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Excursion as Inspiration

Lyle Sopel -

Dear Collector Friend,

With each passing summer day, the departure for our 2015 Wild Country Grizzly Bear Venture- “In Search of the Bear Spirit Experience” draws nearer. On this upcoming journey, my son Kurtis and I will travel up British Columbia’s wild coast to one of Canada’s premier grizzly bear viewing regions: Knight Inlet, BC.

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In anticipation of our excursion, I have been viewing images of this remote coastal inlet and envisioning the awe-inspiring scenery that awaits us. Surrounded by mountains, rivers and forests in one of the first-rate grizzly bear viewing areas on the coast of British Columbia, I will be immersed in first hand study of an animal subject that has fascinated me ever since I could flip through nature books and magazines. Some of these grizzly viewing areas are so remote that access is granted by float plane only. What more could a nature artist ask for?

The pursuit of the bear spirit will be at the heart of this journey’s endeavour. While I will certainly be in deep observation of the grizzly’s magnificent physical attributes, it is its true essence that I will be seeking most passionately as I step humbly into a human-animal connection that dates back to ancient times.

Documentation of ritual burials and the honouring of the bear has been accounted for in nearly every culture in the world. In fact, many cultures revered this animal so highly that their people were not permitted to even speak the word “bear” and referred to it instead with the use of assorted monikers. Among this surprisingly long list of nicknames, Apple of the Forest (Finnish peoples), Good-tempered Beast (Cree peoples) and Owner of the Earth (Siberian peoples) are among my favourites. These names call forth key aspects of the bear spirit that I certainly hope to witness.

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While the focus of our journey will be honed in on the grizzly bears, I am equally excited to behold all the wilderness players that make up the great web of life. Red flashes through my mind as I visualize salmon, striving with every molecule of their being to achieve their expedition upstream. Images of magnificence come to me as eagles soar through my imagination. I am always amazed by the parallels that exist in the challenges and triumphs that both humans and animals face. Inspired by nature’s beauty as well as her struggles, my wilderness experiences infuse me with a sense of confidence. I feel that I am part of a greater whole and I bring this renewed awareness back to my studio to weave into future works to come.

Art, Nature, and Beauty Always,


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