Comox Valley scratchboard artist wins Juror’s Choice Award at prestigious Vancouver Island art show

Royston artist Sharon Lennox has a special talent.

Jurors at the Sidney Fine Art Show agree.

For the second year in a row, Lennox has had one of her selections chosen as a Juror’s Pick at the prestigious annual event.

It’s not only Lennox’s attention to detail that draws the eye, but also her medium: Lennox is a scratchboard artist.

She began painting in 2002 and switched to scratchboard in 2013.

“I started out in oils – that’s how I was trained,” Lennox said. “I am a detail painter. I wanted to do more intense detail, so I started searching around for another medium, and I came across scratchboard.”

Scratchboard is a panel coated with white clay, and a layer of black Indian ink on top. Using a sharp object, the artist scratches the image out of the black ink.

Traditional scratchboard productions are black and white. Sharon takes the extra step to colourize her works.

“When you [colourize] you have twice as much work; you double your time.”

Lennox’s piece “Who’s watching Who? Serval Cat” was selected as Juror’s Choice by Mike Svob.

She estimates it took her 75 hours to create the piece, which measures approximately 10×12 inches.

“It’s a slow process, and it’s very unforgiving,” she said of scratchboarding. “If I make a mistake, it’s very hard to fix.”

Lennox said when she first discovered scratchboarding on the internet, she knew it was what she wanted to do.

“It’s the detail of it that drew me to the medium,” she said. “That’s what makes my world kick.”

Lennox uses mostly birds and animals as her subjects.

She won Juror’s Choice in 2016 for “Perched Barn Owl.”

“Winning last year was nice enough in itself. It’s such an amazing honour to win again.”

Being selected into a juried art show is an honour in itself, and in Lennox’s case, it’s clear she has what the jurors are looking for. Artists are allowed a maximum of three entries into the Sidney Fine Art Show. In each of the past two years, all three entries Lennox submitted were put into the show.

“Not very many artists get all three of their pieces into the show, so that is a huge accomplishment for me,” she said.

Her other two pieces in this year’s show were a peacock and a young leopard.

Lennox said she has big plans for next year’s show, but stopped short of revealing her subject outright.

“I’ve got this great idea for another painting for Victoria next year – I want to do a piece that’s so spectacular they won’t be able to pass it up,” she said. “I’ve got an idea for a more local type of animal.”

Lennox has appeared in various local shows, including Originals Only (every year since 2004), and has had hangings in the Pearl Ellis Gallery.

Sharon and her husband Jim have lived in the Comox Valley since 1974.

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