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

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Friday, June 17, 2016

How To Find Creative Inspiration


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 -
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 -

 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!


Thanks as always for stopping by!

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Jephyr's Sculptures Chosen For MCC Student Art Show (2015)


After my recent post about two of my Photoshop projects from ART 170 being selected for the Chandler/Gilbert Community College Spring Student Art show (see May11, 2016 post), I realized I’d never shared some excellent news from last year.

For the 2015 spring semester at Mesa Community College, I took a required sculpture course (ART 115), with Sandy Luehrsen.  It was an excellent class and Sandy taught us several techniques including how to sculpt, and glaze a ceramic “bas relief", and how to carve a plaster sculpture.

Two of my pieces from that class (seen in photos below) were chosen for the 2015 MCC Spring Student Art Show during the juried selection by Garth Johnson, Curator of Ceramics, ASU Art Museum. 

And my plaster sculpture (see final image below) was awarded an Honorable Mention which came with a $100.00 cash award.

"Theopolis Rex" - Ceramic Bas Relief - Copyright 2015 - Jephyr

"Theopolis Rex" Sketch - Copyright 2013 - Jephyr - All Rights Reserved
"Theopolis Rex" Sketch - Copyright 2013 - Jephyr
All Rights Reserved

^^^  I used a sketch (left) I drew some time ago for the design of my “bas relief" sculpture above.  

I really enjoyed molding and shaping this image from clay.

This was the first sculpting I done since I was a kid and a neighbor friend and I would sit for hours in his family’s basement using soft modeling clay to make all kinds of different things.  

It felt like all those hours so many years ago paid off and I was pretty happy with my final result.

I call both the sketch and my “bas relief": “Theopolis Rex”…and many people have commented that the final glazed ceramic looks like a fossil and I like that comparison.  : )


"Hunnis Shell" - Plaster Sculpture - Copyright 2015 - Jephyr

^^^   I loved working with plaster for sculpting.   

I made a smaller maquette (guide sculpture) out of some of the remaining clay I had left over from the “bas relief" project above and made somewhat of an abstract shell design for my Plaster Sculpture Project I called "Hunnis Shell".  (see photo above).

After we’d poured the plaster into a cardboard box and allowed it to set in class, we each then began carving our pieces with chisels and other wood working tools.

I spent many hours both in the classroom and at home finishing this sculpture, and discovered I really enjoyed that entire process.

To smooth off all the tool marks and get that polished looking surface, I used sand-paper with finer and finer gains.

As mentioned above this sculpture won an Honorable Mention at the 2015 MCC Student Art Show.


Both were very enjoyable projects and I hope to do more sculpting as time allows. 

Anyway, thanks for reading my happy news from 2015.

Have a GREAT day!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Jephyr's Latest Pencil Sketches


I used to go out to coffee houses and restaurants all the time and get out my sketchbook and pencils...and DRAW MAN, DRAW!!

It was a lot of fun...and as as I've written about was a great "door-opener" to conversations and encounters with people who ventured over to see what I was working on.

I haven't done that at all part, because I'm trying to save money...but I really miss it.

And as kept me sketching ALL the certain times through the years...I was out draw'ring almost every day...and I think it was really helping my creativity and drafting skills!

So...I REALLY need to find places I can go hang out in sketch...without having to spend any of the green stuff!!

: p

I plan to start digitally painting a lot more of my sketches too.

Man!  So much to little time!!!  : /

: )

Anywhoodle...I'll post some sketches today...that I've been meaning to upload for a while.

"Who Did This" - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr! - All Rights Reserved
"Who Did This" - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr!

^^^   I don't know exactly why...but I've got a thing for Rhinoceroses.

Last year I went to the Phoenix zoo with a friend...and later found myself standing alone at the Rhino enclosure at the zoo...literally only a few feet away from one of the HUGE creatures.

I told her how beautiful she was...and although I can't be positive...I think she enjoyed my presence (even though she hasn't written back yet).

"Like...Man...." - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr! - All Rights Reserved
"Like...Man...." - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr!

^^^   I forget what this sketch started out as...but I struggled and struggled to create something I liked.

One afternoon I erased everything on the page...and the old hippie guy above finally made an appearance!

: )

"Joy To The World" - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr! - All Rights Reserved
"Joy To The World" - Copyright 2016 - Jephyr!

Our little elf friend above began life as a scribble sketch...which is the way MANY of my sketches begin.

As I've mentioned before...I scribble on the page...and erase and scribble a bit more...until I see shapes that "lead" me into creating my characters. 

One day, I scribbled a bit and at last saw this guys sad mouth and chin...and then that big ol' nose and his forelorn eyes above it.

But as I scribbled...I also saw the circles around his neck.

What were they...I wondered?  (Yup...I actually did)

I figured I could always erase them as I worked...but still they remained...determined to become part of the final image.

As I finished that sour little face...I added the cap...and had my "a-ha" moment.

He was a sad, overworked, little Christmas elf. (already hard at work LONG before Christmas!!!)

And so the circles became Christmas ball decorations...and all was well with the world!



Well,,,that's it for now.

Thanks as always for stopping by!