Friday, November 10, 2017

"Aircraft Paintings And Sketches At The Three Rivers Art Festival"

Honoring the vets!

Monday, October 16, 2017

"In Our Own Back Yards...

The humble elm...

Good late morning Monday, y'all.
Well, I'm back home and trying my best to get to work in the studio. I'm quite happy with the progress on my spine and SI joint. Started a "relationship" with a Rolfer. She's a bit "ah-oom" like, but she seems very good at what she does.
So funny...
My dad used to have fun whenever he went on trips to various places. He loved to ask simple questions of the citizens of each fair city he visited. He would ask a desk clerk directions to a restaurant that the clerk might recommend, but didn't know how to get there. He'd ask directions at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and any info on points of interest he had read about.
He was amazed at how little people who should know know little or nothing about where they lived.
"Excuse me ma'am, he asked with a smirk on his face, "you come to work here everyday but you don't know the address?"
I was so astounded by the color of fall in Denver, that I just had to pick some leaves off certain trees to ask the natives if they knew the names of the trees the leaves came from. I asked my doctor. I asked his administrator. I asked a waitress at the local Perkins restaurant.
I inquired at the hotel front desk, I asked a jogger returning from an early morning jaunt, a photographer at a state park...
No one seemed to know.
Good thing I didn't ask anyone for the official state bird, or flower or even where the state capital is.
Finally, three days later, I passed by two hikers who were originally from Memphis, TN, but have lived in Denver for over twenty years.
"Oh yeh, the oval, kinda heart shaped leaf is from the cottonwood and those other two leaves, one that is yellow and the one that is red is from the same tree... the elm!"
Wow. As I thanked her for the info and told her a little story about my quest, I laughed and just had to involuntarily smirk at the answer.
Dad was right about how truly little we know about our own back yards.
First late morning cup of CDM...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"You Got Lucky Babe..."

C.F. Payne's illustration of TP got me thinking again of the song,"You Got Lucky!" That smirk that he painted on Tom brings to mind how many of his songs had a twist to it. Of all the great songs in his catalog of songs, "You Got Lucky" is one that really is my favorite. It exposes the main character's weakness very subtlely.
Seems on the surface, the guy is telling his girlfriend where to go... lyrically. But, the synthesizer and the warped guitar ride tell a different tale. Also, I'm a sucker for a minor chord and this song is full of them.
Male braggadocio... "You got lucky babe, You got lucky babe, When I found you!"
It's not so much that the man's ego and pride is hurt as it is his unwillingness to accommodate his lady's needs/ concerns. It comes off as a "take it or leave it" approach to a relationship.
I love the nuances in this song and always look to hear what the music is saying long before I understand all the words. Lou Reed's, "Take A Walk On the Wild Side" is another great example. Randy Newman is another one who loves turning the tables both lyrically as well as musically.
But, I've never read anything about those underlying themes in any rock critique, which leads me to believe that I am alone in this kind of interpretation.
I mean, just listen to Mike Campbell's wammy bar wacked out guitar ride. Maybe, it's just me!

Copyright Ben Bensen III/ 2017

Thursday, September 28, 2017

"The Roses Won't Tell Your Secret"...

Good Thursday morning, all bodies!
That old matchbox has got me going again, but there's not much time to address that hole in my pocket today... Kinda!
The other day I accidentally knocked over a "Licorice Pizza" crate that held old 45's I've collected over the years. Lots of memories fell out of that box though one that didn't was "Sally Go Round The Roses."
A friend of mine, Bob Guza, and I would often go to our favorite restaurant of the month in LA and talk music... in depth. I loved it so much. No one has been able to talk music, except one person here in New Orleans, like Bobby could. 
Sometimes we'd get on a kick about one song or another and analyzing it ad nauseam and then go searching for the song trying to be the first one to find the elusive vibe and purchase it. To beat him finding this record I had to go home to New Orleans and pay $25 at Russell's on Magazine Street in the Irish Channel. 
"Sally Go 'Round the Roses" was quite unlike other pop songs of the day especially coming from a "girl group" in 1963. It had a mysterious, ominous, almost hypnotic musical quality with weird and rather perplexing lyrics. The song has the same mysterious feeling that Bobby Gentry's, "Ode To Billy Joe" has. 
"Sally Go 'Round the Roses" meaning could be interpreted as a conventional song of heartbreak over a love affair or over cheating. 
"Sally don't you go, don't you go downtown
Sally don't you go-oh, don't you go downtown
Saddest thing in the whole wide world
Is to see your baby with another girl"
But the music intimates a deeper more sinister happening than that and Bob and I had many discussions over the possibilities. A drug deal gone bad, illegitimate child, a death or suicide of a friend or ex-lover? 
Of course, as a part of our mindset nowadays, there's the homosexual aspect of the tune that is fun to speculate but has never been proven. We will never know because the writers of the song, Zell Sanders and Lona Stevens (Spector), have long since passed away and never commented one way or the other.
"Sally go round the roses (Sally go round the pretty roses)
They won't tell your secret (they won't tell your secret)"
BTW, I did find my copy in another 45 "Licorice Pizza" crate.
First cup, y'all!

Copyright 2017/ Ben Bensen III

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"Sketching A Fallen Bird"...

I believe this is a swamp sparrow...
At least once or twice a year, a bird is found on the ground at the bottom of one of our windows which faces the west about fifteen or twenty feet from the bird feeder. Yesterday, my cocker spaniel found this migrating sparrow. We don't see any sparrows or finches that look quite like this little guy.

Whenever I have the opportunity to photograph and sometimes sketch the fallen bird, I do it. Jays, finches, cardinals, titmice and once, a sharp shinned hawk that apparently missed his target and hit the bathroom window. I spied some yellow and gray feathers around where the hawk fell, so I suspect one goldfinch was a lucky bird.

Anyway, I sketched this with admarkers and a razor point Sharpie.

Copyright 2017/ Ben Bensen III

Friday, August 4, 2017

"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

Saturday, July 22, 2017

"You Can't Fight City Hall, But... Exhibition!"


The City of Covington's Gallery at City Hall will close the solo exhibition featuring local artist Ben Bensen III with a reception. Mayor Mike Cooper invites the public to attend on Tuesday, July 25 from 5 – 7 pm. Ben Bensen, a graduate with a BA in advertising from UL also received a BFA in illustration at the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. After three years of working as an art director and designer/illustrator at General Dynamics in Pomona, CA, Ben started his freelance career as a storyboards and comp artist. His unique style of rendering, his knowledge of type and design made him a reliable and valued asset at all the major ad agencies in the LA basin.

Ben is a member of the Society of Illustrators/Los Angeles, the Air Force Art Program, the American Society of Aviation Artists, the St. Tammany Art Association, Saatchi, and Saatchi Advertising Group, and various other advertising groups.He is currently living in Folsom with a new studio to pursue fine arts painting. In addition to his Plein Air work, he continues to serve the advertising community with traditional marker, digital and pencil storyboards. The exhibition closing reception will be held at The Gallery at City Hall located at Covington City Hall, 317 N. Jefferson Ave.

For more information, please contact Covington City Hall at 985-898-4715 or visit Find the City of Covington on Facebook! For more information on the art of Mr. Ben Bensen III, please contact him at 985-796-0972 or by email at