Blog Archive


The Century Plant

June 02, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
                    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. For those who don’t know, a century plant is a large cactus said to bloom once every hundred years. In fact, it doesn’t take a century for them to bloom but it does take an exceptionally long time.              My story revolved around a little H ...

 + photos!,  read more

Not the Man I Once Was

June 04, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
      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, but I don’t. Well, maybe the size of those carts that scoop up the horse poop. The problem is my legs. They’re too short, not Toulouse Lautrec short, but Boys Department short.        Someone seated behind me in a theater once whispered to their companion, “Why do I always end up seated behind someone tall?”       Before sitting down I ...

 + photos!,  read more

The Biggest Peeve of All

June 06, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
    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. The conversation sounds painfully like this:       Ring….ring….ring….            I pick up the phone. “Hello?&rdquo ...

 + photos!,  read more

Paintings of the Week

June 09, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
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.       Mrs. Chatterbox informed me that there are already too many self-portraits hanging in our home and suggested I paint something or someone else. But who to paint? I’ve never been particularly interested in landscapes or still lifes, and peopl ...

 + photos!,  read more

Go By Train

June 11, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Shortly before my dad unexpectedly passed away in 2008 he drove across town to our house to spend the afternoon with me. Mom and Dad had only lived in Portland a few years, having recently relocated from the Bay Area because a health scare had convinced them it was time to move near us in case they needed assistance.      Dad was a gregarious guy but we sometimes had difficulty finding subjects to talk about. I suggested we go for a walk. “Have you seen Portland’s old Union Station?” I asked.      “Yes, but it was a long time ago. I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.”      It was a pleasant day, bright but not too warm, perfect for a stroll. ...

 + photos!,  read more

The Last Judgment

June 13, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
      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 it seriously, even though it does depict the second coming of Christ, the judging of souls and the damned being banished to hell. Parts of this gigantic work (539.3 inches x 472.4 inches) are curious while others are actually laughable.          Michelangelo didn’t want to paint this fresco any more than he’d wa ...

 + photos!,  read more


June 16, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  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, the sort of item that always made me sit up in my Barcalounger when one appeared on Antiques Roadshow—a Louis Comfort Tiffa ...

 + photos!,  read more

Peculiar Picture #34

June 18, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
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.       When it came to creating illustrations I always tried to hold my personal opinions in check, but I was not a fan of Oregon’s forestry industry, which at the time was characterized by clear-cut deforestation—massive land stripping that removed every tree in sight. Sure, saplings were planted between the stumps but this only made tree farms, not forests. Oregon’s forest industry has ...

 + photos!,  read more

Running Down the Governor of California

June 20, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
No, it wasn’t Arnold the Governator, and no, I wasn’t a reporter in hot pursuit of an interview. It was Jerry Brown, and I ran him down with my car.      I’d forgotten my unfortunate encounter with the former Governor of California and three-time presidential candidate (now the current Governor of California) until I dialed in to a local deejay who was asking listeners to phone in their most memorable encounter with a celebrity. The prize for the winning story was a day of pampering at a fancy spa, which I knew Mrs. Chatterbox would enjoy. As I thought about the deejay’s request, I recalled the Jerry Brown incident. It happened back in ’76 when Jerry was running for president. I still th ...

 + photos!,  read more

Cutting the Cord

June 23, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
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. A recent phone conversation with Mom went like this:      “Mom, have you been outside today?”      “No. Why?”      “Go open your front door. You’re in for a treat.”      “What are you talking about?”      Tina, our friend the magnificent gardener—I’ve posted about her before—heard that my mother loves cherries. Tina picked cherries from the tree in her backyard and drove them to Mom’s retireme ...

 + photos!,  read more

Try This At Home

June 25, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
First posted 4/14/12      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. Still, isn’t she pretty? This was French Nineteenth Century pornography at its finest. A wife couldn’t get too upset if her husband ogled her; after all, she was art!      This lovely lady caused quite a stir when exhibited at the 1814 Salon in Paris. She instantly assumed her place in the grand traditi ...

 + photos!,  read more

CJ's Birthday

June 27, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
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.      Two reflections tango in my mind today as I think about my son. Surprisingly, the first involves one of the worst days of my life. CJ was two years old and I was out of work during a terrible recession that struck the Northwest in the early eighties. Mrs. C. had a job and was carrying the lion&r ...

 + photos!,  read more


June 30, 2014 :: written in: All Blog Posts
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.      This picture shows us shortly after our honeymoon when we’d moved into an old duplex in West Los Angeles. I’d inherited the apartment from my college chum Ray, who over the next few months popped in at inconvenient times to use the shower.      It’s easy to look at old pictures of yourself or loved ones and wonder what became of the strangely familiar faces staring back at you, seemingly from across the years. My perky young bride looks like a New Christ ...

 + photos!,  read more

Join 3000+ in the Bull Pen
Stephen Hayes
(a.k.a. Chubby Chatterbox)
has been published!


Order from your favorite book retailer

Another Easy Way to Follow

Type Your Email Here:

Visit our Store


-0001 (1) 2011 (5) 2012 (76) 2013 (200) 2014 (155) 2015 (140) 2016 (140) 2017 (141) 2018 (3)