Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste

Prologue

Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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Art and Money

March 14, 2016

These days the news is replete with stories from the art world of record-breaking auction prices. While it’s highly unlikely any of my works of art will auction for millions of dollars, some of them do include money.

 

On more than one occasion I’ve referred to the CD I created in the 90s for Getty Images. These sixty royalty-free images were quickly created in fast-drying acrylic in less than five weeks. The topic assigned to me was Business Fundamentals, with the focus on money or business issues. This assignment inspired me to create images that included money.

 

I struggled to think of imaginative ways to include actual money in my compositions. This isn’t to say I glued actual greenbacks to my artwork, but I did make black and white copies of actual money, alter their sizes, paste them down and paint over them to achieve a variety of effects. These were popular with art directors and have sold well over the years. Unfortunately, some of these illustrations are now dated thanks to the Treasury Department redesigning these bills.

 

Here are a few examples:

 

 

 

Money Chameleon (Acrylic and collage on Masonite)

 

I was intensely proud of the way the Great Seal of the United States fit perfectly around the eye.

 

 

 

 

 

 Tilting at Windmills (Acrylic and collage on Masonite)

 

Reproductions of money are flat when glued to a surface and the challenge for this piece was to create the illusion that the sails on the windmill were three dimensional.

 

 

 

When My Ship Comes In (Acrylic and collage on Masonite)

 

People often speak of the things they’ll do when their ship comes in, and I thought it would be fun actually making the ship out of money.

 

 

 

 

 Financial Ark (Acrylic and collage on Masonite)

 

This piece was commissioned and used as a cover for a book on financial planning. The author often referred to creating a “money ark” as protection against the stormy vicissitudes of a frail economy. Here I attempted to make the ark out of money.

 

 

 

 

The Right Bait (Acrylic and collage on Masonite)

 

It’s often said that it takes money to make money so I used money as bait to catch a big money fish.

 

Next time I’ll show a few images where I rendered money instead of using collage, and I’ll reveal my secret formula for mixing paint the actual color of money. You might be surprised to learn I never used the color green.

 

 

 

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Comments

23 Comments
These are all very creative. I like the "Money Ark." It's very symbolic.
By: Michael Offutt on March 14, 2016
Clever ideas there! Glad some still sell.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on March 14, 2016
Absolutely brilliant--no wonder they sold!!
By: fishducky on March 14, 2016
Brilliant work, Stephen! I like the dude standing on top of the ark. The clipboard and longish beard and hair blowing in the wind must have some meaning... that eludes me.
By: Daniel LaFrance on March 14, 2016
I've said it before but I'll say it again. Whether you call yourself an artist or an illustrator, you have one mega-load of talent. These are brilliant!
By: Catalyst on March 14, 2016
Wonderful and imaginative works! Superb! Oh how I would love to have employed your talent and skill when I was CEO of a television production company. Thanks for sharing your talent with us.
By: Tom Cochrun on March 14, 2016
Those are really catchy pieces of art. I can see where people would pay. I pay a small fee to use pictures on Canva. You might pitch your work to them It's a site for creating posters, flyers, and social media graphics.
By: Rick Watson on March 14, 2016
Cool stuff. You set limits for yourself and then go for the challenge. The last one is a good example.
By: red on March 14, 2016
I am always impressed with how your creative mind works. Goodness, you really are good.
By: Arkansas Patti on March 14, 2016
Clever images! All very well done, like all the work you have posted.
By: messymimi on March 14, 2016
Your talent just amazes me!!! It's clear I have no real understanding of art because when I occasionally see news of something selling for millions of dollars, it doesn't look nearly as interesting as your illustrations or paintings that you show on this blog.
By: Cheryl P. on March 14, 2016
I admire your creativity!
By: Pixel Peeper on March 14, 2016
That bait fish is deep. It's my favorite.
By: Val on March 14, 2016
Stephen: Your visuals are magnetic. I am surprised you and Mrs. Chatterbox don't reside in New York with an art studio packed with paying customers. I could say, "I remember when he had a blog"...
By: MICHAEL MANNING on March 14, 2016
my favorite is the lizard!
By: Kathe W, on March 14, 2016
those are really, really good!
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on March 14, 2016
YOU are amazing. I love each and every one of these.
By: Mitchell Is Moving on March 15, 2016
Very impressive!
By: cranky on March 15, 2016
I think they are all highly creative, every one. My husband gets the type of magazines that use these kinds of illustrations, so I've seen quite a few over the years. Yours are high on the list for creativity and applicability. Do you still paint for this purpose or have you retired from this kind of work?
By: jenny_o on March 15, 2016
I like the windmill but for some reason, the fish one speaks to me. I dont know. These are awesome! Lisa
By: Lisa on March 15, 2016
Wow Stephen. You are one talented artist. Impressive indeed. Glad to know such an amazing and creative soul. My favorite was the Tilting at Windmills. Take care.
By: Mr. Shife on March 15, 2016
I think these are among the most creative of your artwork. I love them. I especially like the depth of the Windmill picture. Great work!
By: Robyn Engel on March 15, 2016
These are great!
By: The Bug on March 16, 2016

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