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….

Sign up and read my novel for free.

All Blog Posts

This One Sold

July 21, 2013

A regular commenter recently inquired why I had so many illustrations that never sold. I doubt I have more unsold pieces than other professional illustrators but it did make me think that perhaps I should occasionally post illustrations that did sell.



This piece was created in 1994 for Bloomberg Business News for a feature on Rhino Records. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Rhino Records was a hot outlet for vintage records unavailable from other music sources. I was asked to create a “hippy-dippy” rhinoceros to accompany the article. It was fun painting John Lennon’s granny glasses, peace buttons and zebra go-go boots, but the biggest challenge was painting the ground and receding environment. Also challenging were the instructions from the art director for a narrow picture allowing text to be kerned (wrapped) around part of the image.



As I recall, the turn around time on this project was only a week, which meant I couldn’t use slow-drying oils. This was painted on canvas with fast-drying acrylics. As many of you know, acrylic paint is water based and dries extremely quickly (a plus) but the rapid drying leaves little time to blend colors to avoid a scratchy surface. You might also notice that this picture is much “tighter” than my later more painterly work. 


This project taught me a lot about working quickly. Eventually, I stopped using oils altogether and relied exclusively on acrylics. I retained the copyright to this image and one day hope to find another use for it.





I paint, also, & I don't see how you could get anything done "on time" with oils. I LOVE THIS PAINTING!!
By: fishducky on July 21, 2013
Love the hippy dippy rhino - super cool man!
By: The Bug on July 21, 2013
this guy has so much character......love it. Oma Linda
By: Oma Linda on July 21, 2013
That is one funky rhino.
By: PT Dilloway on July 21, 2013
I like this one and I can see why it sold. Spot on for who you were working for. Excellent. Have a fabulous day. :)
By: Comedy Plus on July 21, 2013
that's pretty cool! i've never used oils. after trying watercolors and tempura, i found acrylics to be my fave. and that's been eons ago since i worked with them. :)
By: TexWisGirl on July 21, 2013
Nice. You did have to squeeze him in there.
By: David Walston on July 21, 2013
Wonderful painting though I wondered why the rhino was posing in the desert.
By: Catalyst/Bruce on July 21, 2013
A very cool piece of work. It certainly works to grab interest.
By: Tom Cochrun on July 21, 2013
What an intriguing piece of work. I'm not a painter, but I enjoy artists with creativity and talent. Well done.
By: Donna Volkenannt on July 21, 2013
Kudos on your thin rhino! I know nothing about painting. But I know a little bit about hippy-dippy. I swear I had a ring like that butterfly-looking necklace.
By: Val on July 21, 2013
Interesting...that painting the ground and the landscape was the difficult part in this illustration. A non-artist like me would never think of that. Nice painting!
By: Pixel Peeper on July 21, 2013
Well, I do see a children's book in your future.
By: Tabor on July 21, 2013
It's "hippy dippy" alright, and I love the way the tusk comes out of the frame. Hope they paid you well for it!
By: tom sightings on July 21, 2013
Excellently done! If only a real rhino could be such a cook and hip character.
By: mimi on July 21, 2013
Very cool. I'll bet it was also a challenge to figure out just where to rest the glasses.
By: Hilary on July 21, 2013
That's fantastic! I agree, you should post more of your illustrations that sold. I love how it moves over into the text, and love the color of it. Very well done :)
By: Kianwi on July 21, 2013
That was cool! I know why that one sold.
By: Red on July 21, 2013
I want to hear the Rhino sing! This image is beautiful- love it!
By: Kathe W. on July 22, 2013
What a great image, so vibrant!
By: John on July 22, 2013
When you are provided with just basic requirements, do you create just one or several samples for the client ? Funky art! :)
By: Daniel LaFrance on July 22, 2013
I can't paint or draw to save my life. But, for what it's worth, I think your rhino is great.
By: Bryan Jones on July 22, 2013
That is very cool. Love the boots. A Rhino wearing zebra boots...very daring if he lives in a zoo where zebras are close at hand.
By: Cheryl P. on July 22, 2013
I remember Rhino Records. That's a great illustration. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on July 22, 2013
I have many Rhino records. Great label. I love the painting. I could never get into acrylics, they just dried to quickly for me! I always used gouache. I doubt I'd know what to do with them now, it's so long since I picked up a paintbrush, unless it's to paint a wall.
By: LL COOL JOE on July 23, 2013
I love this!
By: jenny_o on July 23, 2013
What a cool, cool picture! How'd you managed to make it so "hippy dippy? Hell if I know about that rhino.
By: Al Penwasser on July 27, 2013

Leave a Comment


Return to All Blog Posts Main Page

RSS 2.0   Atom