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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This One Sold #3

August 7, 2013
This illustration has sold several times and has always been one of my favorites. An art director asked me to paint a picture that illustrated the futility of chasing after money. I immediately thought of one of literature’s most famous lunatics—crazy old Don Quixote—tilting at windmills in the belief that they were evil giants. Quixote believed it was his responsibility to rid the world of them. In my picture I decided to incorporate money into the scene by adding currency to the windmills.


My original intention was to meticulously depict the money with extremely fine paintbrushes, but the piece needed to be completed quickly and I wasn’t afforded enough time to achieve the affect I wanted. Instead, I placed money in my copy machine (don’t tell the Feds) and made black and white copies of money which I glued to my picture and glazed over with translucent paint to achieve a three dimensional effect.


The story of Don Quixote has inspired many artists, none more esteemed than Picasso who created dozens of paintings based on this fictional Spanish knight. My illustration is included on Business Fundamentals, my royalty free art CD. This image was purchased several years ago by the US Department of Internal Revenue. I can only wonder what they used it for.




That is a really neat picture. Is your CD on Amazon or anywhere like that?
By: PT Dilloway on August 7, 2013
I love that! It's interesting how, as an illustrator, you had to be a creative genius AND a good (great) painter :)
By: The Bug on August 7, 2013
If you didn't mention the money trick I would never had known. I love his shield. Great work!
By: David Walston on August 7, 2013
Anything associating Don Quixote with the IRS has my interest! Great pic-
By: Shelly on August 7, 2013
Or it could represent the futility of replacing oil with wind energy. If you were a tea party guy. Which you are not, so I get your intention. Excellent painting. No, I am not against wind generators, it was just an observation.
By: Cranky on August 7, 2013
The futility of fighting the IRS? The futility of trying to figure out your taxes? I dunno ... but all in all, very clever!
By: tom sightings on August 7, 2013
I LOVE your work!! Will you be my personal artist?
By: fishducky on August 7, 2013
Very cool. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on August 7, 2013
that is TOTALLY cool! really, really neat!
By: TexWisGirl on August 7, 2013
Fascinating, i like it. And i always liked Don Quixote.
By: mimi on August 7, 2013
That reminds me. I need to go to the bank.
By: Val on August 7, 2013
I already have dibs on your artistic talents. :) You have quite the imagination. Brilliant concept and perfectly executed to boot !
By: Daniel LaFrance on August 7, 2013
Excellent art work, Stephen. (Now, where's Sancho Panza when you need him?)
By: Catalyst/Bruce on August 7, 2013
I love the illustration, but I have no idea what the IRS wants it for.
By: Scott Park on August 7, 2013
I would want to know where exactly my piece of art ended up. So you have no idea for what the IRS used it?
By: Pixel Peeper on August 7, 2013
How very clever of you to use the copy process. It is a awesome effect. I can see why people would want to use it. You awe me with your talent.
By: Cheryl P. on August 7, 2013
I can see why it sold repeatedly. That is a fine and imaginative piece of work.
By: Tom Cochrun on August 7, 2013
I really like what you did with those bills. It's a great picture, Stephen. xoRobyn
By: Robyn Engel on August 7, 2013
What great work, truly an inspired piece. Pictures do say more than words ever can, especially this one!
By: John on August 8, 2013
Very good story here. So, you never now how they use it? How many times can you sell and are you required to tell the buyer that it has been sold before?
By: Tabor on August 8, 2013
Many readers have asked questions about Royalty Free CDs. My CD includes 60 pictures and buyers can purchase the entire CD or just single images. Price depends on usage and art directors understand that others have also purchased these images. One illustration has sold over fifty times. I receive royalty checks monthly along with a list of clients who have purchased my work, but I'm not told how they've used these images.
By: Chubby Chatterbox on August 8, 2013
awesome image Stephen- my sweetie wants to know if you exhibit your art in a local PDX gallery? Love the fact that the IRS purchased it!
By: Kathe W. on August 8, 2013
I think picture encapsulates a warning for rich young women: i.e. don't let a knight in shining armor ride into your life and blow all your money!
By: Bryan Jones on August 8, 2013
Clearly the IRS bought it to determine if you (1) defaced their money (2) photocopied their money or (3) have any money they can tax ... Will you be showing us the illustration that sold over fifty times?
By: jenny_o on August 8, 2013

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