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March plus

Lyle Sopel -

Dear Collector Friend,

Having returned home from the warm Arizona air, I found it quite amazing to arrive back to a little spit of rain and emerald colours everywhere. The contrast between the sands of the desert and the greens of the west coast is quite astounding.

Years ago, a friend from Hawaii who was visiting my North Vancouver home commented on how similar the two terrains seemed. Due to our ration of sun around here, her observation seemed quite preposterous, until I thought about the tropical landscape on the islands in relation to our rainforest. One of the reasons I have stayed here, and yes, patiently waited for the sun to show up every year, is because the natural beauty and colour of our rainforests is so striking. Our seasons can be likened to childbirth and the forgetting of pain (so I have been told) when the joy of the child arrives. It is the same for us West Coast dwellers; we endure months and months of cloud and rain until one day the sun comes out. We all smugly wear shorts in January or February as if the sun was out every day.

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You may have read that this month- actually on Valentine’s Day- one of my ardent collectors held an unveiling soiree for myself, Colette and a cadre of good friends. There was a short reception with dinner to follow. It was a rather magical evening, and I felt the ambiance could not have been sweeter. Our schedules were very booked, but it just so happened the 14th opened up.

Following this special celebration I thought of how critical timing is in one’s life. I think it is essential to go beyond “Carpe Diem” and merely seizing the moment if one is to have a life beyond worth living. To live an extraordinary life, one must massage the moment and flourish in it. Creating celebrations helps to give us permission to dive into the oasis of the arts and to embrace refined beauty, ambitious dreams and passion.

I feel that with every piece that I create, I instinctively honour time- the time I spend engaging in the creative process, the time it takes for my sculpture to find a perfect home, and the time I need to spend once the piece is completed.

In life we advise our youth the time is now, yet the organic process of creating travels beyond time. Art, I believe, is the only commodity in life that cannot be equated with time. The artist’s interpretation of his or her subject propels the viewer to stop and reflect. An object that is a work of art acts as a witness to the time spent in the hands of the artist. It becomes a mirror that holds memories and champions art for the sake of the art. True art is all about time. Check out the great masters; that time is gone and now everyone wants a piece of it.

I had a phone call from an avid art collector one day. He asked me about a certain sculpture that he saw in my gallery over 5 years ago and was wondering if it was still available. I had a hard time breaking it to him that sometimes my work is sold within hours of being created. Imagine- he lusted after that piece for years. I tell my collectors about the rarity of my work and how some of my pieces are remarkably acquired in the most timely manner. Due to the nature of limited resources and my propensity towards certain designs and themes, the term “snoozing and loosing” is synonymous with my works.

Colette has remarked to me that though she has known me for eons, she still has not heard all of my stories. Just when I think I have shared everything, another one pops out of my psyche. Here is one that helps paint the picture of the very early days of my art career. I believe this particular story dates back to high school in 11th grade.

We had this very young, hip art teacher who was new to the school. Her popularity with the administration was short lived due to one of her main strategies for getting her students to attend art classes. It all began when the boys in her classroom began disappearing into the washrooms to smoke cigarettes and cut out on time spent in her classes. She had a talk with the students one day and stated that there was no need to leave the class if they wanted to have a smoke. She would simply close the classroom door so that no one could smell the fumes. This would allow her students to smoke in her art classes and not have to leave the classroom.

Good idea or not? I did mention she was not our art teacher for too long… With the room so smoky it was hard to see what everyone was drawing. But she was an independent thinker, and I applaud her for that – creative, what can one say?

Art, Nature, and Beauty Always,


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