Self-portrait of Burns Lake master scratchboard artist Lorna Hannett. She has won several awards - both nationally and internationally - and had her work featured in several magazines including the International Artists Magazine.

Burns Lake resident garners international recognition

“Living in a rural setting, I am surrounded and inspired every day,” says Lorna Hannett

Lorna Hannett, a Burns Lake resident who has garnered international recognition for her scratchboard art pieces, said living in the Lakes District has provided her plenty of inspiration.

“Living in a rural setting, I am surrounded and inspired every day, in all seasons,” she said.

Hannett had been living in Calgary with her husband when they decided to come the Lakes District for a camping trip in 2003. They fell in love with the area, and three years later, they moved to Burns Lake.

The self-taught master scratchboard artist now works in her home studio about five minutes south of Burns Lake. She has won several awards – both nationally and internationally – and had her work featured in several magazines including the International Artists Magazine.

Once you see her work – highly detailed and full of depth and passion – it’s easy to assume that she’s being doing it all her life. However, Hannett didn’t take art all that seriously until later in life.

Although she’s always had an artistic flair – doing ceramic, drawing and painting, when she was younger she decided to put her family first, dedicating herself to raising her children. Once her kids were all grown up, Hannett felt it was time to further explore her talent.

“It’s the old cliché, I was trying to find myself after my kids left,” said Hannett.

In 2003, while browsing online, Hannett came across a scratchboard art piece. She was intrigued by its beauty and the amount of detail in the piece. She decided to e-mail the artist, who later provided her with instructions on how to make her own piece.

While scratchboard art has been around for many years, it has never been highly popular. This form of direct engraving is considered by many artists to be one of the most difficult of all mediums since it is highly detailed and time consuming. According to Hannett, small pieces may take a day or two to be completed while bigger pieces could take up to three months.

Scratchboard artists draw by scratching – using a sharp tool such as a scratchboard nib held in a pen holder – to expose a layer of white clay under black ink. The more lines they draw, the brighter the pictures become. Scratchboard pieces may also be coloured.

For Hannett, it all starts with a photograph.

In order to decide what her next scratchboard art piece will be, Hannett goes out taking photos. After she has gathered enough images, she plays around with them in her computer to decide which image will be used for her next scratchboard art piece.

“I have always had a fascination for the beauty of nature and its many moods and elements,” she said. “I also love to study people, adults and children alike, and try to capture each individual’s expressive nature in the portraits I do.”

Although she uses her photography skills to capture images for her scratchboard work, Hannett said photography itself is an added bonus. She explained that lighting and how it affects the subjects is the most important element of her photos.

The Burns Lake artist said she feels privileged to be able to express her love of nature and people through her artwork.

“I hope in some small measure that it will bring a certain amount of pleasure to those who view it,” she said.

Hannett’s artwork can be viewed at the Lakes Artisan Centre in Burns Lake (she’s usually there on Thursdays). You can also go online and check her Facebook page: ‘Scratchboard Art of Lorna Hannett.’

Hannett is one of the founders and president of the International Society of Scratchboard Artists. In addition, she has shown with and won a number of awards with the Federation of Canadian Artists, the Alberta Society of Artists and the Canadian Institute of Portrait Artists.

Most recently, her piece called ‘Coloured pencils’ was featured in Strokes of genius seven: depth, dimension and space, published by North Light Books. In 2014, she was awarded ‘best in show gold,’ master category, for her artwork “Orchids” at the International Society of Scratchboard Artists exhibition in the U.S.


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