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Harder Than Steel

Lyle Sopel -

Dear Collector Friend,

I have been asked how can an Artist that works in such a difficult medium – gemstones that are harder than steel. Cope with muscling around such dense and heavy materials all day. And also be able to keep the laser focusing ability that is required for mastering intricate detailing within the stone?

All I can say is I am a walking paradox. To straddle the balance between intense pressure and then reversing the power and holding it back. Until the point that the intensity in the energy is only in my fingers, has taken me many years and thousands of Sculptures to learn and comprehend.

The closest metaphor I can give to this skill. Is its as if I am harnessing a hurricane or vortex of energy that feels limitless and as big as the sky. Then taking this massive power that is storming within my being and condensing it to a scale in which this energy is compressed into my arms, hands and fingers. While this action is happening. I try to keep my mind completely open while only focusing Zen like on the project at hand.

As an Artist, to accomplish what I do. I have to have perform this unusual dance between fragility and power. I am 6 feet and I am physically strong. Not without work either. I am a runner and work out with weights to maintain the physical demands that are placed on my body working in this medium.

Yes this duet between a Goliath like character and a butterfly requires intense preparation to keep the body well trained. For the physical demands of being able to easefully muscle around 50 lb boulders. As well as making sure the mind stays focused to be able to accommodate the rigorous discipline that is all apart of strengthening my ability to focus. Through my work environment I do experience a meditative like state. I also am a practicing Meditator for over 30 years. Without this particular skill I doubt very much that I could have created a life sized Jade Buddha, designed and fabricated to meet my Artistic standards.

The journey that it has taken to learn these skills is not for the faint of heart. It is a complex process integrated with distractions the daily running of a business to purveying the highest quality Gemstones available in the market. Of course discipline is required in all facets of modern life. However, the mastery involved in just the sculpting process alone is extreme. And I throw myself my whole being into this Art form knowing the level of commitment that is involved. Only because the reward and the pleasure of creating genuine Art is so great it over shadows the journey it took to get there.

Tilmorrow,
Art, Nature, and Beauty Always,

LYLE

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A Collector Honors My Work Event

Lyle Sopel -

Dear Collector Friend,

I have now returned back from Lotus Land. Back to the cooler refreshing West Coast sphere that I call my home, interesting fact that the whole population of Canada can fit into Orange County, California. Though by choice I prefer to live in a less people congested environment. I can appreciate why notable Artists, Actors and Musicians spend so much time in this State. I feel inspired and invigorated when I am there also. It is not by coincidence that this area – Anaheim and Los Angelo’s is the home of Disney and Hollywood.

Since the early 20’s Creative Individuals from a vast range of Art related Industries have flocked to this locale. Georgia O’keefe and many of her contemporaries also found this area a Mecca for reflection and inspiration.

Every time I go back and spend time in this sun soaked Art infused region a longing is ignited inside of me to continue to explore and expand my form and texture rich imagination.

Its not surprising when I think of the synergy I feel with the Anaheim area, that I have many ardent Collectors’ who reside in this County. I have just returned from a visit with one of my Collector Friends who I have been working in collaboration with in creating 2 Signature original Sculptures for their palatial residence. They gave me the idea of their preferred subjects and then I presented them with drawings to inspire and embellish upon their initial spark of a vision they had in mind.

After selecting their favorite renderings I then went a head and designed their pieces into 3D plaster sine models. It’s helpful for both the Client and myself if we can get a perspective of the scale and the feel of the character of the piece, before I go ahead with the sculpting process.

Once the scale and subject matter is determined then I began the some times arduous task of getting in touch with Miners and Purveyors’ from around the Globe. To find the perfect Gemstones that I can incorporate into these works of Art, upon collecting these precious Gem and Mineral Specimen and precious metals, then on to engineering and designing the slated composition.

After the initial phase of sculpting the forms according to my Client’s preferences. I began to create the 2 Sculptures. Many months later, due to the scale and complexity of these pieces, the Masterpieces were finished to my Client’s delight.

The process of working in collaboration with me as the Artist to have the Sculpture of your dreams – is a once in a life time Creative Experience. For this reason, many of my private Collector Friends over the years enjoy having a Celebration as the pieces are installed in their homes. And for these Client’s having their new original Signature SOPEL SCULPTURES, unveiled in their home for the first time was also a momentous occasion, worthy of an Artful Event.

A feeling of great satisfaction and quite honestly relief mixed with joy washed over me as I took part in the unveiling of these unprecedented Sculptures. The day was gorgeous. The sounds of the classical instrumental quartet stirred the soul, and the company, including the Hosts; my Collector Friends were delightful. As the unveiling took place in the garden, statues of Grecian Gods and Goddesses located around the pool and Fountains seemed to relish in the soiree as well.

To know that my pieces are installed in Collector’s Homes and from what my Collector Friend’s tell me “ Enjoyed and admired everyday “ gives me a wonderful sense of completion and balance. It is the part that fulfills the creative circle for me. Even if I have not seen my Collector Friends for sometime, when we do connect – it is at a deeper level. For I not only share with them the joy of Nature inspired Art but I know that they live with some part of my heart and soul – because this is what I infuse in every piece I create.

Tilmorrow,
Art, Nature, and Beauty Always,

LYLE

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A Visit to Orange County

Lyle Sopel -

Dear Collector Friend,

It’s the summer here in Vancouver, and super gorgeous. We get a window of about 3 months at the most with no rain. Everything – all of the Spring Gardens have finished blooming – and the late August blossoms are just starting. This is the time of year that when Visitors come to the City – they fall in love with this place. Living close to Nature and the Ocean, we can enjoy the Bald Eagles, go Kayaking and take in the delicious sea salt air.

I am reflecting on my surroundings right now, as we prepare to travel to a Fine Art Event with private Collectors in California. Colette and I will be staying with close Collector Friends at their stately Mansion near Hollywood Hills. For a lot of months I have been working on 2 Commissions – rather large scale Guardian themed Wildlife Bird designs. The Owl piece is created using mostly an emerald like coloured Jade, and the Humming Bird Theme is surrounded by faceted Multi- precious and semi-precious stones.

It took me many hours of contemplation and sketching to come up with the right combination of forms and shapes that would nicely accommodate both the positive and negative spaces. You may or not be aware of this design element. The space outside of the forms in Sculpture can be just as important as the area the – dense form itself. When I design a piece, whether its undulating in my imagination or on paper, this space is forefront for me at all times. Without the flow that helps the Viewers eye move from inside the Sculpture and back outside there is no movement from within the piece itself. It is an essential component to making a Sculpture come alive.

To this Special Event I am also bringing a Surprise – a new offering that I have not shown before in this kind of Gallery setting. This project has taken many many months and is still a work in progress. But I am pleased enough thus far to show it.

Watch for an Announcement of a new launching in the next while. It’s a complex process for me to bring in anything new to my existing genre. Yet I feel its very important , as an Artist who has lofty ambitions to keep the work fresh and always evolving into more fabulousness.

Orange County is such a beautiful place to visit, always a treat. However, my heart will be split as we venture away from our mountain and ocean laden home ; at a time of year when not even our beloved California can outmatch our northern west coast pristine experience.

Tilmorrow,
Art, Nature, and Beauty Always,

LYLE

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Inspiration and What Inspires Me as an Artist

Lyle Sopel -

Dear Collector Friend,

Continuing on the subject of delving further into Inspiration and what inspires me as an Artist …

This is such a vast subject and so vital to my creative pulse. I can hardly wrap it up into a paragraph, so I need to further divest. I am going to try and give you an idea of how vital this aspect of the Creative Process is to an Artist.

I often describe my relationship to the world and the realm of Art like this : by simply stating ,  SCULPTURE IS MY LANGUAGE. I see the world perhaps differently than others, because I see with my eyes in three dimensional form. I have read that this trait is quite unusual in the majority of the population. Bringing another dimension to 2D Art did not become a genre until the 15th Century. To naturally have this Skill is an innate trait. And I have found over the years of training apprentices that this skill must first be evident before any elementary projects can begin in my Studio. The 3D perception is the basis of all architecture and most designed objects. The importance of being able to see in 3 Dimensional form and create Art from this realm is an ancient debate that has gone on between Sculptor’s and Painters for centuries.

For centuries a debate went on over which was a “nobler” art: painting or sculpture.

The painters said they had to invent everything and the sculptor practically nothing. His material, stone, was already a finished work of nature—beautiful, imposing. Someone pretty sophistically even said the only thing the sculptor had to do was remove the stone from a figure that was already in the block.

“Oh, come on,” said the sculptors. “A statue is a greater problem, and therefore a greater achievement, because we have to come up with a figure that looks good from many points of view, whereas you painters have only one view to worry about.”

Painters smiled at that one and went on sucking their pipes. They had plenty of arguments in their bag. “We have to invent the very light in our picture; it is already given to you sculptors by heaven. All you have to do is take advantage of natural light.”

Sculptors smiled back—a dustier smile, of course. “Our art requires much greater discipline and skill because of the serious limitations of the medium. Sculpture is like a sonnet, with the rhyme, the meter, and the lines fixed. You painters don’t have many limitations—you can depict anything: clouds, rainy days, things floating  through the air.”

You dear reader can decide which Skill is the most valued. I have ventured over to the Painting side of the Art world and found it mathematically challenging with the task of having to calibrate the hues and the values of colour constantly. Yet not as complex as taking a rough and course boulder and determining from its scale of space, length, breathe and depth. What subject or theme would best fit into its form. Then also calcululating the best part of the stone in regards to the unseen colour variations in the stone.

This is a brief look into my language. If Sculpture is my language, as I delve further into this topic. I realize that my Country ( speaking in an Artistic metaphor ) must be Inspiration. These literary analogies may give you an idea of how fundamental the language of Sculpture and Inspiration is to my creative process.

As an Artist I am inspired when I view a 3 Dimensional form. I can envision something from Nature instantly when I view a Gemstone. The feeling of inspiration that happens for me through my senses feels has innate as enjoying cloud formations as they glide through the sky. In other words there is no trying it just happens naturally. The trying and the challenge occurs after the spark of innovating visions hits my psyche.

Tilmorrow,
Art, Nature, and Beauty Always,

LYLE

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That Creative Oasis Called Inspiration.

Lyle Sopel -

Dear Collector Friend,

I can’t continue to dialogue about that state where all genuine Artist strive for live for and actually die for … that creative Oasis called Inspiration. If I didn’t look deeper into the other side of Inspiration. With out mentioning the absence of being enlivened with creative visions. This is the place I refer to as the Desert. Not to be confused with Dessert. Which is what an evolved person eats before their meal.

No this is the dry and rather dismal feeling of waiting for an idea. Everyone knows this terms it is also called Writters Block. And it can happen in all aspects of life, from the mundane to the – if I don’t come up with an amazing idea before midnight, I am sunk. Of course this is all part of the colourful cornucopia of feelings intuitive impulses, and emotions that accompany the Artist on his Creative journey.

Its that raw Country that has craggy mountains and slippery slopes for traversing over. It is a challenge to endure and conquer. For some genuine Artists it is the state that stops them from being great. Fortunately, I am rarely in this mind set. Rather the opposite occurs for me. Visions and ideas run through my mind and visit my imagination at random. Unless I find an idea that is so riveting and enticing. Then images and thoughts to support that innovation begin to percolate in my psyche. And before I know it I am in my Studio at the beginning stage of a new Project. I am a seasoned Artist that has learned to ride with the ups and downs – of the creative process. I have learned a vital aspect in this journey and that is the so called “ Downs “ or desert is really a time when the imagination wants to recharge. And if I remain somewhat unattached to the project, then the whole sky opens up with a plethora of visions. And for me this Sky if filled with Nature inspired ideas.

To recharge and get in touch with my connection to the creative journey. I like to be outside in a nature laden environment. I enjoy physical recreation. So for me going for a run where there is the Forest or water, be it the ocean or rivers, refuels my soul. Gives me an uninterrupted chance to relish in the moment. So I can go into my Studio refreshed and armed with a Zen like laser focus to my tasks at hand.   Recognizing all aspects of inspiration. Is really to embrace and observe the process. To realize it is organic and has its own rhythm I just have to be willing to sway with the music.

Tilmorrow,
Art, Nature, and Beauty Always,

LYLE

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