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‘Vive la Liberté’

Lyle Sopel -

Dear Collector Friend,

It’s winter in Vancouver. As the trees have let go of their leaves a stillness descends upon the landscape. Living close to the forest and the ocean it feels as if all of Nature begins to cocoon. Though I have many outdoor options to engage in, during this month I mostly prefer to be at peace inside and avoid outer distractions as much as possible.

As I notice the starkness of winter arrive, I retreat into the Studio and spend my time drawing and studying up on subject material. I have been preparing for a private Gallery showing of my work in the San Jose area. And I have spent many months and hours contemplating and rehearsing in my mind the engineering of Sculptures I would like to create. My subjects often have a whimsical theme; as I created the Penguins, Colette came into the Studio and remarked how perfect and beautiful each little bird gem was. She is after all my most astute critic, our Son being second most austere critic. I take her comments very seriously because like myself she has a high standard regarding quality control and a unique sensitivity to the subjects. Continuing with this playful theme I commenced to find the harmony with aligning up the subject to the base. Back and forth like playing a musical instrument, I orchestrated this composition until I was completely happy with its final look. I decided to include this piece in my newest Collection for the private showing. A serene and content feeling comes that somehow adds light to the darkest of winter days. Tearing myself away – as much as I know it is healthy for me – is often challenging. 

As Colette and I boarded the plane at the airport I kept reassuring myself this would be one of the best trips I have ever taken. I know someone who has travelled around the world many times and when she returns home I always ask her – where is your favorite place to travel to? And she always answers confidently “my most recent adventure of course”. I think this is such a great answer and ultimately reflects my perspective about life – there is only one time and it is this moment.

Just before we touched down into LAX – the Pilot made an unusual announcement – he stated we may have to be delayed on the tarmac for some time due to a crisis situation that was occurring at one of the terminals. When we did land – sure enough the plane doors remained shut as we waited out the incident. As an Artist and an individual who champions free expression and speech, and from someone who lives in a melting pot of mixed cultural influences, I felt hostage to this situation – a threat to my sense of freedom. I never before had felt such an affinity to how important choice was in our everyday lives. In the design realm my day is filled with decisions based on a myriad of choices. So my barometer for freedom I think is quite high. It was no surprise to me that I felt a bit uneasy at the thought of somehow being restricted in my ability to travel any further. This scenario presented a striking juxtaposition from my everyday life. As Colette and I waited out the crisis, my mind rushed to the possibility we might not make the Show. I knew many ardent Collectors had traveled far to attend, and would be disappointed if they had missed an opportunity to spend time with me. I too would have missed the pleasure of sharing our love of Art and Nature with some of my most valued Collector Friends. I began to feel an emptiness inside at the prospect that our planned Event might not be taking place.

As I contemplated these events, I felt impatience to return to my Studio and express through my work, with new resonance, my unfettered creative life.

Tilmorrow,
Art, Nature, and Beauty Always,

LYLE

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Reality and Imagination

Lyle Sopel -

Dear Collector Friend,

You are most likely aware of this quote by Einstein :
“ IMAGINATION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN KNOWLEDGE “.

As an Artist contemplating and engineering designs, I always start out with the vision within my mind or my imagination. From there ideas and then practical applications begin to blossom and concretize. Its really quite mechanical in the way there seems to be a pattern of how reality seeps in from the ethereal.

I believe there are many approaches to the creative process yet they all start from the same source – that spark of an idea that is ignited first in the imagination. I am always fascinated with this process which I apply not just to my Works in progress but other aspects of props that support my Sculpture Programs.

Colette and I share the same love for great Design. We both happen to be both afflicted with this passion. A recent project involving Interior Design gave me an opportunity once more to practice my art of involving my imagination by envisioning our ideal Gallery environment.
The process began with really seeing what was offensive to the eye and examining practical elements that needing to be updated in the room. This is a bit arduous but absolutely necessary. I feel when taking on creating something new the inventory phase cannot be over looked.
Next we made plans on removing some of the items and furniture in the room. Keeping in mind and following the completed vision. Reverse engineering from seeing the completion to starting with the first phase. I had to look into lighting – the most important aspect of exhibiting my work.
One light in particular was going to be a feature in the room and after visiting many numerous lighting stores including San Francisco – Colette and I landed on viewing what seemed hundreds no thousands of Websites that featured lights of every imaginable scale and design. About 90% of
what we viewed we considered substandard designs. For awhile we were completely at a loss for knowing what style would be best suited. Then after much research we decided on the Style and then we had to source it out.

Wow, what a process – after doing interior designs for a few of our Galleries I think this was the most challenging. Being design sensitive, if I am not pleased with the look, I will hunt down something that works for me and replace it. Colette and I together have taken on many design ventures. In our early days, we could never find a comfortable sofa, we would have it for a few days and back it would go to the store to be replaced and try out another one. I always wondered about this propensity to finding the perfect couch that we had. Until I read the Biography about Steve Jobs – where there was a time in his life where he had no furniture because he couldn’t find a design that he could resonate with.
I can understand completely where he was coming from.

In fact there was the famous couch back in the early days, where we custom ordered a sofa from a shop in Vancouver, called Malacca Rattan. We kept going back to the store and convinced ourselves after sitting on sofa’s from many different manufactures that this was the most ideal for our design scenario. What we didn’t pay close attention to was the scale of the couch we had ordered. Too enthusiastic about the fabric the cushioning etc. When the day came to arrange the new furniture into our living room, three guesses what occurred – our brand new couch barely fit through the front door and was to large a sectional to fit elegantly into our room. Suffice to say scale is pretty vital.

The light story has a more smooth ending. fortunately with the light we had technology on our side. We took a screen shot of different styles and arranged them within photos of our living space. Then we viewed the ” look ” for a few days to select our favourite. To envision this over 52 inch
Italian styled Chandelier suspended from our over approximately – 17 ft ceiling. Would have been nearly an impossible feat. Focusing on the classical principle of balance, harmony and rhythm as well as we wanted something that appeared a little unique. We found our solution. With patience – more than most Interior designers – quite sure would ever endure we found the perfect light. The rest of the lighting went along smoothly and then we moved onto the furnishing the windows etc. Finally some finishing touches such as Carpeting and practical storage units for the Gallery space. All of the rearranging of the space was part of the domino effect from opening up my new Warehouse space separate from my Studio. There were many months involved in planning this new space but updating the Gallery and bringing in new props took a relatively short time once everything was sourced out.

As I wrap up this note, I would be amiss if I didn’t mention how endearing and special this time of the year is.
We have created a beautiful e-card from one of my favorite pieces that I created this year. The card simply states Celebrate the magic of the Season – for the Sopel family that means launching into a full month of multiple celebrations.
Many, many Birthdays, – including Colette and myself – 2 days apart near Christmas day. And so the festivities continue through out the whole month. I would like to wish you Dear Reader a year filled with inspiration, abundance and vibrant health so you can enjoy nature and her never ending theatre of life.

In a few weeks we will begin the Chinese New Year Celebration of the 2014 year of the Horse. We don’t live to far from some gorgeous ranch country and when I want to be in the company of the wild and the brave, I go and just gaze at these Noble creatures. After creating the Pegasus piece
“Ride of the Gods” – the Horse comprised of elegance, power and complexities continues to intrigue me.

Tilmorrow,
Art, Nature, and Beauty Always,

LYLE

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