go and create so I go into the studio and shut the doors. Everywhere I go in the house is a different space,” she said when asked if there was a particular space she enjoys the most.
“All the rooms have got a beautiful, different purpose in their own way, but they are all interacted because there’s art over everything, every room is really reflective of a different use I think.”