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


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 #49 & #50

August 24, 2016




Considering that I’ve been posting Peculiar Pictures for five years, it’s reasonable to assume I painted more peculiar illustrations than any other kind. And here are two more, both from my Business Fundamentals CD.


I was commissioned by Getty Images to create spot illustrations dealing with business and money issues. Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t know what spot illustrations were. Here’s a later example of two of my spot illustrations; simple, without complex details and lots of blank space (cropped here) to accommodate text.



Cutting Through Red Tape (Spot Illustration)




Struggling With an Idea (Spot Illustration)


Instead, I provided Getty Images with fully developed illustrations with lots of details (perhaps too many). It was challenging to create all these details on a short deadline; I was given fifty days to create sixty rough sketches for approval before completing the final illustrations. To finish this assignment on time, I ended up churning out two illustrations a day. These works proved extremely popular and I received royalties from their use for years, even though I barely recall painting them.


I was encouraged to include a handshake in my collection of images. I wanted to create something more interesting than a simple handshake and an idea sprang to mind when I saw sign painters working on a building opposite my downtown studio. I don’t think this image has been used too often, but I did see it in an Arizona magazine when we visited that state several years ago.




Handshake (Acrylic)


With a subject like Business Fundamentals, pictures about money were required. I liked the idea of a money python squeezing the life out of someone and imagined it could be used in a variety of ways, but so far I haven’t seen it in print.




 Money Snake (Acrylic)


Maybe it’s too creepy?   



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That last one would be a good illustration of my life. Haha.
By: PT Dilloway on August 24, 2016
It is little creepy
By: cranky on August 24, 2016
Shame no one has used the last one. Maybe it's too dark?
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on August 24, 2016
The hand shake piece is brilliant. Absolutely love it. The top two illustrations are also excellent. The bottom piece conveys a lot, but it is very unnerving.
By: Tom Cochrun on August 24, 2016
As much as i like snakes, even i don't want one that big actually around me.
By: messymimi on August 24, 2016
hmmmm- money can be a snake squeezing the life out of us!
By: Kathe W. on August 24, 2016
Your 'Peculiar' illustrations paid off. :)
By: Daniel LaFrance on August 24, 2016
i really like the handshake one. very cool.
By: TexWisGirl on August 24, 2016
The snake one? Yeah, that's been my summer.
By: Al Penwasser on August 24, 2016
I don't think these are peculiar at all. I can look at each and tell instantly the message you were trying to convey. Nice!
By: scott park on August 24, 2016
That handshake could have been used for a cover picture on "The Art of the Deal"!
By: Catalyst on August 24, 2016
This is an interesting series of paintings. You tell a good story to go along with each one.
By: red Kline on August 24, 2016
These are very well-done. The handshake one is intriguing; I lingered on that one for a while. The python...yeah, I guess it could be seen as creepy. I like the idea though. Maybe you could have gone a different way with it if you weren't on deadline?
By: Chris on August 24, 2016
Heh, heh! I misread that last part, and thought you liked the idea of a MONTY Python squeezing the life out of someone!
By: Val on August 24, 2016
The python is nasty and the man looks as if he'll soon die. I love the handshake, cutting through red tape, and struggling with an idea. You're an excellent, creative artist. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on August 24, 2016
How on earth did you crank out so many illustrations so quickly?? Especially that were such good quality.
By: LL Cool Joe on August 24, 2016
What a talented fellow you are. I particularly like the handshake/building site image.
By: Bryan Jones on August 25, 2016
Great images that say a lot!
By: Sage on August 25, 2016
Your mind amazes me. You do not think in a box. I loved the struggling with an idea, hand shake and cutting through red tape. I had a brief time in my life when I had my own money python and am just glad he is behind me. So yea, that one did creep me out a bit.
By: Arkansas Patti on August 25, 2016
You are truly gifted.
By: Rick Watson on August 25, 2016

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