Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Second Blogiversary

Two years ago my son CJ helped me launch Chubby Chatterbox. My first post was about my quirky mother (who remains a favorite topic based on e-mails I receive). I’d hesitated to create a blog because I suspected it would require commitment—not one of my favorite things—but so many people had supported my art and writing over the years that I felt obligated to bring my “story telling” to the next level. CJ convinced me that a blog was that next level.

Read about what happened next here.

Monday, July 29, 2013

This One Sold #2

Illustrators rise or fall depending on how many regular customers they have. One or two high-paying clients a year doesn’t pay the bills or put food on the table. I was fortunate to have a dozen regulars over the years, art directors who channeled work to me consistently. Paul Nickell, the art director and editor of The Oregon State Bar Bulletin was a client who became a friend. I produced dozens of covers for him over the years, and this is one of my favorites. Paul was always looking for interesting angles to capture a reader’s attention, especially when an article was rather dry in content. He was a joy to work for.

I’ve always been fascinated with luminous skies and this acrylic illustration reflects that interest. Below is a detail of my illustration. Click (here) to see the entire picture.   

Thursday, July 25, 2013

An Elixir for Retirement

Since it’s Thursday you probably aren’t expecting to hear from me today, but I wanted to share some good news with you. I was recently contacted by a website called Retirement and Good Living. After discovering Chubby Chatterbox they invited me to write a guest post. You can check it out at

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Mouth of Truth

 First posted 2/10/12

Among Rome’s many churches is Santa Maria in Cosmedin, where Saint Valentine’s bones are said to be kept. However, the most famous attraction in this church is not the saint; it is the legendary Boca della Veritas—The Mouth of Truth.
We aren’t exactly sure what the Boca della Veritas is, maybe part of a fountain or a massive manhole cover from Ancient Rome. We do know that since the Middle Ages this object has served a curious purpose—as a lie detector. Read how it works (here.)


Monday, July 22, 2013

Most Talented

When I heard he’d died I felt intense shame as I dug out my high school yearbook to gaze at his picture. We were both in the graduating Class of 1970 at Wilcox High. I turned to the Senior awards page and there he was, smiling broadly, holding his beloved violin and looking at the world confidently through thick black glasses. Beneath his picture it read: Timothy Sanders, Most Talented.

Read about Timothy (here.)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

This One Sold

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.

Read about it (here.)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Calendar War

 I’ve been married to Mrs. Chatterbox for thirty-nine years, and in that time we’ve come to learn much about each other. In addition to partnering as parents to raise and launch our son, we’ve shared hopes and dreams and dozens of silly as well as important secrets. I often think I know Mrs. C. better than I know myself. So you can imagine my surprise when I recently discovered something about her that really blew my mind. I thought I knew my wife, so my head spun when I discovered we didn’t agree on something so fundamentally obvious. She might just as well have said the Earth was flat or evolution a myth. I’m wondering if our marriage can be saved. 

Read about it (here.)


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Humble Pie

Several weeks ago I was leaving a Thai restaurant with Mrs. C. and happened to pass by the window of a new art supply store that had recently opened in our neighborhood. Taped to the front window was a sign—PART TIME HELP WANTED. I’m still trying to figure out why I did it, but I left Mrs. C. standing there on the curb while I walked inside and requested an application.What happened next startled me. Read about it (here).

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Conclusion: Straight hair and Popularity

Moments before I’d thought I was fine the way I was, but now I felt like I was dying of thirst and David was handing me a glass of water.
“How can you make me popular?”
“Your hair.”
“My hair. I’m unpopular because of my hair?”
“Haven’t you noticed that all the cool people have straight hair?”
“No. Like who?”
 “How ‘bout I give you four—The Beatles.”
Well, he had me there. Even I knew the Beatles were cool.Check out what happened next (here.)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Straight Hair & Popularity

It's hard to be popular when your thirteen year old best friend chews tobacco and still wets the bed. Read about my quest for popularity (here.)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My First Nude

While channel surfing not long ago I landed on an episode of Family Feud. Just as I was about to change the channel, host Steve Harvey asked this question: Where were you when you first saw a naked member of the opposite sex? As I scratched my head thinking about it, the image of a jelly donut popped into my head. Read about it (here.)      

Monday, July 8, 2013

In Gauguin's Footsteps


French painter Paul Gauguin was seeking paradise when he left France in 1891. Although he lived in French Polynesia for years and painted his most famous pictures there, he wasn’t thrilled with the impact of western civilization he witnessed on his arrival. He was looking for an Eden, where innocent natives walked about naked and unashamed. Alas, French missionaries had already discovered the place, and women were compelled to cover their nakedness with dresses. Since Polynesian women had no concept of shame, they didn’t understand why they were supposed to cover their breasts. Many of these women thwarted modesty laws by cutting holes in these dresses to expose their breasts, making it easier to nurse babies.

Mrs. Chatterbox and I traveled to French Polynesia in 2004. See more pictures (here.)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

What Do We Really Know?

When dinosaurs looked up and saw a fiery meteorite shrieking into the atmosphere they had no idea their world was coming to an end. And I’m sure Romans couldn’t believe that a thousand years of culture were ending when barbarians were sighted near the gates of Rome. We are often incapable of recognizing or comprehending the important moments of our lives as they happen.

Read the rest of my Fourth of July comments (here.)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Geriatric Park

I haven’t shared any recent conversations with my mother, but yesterday’s phone call really made me laugh. Mom has a tendency to mangle her words. Wait until you hear about this one. (Here.)