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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Just Another "WhoDat" Diner at Gus's...

A PlowBoy Saints Fan...  
Here's one of a handful of sketches performed at Gus's Restaurant in Folsom. I've seen this guy before, but a friend said he is the friend of "F.U. Joe". Joe is a seventy year old plowboy that speaks with a Cajun accent, but hails from the old country, "the real old country"... Romania! Now, when's the last time you heard the name of that country used before? Betcha' it was in the sixties or seventies, in geography class!

This guy in the sketch had white side burns, a white moustache and a white goatee, but you can't tell that from this drawing. The way I've drawn him, it looks like he's pouting waiting for Joe. Maybe, he's tired of waiting for Joe. Maybe, he's mad at Joe... F.U. Joe!

Don't have to tell what the F.U. stands for, right?


Copyright 2011/Ben Bensen III

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"The Meeting"... A Sketch While Waiting For A Friend!

His accountant presents the options!
While awaiting a friend at a local Holiday Inn restaurant, I witnessed a business meeting between a businessman and his apparent accountant talking about the tax implications of releasing a volunteer in the company. Classic stuff like, "I wish you had spoken to me first before making this move!"

Seems you can't breathe nowadays without your lawyer and your accountant's advice... at a price, of course!


Copyright 2011/ Ben Bensen III


Monday, August 15, 2011

A Meeting in DC...Hurry Up and Wait! (7 of 7)

There's a Time and a Space for Everything!
This is where my wait began and eventually ended. With the exception of the two cellphone ladies, the Live Oak Tavern was pretty alive with many folks coming and going. Everyone was happy that the federal tax ceiling compromise was completed, for better or worse, in a timely manner, but more importantly, everyone was happy the New Orleans Saints were back on the playing field practicing for that Thursday night opener against the Super Bowl Champs, the Green Bay Packers.

I hoist my seven dollar Abita beer to that!

It's been a week now and I've time to reflect on the trip. The trip, though short, was great... we got some things squared away at the meeting on Tuesday and had a good time being together again. Unfortunately, it came and went all too quickly.

I don't know what I expect from life.

I have always had a problem with time and space. It's not an Einstein kinda thing. Not that I would know. You could try to explain that theory to me and I probably wouldn't get it. I am not even sure it is a time/space kind of thing. I just find it strange that, in this example, for more than a year, we are away from each other and have very little contact from the various groups and thus become a vague, gaseous memory... untouchable! We may become connected visually somehow through a picture of our get together that is emailed to us or may appear on Facebook. Pictures of deceased friends and loved ones helps us deal with the loss. We accept this knowing we can no longer feel and touch or be with that person... Still,  it is almost the same thing, it's visual.

Speaking to one another over the phone helps somehow reaffirm that that body still exists in some kind of space though it is still nothing we can actually see or touch or feel.

People are close in so many ways, but not really until one travels to a spot where both agree to meet and they are, magically, there. Through travel, they are not just a sound, or a gaseous memory or even a picture we can physically touch. They are suddenly, through whatever time it takes to travel, actually real and alive, and touchable. They might look older or thinner. They might change their style of walking, talking, dressing...whatever, but there is that bond of physically having them there.

Spatial.

They may live thousands of miles away and may have so totally changed their lives that they are barely the same person you knew in the past, but for now, the present, they are here with you sharing a bond. It is all good. The cosmos is now back to center and balanced. Life is sweet and all is well.

 Time.

The same mode of transportation that brought you together can, in a week, a day, a few hours... a sentence, take it all away... till the next time!

Most people take that for granted, as well, they should, but for me, a person who loves to travel, the time/space thing has always made it hard to recover and get back to "normal." And... it has always freaked me out!

Copyright 2011/Ben Bensen III


Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Meeting in DC...Hurry Up and Wait! (6 of 7)

Cellphone Silliness!
Well, I told my brother to pick me up around 3pm even though I had forgotten the correct arrival time.  Because I didn't want to interfere with his work schedule, it would be a two hour wait for my brother to arrive. I spent those two hours at a bar nursing a seven dollar Abita Amber and sketching.

The two women illustrated were both on their cell phones most of the time they were in the bar. I couldn't tell if they were actually doing business, talking to friends, or just being coy. They were on the phone when I arrived at the Live Oaks Tavern and were still there on the phone when I left two hours later.

My brother, Hilton, lives a few miles east of the airport and everyone in the family uses his "taxi service" to save a few bucks on parking at the airport. The airport, Louis Armstrong International, is an airport that has never, ever been completed. It's not like the airport is growing in leaps and bounds because it isn't. It's just that nothing ever gets completely finished here. One change for the better is remodeled to a change for the worse and then readjusted when something else is added. This cycle of never ending change has been going on for, at least, thirty-five years.

As we disembarked our Embraer 150, I noticed the woman I sketched on the plane in DC who was reading a book as we waited and waited for takeoff. I told her that she was my best subject on the flight and she laughed.

"I saw that you were drawing most of the flight, so I figured I was one of your subjects," she said.

I asked her if she was a New Orleanian though I knew she wasn't. She had that well scrubbed look of the midwest... quite prim and proper. She said she was from Ohio and was visiting her sister for a birthday celebration. Then, I asked her, in my most southern gentlemanly way, if she'd like to see the sketches I did of her, but she declined making an abrupt turn to the ladies' restroom.

As she distanced herself from me, my parting shot was," Hope you enjoy your stay in my hometown!"

I don't think she heard me.

Copyright 2011/Ben Bensen III

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Meeting in DC...Hurry Up and Wait! (5 of 7)

Sleepy Tyme Gals!
These are two of the better dozing passengers I sketch en route to New Orleans. The one on the right is the same woman I sketched reading a book waiting for the plane to take off in "A Meeting in DC...Hurry Up and Wait! (4 of 7)."

Since I'm a skinflint, I sketched a bunch of heads reading, sleeping, staring out the window or drinking coffee in the corners of sketchbook pages already used. That's why there's a tone below these heads. It's a sketch I did years ago for a job featuring a little girl laying in the hay, snuggled up to her prize winning lamb. I don't recall who the client was...

Woolite?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Meeting in DC...Hurry Up and Wait! (4 of 7)

Waiting for the Take Off!

Well, I've found my seat on a non-stop to New Orleans and now waiting for everyone else to load up. It cost me twenty-five dollars to send my bag to DC, so this time, I've carried it on and stowed it above my seat and just as I buckled my seat belt and noticed I might get an extra window seat, a chubby, bubbly black woman with a bag full of goodies arrived to tell me the window seat was hers. These Embraer planes are pretty narrow, but the seats aren't too uncomfortable. So, she and her goody bag squeezed into her seat and once again, we all try to get settled down.

After everyone gets situated and we get the obligatory speech about the safety precautions of the "150", the plane taxis down the runway to wait. The waiting gave me a chance to start this sketch of a young woman reading. For some reason, I always start with the head and work my way down and this time was no exception. As I was just getting into it, we must have had a five minute wait to take off, the jet jumps to "gear" and tears down the runway. 

I wanted just to go linear with this pose and see what comes of it. When I draw this way, I have to pay more attention to each line, it's direction, how it defines the form with a minimum amount of line. No cross hatching! It took me about a half an hour, once we were airborne, to complete. I am pretty happy with the outcome though I never did get back to finishing off her hair... which was where I started!


Copyright 2011/Ben Bensen III

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Meeting in DC...Hurry Up and Wait! (3 of 7)

More Waiting!
The meetings in DC went fine. I have always enjoyed meetings even though usually not much gets done. Outside of the meetings, we all had a good time with good food, good libations and great conversation. We spoke about everything from one man's golf game, to knee surgery, to the state of our profession, to nutrition, Air Force, trips and beyond! On Tuesday evening, I tried to finagle a visit to Baltimore to see my little sister, but it got too convoluted and cumbersome to work out, so I stayed with my original return plans, though I really didn't want to come home so soon.

While waiting for my plane, I sketched these various folks headed for the Big Easy! The dude with the bebop cap was a jazz musician. I'm pretty happy with the way he turned out though I originally was inspired by the pose of the woman in the peasant dress. The color behind the musician was from markers I used on previous sketch on the other page... years ago!


Copyright 2011/ Ben Bensen III

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Meeting in DC...Hurry Up and Wait! (1 of 7)

Waiting for our plane to arrive!
This is a sketch I created while waiting for my US Airways jet to arrive. I wasn't supposed to take this flight, but being early had it advantages. I was offered a non-stop flight to DC instead of flying the itinerary the Pentagon set up for me. This sketch of a Embraer 175, I think, took about twenty minutes to draw. I still had plenty of time to sketch another scene, but decided to read instead.

Of course, getting to DC early only meant I'd be waiting for my colleagues and a ride the same amount of time I was saving by taking the non-stop. So, I'd draw some at the DC airport... while I wait!


Copyright 2011/ Ben Bensen III