Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"Endless Possibilities, Then, Again..."

Top of the "HumptyDump" to you, all bodies!
All though I never got to see the little pals fledge yesterday morning, I spend about an hour with my binoculars, my Nikon, and a cup of coffee to witness the beginning of their leaving the nesting box. It was interesting to see the parents flying, fluttering and swooping up and down around the box to get the youngsters the message. One little guy actually came out from the hole as mom enticed it to follow her.
He took a look around, flapped his wings a couple of times and promptly jumped back into the safety of the nest. I couldn't stay to see all the bluebirds leave, so I later called up my wife to tell her about the show. She apparently went out to followup on the escape.
Later that day, I checked the box to see if any bird was left behind. There was only one unhatched egg left.
In all these years, I've never seen the entire family leave or where they seek shelter after leaving the nest, but we had a pretty strong storm that came through around dinner time and I wondered how those feathered friends made out.
As the wind, the rain and the thunder surrounded us, I turned to our cocker spaniel and said,"You got it made in the shade, dude!"
First cup...

Copyright 2017/Ben Bensen III

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

"I Was A Little Bit Nuts, I Admit It!"

Frames drawn for storyboards at 3"x4"...
We used to do storyboards at this size. Most of the 3"x4" frames were pretty sketchy with minimal color. I guess I was just a bit crazy! Clients did seem to like em, though. This is one in a series of fifteen marker frames for a client Security Pacific Bank for the art director Jeff Weekley at DMB&B Advertising.

I am posting one of fifteen everyday on my Facebook account's cover sheet.

Here's a few more minis... 

Copyright 2017/ Ben Bensen III

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

"That Old Matchbox Hole In My Clothes"...

Just saying...

Happy Dappy Humpty Dump Day, y'all. Here in 'da Bayou, it's gonna be a beautiful day... weather wise. 
"I'm just sittin' here watching that old matchbox hole in my clothes, I ain't got no matches but I sure gotta a long way to go!"
So true.
And, it is all in the details, or so it seems. Because of my wife's new dietary concerns, I'm gonna try a frittata "quiche" without a pie crust. It will be more like an egg custard thingy. I think I'm gonna have to find a recipe and STICK to it... I never do, though. We'll see.
On another detailed note, the color house that took pro pictures of my Pierce Arrow poster called yesterday as we were lounging around in the sun at Giddy Up. Because I felt a bit guilty for spending more time creating the poster than I should have, I felt I needed to get the digital copy to the designer for printing, ASAP, but I really didn't expect it to be ready for pickup so soon. When they'd call, I would have an expeditious plan prepared.
I had a little over three hours to drive into New Orleans pick up the painting and the cd, make one copy for myself on the laptop and dupe another copy to send to another partner, throw them into some cd mailers which were already pre-addressed and deliver them to the NOLA post office.
It was gonna work out perfectly, but I forgot to bring extra blank cd's because the covers didn't fit the mailer. So, I brought two of those poorly designed plastic cases with me but not the blank cd's that they come in. When I got the original cd, I ran into the car, opened up my laptop to copy them, but also forgot that this laptop doesn't have an internal dvd drive in it.
"I can't believe it. The entire world is conspiring against me... Including Donald Trump!"
I returned to the color house desk and beg them to make me a copy. Waiting for about twenty minutes, now had me under the clock. The last pick up for mail ended at 4:30 pm. Now, it was screw the other partner, for now. He'll get his cd later. I need a copy of the original cd for myself.
I threw the one cd into the mailer and took off for the post office. I made the deadline, but all the while the desk clerk at the color house's comments kept ringing in my ear...
"You know, you could've just used a Dropbox!"
First "Doh!" cup o' CDM...

Copyright 2017/ Ben Bensen III

Saturday, February 4, 2017

"Mom, Can I Borrow A Shoebox?"

Making a Mardi Gras float...
I remember when my son had to create a mission in fourth or fifth grade as part of learning about the history of California. Naturally, all the parents competed with each other to create the best mission diorama for some elementary school open house. For sure, it was a fun family project, but I can't say I was not creatively involved.

I don't have any recollection about doing this in Catholic school, but the first four years of my education was at a public school and every year around "Carnival Time" (That's what we called it in back then!) we'd create Mardi Gras floats out of shoe boxes. Mom would sacrifice one of her boxes to staple the top of the box vertically to the bottom container that held the shoes. Lots of glue, tempera paint, colored crepe paper, usually the Mardi Gras colors of green, purple and gold, and old beads from last year's booty, help create the beginning of some sort of concept.

Even as a kid, I never was enamored with all that fake royalty, glitter, masks and such, but okay, the top of the box had to have revelers to help make a concise float concept. One year, the solution was to taking my plastic, olive drab soldiers, and paint them in the colors of Mardi Gras. I used mostly the soldiers who were throwing hand grenades, ( you remember that pose!) and have them throwing something into the adoring crowd. Another year, Trigger, Bullet, farm animals and a roping Roy Rogers graced the top of my float. I tried to glue my Nelly Belle jeep to the deck of the float, but it never would stay atop of the deck and would just roll off the float.

One year, I designed the float with those colored plastic, (Wasn't everything plastic back then?) four engined airplanes which I believe I received from the throws of the prior year. I used cotton balls to create the clouds which "floated" in front of a painted blue vertical background. Back then, we kids were seriously into the environment recycling all kinds of junk to enhance our special entry. We'd glue Life Savers, doilies, pins, MandM's, moss, sticks and stones, colored buttons stolen from granny's button jar, and Scrabble chips to misspell Marty Graw!

I wonder if any New Orleans mother ever got their shoe boxes back on Ash Wednesday or ever even wanted them back!

Copyright 2017/ Ben Bensen III

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The only record left of Santa Viking's existence.

Good Christmas Eve Saturday, y'all.
I am happy to report that I survived my ordeal yesterday with Mother Nature. I was afraid I would do something stupid and wreck Christmas, but, after about six hours of yard work, I am pleasantly surprised. 
Speaking about Christmas, this is my Santa Viking pic from yesteryear. When our family had young kids to celebrate Christmas, we'd ship our gifts to them from SoCal. My two brothers started a bogus Christmas company call "Dudenheimer Productions". Tee, Brian and I would look with much anticipation for all the zany silliness my brothers could conjure up.
It was always a fun time under the tree!
In retaliation, I started sending our gifts from "Santa Viking" who'd ravage and pillage and plunder... and blunder his way into the hearts of many a little Bensen! Many Polaroids later, this is the only record of Santa Viking's existence.
Enjoy... I think!
In case I forget, let me wish you all a wonderful Christmas. My Facebook and Google friends are the best...

Copyright 2016/Ben Bensen III

Monday, December 12, 2016

"Come All Ye Faithful..."

Holy Trinity Cathedral
"When we get there, I don't think we need to stay too long," my wife said. I thought to myself well what's the big deal. It's kinda rude just to show your face and then, run!

"Okay, whatever," I acquiesced.

When we arrived at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in New Orleans, which I later found out was first Greek Orthodox Church in North or South America, the parking lot was almost full.

About two Saturdays ago, I moseyed over for a cup of coffee and some abuse from the gang at Gus's restaurant, but there was no one or cars to be found as is usual. There was an envelope taped to the locked door of the restaurant. I wasn't sealed so I decided to open it up and see what was the reason for everyone's Saturday no show.

Written on a torn, half sheet of yellow ledger paper by a local landscape gardener, Steve Smith, was his condolences to the owner, Gus Michailakis. The first thing that crossed my mind was that Gus had complications from his inner ear surgery and passed away. 

I was not the only friend who shared that concern.

Sketchy information from close friends who spoke to witnesses said that on Friday night, with little or no warning, the eldest son, George, left the kitchen where he was working and went into the men's bathroom to end it all. George was the eldest son with a history of mental illness. One shot was all that was heard. 

Naturally, chaos ensued. The restaurant wasn't crowded at that time, but patrons poured out of the door into the parking lot. The local police showed as did the ambulance. Out of respect for the family, none of the patrons asked and little information was divulged. At this point, one week later, the details of his death don't seem so important.

Waiting our turn to see George in repose, I noticed in front of me, the neighborhood friend Therese and I ran into as we walked to the church. She stood in front of the casket with tears in her eyes. I looked around to see how precious friendships really are and what a simple neighborhood eatery means to a community. If only George could have understood the important part of his being alive and the out pouring of love that was shown at the crowded church.

I turned my head back towards the casket to notice that, our friend, Debra, touched George's hand which was surrounded by a crystal rosary. Her doing so reminded me of seeing our son in his casket and touching his hand. A hand, though still rather childlike, was a talented hand. Little hands that we had to hold so he wouldn't scratch himself from the many food allergies that plagued him most of his life. Soft hands that could easily grasped a double play ball or tap an errand throw of a football back into his arms. Talented hands that could build and paint model aircraft as well as create marker and charcoal and pastel art. 

The same hands that later would nervously pat me on the head as he passed by never knowing quite how I would receive it, were now cold and gray. It has always stuck with me. As our turn came up to pay our respects, I could tell Therese was beginning to have a hard time coping, for George was Brian and Brian was now, George. But when she met Pam Michailakis, in the receiving line, both mothers hugged and fell into desperate tears. I really don't know what was said or commiserated. I'll never know what it means to share one mother's heartbreak with another mother, but I could tell Tee was already exhausted.

We sat in a pew for a moment or two trying to regain some composure, then we walked back to the car. Starting it up, I slipped a Christmas cd into the player. The first song to play was,"Oh Come All Ye Faithful... It was then that I realized the "twenty minutes" was probably more than enough!

Copyright 2016/ Ben Bensen III

Saturday, December 10, 2016

"The Courthouse Wedding Sketch.. A FollowUp!"

The happy framer, couple and artist!
This is just a follow up to the preceding blog story:  

We, the framer, the couple and me, finally were able to meet at Pineapple Gallery in Mandeville, yesterday. 

For some reason, unbeknownst to me, I was really concerned that they wouldn't love it. Maybe, it had to do with only having a few minutes to complete it! I sometimes wonder what the hell is wrong with me! 

But, they both were ecstatic about the framing as well as the artwork. Whew!

Copyright 2016/Ben Bensen III