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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Peculiar Pictures 42, 43, 44

March 4, 2016

I’m about halfway through my files of peculiar pictures, created back when I was a professional illustrator. My specialty was conceptual illustration—images created to accompany articles and make people stop turning the pages of magazines and newspapers long enough to read the articles.

 

Many of the pictures in my files were created on speculation, without a buyer, and some of these turned out to be my best sellers. The challenge was to create images useful to different art directors who understood that unless they purchased the copyright to an image I’d market it elsewhere, a common practice in the industry. Some illustrations were tailor made and very specific, making them less successful in a secondary market.

 

 

 

Peculiar Picture #42 (Acrylic on Masonite panel)

 

 

 

 

Peculiar Picture #43 (Acrylic on Masonite)

 

 

This image of a business man going down the drain has yet to find a home.

 

 

 

 

Peculiar Picture #44 (Acrylic on Masonite panel)

 

 

Of these three images, #44, has been the most successful, having sold several times to magazines dealing with relationship issues.

 

 

I hope everyone has a terrific weekend.

 

 

 

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Comments

31 Comments
I love these pieces Stephen.
By: Rick Watson on March 4, 2016
I like them all, but that last one is really powerful!
By: The Bug on March 4, 2016
Love how your imagination and artistic skills create such images- love all of them!
By: Kathe W. on March 4, 2016
Wow, what an imagination, great work!
By: John on March 4, 2016
These days I'd think your image of a business man going down the drain would sell like hotcakes! Maybe if you reworked the man to look a little bit more like Donald Trump ...
By: Tom Sightings on March 4, 2016
#44 is the best of them all. I think a good caption for #42 would be, "Yeah, my pants pockets just aren't that big."
By: Al Penwasser on March 4, 2016
That second one looks like an evil version of the Disneyland Teacups ride! I like the key and lock man, somehow, I think of it being positive, but you have to work for it. The last one is just depressing... It looks great, but is rather too true in many instances... IMHO... Cat
By: Cat on March 4, 2016
I really enjoy seeing these conceptual illustrations. You have a fertile mind. Have you considered creating additional drawings? How about creating your artwork digitally?
By: Daniel LaFrance on March 4, 2016
Is that George Washington and his mother (chopping the cherry tree down while she waters it?) Interesting photos, sometimes I think I might be the guy being sucked down the drain.
By: Sage on March 4, 2016
Love your work, but I don't understand #42. Is he the key man in a business or is he locked out of something?
By: fishducky on March 4, 2016
Terrific imagery and work. I guess No 43 struck too close to home for some?!
By: Mike@A Bit About Britain on March 4, 2016
I love 1 and 3. Very clever and very surreal. Have a great weekend too!
By: LL Cool Joe on March 4, 2016
I edited an alumni magazine for years, and was always impressed by illustrators' abilities to create conceptual pieces.
By: Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma on March 4, 2016
I think that people rarely know what they want f they do not have an artistic side and it is up the the artist to give us a vision. You are a great story teller with this!
By: Tabor on March 4, 2016
Your peculiar pictures always fascinate me, they have so much scope for the imagination.
By: messymimi on March 4, 2016
Nice work! I can see why # 44 has been utilized repeatedly. A great image!
By: Tom Cochrun on March 4, 2016
The tree in that last one looks like an ear. Maybe they're trying to say to each other "'ear me out!'"
By: Catalyst on March 4, 2016
#42 struck me as wonderfully surreal, and a bit Dali-esque. Nothing's melting, but the juxtaposition on the vast landscape is riveting. I can see why #44 has sold a lot. I got it immediately when I looked at it. That could be my house right there. LOL!
By: Lexa Cain on March 4, 2016
Wow. These are impressive. I can see why #44 does well. Beautiful work, Stephen. You are a talented guy.
By: Mr. Shife on March 4, 2016
Poor drain man! He's my favorite.
By: Val on March 4, 2016
I like your Peculiar Pictures ... I think it takes real talent to come up with these conceptual ideas. Looking forward to the next bunch, whenever that may be.
By: jenny_o on March 4, 2016
So, you are one of those guys! (LOL?)
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on March 5, 2016
Oh, I like these- very different! That last one speaks volumes to me.
By: Terri@Coloring Outside the Lines on March 5, 2016
I created a huge stock of drawings for etched glass over the years as I always off the client at least two choices and most often three. I'm always happy when a new client picks something I've already drawn which happened this week.
By: ellen abbott on March 5, 2016
You do think outside the box don't you.:) Would have liked seeing the guy circling the drain have a bad, blond, comb over. Wishful thinking. That last one speaks volumes.
By: Arkansas Patti on March 5, 2016
I love them all but can understand the commercial success of #44.
By: Mitchell Is Moving on March 5, 2016
Terrific images. Thanks. Greetings from London.
By: A Cuban In London on March 5, 2016
The one of the man seen through the hole in the key (the close-up) is somewhat reminiscent of the opening scene of a James Bond movie. Nice!
By: Scott Park on March 5, 2016
I can see why the #44 was successful - easy to understand and a common issue with relationships. I guess I'm interpreting #43 differently - I see him as a businessman (or politician? or counselor?) who was thrown into a tumultuous situation and has been tasked with stopping everything from going down the drain.
By: Pixel Peeper on March 5, 2016
Great stuff. I really like the colors of #43, and that the tree in #44 is shaped like an ear. Very telling. Thanks for sharing these, Stephen.
By: Robyn Engel on March 6, 2016
Good and imaginative. Like that one on the Teacup ride.
By: Haddock on March 9, 2016

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