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Friday, March 30, 2012

The Phantom Farewell...

A sketch of an F-4 Phantom jet
This is a static display of a Vietnam era fighter jet I drew here locally. It reminded me of the closing of George AFB in Victorville, CA where F-15's were replacing the venerable twin engined beast. It was strangely a sad affair the Air Force Art Program sent me to to document with not only the end of F-4's, but the closing of the entire base. As I stood in line with other Air Force personnel waiting to be served a celebratory lunch, I remember seeing a large helicopter in the distance hauling away the skeletal remains of a very familiar shape as it took to air under another craft's power. And as it disappeared off into the distance, I wondered how many small businesses that once relied on the base for it's livelihood would also soon disappear.

Like it or not, everything changes for better or worse except the static displays I sketch and ruminate about!

Copyright 2012/ Ben Bensen III

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Sketch of a Turkey-Necked Patron...

Catching the news and a good cup of coffee...
While waiting for my son to finish applying for a job at another coffeehouse on Veteran's in Metairie last Friday, I moseyed over to one of my favorite shops, CC's, and found this patron reading the newspaper.  Most folks at CC's aren''t the kind you find at buffets, but no "Granita" drinking, computer punching techie or student, including me, was as interesting to draw as this man. The crosshatched version is the more accurate except for his neck. I got the neck right in my "Disneysque" version of the man... but it is a little bit too Disneysque, for me!

Copyright2012/ Ben Bensen III

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Just Can't Throw These Away...Number Three!

I believe I sketched this jet in Mojave Airport, which is the home of Burt Rutan's historic "Voyager." Bu, I really don't remember. I do remember asking permission to sketch this harmless civilian aircraft and later, asked to finish up and leave, so it must have been in Mojave.

I've always had a great time out in the desert checking out old and interesting aircraft. The Mojave airport used to be as easy to access as Van Nuys was, but with all the new connections with the Edwards, AFB, NASA, and Rutan's experimental ventures into flight, it was slowly getting more and more restricted. I recall a restoration hangar where aircraft from the Santa Monica Air Museum were routinely flown in for a shine and a quick lube. The folks there were always so laid back and friendly and receptive to the stupid questions someone like me would ask.

 I've got a few stories to tell, but I'll leave that for another time... nothing Area 51 like, but interesting!

My sketch is quite reminiscent of those "Flying" magazine illustrations that Barron Storey or Ken Dallison or Chris WhatsHisName, used to do to in the seventies and eighties to beautifully accompany an article about flying. I thought I'd drop into this post one or two of those paintings that I have stashed away in my aviation art file, but... why share the limelight?

Suffice it to say, I was pleasantly surprised to find this sketch which was a bit crumpled and dog eared, but with a little bit of Photoshop, has become quite a handsome piece, in its digital form.

You know, every now and then, I just gotta say it, "Damn, I'm good!"

Copyright 2012/ Ben Bensen III

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Just Can't Throw These Away... Number Two!

The Douglas B-23 Dragon sketched at a Chino "Planes of Fame" Airshow

This is the other colored piece I found stuffed in a storyboard sketch file. I do remember doing this sketch because I was a bit disgusted that I did not have any more markers with me to capture all the chrome, which on this plane, in that setting, was incredible. I know I took some shots with my camera, probably in slide form, but that too is most likely lost in the ozone somewhere, ha!

Hindsight being what it is, if I had more markers with me, I probably would have ruined the drawing with too much detail. As the day wore on and the Chino heat became unbearable, many people decided to park themselves, lawn chairs and coolers and all, in the shade created by this aircraft's massive wings.

The problem I also had was trying to figure out what kind of aircraft was this. I know that I used to know what it was, but it's been so long, that I had to go to Google to investigate. After receiving many false leads, which in a way was entertaining, the keywords that found it for me was,  Pre-WWII, twin engine, propeller driven, aircraft/ bomber.  And this is what I found...

Bingo! I had forgotten that before it became an upscale airliner for the sophisticated aviation buffs... and millionaires, including Howard Hughes, it was a designed medium range bomber and the first to incorporate a "tail gunner." Before it could ever become a major player in the war, it's need was surpassed by the more agile and faster, B-26 and the B-25.

But, it was fun playing an aviation Sherlock Holmes for a while!

Copyright 2012/ Ben Bensen III

Monday, March 12, 2012

Just Can't Throw These Away...

I have tons of artwork that is either in tracing paper form or sketchbook style. Some of the tracing papers are actually starting to yellow on me. It would be a monumental task to digitally archive those files before they disintegrate. I have a few more aviation sketches that somehow got torn from a sketchbook and landed in a brown manila folder with some other storyboard artwork....

So, now's as good a time as ever!

 This is a sketch of the Madera County Airport in central California. Its airshows were usually small but they always had some really strange aircraft there and they hosted concepts like a Stearman fly-by or a T-28 fly-in. I didn't realize there were still so many of those T-28's still flying. It was pretty cool. Somehow, the powers that be, decided to move the show down to Fresno at their municipal airport. It was nice, but didn't have that "barnstorming charm" Madera had!

I usually just brought along with my camera, a sketchpad with a Razor Point pen and some prismacolor black pencils, but on occasion, I'd bring a few markers... just the basic ones!

This one's pretty basic.

Copyright 2012/Ben Bensen III

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Field Sketch of a Young Horse...

Well, it is back on the bike again after being away from it and the neat country roads cycling affords me.
I have not been riding since about a year ago and thought bringing a sketchpad along might ease the pain and, sort of, soften the blow of getting back in shape. This is a pretty nice and simple sketch of a colt in the high grass soaking up some rays. The youngster was mostly chestnut colored except it's head, which was almost completely black which also made it rather hard to see details of it's face silhouetted against the grass in the noon day sun.

A lot of faking going on here with the pedals, as well as, the pen and pad, for sure!

Copyright 2012/ Ben Bensen III

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

For Some, Waiting Is the Hardest Part...

Waiting Our Turn...
Just another quickie while waiting to see the doctor. Some people know how to spend their time well, but I'm probably not one of them.

Copyright 2012/ Ben Bensen III

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Another in a Series of Cellphone Victims...

Intermission... Time to get up and stretch your... ears!
In a lobby of a theater, patrons take time to rest... and maybe, make a phone call! Peter Paul Rubens or Auguste Renior would have loved it... so round, so firm, so fully packed, ha!

Copyright 2012/ Ben Bensen III