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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.

Art, Nature, and Beauty Always,


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