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Times of the Islands Magazine

Chiseled Features - Sculptures Complement Traditional Décor in Southwest Florida homes and gardens

Sep 29, 2015 09:21AM ● By Cory Batelaan
Sculptures Complement Traditional Décor in Southwest Florida homes and gardens By Ann Marie O’Phelan

A life-sized little girl rests by the water gazing upward. One quick glance at this poolside  sculpture by L’Deane Trueblood, and you might just think she’s real—thanks to the smooth skin and facial expression, a style that Trueblood is well known for. The bronze sculpture “Penny for your Thoughts” captures what a little girl looks like, as well as her thoughts and spirit.

"To me, a face reveals the history of a soul. I'm not so interested in just showing a child at play, but rather revealing the spirit within,” says Trueblood, whose sculptures and paintings are found in public and private collections throughout the United States, as well as internationally. The sculptures created by Trueblood can be commissioned and start at $4,800. They are first created in clay and then cast in bronze, a material that holds up well against the outdoor elements, including sun, wind and rain, along with the pool chemicals that also need to be considered.

Susanne VertelSuzanne Vertel is another sculptor working with outdoor sculptures in bronze, as well as other mediums such as oil-based clay called Plastiline that allows for longer working times. Vertel also uses a sculpting wax for greater flexibility with smaller works with intricate details, such as with her Geisha Series that incorporates gold leaf as part of the geisha’s colorful and exquisite attire.

A Boy has DreamsMany of her pieces sit near pools of Southwest Florida homes, such as the bronze “A Boy Has Dreams,” a sculpture of a young boy fishing. “When a boy is fishing, he is also dreaming of his future, creating his reality,” says Vertel, who explains that much of our life’s work comes from the thoughts, dreams and fantasies of our imagination as children, and so she enjoys sculpting them.

“Nature’s Child” is another popular bronze sculpture of Vertel’s that’s a life-sized young girl holding a basin of water while birds flutter around her. The basin is actually a re-circulating fountain that can fit in a small area. “Both pieces are popular on the edge of ponds, swimming pools, and even the edge of canals,” says Vertel, who also works with life-sized nudes, such as “Windsong,” a bronze female that that incorporates a bronze ribbon spiraling around her. “I am fascinated and inspired by the spiral, the shape of our DNA, seashells, and the Milky Way, so I wanted to do a sculpture in the shape of a spiral,” says Vertel, who adds that the spiral also emphasizes and calls attention to her movement.

“The piece can also be mounted on a rock to create a waterfall,” says Vertel.

The prices for her pieces vary from $6,500 to $29,000, depending on the size. The life-size sculptures can be commissioned. Life-sized works tend to be more expensive, due to the materials used. “I have done site-specific, as well as portrait sculptures of clients, as well as deceased relatives from photographs,” says Vertel, who has been creating sculptures for about 30 years and has won numerous awards for her work.

MatthewPlaczekMatthew Placzek creates outdoor sculptures that are everything from single figures cast in bronze to extensive, multi-media installations using steel and acrylic, coupled with color and natural light. His work contemplates the smallest of details as well as incorporates strong design and composition. His sculptures can be found in Southwest Florida homes and collections, as well as all across the U.S., Europe and Asia. The prices on his pieces range from $4,500-$28,000.

Tranquility01Placzek’s "Transcending" was inspired by the lifecycle of a butterfly. “The bright shimmering wings that glisten in the sunlight help bring the creation to life,” says Placzek, who adds that the piece is perfect for the side of a pool because of the dynamic range of color that the acrylic projects. “Sunlight creates a striking work of art, not only seen soaring above, but also projected on the ground below, for an interactive, complex work of art,” adds Placzek. The piece is very colorful with blues, purples and yellows, while the painted steel holds up extremely well outdoors, allowing for minimal to no up-keep, making this piece perfect for a pool location. The retail price on “Transcending” is $34,000.

“Tranquility” is a sculpture of yellow and orange Monarch butterflies. It is another fine example of Placzek’s work that is perfect for a poolside setting. The sculpture shows Monarch butterflies that are resting on green steel blades of grass while their wings are fluttering upwards. The retail price is $33,000.

While poolside sculptures look lovely in a pool area, the works don’t have to be limited to that space. They can also be great additions to a garden, a walkway, a deck or even a private collection.

Ann Marie O’Phelan is a Southwest Florida resident who appreciates the beauty of art.

For More Information:

L’Deane Trueblood is represented by: Shaw Gallery – Naples 761 5th Ave S., Naples, FL 34102 (239) 261-7828

Susanne Vertel is represented by: Galerie du Soleil 393 Broad Ave S., Naples, FL 34102 (239) 417-3450

Matthew Placzek is represented by: DeBruyne Fine Art    275 Broad Avenue S., Naples, FL 34102 (239) 262-4551