Copyright Notice


All images, photos, and video excluding advertising and google generated content, or unless otherwise labeled, are Copyright Jephyr (Jeff Curtis). All Rights Reserved.

These images are not in the public domain. Contact me for licensing terms and pricing.

Unauthorized or unlicensed use for all commercial and personal applications is prohibited.





Saturday, December 3, 2016

My Newest Portrait


Hi,

Back in October, my friend Valen and I were sketching at a nearby Whataburger in Mesa, AZ, and I noticed a man standing near the door.

The guy had an amazing face with loads of character—and I told Valen wanted to do a portrait study or caricature of him.

So I asked Valen if I could use his phone and wandered over to the guy and we spoke briefly and he was very cool and allowed me to take some pics for reference—and agreed to let me paint a picture of him.

I settled on doing a more formal portrait and have been working as time allowed—hand painting it into software using my Wacom Intuos Tablet Interface.

I just put the finishing touches on it this morning.

As with everything I tackle when it comes to art I learned a lot by doing this one and am eager to do more.

--------------------------------

BTW—I neglected to get this man's name or email to let him know that his portrait is done—so if you know him please send me an e-mail with his e-mail address so I can send a note out and let him know it's done.

Once I know who he is—I can give this painting a more elegant name too.

jrcurt77@msn.com

If you're the subject—thank you again for letting me snap some pics of you and paint this portrait.

Please drop me a line and let me know you've seen it.

I'll still retain ownership and copyright of my work but if you want to share it on social media etc please contact me and we can discuss that.

Either way you are welcome to share this link with friends and family if you like my work.

Thanks again!
 

"Whataburger Guy Portrait" - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr
"Whataburger Guy Portrait" - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr


Here's the original snapshot I used as a reference



And here is a look at some of my process steps as I painted the portrait above


"Whataburger Guy Portrait" - Process Composite - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr
"Whataburger Guy Portrait" - Process Composite - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr

--------------------------------

Any who—that's it for today.

Thanks as always for stopping by.

Ciao fer now









Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Few More Drawings From My "Sketchbook"



Pencil sketch -  Copyright - 2016 - Jephyr
Pencil sketch -
Copyright - 2016 - Jephyr


Hi!

I promised recently to get some more sketches from my sketchbook posted here—and have a moment to finally get to that.

We'll get to a better look at the one to the left—and a little description about it below.

But first I'll start with two older ones that I rediscovered recently.

---------------------------------



Sometime in 2015, my friend Valen had given me some loose sheets of paper that he uses to create comic book pages.

I don't know if they were made grayish or if they have simply darkened over time—but the scans of these drawings might look a little darker than other sketches I've posted here—and that's why.

Pencil sketch: Haruldius - Copyright - 2015 - Jephyr
Pencil sketch: Haruldius - Copyright - 2015 - Jephyr

^ ^ ^  I don't remember anything about creating the sketch above in 2015—but like the character's "look" and "ancient Egyptian" looking beard.

I also thought he looked a little like a sad version of a very cool Uncle of mine, Harold (a very upbeat guy), who passed away a number of years ago—so I called this character Haruldius in honor of him.

: )

Pencil sketch - Copyright - 2015 - Jephyr
Pencil sketch - Copyright - 2015 - Jephyr

^ ^ ^   Another "rediscovered" quick pencil sketch from 2015 done on the paper I described above.

Although, when I was scanning it, I named this sketch "Hubert"—it brings to my mind an mean old codger from my hometown named Charlie, who owned a record store there when I was a kid.

Ironically—He HATED all young "long-hairs" and hippies—who were becoming his primary customers at the time

I've been wanting to tell a true and funny story about old Charlie for some time a posting this sketch is reminding me to get to it.

So stay tuned to this Bat-channel for that some day soon.

: ?


Pencil sketch - Copyright - 2016 - Jephyr
Pencil sketch - Copyright - 2016 - Jephyr


^ ^ ^  I just finished the sketch above last night when I was hanging out with Valen.

He and I had gone to an art store recently and I picked up some Mono graphite pencils and really like how black they are.

I'll still keep using my trusty Faber-Castell drawing pencils—but they tend to be more on the grey side.

This character and background were laid out using a Faber-Castell 2B and then finished off with a Tombow Mono 2B—pushing some of the darker values into the image with it.

The background "volcano and cave" was just a bit of whimsy that sprung outa my head—and I decided to give the rock a bit of a fleshy, organic feel for some reason.

------------------------------

Anywho—that'll do it for now.

Looking forward to seeing you again soon.

Thanks for stopping by!

-----------------------------

jephyr.com

.




Friday, October 28, 2016

Two And A Half Political Cartoons


Hi again,

I've been sketching a lot recently and having a good time doing it.

Also—this election season is causing my mind to turn on all things political.

So I thought I'd take a stab at some cartooning that pokes fun at all the corruption and scandals that are plaguing Hillary Clinton's White House bid.

---------------------------

Between the Veritas Project tapes which revealed Hillary's campaign is behind the bullying and violence against Trump supporters—to the landslide of WikiLeak's email showing the depths of the Democrat National Commitee's efforts to subvert the presidential election—and Hillary's corruption with the Clinton Foundation—all while making insane illegal and unethical profits while the United States Secretary of State—there's plenty to take aim at.





"Meanwhile At The DNC" - Pencil Sketch - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr!
"Meanwhile At The DNC" - Pencil - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr!

Exposed by email and audio and video tape—Hillary and the people surrounding her are mostly coming across like a bunch of ignoramus and incompetent traitors to the American people.

This is fortunate for the American people—because they've left such an obvious trail of deceit and destruction—that only the very ill-informed or desperately partisan would vote for this vile woman.

Yet the media keeps broadcasting their fraudulent polls showing Hillary with a decided advantage over Trump—aided by their daily lie filled news reports.

No wonder people are beginning to believe that the elections in this country are rigged.

sigh.................


"Bubba's Confession" - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr!
"Bubba's Confession" - Pencil - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr!


It's quite shameless to now hear Hillary and her campaign accusing Trump of negative treatment of women—and then remember her attacks against Bill's many victims—that she called them Bimbos and set out to destroy their reputations.

So much for her claims of being for women.  : P

Not to even mention her legal defense of a pedophile who raped a 12 year old girl—and a subsequent audio tape of Hillary laughing about it.

Unfortunately there are still too many people duped by her and the complicitous media.


"Hillary Can't Hack It" - pencil sketch - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr!
"The only reason they'd bring Sanders back in — is if Hillary can't hack it. " — Chad
"Hillary Can't Hack It" - pencil - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr!

This last cartoon is the "half" mentioned in this blog post's title.

Only the caption is politically related—and the drawing is just one of the super exaggerated figures I like to draw.

So—what about the caption?:

While my artist friend Chad and I were hanging out one day sketching and talking life—our conversation drifted to politics and the election as it often does.

At that time it had just come out that the Hillary's DNC had subverted their primary with Bernie Sanders.

Hillary had also been having ongoing health crises—one after the other.

Coughing fits, balance problems, and finally her near collapse on 9-11—Benghazi anniversary karma some say.

After discussing her most recent choking / coughing spell that left her unable to speak—I wondered aloud about whether or not the DNC would bring back Bernie to run in her place if it became more obvious her health was making her unable to hold office.

That's when Chad innocently offered the line above.

I laughed my head off—and in spite of him protesting that he hadn't intended to make a pun—I told him it was going to be documented in my sketchbook.

-------------------------------

Anywho—that'll do it for today.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day—and may God help us—this election is critical to the future of this country!







Thursday, October 27, 2016

New Sketch / Portrait Of A Friend


Hi,

I've been sketching a lot more recently and have felt some creative energies brewing that definitely makes it all a lot more enjoyable.

I'll do another sketchbook dump or two again soon—but wanted to share a pencil sketch / portrait of a friend that I just finished (and you'll find below).

My friend, fellow artist Chad Swanson (aka Valen), had shown me a photo of himself—and I loved the stern look he'd given in the pic—which is generally out of character for him—but he was playing the part of a "protective uncle" in it.  

: )

You can see additional photos of him smiling (and as a very sick man) in a blog post I wrote about him nearly dying in 2015:

July 29, 2016 Blog Post

Anywho—I axed Chad if I could take a stab at a creating a portrait of him using the photo—and he agreed and sent me a copy.

I had a lot of fun doing this sketchworking on it over several days —and just put the finishing touches on it.
  
Oh—and the banner across the top is Hebrew for Proverbs.

Hope you enjoy taking a look.  : )

And as always—thanks for stopping by!


Pencil Sketch:  "Uncle Chad" - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr!
Pencil Sketch:  "Uncle Chad" - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr!


Photo:  "Uncle Chad"
"Uncle Chad"






Monday, September 19, 2016

Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo - March 2017

Video Screen Capture:  Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo Checklist
Video Screen Capture:  Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo Checklist


Hi!

Although the video below is from last year, it still paints a very good picture of what "The Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo"is all about.

It's an awesome family event and is coming up again in in March 2017.

Best of all—admission and parking are free, so it makes a very affordable day to get out and see some amazing wildlife up close and mingle with all kinds of folks who are drawn to Arizona's outdoors—and have some great fun with your family and friends.

I plan to attend and take my camera so I can get some close up shots of some of the birds of prey they'll have on display (sick, injured, or orphaned animals that cannot be released back into the wild). 

Video Screen Capture:  Vulture At The Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo
Video Screen Capture Of A Vulture At The Expo

Video Screen Capture:  Raptors At The Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo
Video Screen Capture Of Birds Of Prey At The Expo

 The video below will tell you more but I'll include a link to the AZ Game And Fish website and info abut location and dates etc below.

Hope to see you there next March! 

-----------------------------

Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo 
 
Ben Avery Shooting Facility

4044 W. Black Canyon Blvd., Phoenix
Exit I-17 at Carefree Highway

Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 9 am - 5 pm

Sunday, March 26, 2017- 9 am - 4 pm












Sunday, August 21, 2016

Drawings Galore! Jephyr's August 2016 Sektchbook Dump! : )


Hello!

I've been going though my sketchbook and picking out a few of my drawings to add here.

I'll start with some "lighter" fare and then get on to some "darker" schtuffz below.


"Hey Baby" - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr!


^ ^ ^  I'm still drawing a lot of wacky faces—and am still on the "hulking doods" kick too.

As I've mentioned before, I start a lot of drawings by scribbling on the page.

Then I usually erase a bit and then scribble some more.

As I repeat that process, I'm looking for shapes that jump out at me that "lead" me to interesting subjects and drawings that I might not come up with otherwise.

The guy above came about after I did a quick scribble.

After a bit I started to see this guys eyes and nose and then—when I saw the big ole mustachio—I KNEW I was on the way.


: P

"Drake" - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr!


^ ^ ^  One night I was sketching with a friend and this rapper, mallard-dood came flying out of a "scribble."

Get it?  Flying!

I'll be here all week.........

hahaha

I'll admit there's more than a little "Daffy Duck" influence on this one—but it was done without any references—so I'll just hafta blame all those years of watching TV when I was a kid!


"Karen" - Copyright - 2016 - Jephyr!


^ ^ ^  Before anyone accuses me of sexism with the caption for the drawing above—I'll let you know what the inspiration was for it.

One night I was talking to a young woman and she asked me what I liked to do.

I told her I was all about art and photography—and then asked her what she liked to do.

She thought for a moment and said, "I like to shop and hang out with my friends."

The next day I drew "Karen" and added the caption thinking about the young woman from the night before.


"Opie P.I." - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr!

^ ^ ^  I decided to call the little guy in the drawing above: Opie P.I.—figuring he'd be the most unlikely tough-guy, private detective you'd ever meet.

(Clearly, I entertain very easily!)

: D
"Padre Mendacitti" - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr!

^ ^ ^  I don't have a clue what part of my brain this guy came from—but I did have fun naming him.

" /

A friend gave me a book called "Art and the Bible" by Francis Schaeffer, and he writes about art having both "major and minor keys"—and that the Christian artist should be able to use both in their creations—and that ultimately an artist cannot be judged by a single work, but by the sum of all the work they create in their lifetime.

That spoke to my spirit and has freed me to create all kinds of light and dark subjects.

Since I plan to create a graphic novel about the "end of days"—and will need to populate it with all kinds of characters and creatures—for now I'm allowing my subconscious freedom to bring out a lot of different images.

In this post—I will admit my drawings lean towards darker themes however.


"Spurtz" - Copyright - 2016 - Jephyr!

^ ^ ^  I'll let the captions above speak for this one—I call him "Spurtz!"

: )

"Voodla Beast" - Copyright - 2016 - Jephyr!

^ ^ ^  Dunno why—but I've done several bird type creatures with a massive bill like the one on this guy.

It started as a scribble and I got the head done fairly quickly.

Then I struggle to get a body I liked.

I began with kind of a stocky, stubby, bulky body and kept trying and trying to re-work it to get something that "felt" right.

Finally I decided to give up on that direction and took an eraser to what I had on the body at that point—and once I did that, in fairly short order I came up with the elongated version you see above.

Since there is no "undo" in a sketchbook—I call that kind of eraser use a "bravery test"—after the late, and much loved painter Bob Ross who coined that expression.


"W'azzat" - Copyright - 2016 - Jephyr!

^ ^ ^  Since it's a skull creature—I'll admit this one is similar to the one above.—but even when I go "dark" my work still (more often than not) winds up kinda "cartoony."

This "evil wild boar" look has also made appearances in other characters I've done as well.

This one also began life as a scribble sketch.


"Webster" - Copyright - 2016 - Jephyr!

^ ^ ^  I'll end with this drawing.

Again—it began as another scribble—and I eventually ended up with this squat looking fellow.

Recently I saw a photo of a Hillary Clinton's minion—Webster Hubbell—and thought my character looked a lot like him—So I'm calling this one "Webster."

--------------------------------

Thanks as always for stopping by!

Please feel free to leave a comment and join my blog before you head out—and please close the door—I have the AC on.

: D

God Bless!






Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Petition: Fraudulent Book About Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell Painting - Shuffleton's Barbershop - 1950
Norman Rockwell Painting - Shuffleton's Barbershop - 1950


Hi!

I just read Norman Rockwell's granddaughter's accounts of the very fraudulent, dishonest account of Rockwell's life in a supposed "biography" by Deborah Solomon.

The author of the book fabricates material in a dishonest attempt to portray Rockwell as not only a homosexual but as also as having pedophilic tendencies.

You can read both of her protests about the book on The Huffington Post.

Deborah Solomon’s Disaster (and How She Duped So Many):


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/abigail-rockwell/deborah-solomon-norman-rockwell-disaster_b_5607745.html

Autopsy of a Fraud: Update on Deborah Solomon’s Disastrous Norman Rockwell Bio


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/abigail-rockwell/deborah-solomon-norman-rockwell-falsifications_b_6705134.html

Acclaimed artist James Gurney also wrote about the controversy on his blog and gives a link to a petition you can sign to have this book removed from the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts (who have been promoting and selling this awful book) and I've included the direct links below.

When you read Rockwell's granddaughter's accounts on The Huffington Post your blood will boil at the absolute disregard the author has for the truth—not to mention that her publisher and the media are complicit in promoting this book.
 
If you would like to join me in signing the petition just follow either link.

You can also help by sharing it with your family and friends or posting it as I have done.

Here are the petition links:

https://www.change.org/p/ceo-norman-rockwell-museum-stop-promoting-selling-a-fraudulent-biography-of-norman-rockwell





Monday, August 8, 2016

Inspirational Video & Paintings: Chris Mars - "Painted Saints"


Painting Copyright - Chris Mars - http://www.chrismarspublishing.com/
Painting Copyright - Chris Mars - http://www.chrismarspublishing.com/


Hi!

I saw "Painted Saints" last night on PBS —a very interesting short documentary on an amazing painter, Chris Mars—and it is embedded below.

Some may be familiar with Mars' time as a drummer for the band The Replacements.

I'm only vaguely familiar with their music and story—but was blown away by Mars' current artistic efforts.

He talks about his early days with the band and shares that sometime along the way he became interested in painting and couldn't wait to get off the road to get back to it—eventually focusing solely on that.

He reflects on the frustration of his early efforts but kept working on it until he began to master the craft of painting—something most (all?) aspiring artists can relate to.

His work has a very "dark" feel to it and while definitely remaining original—reminds me of Hieronymus Bosch and HR Giger paintings.

Paintings Copyright - Chris Mars - http://www.chrismarspublishing.com/
Paintings Copyright - Chris Mars - http://www.chrismarspublishing.com/

Mars reveals that his older brother's battles with schizophrenia greatly affected him and themes related to that run through his art—and statements about his art on his website really help add to an understanding of his images.

http://www.chrismarspublishing.com/statement.html

I hope you enjoy this short video as much as I did and that you'll also feel inspired to chase after whatever gifts and interests you have with all your might.




Friday, August 5, 2016

Video Tutorial: 10 Tips to Drawing Horses - By Bobby Chiu


Video Screen Captures:  10 Tips to Drawing Horses by Bobby Chiu
Three Screen Captures From The Video Below



Hello!

Quite awhile ago, when I was first struggling to learn how to digitally paint I came across a YouTube video by Bobby Chiu.

In that tutorial, Bobby drew an image real-time and talked in a sort of stream of conscious way about art and staying motivated.

I have to admit I learned a lot from just that one video and patterned a lot of my early digital art efforts on what he had taught in that lesson.

Fast forward many years and I came across another tutorial by Bobby that he just published—and he has not only developed a great deal as an artist since I first discovered him—but his teaching and delivery has really improved as well.

The video is called 10 Tips to Drawing Horses and I learned a bunch from it—and so I thought I'd share it here.

If you've struggled at all with understanding how to draw a horse, Chiu gives a lot of great, simplified but very helpful tips about the anatomy and structure of a horse—while throwing in some very useful drawing tips too.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!











Thanks for stopping by!

God Bless!





Monday, August 1, 2016

New Lion Pastel: "His Royal Highness"


Hi,

Last year I went to the Phoenix zoo and captured a great shot of the male lion they have there with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the new Canon 100-300mm L lens.

The lion's name is Kitambi and he is a regal beast indeed.

In the last few days I decided to give a go at creating a pastel drawing of him and thought I'd share what I've done so far.

It was done on grey paper and is approximately 18 x 24".

I'll still call this a work in progress and in fact have worked a bit on it since I made this post and will update with a final pic when it feeels done.


Pastel:  His Royal Highness - Copyright 2016, Jephyr!
Work In Progress Pastel:  His Royal Highness - Copyright 2016

Thanks as always for stopping by!

See ya soon!




Friday, July 29, 2016

Chad Swanson Nearly Died


Hello!

In an effort to speed up the process of getting my degrees, I just finished taking English 101 during the summer session at Mesa Community College.

One assignment we were given was to interview and then write a "Profile" about someone.

I chose my friend Chad Swanson because he had had an life altering year—that began with him nearly dying in September of 2015.

--------

He's given me permission to post that assignment here, along with some photos of him.

(Thank you Chad!)

Hope you enjoy reading it.

--------------------------------

Jephyr
ENG 101
12 June 2016

Chad Swanson Profile

          Standing at 6” 5”, Chad Swanson is a mountain of a man, with an outgoing, exuberant personality. His gregarious style is matched by a deep, resonant, and booming voice that often turns heads in public—which he sometimes forgets to lower even when he’s making an off color comment or describing something in intimate and embarrassing detail.

          Still, he comes across as a likeable character with a zest for life.


Chad Swanson - Photo by Jephyr
Chad Swanson A Year Before His REAL Troubles Began


          But that life has taken many turns, including losing a wife to a prescription drug addiction in 2002; studying to become a pastor at a Baptist college in the two years prior to that; and long ago working as on-air announcer, Cody Stockton, in Gallup, New Mexico.  While he is an artist who loves Marvel movies and graphic novels and is at work on producing his own comic book, he earned a living working with the mentally ill from 2001 through last year.

          And then in the fall of 2015, Chad Swanson nearly died.

          Before we get to that, and any lessons learned about it, or what we could each apply to our own lives, let’s start when I first met him seven years ago and fill in the details that brought him to that point.

          At that time, Swanson was caring for his ailing mother, and she passed away sometime in the next year.  He had his own share of health problems then as well, beginning with a hernia surgery in 2007, and through the following years as many as three to five other surgical procedures related to infections and complications from that—numerous enough he has lost track of the total number—but this was only the beginning of cascading health problems which came to a disastrous crescendo in 2015.

          Swanson talks matter of factly about having been in a lot of pain in the spring of last year and describes it as ultimately becoming more and more unbearable:  “That was pain.  It hurt to move!  It hurt to walk!  It hurt to sit!  It hurt to lay down!”  Adding again for emphasis, “That was pain!”

          Finally, after a series of doctor’s appointments and a battery of tests, he was given the news that he had been diagnosed with cancer, and surgery was immediately scheduled.  Fortunately, his cancer was one that unless already advanced, kept itself isolated and could be completely removed.  So in April he entered the hospital, had a successful operation, and he went on with his life cancer free.

          One might not be faulted for thinking then that he probably had the worst of it out of his way for at least that year, and he agrees, “That’s exactly what was on my mind.  I beat cancer—so I’m good.  I’m gonna live a long happy life.”

          But darker clouds were looming in Swanson’s life, and during another scorching Arizona summer of 2015, he began feeling extremely tired and increasingly weak.  Finally sometime in August it had become bad enough that he went to an Emergency Room where he was referred to a nearby hospital.  

          He says now about that time, “I was running a low grade temperature, and I just wasn’t feeling well, so I went to [the hospital] …. They basically told me it was all in my head and to wait to see a gastroenterologist … [but] my next appointment with him was the first part of November.  I couldn’t believe it … I was very sick [and] they just let me go.”

          So after four or five days in the hospital, still extremely sick and weak, he was simply sent home.  Swanson says that everything in his life began falling like dominos after that.  He’d been working ten hour days but was becoming so weak and ill that his employer, hoping to help him, changed his schedule—moving him from the one he’d worked years to attain.

          Remembering how he was at the time elicits a strong reaction from him:  “I felt terrible!  I still felt sick.  And there’s the other part of that … if they’re saying it’s in my head, they’re the doctors.  They’re the professionals.  They’re the ones who should know!  Right?  So I’m thinking maybe I should just tough this out.”

          While cancer had been painful, this new round of weakness and illness was even more devastating, because while his was health steadily deteriorating, he still needed to pay his rent and living expenses—and now he was saddled with mounting medical bills.  He recalls, “I was too busy trying to keep my job.  I was too busy just trying to work.  There were plenty of times where I would make it home, and I would just—I would consider myself lucky if I made it to my bed!  I was that tired!  I was that exhausted!  I was that sick!”

          September 11, 2015 was a bright and sunny day, and Swanson met it feeling worse than ever, and he was now having difficulty breathing.  He called in sick for work and waited for an ambulance to transport him to a nearby E.R. where they immediately recognized the severity of his condition and transferred him to another facility.

          Once there and lying in a private ICU room with a closed sliding glass door, he is now told that the entire room smelled like an open sewer mixed with rotting flesh—all emanating from Swanson himself.  Even seasoned nursing staff, if only needing to ask questions, would stand across the room and keep the door wide open.

          By then his breathing had become extremely labored, and each breath caused his chest to heave up and down.  It had now become completely obvious to anyone, that he was an extremely sick man.

          In time, Dr. Richardson, the surgeon who had been called to perform an emergency surgery on Swanson came to the ICU.  Young looking, and rail thin with a youthful mop of brown hair, he spoke directly and candidly that morning, telling Swanson that without immediate surgery he would die.

          He detailed what he already knew and some of his suspicions about what was affecting Swanson, and what he thought he might need to do in surgery:  As another complication from his ongoing hernia issues, infection had now raged in Swanson’s body, and his entire system had become septic.  As a result of that remaining untreated, Swanson now had large, irregularly shaped, jet black areas on his abdomen which were dead (necrotic) skin, and all of it would need to be removed, along with any infected or dead tissues or organs that were discovered internally during surgery.  He wasn’t sure how much of either he’d find, but talked about removing large parts of Swanson’s body from the ribcage down.

          It was a very grim report.  And while Dr. Richardson made it clear that the surgery was very risky and Swanson might not survive it, he said he would do everything possible to save him.

          Swanson was so ill by then, and the pain medicines he was on during this time have affected his memory, so he actually remembers very little about his surgeon’s dire words.  But he does remember going into the operating room and having all his clothes literally cut from his body—too sick at that time to be frightened or to be considering his own mortality.

          Later, as he started to emerge from the powerful anesthetic Propofol, he discovered he had been kept in a medically induced coma for two weeks and had endured 3 different surgeries that first week, each removing necrotic tissues and organs.  He tried desperately to communicate but along with still being deeply sedated, he had a tracheotomy, a nasogastric tube and was, as he puts it, “hooked up to all sorts of lovely machinery.”


Chad Swanson - While In A Medically Induced Coma - Photo by Jephyr
Chad Swanson - While In A Medically Induced Coma

   
 The following days were a blur as he was kept in a deep, drug induced haze, but in time he became more and more aware of his circumstances.  He acknowledges now, “I knew I wasn’t in great shape.  A blind man could see that.  But I didn’t know how bad it was until …. I wake up with this 2 foot wide gash in my abdomen.”


Chad Swanson - While Still In A Medically Induced Coma - Photo by Jephyr
Chad Swanson - While Still In A Medically Induced Coma


          Still not out of danger, Swanson remained in the ICU for several more weeks and was eventually transferred to a long-term recovery facility.  He describes the challenges there including physical therapy and occupational therapy, stating, “They literally had to teach me how to live again.  They literally had to teach me how to sit.  They had to teach me how to walk.  They had to teach me how to stand.”  Adding softly, “That’s humbling.  Very, very humbling …. ”

          As he slowly recovered, and the weeks stretched into months, what became worse than the physical pain was now fear.  He remembers that lying in that hospital bed unable to walk was “depressing enough,” but now also he worried about what lay ahead for him, knowing that after the first sixteen weeks he’d already lost the career he’d loved for over fourteen years.

          Thinking back on that time he now says, “ … I didn’t know what I was going to do for a job.  I didn’t know if I had a place to go home to.  I’m not going to lie, sometimes the mental pain was so bad, thinking about the future, I just wanted to be knocked out!   I was so inside my own head that I couldn’t get out, because if I wasn’t worrying about one thing, I was stressing about another.”

          Sometime toward the end of the year, a plastic surgeon finally closed Swanson’s gaping abdominal wound which had been kept open by Doctors who wanted to ensure that all the issues had been resolved before it was.  He was finally released from long term care on New Year’s Eve of 2015, and insurance covers his on-going care and State and Federal Disability now pay for his meager expenses.

          He adds nothing but praise for his landlord saying, “God Bless [her], she didn’t have to hold off on my rent for as long as she did, but she did.  God Bless her—and I was able to pay [everything back].”

          While steadily improving, he is not out of the woods yet, and in March of this year faced yet another surgery for an abscess along his incision.

          Swanson freely admits that there was much more he could have done to avoid this landslide of health issues and is making changes in his life such as improvements to his diet.  But he is also angry with the hospital that released him essentially to die in August and is considering a lawsuit against them.  It seems clear that proper treatment then would likely have spared Swanson nearly a year of painful surgeries and recovery.

          An article in the Journal of Healthcare Management reports on the astonishing mistakes made by hospitals and medical professionals in this nation.  While applauding the industry’s own efforts directed towards reducing errors, it also confronts the frequently stubborn bureaucracies and institutional attitudes that too often thwart the important improvements and changes that could be implemented, and the authors make many recommendations on how to reduce medical mistakes.  (McFadden, Stock, and Gowen, III 123)

          We can all hope and pray that in time errors like the ones made in Swanson’s case will eventually be greatly reduced, and perhaps there are lessons for each of us knowing what he went through over the last year—along with changes we each might make to improve our health and prevent illness.  As importantly, we must all be aware of advocating much more strongly for ourselves and those we love when we see our doctors or are hospitalized.

          Nevertheless, as Swanson reflects about it all, he is grateful to still be alive and says thoughtfully, while adding a touch of his trademark humor, “I did feel a spiritual comfort during this time, because number one I survived.  I still maintain that it’s only by God’s grace that I’m allowed to draw my next breath.  So I didn’t die so that means He still must have something in store for me, I just wish He’d let me know what it is.”


Chad Swanson In 2015 Before He Nearly Died - Photo by Jephyr
Chad Swanson In 2015 Before He Nearly Died

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Works Cited

McFadden, Kathleen L.; Stock, Gregory N.; and Gowen, III, Charles R. “Exploring Strategies for Reducing Hospital Errors.” Journal of Healthcare Management 51.2 (March-April 2006): 123. MCC Libraries ONE Search. Web 22 Jun. 2016

Swanson, Chad.  Personal Interview.  17 Jun. 2016.

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Well that's it.  If you've read this far you've won a shiney new car—just let the maĆ®tre d know as you're headed out the door.

; )

Thanks for stopping by and God Bless!!





Tuesday, July 26, 2016

AWESOME Video: Take Responsibility For Your Life - Motivational Speech


Personal Responsibility - Photo by Jephyr


Hi!

I've been hearing a lot about personal responsibility recently—and that message has began to echo in my thoughts more and more lately.

In the last few days I found a video by Team Fearless that completely nails what it is all about.

From the video's description on YouTube:

"It is absolutely essential you take responsibility for your life if you wish to attain any level of success.

The average tend to complain and blame everyone and anything for the reasons they are not where they want to be, where as the successful, who may have had a tougher road, chose to FIGHT BACK, chose to NEVER GIVE UP and to take full responsibility for all the circumstances that arrive. Good and bad. This does not mean allowing ANYONE to walk over you, it means you push past "circumstances" and create your own reality, your own success REGARDLESS of "what happens"

I hope this video helps you on your journey too.






Thank you for stopping by!

God Bless!




Friday, June 17, 2016

How To Find Creative Inspiration


Hi!

I just found this quote and thought it might be a good reminder for myself and others who are looking to improve our creativity:

“Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work.” ― Chuck Close

So what on earth does THAT mean?
 
diego_torres - Public Domain Image - https://pixabay.com/en/jurassic-coast-dorset-sunset-ocean-1089035/
 
In my opinion (which, as we know, is always correct  ; ), it means that too often people who aspire to create, sit around waiting for inspiration to strike before they begin to work.

But I learned long ago when I used to write music, and still need to remind myself as a visual artist, that just starting a creative project is often the biggest hurdle I have to get over. 

And once I put on my "big boy" pants and sit down to write, or paint, or draw—no matter how I feel—the process itself either quickly, or sometimes painfully slowly, LEADS to inspiration. 

So finding those satisfying and rewarding times of creative inspiration, often requires patience on my part.  Back when I was writing music, I called it "priming the pump."

Sometimes I would sit down to write a song, and it would take hours and days and sometimes even weeks before real inspiration struck.

Other times, inspiration would come and be so powerful, it was like I was taking dictation from a source outside myself.

Ether way, without being there, in that moment, sitting with my instrument and pen and paper in hand (or paint brush and canvas as the case might be), working, rewriting, struggling, TRYING...that those amazing but sometimes very fleeting times of inspiration might never be found.

At other times, usually after long period of disciplining myself to be creative every day, I feel like I can tap into inspiration from the moment I sit down to work. 

And that is EXTREMELY rewarding!!

So now I approach creating art, whether visual, music, writing or whatever, as a discipline, where instead of waiting to feel inspiredI simply begin the work—and allow the inspiration to come as and while I do.

Alex Hu- Public Domain Image - https://pixabay.com/en/the-scenery-prairie-river-sunrise-679011/

 This doesn't mean I don't also take time to simply sit and reflect...or to really look at, study, and simply enjoy other's creative effortsbecause I do both and I find that very helpful too! 

But there comes a time to roll up your sleeves and GET TO WORK—and PRIME THAT PUMP!

I NEED that reminder...and hope you find it helpful too!

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