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Friday, May 19, 2017

"Learning To Shoot The Bird!"

One of 975 frames I did for a film...
This is a sketch I drew from my head and one that comes from deep inside my artist's psyche. The frustrations of life can bring us all down to our more base emotions, but it feels so good sometimes to do so.

In the script, this couple is being harassed by those all too familiar, damn country antagonists, the "rednecks." The husband is kind of milk toast in a script written by a woman. In the story, the wife takes action that her husband won't to avoid a conflict. ( Have you ever dated a babe like that? ) Okay, okay, this script was just all too predicable to be worthwhile, and I was starting to feel the same frustrations that make people want to employ such a response.

Like the director!

But, this story isn't about the sketch, the film, or the feelings of frustration. It is about the struggle to actually learn how to form the illicit visual comment. I didn't want to attract too much attention to myself for not knowing what the gesture meant. In fact, it was quite some time after learning how to make it and for what reason to use it, before I understood exactly what it represented.

I learned that whenever this super cool, little Italian kid, Larry Serio, disliked a situation, or a joke, or something the nuns said to him, he would whip out, usually from his pockets, for it was that age when all young males have their hands in their pockets, and with a violent look of disgust, shoot the bird. Larry was one of those "Fonzie" types before there was a Fonzie. A diminutive guy, he always had a comb in his back pocket and was not afraid to use it. His hair was jet black like the dress shoes we all had to wear as a part of our approved uniform. But, he was cool because he had taps on his shoes. You could hear him coming from a long way down the hallway and the nuns always gave him a hard time about it.

That was even cooler!

Who knows where Larry learned to form that unique finger dance and how to use it so quickly. He probably learned it from a older brother... or sister! He had to have spent many an hour in front of a mirror to get the entire act down pat. I know it took me quite some time to learn how to do it though I never felt it was necessary to use it all that much. I remember having to push my ring and pinky finger down into position using my other hand. It took a lot of practice!

The one time I actually was angry enough to use it, I spent at least the next ten or twelve seconds actually forming the wingless bird in my pocket before making its entrance. By then, my concern for getting it right had overridden my anger. It was almost like counting to the number ten to help one calm themselves down.

Over time, I realized that it was a timing thing to get the finger and the attitude displayed all at once. You had to really feel it. It couldn't be faked. It had to come from deep within. It took quite some time to put the two together and not be embarrassed by the response. It only took a few years in the advertising business to set that winged animal free... in but a few seconds.

The truth be told, when I finally found out the real meaning of the gesture, I was kinda disappointed. Somehow, some way, waiting all those years to find out what that mystery finger dance was all about, couldn't possibly live up to all I had imagined.

Isn't that a lot like life...

Copyright 2017/ Ben Bensen III

Thursday, May 11, 2017

"A Couple From The Thirties... Complete With Argyle Socks!"

After many tissue overlays, I finally arrived at the look I was searching for with this couple. They were a pivotal piece of a 24x36 painting I just completed for the Pierce-Arrow Society. They are having their 60th Anniversary and wanted a poster to celebrate and commerate the event.

Copyright 2017/ Ben Bensen III

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"I Couldn't Help Myself..."

An old farm tool antique...

Good Dumpty- Hump Wednesday, y'all.
I will be painting outside today before we leave for the concert tonight, but before that I'm truckin' over to Gus's for some breakfast and abuse.
Every morning that I go to the restaurant, I park in the same spot which is close to the street and behind a old farm tool antique. I'm not quite sure exactly what the horse drawn tool is used for, but a while back, I sat in the car and sketched it.
At a career day put on by a local high school I was asked to represent the profession of artist and in doing my presentation I passed around two sketchbooks. One book was from twenty plus years ago and one was a more recent one that included this sketch.
A little red headed student raised her hand in the middle of my "dissertation" to announce that she knew where this sketch came from.
"I know where this is, I know where this sketch was done," she blurted out.
"You do?" I replied.
"Yes, I love Gus's restaurant," she exclaimed. You go there too?
My quick and rather glib response was, "Only when I have to!"
( I couldn't help myself since she set it up so well! )
First cup...

Copyright 2017/ Ben Bensen III

Saturday, December 31, 2016

"Last Sketch for the Year 2016"...

Full speed ahead...
And finally, my last sketch for the year 2016. I received a lot of cool input from some friends about what to draw, but I decided that I'm not proficient enough on Procreate on my iPad Pro to pull some of them off. So, here's my effort!

Happy New Year, y'all!

Copyright 2017/Ben Bensen III

Monday, December 5, 2016

"iPad Sketching Between Cups of Coffee"...

An iPad Pro sketch in Procreate

While awaiting for my Honda to be serviced, I asked to be driven to a favorite neighborhood restaurant. It was closed, so I walked over to a local coffee house called, "Not Just Donuts."

Oh, brother! I think I would have preferred just donuts.

The topics of discussion went from fishing for reds and specks, to water hyacinths taking over the waterways, from accessorizing your 4 wheel-drive trucks, to the finer points and tactics of paintball. So, I decided to sketch a few of the patrons on my iPad and man, I've totally forgotten how to use it!

I will say one thing about "Not Just Donuts"...they have excellent apple fritters here!

Lost count of the cups... Ha!

Friday, September 16, 2016

"I Rarely Give My Art Away..."

Good late morning, Friday, y'all.
I started playing with my new iPad Pro about a month ago attempting to learn its idiosyncratic ways. I was just messing with the line quality and posted my "progress." A friend saw it and asked me if I wanted to send her two for a project she was working on.
So I did, although I spent an equal amount of time on my wacom and Photoshop. That iPad "touchy feely" thing is not something I appreciate.
Anyway, I created a few more, signed two and sent them to Kathleen for her project. Anyone who knows me knows that I rarely participate in charitable events giving my art away. Apparently, some artists are contributing their drawings to Slidell Memorial Hospital Cancer Center so that patients will have a coloring book of drawings by local artists to help pass the time while they are undergoing treatment.

Having spent five weeks laid up "rehabilitating" my back, I can only imagine what a cancer kid's thoughts are. It's a feel good thing all around!
Glad to have been a part... Third cup!
P.S. Would kinda like to see what the kids come up with!

Copyright 2016/ Ben Bensen III

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"Upon Further Review"...

Little League... We're talking Little League?

Well, Good "Humpty Dump"Wednes....
Wait, Wait... Are we sure today is Wednesday? We better call upstairs for a review. We certainly don't wanna make the wrong call!
I-I-I-I-I can't believe it! I can't!
Yesterday, watching the Baltimore Orioles play the Washington Nationals, Buck Showalter stopped the game, not once, not twice, but three times to get a review on the umpire's call. And, you know what that means?
More damn commercials... commercials that i've seen a hundred times or more.
Baseball pundits constantly whine about the length of the games which sometimes goes over three hours. How can we make the one game that has no clock faster? You talk about killing the rhythm of the sport. Well man, you sure found a way to do it.
The only thing that shoots a hole in my rant is that Bucky won all three of the challenges. Of course, baseball being so stat happy, the commentators were giddy over the apparent new statistic.
"This is the first time, I am told, that we've ever had three calls reversed successfully in one game!"
Oh bruther! 
But wait! I turned on to a Little League game on ESPN in between commercials and guess what I saw? Replays reviewing a play at first base. The Litttle League coach at first base signalled to the ump for a closer look... 
I mean, LITTLE LEAGUE! And guess what else happened? After almost two minutes, the call was reversed!
First cup... I need DECAF!
And oh, by the way, upon further review, today is Wednesday!

Copyright 2016/ Ben Bensen III