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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

To the Highest Bidder...

Posing for Pics!
Before the game, as part of the fund raising aspects, people bid on each player's performance paying the highest amount to get the better players who represent your bid. It is almost like a one game draft. Here is player, Valli Baratelli, waiting for the final bid.

His noble steed is not part of the equation!

Copyright/ Ben Bensen 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Saddle Up"...

Ready to Ride...
Interesting how the door of the trailer becomes a rack to hang saddles up for the next rider. Polo players usually play one half ( two chukkars ) per horse and go through four horses in a event ( kinda like a double header in baseball ). I wonder if it matters which horse gets what saddle to the horse or is it fitted for the player's comfort. I only say that because drawing these saddles and noticing others, not everyone is exactly alike.

Copyright Ben Bensen III / 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Number Four with Hats Galore...

"Tsunami Hat"
A low cut black strapless with a chartreuse colored shawl and matching tsunami on her head. It was a pretty warm day and I don't think she really needed that shawl except to match her headdress. Her hat  was fun to draw, but I don't think I drew it right. I drew it the way I understood it!

Copyright Ben Bensen III / 2011

A Few More Hats to Rack...

A few days ago, my wife had to have a stress test performed and she said it would take about an hour, so I dropped her off at the medical facility in LaCombe, LA and drove around looking for a coffee shop. Unfortunately, all I could find was a Chevron Mini-Mart with a small Subway Sandwich Shop. With no Wi-Fi available, I decided to buy a cup of coffee, pull out the sketchbook and draw... but what?

This is what I came up with first...

Copyright Ben Bensen III / 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Last of A Series...Number Five!

Even the staff serving all that wonderful food joined in.
I drew the hat before I drew the woman. She looked at me a couple of times, but didn't seemed bothered by my staring at her. She was too busy serving hors d'oeuvres and I was too busy eating them. Once again, the hat was a light, airy, lacy red chapeau that looked like it had a wire frame supporting the brim.
 Once I got my fill of the appetizer and had pretty much drawn her hat, I went over to a table and finished her face. I think I drew her a bit more idealized, but I'm sure she wouldn't have minded.

Copyright Ben Bensen III / 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Number Three in a Series... Hats Abound!"

"Textural relations"
In this sketch, I just wanted to capture the different kinds of hats. One had a decorated fedora while another had a turquoise gown with a white straw hat that had a matching turquoise ribbon above the brim. The woman in the foreground had this huge, lacy, red hat with a large gauze black flower attached with a brim see through enough for me to draw the other lady who was wearing a beret like hat. As I recall, they all had cellphones, but were intrigued by one cellphone response. Giggles and hats abound!

Copyright Ben Bensen III / 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chapeaux, You Suppose... A Series of Wild Headdresses!

Chapeaux are a big part of the ceremony.
I must admit, it is fun watching the ladies cruise the lawn in their slinky dresses and wild headdress. Most are cute and tame, but some are outrageous and silly and it makes me wonder what it takes for a woman to wear some of these things.

Maybe, just a great sense of humor!

Copyright Ben Bensen III / 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Chapeaux, You Suppose... Another in a Series of Wild Headdresses!

A beautiful woman all in black.
I found it easy to draw women in hats at this event because 80% of those ladies had their cellphones, Blackberry's, iPhones in hand, transfixed and giggling. I never get tired of drawing beautiful women and if the hats and the cellphones help, I'm all for it!

Most never knew I was transfixed on them... sketching away!

Copyright Ben Bensen III / 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

He Says He's Basque... From Argentina!

Says he's Basque...
So, who am I to disagree. Actually, he says he's from Argentina and travels from polo fest to polo fest handling the horses. I wish I had remembered his name. It was one of Spanish descent, like Arturo or Miguel, but it's okay because he probably doesn't remember mine either. I've been to four polo events in the last two years and each time, we'll call him Arturo, has been there helping the players get dressed, helping them with their four legged athletes, adjusting this, and fixing that. After the second chukkar, the riders exchange horses for the second half and Arturo, cleans up and waters down and generally has a good old time caring for his equine buds! One rider can go through a polo event and use four horses for competition, which can keep a man like Arturo pretty darn busy. He seems to love it, though.

I asked him about being Basque, since he told me that was his heritage, and he told me, in his heavy accented way, he was from a small town between Spain and France. Well, I kinda knew that because my father-in-laws folks hailed from the French side of the Pyrenees Mountains, which, I was told, was Basque country. The Basques sort of have their own little country/community in northern Spain, but seem to have no allegiance to either country.

 Just for fun, I asked him if he was a Dodger fan and he looked me and at my grin and said, "We do not play your baseball in Argentina... Polo!"

"Well, I said, Bakersfield, California has a big Basque community there with lots of oil derricks amongst the sheep herders and the Basque cuisine, which is very filling, and the Double A farm team for the Dodgers, though I don't think they have any Basque players currently on the team! It is also the home of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens!"

"It's very Basque!"

He told me that he had never been to that part of California, but I made it sound intriguing enough that he might like to go. I briefly told him how I would take the family to the games for a weekend, stay with the ballplayers at the Red Lion Inn and hang around the pool so my son could soak up the baseball scene. Even around the pool, the ballplayers would be talking baseball and throwing wiffle balls around, diving for them into the pool, as they compete to see who's the best. I told him about a tomato and bean soup we'd enjoy at the many fine Basque restaurants that my wife used to hate as a kid, called "gabrure". He said he never heard of that. I then, asked him if he didn't mind me drawing some scenes of the area with the horses and trailers and all, knowing full well that I was gonna concentrate on him mostly.

"What for?" he asked. "For fun," I said!

Copyright/ Ben Bensen III 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Smile Pretty ... For The Illustrator!

Anatomically correct, but...
Let me just say, I don't do horses very well. With the exception of the Wells Fargo Stagecoach ( which reminds me, I did some really nice stuff for them for some big ad agency way back when... I'll have to locate those pieces! ) and The Budweiser Clydesdales, I've never had to learn how horses operate, you know? They are hamburger, they don't endorse it. They cover baseballs, but don't do sportscasting. They have what all car enthusiast lust for, but they don't drive. I just never had to draw a horse... that much! So, I'm not good at it, but this portrait is NAILED! I love this horsey sketch and I love the owner who kept it still long enough for me to get it perfect.  Of course, it looks like a large dog, scale wise.

I thought long and hard about photoshoping his head larger or the owners smaller, but then, that's a cheat. I did give some serious thought to cropping this sketch into two separate pieces, but decided, as painful as it is, to adhere to my own original statement... "sketches for better or worse!"

But, man, that sure is a good horse head!

Copyright/Ben Bensen III/ 2011 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

These "Zebras" Actually Ride Horses...

The Stripe Shirts always judging people...
I'm told Polo originated in Persia and is a team sport played on horseback in which the object is to score as many goals against an opposing team as time will allow. Players score by driving a small white plastic ball into the opposing team's goal using a long-handled mallet. The game is played on a large grass field up to 300 yards in length, and each polo team consists of four riders and their mounts. The game is played on horses not ponies and are usually a combination of quarter horse and thoroughbred, though some handlers I've talk to say any breed can play well. Players change horses between game periods called, "chukkars." Due to the intensity and speed of the game, many players change horses after the second chukkar. All rules are designed to protect the safety of the horse and player and that's where this guy comes in. I'm not up to speed on all of the rules, but the umpire, only one to a game, seems rather judicious in his play calling and penalties and like all good refs, works hard to judge the play, but not so to negatively affect the game's rhythm.

I live in the town of Folsom, where they are many horses farms and polo fields. In fact, there's a large polo complex just right outside our sub division. I got involved through two different fund raisers for local charities and I donate a painting for auction to be invited to the games. It's a different kind of fun plus, the food is incredible!

Copyright/Ben Bensen III/ 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

From The Comforts of A Big White Tent...

The event includes lots of large white tents for those shady types!
For most people the action is viewed from underneath the shade of many large event tents, where besides viewing the game, guests stroll fashionably along the auction items, the art gallery, or listen to the jazz band, munch on goodies and hobnob with each other. The actual times for each game is about one hour with a thirty minute halftime and normally, each event presents two games though few people stay for the entire two polo matches.

As for my sketching prowess, I am learning to look long and hard at my subject and then trust that I can confidently draw from that original pose even if some subject should move. It's still exhausting though, for me... I don't know why!

 Copyright/Ben Bensen III/ 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

And That's Why I Call This Sketch, "Last Time Around."

Spent Polo Ponies...

Okay, this is just pure silliness, but this sketch is my horsey Neil Young portrait. When I first saw these equine beauties all watered down and brushed, having earlier played their game, I thought to myself even animals are snotty and clique-ish to one another. The ostracized darker horse looked as if to say, "What was it that I said?"

It then reminded me of the front cover of the Buffalo Springfield's, "Last Time Around" album where everyone in the photo in looking one way except Neil Young. I always liked that group, but blamed Neil for its demise. He seems so self-absorbed and egotistical to me especially at that time. He wasn't a team player, you know? I don't understand why the other guys in the band allowed him to pose that way. It angered me big time until I heard, "Cinnamon Girl." Then, I decided to cut him some slack. Obviously, Mr. Young has created some incredible music over the years, and I do respect him for that, but I still blame him. And that's why I call this horse sketch, "Last Time Around."

The title doesn't portend anything for these noble steads!

Copyright/Ben Bensen III/ 2011 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Maybe The Introduction Was A Bit Long...

Dr. Michael White sits in with jazz ensemble...
A sketch I did of New Orleans clarinetist, Dr. Michael White and assorted Dixieland players waiting for the intros to finish so they could get down with 'da grooves.  The good doctor was the featured player since he orchestrated this musical journey into how the Caribbean influenced New Orleans music especially the Haitian influence. Most knowledgeable music lovers recognize the many rhythmic gifts that region has bestowed on New Orleans, so the history lesson was very interesting and good public relations since Haiti is still struggling from that devastating earthquake a year ago or so.

Still, the expressions say it all. Well maybe, the expressions on their faces was rendered a bit more severe than they actually were since I was getting restless too and ready to get it on!

Copyright/Ben Bensen III/ 2011 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sometimes, Scribblin's Better...

Tony Jr. at bat against Mandeville High School
Well, I kinda had a premonition that this would happen only because Tony Jr. had such good numbers going into the playoffs. It is not normal, if you know much about baseball, to go ten for ten at bat at any time during the season. His defensive skills also were a big part of Jesuit winning the State Championship for the District/5A. I haven't ask him how many "pitcher's best friend" plays they completed along the way to the championship.

Tony Jr. (No.5) gets correct angle to make the play to first!
For those that are interested in T.J.'s season game by game, you can visit: http://search.nola.com/Tony+Fortier-Bensen or my other blog at: http://graphicgumboben.blogspot.com/2011/05/time-to-gloat-my-nephews-best.html

We found out yesterday that our nephew, in his senior year at Jesuit High School, was voted by the coaches and sportswriters locally as the league's Most Valuable Player for the 2011 season. He also was voted All Metro at shortstop, All-District and All State with a .471 batting average. He has had some offers from a few out of state universities and I think he should go away to one of those universities, but I know he and his family are big LSU fans, so I know he's hoping that could happen. Till then, he'll play ball for Retif Oil in the American Legion League and "hold his breath!"

My sketch is from the same game played earlier this season. I couldn't keep up with the action so I decided to stop trying and just started mindlessly scribblin'. I put the netting in later and I think it kinda adds an interesting layer. There were a few more scribbles, but this one works best. I loved the umpire because just before the pitch was thrown, he get down in the same position keeping his arms and hands out of harms way behind him.

I think my nephew walked to first base at this time at bat!

Copyright/Ben Bensen III/ 2011-2014  

Friday, June 3, 2011

Score Keeping Might Have Been Easier...

A "T. J." type product...
Now that I look at it again, it ain't so bad. I sat behind the plate at Mandeville High earlier this year to sketch my nephew, who plays shortstop for the Jesuit Blue Jays. He is in his senior year and is doing pretty well this season after breaking his finger in a "head first"slide into second base. He had to sit out quite a few games for that gaffe.

I sketched a few lines before I decided that I would never get it all, in one time at bat, so I started with the pitcher and worked my way down. The batter has T. J.'s stance, but not his build because I continued drawing who ever was at bat. I think it took me one whole inning to do the batter. I liked drawing the ump. He turned out the best because he consistently squatted like that to protect himself and still see the pitch. The catcher, unfortunately, looks like a "little leaguer" because I couldn't get the foreshortening correct. One sketch where I did get it "more righter," everything else was a mess. My ego is still too big to post those kinda of mistakes. By the third inning or so, I was wasted and decided to just watch the game. Score keeping was easier, ha!

Of course, now that I look at it again, it seems damn good!

Copyright/Ben Bensen III/ 2011