Sunday, October 30, 2016

"Nevermore, Nevermore... Quoth The Raven!

A red winged blackbird...
Well, one can blame Edgar Allan Poe for creating a poem that demonizes all ebony colored birds especially at this "trick or treat" time of year. Blackbirds of all kinds, brewer blackbirds, cowbirds, grackles, ravens and crows and maybe even those "four and twenty ones" that somehow were baked in a pie, are obviously up to no good.

Ravens are the worse. Those big black demons with their cold black eyes, screeching howls, and a menacing bill designed to pick the meat off of the deceased, are throughout history, considered to be evil omens, the harbingers of bad tidings!

Although I consider myself an educated opened minded guy, my experience with a certain blackbird does make me wonder. About a year or so ago, I went with some friends to paint a marsh scene off of Lake Road in LaCombe, LA. At certain times of the year, you can get some incredible views where the bayou feeds into Lake Pontchartrain.

I spent about two hours, dodging gnats, painting a portion of the road. I really didn't know exactly what my subject matter was. At the time, I was just trying to quickly capture the fading light, but a very determined male blackbird was not having any of it. He never really attacked me like the ultra-territorial mockingbird would, but it was obvious to me that he was not happy about my presence. He would call out to me with that irritated sound as he flew circles around me from his telephone post vantage point. This went on for at least an hour totally ruining my pastoral moment. I left that day with a fairly nice rendering of a telephone pole in the marsh... and it stayed hanging on my office wall for well over a year.

About a month ago it dawned on me how I could quickly salvage what seemed to me to be a pretty boring scene. I decided to immortalize the little territorial tyrant with a rendering of him. Entitled, "Territorial Rights," it will be on display with about thirty other paintings at the Three Rivers Art Festival,  November 12/13 in downtown Covington, LA.

Regardless, it seems an appropriate addition to a "Poe-etic" legacy. Happy Halloween to everyone!

Copyright 2016/ Ben Bensen III

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

"Pondering That Old Matchbox Hole..."

My friend, "Paula and the Big Belgian!"
Good morning, all bodies. I'm sitting with the old matchbox hole watching the morning sun bun off the fog that's settled over our back paddock pond... and pondering.
Yesterday, I went to Giddy-Up to talk to the owner about his placement of a painting... on a wall mounted coat rack. I envisioned all kinds of scenarios about his reaction to my asking him about it.
Giddy-Up is a local coffeeshop that has become THE signature place to just relax with a book, a cup of coffee and a nosh. It was beautifully designed and built by the owner, who Tee and I have become great friends of, but the painting of a friend of mine on horseback just can't be hanging where it is and I wasn't sure how to express my displeasure about it being there. 

I remember how some AFAPO and Society of Illusrators members used to complain about the Air Forces placement of their art at the semi annual galas. I always found it to be a bit rude and presumptuous of an artist to make such a fuss. Some demanded moving someone else's art for theirs stating their tenured statue in
the program. Some used being a board member as a way of manipulating the scene.
So, it was with some trepidation that I went for some coffee wearing my blue "Giddy-Up" tee shirt... just in case. I actually hoped that the owner was not going to be there to avoid any awkward moments. I'd just steathfully grab the painting and tell the barista that I was taking it home for an upcoming show... that wouldn't have been a lie.
Instead, Frank, the owner was there, came by to greet me and some other guests and inquired about my recent epidural. Well, I thought, now's the time if there ever was one.
"Hey Frank, I know you take great pride in this place and I know that the walls are well ADORNED with art work and western stuff, but I can''t have my painting hanging where you have it. Ya know?"
"As it gets colder, people are gonna want to," I started to say.
"Yeh Ben, I apologize." I have a handyman that was supposed to come over the weekend and fix a few things. I was gonna have him hang your painting somewhere nicer where it can be seen, but he never showed up."
"I love the painting. I want it here, but I just haven't gotten to it yet."
"Okay, man, thanks, that' cool. I'm glad you understand my concern," I said.
"So, slightly moving on, Frank said, "it is a great morning. How come y'all aren't sitting outside?"
Satisfied that negotiations went better than expected, I sank deeper into the big comfy leather chairs and replied,"The chairs are incredible and great for my back!"
I've read that the Milennial generation doesn't know how to socially be with people and address situations that might not be to their advantage. Socialologists blame it on the iPhone and texting. They might have a point, but I can't say I'm all that great at it either.

Copyright 2016/ Ben Bensen III