Monday, June 30, 2014


June is a time of celebration at Casa Chatterbox. Thursday would have been my dad’s 88th birthday, Friday was our son’s birthday, and yesterday Mrs. Chatterbox and I celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary. Read about it (here).

Friday, June 27, 2014

CJ's Birthday

Today is our son CJ’s thirty-fourth birthday. I don’t feel old enough to have a son that age, but the wrinkled face in the mirror assures me it’s true. Mrs. C. and I were twenty-eight and had already been married six years when we had our one and only child. Since we’ve known each other since high school it isn’t inconceivable that we could have a son in his forties. I shiver at the thought. Read about CJ (here).


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Try This At Home

The Grande Odalisque, an odalisque being a harem girl, was painted in 1814 by a Frenchman by the name of Ingres (pronounced angry-without the y).  The French were queer at the time for anything having to do with distant cultures. They coined the term Orientalism, even though Grande Odalisque doesn’t resemble anyone who ever stepped out of the Orient. Check her out (here).


Monday, June 23, 2014

Cutting the Cord

I recently came to the realization that someone in my family is having difficulty cutting the cord. I’m referring to my 89 year old mother and her telephone. Read about my recent phone conversation with Mom (here).

Friday, June 20, 2014

Running Down the Governor of California

 No, it wasn’t Arnold the Governator, and no, I wasn’t a reporter in hot pursuit of an interview. It was Jerry Brown, the 34th and 39th (current) Governor of California. I ran him down with my car. Read about it (here).

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Peculiar Picture #34

This illustration was painted shortly after moving to Oregon. I was still working in oil at the time. This piece was done on textured paper, with the forms wiped out while the paint was wet. Other colors were added later. My illustration was intended for a fluff piece The Oregonian was running on the forestry industry. Check out the whole illustration (here).


Monday, June 16, 2014


Years ago I read in the newspaper that a special collection of items from the permanent collection of The Smithsonian was touring the country and would arrive in Portland in a few weeks. The article went on to say that among the included items would be the stovepipe hat Lincoln wore to Ford’s Theater that fateful night, along with a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. A Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington would be in the exhibit, along with a pair of Teddy Roosevelt’s spectacles. But another item mentioned in the article excited me more than all the others. Read about it (here).


Friday, June 13, 2014

The Last Judgment

 Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, painted behind the main altar of the Sistine Chapel between 1534 and 1541, is one of the most heralded masterpieces in Western Art. Since its completion, artists and critics have been astonished by Michelangelo’s total mastery of composition and human anatomy, but that doesn’t mean we have to take every stroke of The Last Judgment seriously. Check out some of its details (here).


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Go By Train

When I asked my dad if he'd ever been to Portland's venerable Union Station, he said, "Yes, but it was a long time ago." Read about our trip to the old train station (here).

Monday, June 9, 2014

Paintings of the Week

Now that I’ve returned to painting I’ve decided to create a new feature called Painting(s) of the Week, where I intend to share with you the pictures I’ve been working on. This probably won’t be a weekly feature because there will be times when I won’t have painted anything along with others when I only managed a scratcher—a painting so bad I ended up scratching it off the surface. I might even post a few of these just for fun. Check out my latest efforts (here).


Friday, June 6, 2014

The Biggest Peeve of All

It’s a mouse-size pet peeve, but sometimes it roars within me like a lion. Frequent readers of this blog know I’m often at odds with my eighty-nine year old mother. Mom is not mellowing with age and is feistier than ever. She spends most of her time watching Court TV and putting down the government. When I call, my role is that of a human crossword puzzle, keeping her sharp, even though I become blunt in the process. Ninety-nine percent of the time I call her, but she infrequently dials me. This is where my pet peeve comes in. Check (here) to listen to what these conversations sounds like.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Not the Man I Once Was

 I’m the tallest man I know, but only when I sit down. I’m 5’8” when standing—the height of the average American thanks to Hispanics and Asians—but seated around a dining room table I tower over everyone. I know what you’re thinking: You must have an ass as big as a Rose Parade float. Read the rest (here).


Monday, June 2, 2014

The Century Plant

Most illustrators believe they have a picture book lurking inside them and I was no exception, especially since I also enjoyed writing. Twenty years ago during my illustration career I decided to pen a children’s book based on a story my paternal grandmother told me about a century plant growing in front of her grandfather’s house when she was a girl.Read about it (here).