Studio visit with Josephine Jagger-Manners
It's a scorching hot mid February day and I'm making the trip out to Molong to see the lovely Josephine Jagger-Manners at her home and studio. She lives with her husband Michael Manners on a hilltop above the small country town. A VERY light, warm breeze passes through the trees as I wind my way through the garden. I can hear the rustling sound of what I hope is a blue tongue lizard or small jack russel and not a large, brown snake. The light today is so blindingly white that the plants seem to shrivel before my eyes. Eventually I find my way to the back door which just so happens to be the entrance to Josephine's studio, a cosy room with great amounts of light pouring through the wall of windows facing onto the back Mediterranean style garden and terrace. You can mercifully feel the breeze flowing all the way through from the front of the house, which overlooks the town, down the hallway to the studio at the back.
Josephine takes me on a tour around the house which is dotted with her paintings and collections. Each room is colour coordinated and decorated with an array of different fabrics, patterns, flowers, pictures and English memorabilia. We arrive in the kitchen and she offers me tea, it's far too hot to drink tea, then I remember someone telling me how in India they drink hot tea to cool themselves down by sweating, which doesn't sound pleasant to me but I accept.
We settle in the studio, as I sit across from Josephine she tells me about the recent surgery on her hand which has prevented her form painting for quite some time. Thankfully she is able to paint once again, but only for short burst of time. Next to us is one of the new pieces which are very different from her usual work. They are quite abstract and depict rock formations and patterns in cliffs. The natural colour is startlingly beautiful, soft pinks and deep ocean blues.
Michael arrives with his loyal friend Milly, the jack russel I hoped was in the garden earlier. As Josephine works he jokingly provides a little feedback and "constructive criticism".
Josephine takes me into the living room to show me the pieces for Home Visits. As they lean on the book shelves amongst her belongings, they almost look part of the decor. Josephine's love of interiors, pattern and decoration is apparent in the works. She tells me she works from photographs and often adds imagined elements such as a chairs or flowers to the scene. The patterned fabrics in the paintings are more than likely present in her home, one of the most comfortable and warm places I've ever been, owned by some of the most warm and comfortable people I've ever met.