Sunday, June 23, 2013

"My Wife, The Beach, And The Marines' Touch And Goes!"

Marine Harrier similar to the one doing touch and goes...
So, two days ago, we stopped in Atlantic Beach, NC to see a friend's art show. His work inspired us to go to the boardwalk and spend time at the beach. 

While enjoying the sun and surf, I heard a jet fly by. You know, not just any commercial jet, but something that is almost gone before you hear it. As we cleaned the sand off our feet and started back to the car, I pointed out to my wife the tiny dark specks flying by in the sky.

Sitting in traffic one half an hour later, three Harriers roar across the top of our van. I almost jumped out of my seat.

"You wanna go check 'em out?"my wife asked. 

"See 'em do some touch and goes, maybe... What'dya think?"she asked.

"Nah," I said. "Once I get started doing that, we will never get to Washington!"

It turns out that the airbase was Cherry Point, MCAS near New Bern, NC where we had an early dinner and then took off for our "Nation's Capitol."

All evening long, I thought about what a mistake it was to deny my wife the pleasure of watching Marine Jump Jets as they perform "touch and goes!"

And later, she forgave me. What a gal!

Copyright 2013/Ben Bensen III

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Nixon Galloway... Number Eleven In A Series"

Curtiss "Carrier Pidgeon"...
The Curtiss Carrier Pigeon One was a box-like structure that featured inter changeable upper and lower wing panels and horizontal and vertical tail surfaces. Powered by the war surplus 600 hp "Liberty" engine, the Pigeon looked about as aerodynamic as a steamer trunk.

When compared to the Model One, the Model II was considered a real beauty. Except for the name and size, the only point of resemblance was the fact that they were both biplanes and built by Curtiss. The big Model LL was powered by a geared-down 12 cylinder V-type "Conqueror" engine built by Curtiss-the same 600 hp engine that powered the earlier Falcon.

The thirty-four foot fuselage was built in three different sections and bolted together. the forward section was metal paneled aft to the cockpit. The upper wing span was nearly forty-eight feet and the total wing area was 553 square feet, comprising nearly 100 feet of wing. At cruising speed of about 125 mph, the Model II's range was nearly 600 miles.

NAT only purchased three Model II's to add to the fleet of all-mail Curtiss Falcons and the new Boeing"Ninety Fives."

Copyright 2013/Ben Bensen III

Monday, June 10, 2013

Another In A Series of United Airline Watercolors...

Kinda goofy cockpit design!
National Air Transport, an early member of the United Air Lines, brought the rugged Travelair to their minimal fleet in 1927. NAT, a prime mail carrier, used the "5000" to add passenger revenue to its Mid-West hops.

In the first year of service, the three-to-five place aircraft carried a total of 1560 passengers adding handsomely to the profitability of the fledgling airline.  The "5000" designed by Clyde Cessna, made aviation history by winning the famous Dole Derby in 1927. The MA/5000, although used commercially by NAT, never did qualify for an Approved Type Certificate. It received the lesser Memo Approval 2-27 in 1929.

The "5000,"a champion in a long line of Travelairs, lives today only in black and white photos...

 and the accompanying watercolor art from Nixon Galloway.

Copyright 2013/Ben Bensen III 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"Best Seat In The House"...

The finished painting and the inspiration...
About one week ago, a friend and I were supposed to go to a local marina to paint, but the fickle evening weather had us just walking and talking about painting, our past and artists. In our conversations, my fellow artist mentioned subject matter and the importance of painting something that is worthwhile seeing. Normally, my verbosity gets in my own way, but this was a subject close to my heart.

So, I zipped my lips and listened.

Subject matter and entitling one's painting has always been an interesting topic for me. It's one thing to be proficient as a painter, and it is another to be able to approach your marketing skills with some savvy. Knowing what's trending is so important as is being knowledgeable about your "product" and your target audience. Knowing how to incorporate a title that is playful, humorous as well as informative, is also a big plus.

The adman in me just loves to come up with titles for my paintings... or anyone else's, for that matter.

When it started to rain, we hopped in my car and drove around. Carol, ever vigilant, spotted a small trail amongst the over growth and trees. It was located close to a lagoon that ran from the marina into a wooded state park. We slowed down, as the road curved, and talked briefly about the scene having some potential. We then, continued on with our conversation and perusal.

Three days later, I had some time to myself and decided to find somewhere to paint. I had about four hours to blow, but I couldn't stand the thought of being out in the hot sun, in the middle of the day, painting more boats. I had to find something interesting and one that was in the shade.

I decided to try to find that shaded trail that Carol and I had seen a few days before. I should have taken the location more seriously because I wasted almost an hour searching for it. When I found it, I parked the car and took off looking for something off the beaten path.

And I found it. It was just to the left of the original trail, so, I hiked it for about a hundred yards or so and came up to this dead end where someone had surreptiously place an old studio chair. With a few empty Heineken beer bottles and some cigarette butts laying close to the chair, I surmised that it was somebody's secret hide out.

A nearest faraway place...

I hiked back to the car and got my equipment. Besides being a great story to illustrate, it was very much in the shade and this is what I came up with.

Sometimes, you get lucky and sometimes you make your own!

Copyright 2013/Ben Bensen III

Sunday, June 2, 2013

"My Facebook Quiche Recipe"...

Real quiche for real men...
A couple of friends requested my quiche recipe that I comment about on Facebook in the early morning hours. Pictured here is a regular pie crust that I purchase instead of making the dough from scratch. Since I shouldn't eat bread anymore, I buy the Pillsbury pre-made pie shells. My wife liked it so much, she asked to try the deep dish pie crust. So, that's the recipe I'm gonna share.

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees and take the pie out of the wrapper. Break one of the six eggs and cover the edges of the crust with the clear part of the egg. ( I never thought it made that big of a difference, but I found it really does! ) Cover the bottom of the pie shell with swiss cheese. I tried other cheeses, but with the exception of pepper jack, I prefer swiss. Usually, two slices of the sandwich style cheese is enough. I then chop up enough onion to cover the top of the cheeses. ( Chop to your love of onions! )

Then, I scramble six eggs with enough low fat milk ( evaporated milk or cream, if you like working out in the gym! ) to make about two, more or less, cups. Naturally, it depends on what you are gonna put in as the filling, but usually, for the deep dish, it is about two cups! I, next, add some kind of meat. Quiche Lorraine recipe calls for bacon chips, but I use mostly deli ham enough to cover neatly over the cheese and onions. About two slices which I cut up in thin slices or just tear it apart into little pieces. ( The only other meat I've tried is turkey smoked sausage, but what ever you imagine, I guess, should work. )

I then, add some kind of greens. To be honest, I like fresh basil and roma tomatoes chopped up and added until that mixture pretty much fills to the crust. Other combinations that I've tried that work are broccoli, artichoke hearts and mushrooms, cilantro and tomato with black olives, spinach and tomato, cilantro and pickled jalapeno!

Pour the milk and egg mixture over the filing to the top of the pie rim. Oh yeh, before the pie gets too heavy and unwieldy, put the pie on a baking sheet. Believe me, you don't wanna spill an uncooked quiche while putting it into the oven. ( It makes such a mess! )

I have started, in the last five or six quiches, to adding fresh nutmeg especially if the recipe I using doesn't include strong spices like basil or cilantro. If the mixture is light, ground fresh nutmeg is really good. ( I sometimes take a taste of the filing without disturbing the crust, and that's how I know it is really effective! )

Before the pie goes in the oven at 375 for 35 minutes, I sprinkled fresh, shredded parmesan or romano cheese on top. I, sometimes use sharp cheddar, but mostly, I like the parmesan.

I wait about five minutes or so, to cool off. I serve it with a fruit salad or a sliced banana. And that's it.

It should be noted that I mentioned, in jest, making an Italian quiche with artichokes, anchovies and garlic. A friend tried it and said it was wonderful...

Of course, he's Italian!

Copyright 2013/ Ben Bensen III