Howard, Wisconsin (WFRV) An accident can change someone's life forever. Especially if it robs you of your ability to move as you once did.
Steve Champine wasn't going to let an accident keep him from his passion for painting.
"I've always loved art. Ever since I was a kid I was always doing something, whether it be a pencil drawing or oil painting," said Steve Champine.
Art is how Steve showed his passion to the world.
"Always wildlife or landscapes, I love doing landscapes. People can see me a little bit in every painting," explained Steve.
Eighteen years ago Steve didn't think he would ever be able to pick up a brush and paint again.
"Just instantaneously your life changes in a heartbeat," explained Steve.
The Howard man was injured in a hunting accident after falling from his deer tree stand in 1995.
"I'm Paralyzed from both the armpits down. I have feeling and sensation throughout, but the nerves that make the muscles move don't work no more," explained Steve.
Steve believed he would never again put brush to paper.
"I didn't think I could do it because I couldn't squeeze my fingers together to hold a paintbrush," said Steve.
For Three years he didn't even try to paint. Until his 3 year old daughter, Samantha, put a brush in his hand while she was painting with her child's water color paint set.
"She was sitting on my lap and she took my hand and dumped it in the water and dumped it into a little water color paint and started sloshing it around. And as I went on, one thing looked like another and started looking pretty good," remembered Steve.
And that's all it took. Steve and his dad found a way for him to paint again using PVC pipe.
The spinal cord injury did make it more difficult to control his stokes. "Very hard. To tell my body to make movements is the hardest thing," said Steve.
But for Steve painting is therapy, his passion. And being surrounded by his outdoor decor and artwork brings him closer to nature.
"That's the one thing that's helped get me outdoors. If I couldn't hunt at least I can get out there and be there through my paintings," explained Steve.
He wants to help others experience nature as well through his paintings.
"Just to see the color and beauty in the outdoors. If they can look at my painting and relate I guess to the landscape and say 'wow, that's really cool'," said Steve.
Steve does not sell his paintings. The originals he donates to various benefits and fundraisers. It's a way he can help others in need.
He does make prints and cards of his paintings to give away to family and friends.
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