Friday, September 27, 2013

"Well, It Was Only A Matter Of Time..."

Her name is Layla...
Sometimes, I sit and sketch at the Mandeville Senior Center while my mother socializes. When I do, I usually sketch people that aren't very mobile. I don't always ask to sketch them, but I always show my subject matter what I'm done. If I ask, my models get squirrelly, as some folks tend to stand behind me and watch me draw. They don't mince words in their critiques.

I've gotten a reputation now, for better or worse.

"I keep asking you to draw me, but you don't!' What's the matter... not pretty enough for ya?"

And, "If I like it, can I keep it?"

"Yes ma'am!" If you're nice enough to let me sketch you, of course, I'll give it to you... I'm flattered!"

And, "How much would you charge me for a sketch?"

And then... "How come you're charging me for a sketch, you did her, for free!"

Well, you can use your imagination from here to conjecture what could and has transpired. Strangely enough, it is mostly the women who want a sketch of themselves. I try to imagine them a bit younger, if possible, when I draw them. I am actually behind on two "commissions." One of which is supposed to be sketched in paint.

The men could care less what you draw or say about them. They probably think I get what I deserve.

All of this, is kinda fun. It helps me understand my mom's condition, and it helps me keep up my "chops!"

But now, I've done it.

I do like animals and grew up inviting lots of stray dogs to live with the Bensen family, much to my father's disgust. I like watching nature programs. I often wonder if that dead raccoon, armadillo, or possum that I just passed over on the highway, had any real thoughts about their future and a possible career change. What did they have as their "Last Supper"? I've spent many a profitable and enjoyable night doing storyboards for clients like Fancy Feast, Cesar, Purina, PetSmart, etc.

I just don't wanna spend the rest of my artist life painting and drawing cute and fluffy, scruffy domestic animals, especially ones small enough to be beaten and bullied by the neighborhood cockroach.

I don't know why!

One friend of mine actually took their six pound canine thingamajig on a camping trip and was concerned about its welfare when she noticed an owl, at dusk, eyeing her little dust mop!

Anyway, this is my first puppy-pooch painting which was done in oils at about 9"x12." I did have fun pushing paint around to create the terrier's wiry fur, and I hope the little elderly woman who's actually paying me to paint 'da pup, likes my approach.

There's got to be some good reason to do this, besides the money... ha!

Copyright 2013/ Ben Bensen III

Monday, September 23, 2013

"It's That Time Of The Year To Wish Everyone A... Merry Halloween?"

And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?
It's coming so early, better get yourself some,
And so this is Christmas, we hope you have fun?
The shelves are all shiny, before Halloween's come!

We went to a Cracker Barrel on Saturday to enjoy the rain and share breakfast together without the hassle of the weekday early morning rush. As you enter the store, there are country music sounds complete with twangy gee-tars, whining women singing with accents and, worst yet, whiny men singing like they forgot to take the chaw out of their mouths before rolling the tape. A stunning, purple and gold display beams at you, swearing in this restaurant's allegiance to the local hero, the LSU football team... 

Geaux Tigers!

Off to the right of this football altar, is a Halloween display complete with country-cackling witches with "Minnie Pearl" price tags affixed to their black felt chapeaus and a host of nikki-knack and patti-wack ghouls, goblins and ghosts to frighten the life out of your wallet.

Not wanting you to move one step further to your left, without recognizing it, is a rather sedate display of table cloths, napkins and orange and brown crepe paper florals, chocked full of pumpkins, corny copias, and ceramic sugar and cream gobbler sets. Sitting high atop the display, not unlike "Wolverton Mountain," is the ubiquitous, and cute, Pilgrim dolls, which, holding hands, stare blankly across the general store and "bayou wheat fields" like a nouveaux, 3-D American Gothic.

But the best, sadly enough, was the shiny, tinsel laden display of Christmas. It was just kinda off to the back, lying in wait to pounce on the unsuspecting customers as they waited their turn for a table. At this point, it is a rather humble, insignificant display with a tree just glimmering with sparkly ornaments and stuff. A candy cane here, a silver bell there, and, I guess, a few sugar plums hiding in the mix, somewhere. 

You just know that it is only a matter of time before "Christmas" announces it complete arrival and usurps all the other displays including the, "Ode to LSU Football!"

And, it will happen long before Halloween comes!

Copyright2013/ Ben Bensen III

Sunday, September 1, 2013

"United Airlines Collector Series/ Number Twelve... The "Swallow" C6 Mail Plane.

Wonder why it was labeled the Swallow!
Well, I don't have much information on Nixon Galloway's version of the Swallow, so I'll just type, verbatim, what was written about the plane from the card.

On April 26, 1926 the C.A.M. flight took place on a desolate northwest air mail route won the sole bidder,  a California air taxi and flying school operator, Walter T. Varney. From this austere beginning grew the major U.S. airlines of today with the Barney flight . In essence, being the origin of United Airlines.

The "Swallow Mailplane" was the first successful airplane that was a design advancement over the current crop of aircraft that were all patterned with the look of the World War One "Jenny" and the "Standard."

 It was powered by a Curtiss C-6 inline engine creating 160 horsepower and had a cruise speed of 118 mph with a flight endurance of five hours a full throttle. About 50 examples were produced with the  design was enhanced in 1926. The initial price was $3,500 reducing to $2,485 in late 1926.

Copyright 2013/ Ben Bensen III