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Monday, July 30, 2012

GiGi Spread Out...

She could spread out as well as curl up!
It was hard to have this dog come into our life the way she did and then, have to let her go. It was like an early Christmas present that was returned after the New Years' because it ate up too many batteries, or was defective or just wasn't no longer wanted.

The great Dane came to us about thirty pounds under weight with no tags, or licenses, or implanted chips. In the time it takes to turn a Thanksgiving turkey dinner into the next day's turkey sandwiches, GiGi had found a place in our hearts. Apparently, the previous owner discarded her when she became pregnant and delivered her litter, so said the veterinarian we sent her to to have her checked out. It is a an all too frequent practice committed by some breeders.

Because she was around two years old, the dog was very friendly and playful. Luckily, we have five acres for those big, long legs to jump and prance and sprint. For a big dog, she was also quite agile and would pounce on our cocker spaniel and then spin out of the way of his snarling jaws, much to the frustration of our Pierre. The cocker was absolutely terrified of the big, black interloper, but refused to give up any ground, especially near his sofa. He was dead serious but because she was so young, she was never phased by Pierre's defensive and aggressive behavior.

A friend of ours attempted, around the Christmas holidays, to replace his prized bulldog, which had just passed away, with GiGi, though it didn't last but a week or ten days. Therese must have known it wasn't going to work out because she continued searching for a "Great Dane Rescue Center" where those who know and love and can afford the space to care for these large dogs, could take our GiGi temporarily until they could find a good home.

We finally found a center north of Hattisburg, MS and reluctantly released GiGi, on a cold, mid January night, to their care.

A few weeks later, Therese called the center to check on her friend simultaneously hoping GiGi was doing all right and yet looking for an excuse to bring her back home to us.

The report was that she was doing fine and getting along with all the other "danes" in the pack. Even though we knew we couldn't keep her here in Folsom, it was glad but sad news for both of us...

And, of course, Pierre was just elated!

Copyright 2012/Ben Bensen III

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Another "Golden Corral" Eat-A-Thon...

A twenty minute sketch of the soup and veggie bar!

My octogenarian mom likes to visit two Metairie mainstays for good food and good friends.  Last week was no fun at all because after two years of trying to convince mom she shouldn't be driving anymore, she acquiesced and sold her car to our son, who had purchased a used car a year earlier only to have the engine seize up on him.

It apparently had no oil in the crankcase!

Anyway, the 1998 Bonneville continues to stall out in traffic especially after hitting a bump or taking a sharp turn. So, I decided to drive it, once again, to the mechanic to see why the problem isn't getting solved correctly. The plot thickens as the automobile stalls at the top of the cloverleaf during the lunch hour and blocks traffic for a half an hour as I await the tow truck.

Days later, the car is still in the shop, but this sketch isn't about my kid's car problems. 

It is about how long it takes for an aged woman with no teeth to complete a meal, usually a late lunch, with lots of her friends from her many, now defunct, social groups "wheelchair wheeling and dealing" their way through the buffet lines. 

Shuffling with canes, ricocheting in wheel chairs from one friend's table to another or pushing tennis ball laden walkers around, they sample everything the buffet has to offer. Then, someone makes suggestions about the cuisine, which only creates more traffic when an entire table decides that they must taste test a colleague's recommendation. 

With my mom's fading memory, she politely drags her friends to the table to introduce her "Number One Son"... again. When I see mom shuffling back from the buffet bar with a friend in tow, I quickly hide my sketchbook because eventually a conversation would ensue about a talented grandson who just loves to draw and that would add another twenty minutes to the already two hour eat-a-thon.

At this particular luncheon, I managed to eat my fill for lunch and draw two more sketches similar to this soup and veggie bar sketch... and that should give you a pretty good idea about how long my mom ate and "partied down!"

Copyright 2012/Ben Bensen III

Monday, July 23, 2012


Hanging in Limbo...
Eventually, this woman wasn't the only person on the cell phone trying to make her connections. We were also hung out for about four hours in Manchester, NH. Apparently, the combination of Newark to Manchester, which actually is a secondary Boston airport, is not a good match if you are planning to fly and connect.

Personally, I was glad we had to stay another night, at United Airlines' expense, here in Manchester. I never really wanted to return to the reality I call "home." My wife, who gets a little anxious when things don't go as planned, was not so pleased with my blase lack of concern. She was quite "miffed" that the airline insisted the plane was on time and on schedule while she was online getting a completely different story.

"Tell me how can a plane arrive on time when it is already late," she asked.

I replied, in rather a matter of fact way,"I dunno!"

Copyright 2012/Ben Bensen III

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Third Times' A Charm...

A Redo... Breakfast with 'Chu...

Just another refinement from a sketch I did a couple of months ago. Sometimes, three's a crowd, sometimes you ridin' da pine going down swinging and sometimes...

It's just a charm!

Copyright 2012/ Ben Bensen III

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sky Mall Lizards... Number Two!

An iguana garden sculpture!
Here's another lizard sketch from the Sky Mall magazine on our return trip from Maine. It almost looks like I drew it from an actual photo of an iguana and not a picture of a sculpture of an iguana, ha!

Copyright 2012/Ben Bensen III

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sky Mall Lizards... Number One!

Jimmy Durante's got nothing on this "schnoze!"
On a three hour flight back to 'da Bayou, I tired of drawing the backs of sleeping passengers' heads, so I paged through the flight magazine and never found anything worth sketching. I tried searching through the "Sky Mall" magazine where I found a host of silly products to sketch. I don't know what is so intriguing about this magazine that so completely entertains the ladies. It is like the flying version of Carol Wright catalogs. These magazines have really silly products that just intrigues the hell out of most women. You know, electronic brain massagers, skeleton gnome garden sculptures, doggie sofa steps and oxygen based skin products, seem to be," must have products."

I don't understand it, but I did find some interesting things to sketch. This is one of two garden lizards that I sketched in the last hour of my flight. A flight attendant, picking up cups and napkins on our descent into New Orleans, saw the sketch and asked, "You draw that from freehand?"

"Yep, I replied.

Copyright 2012/Ben Bensen III

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Something I Just Had To Sketch...

Sketched on a "E-ticket"...
Isn't it always the way. I decided on not sitting with my sketchbook en route to New York, via United Airlines, when I see this very loving father dozing off with his son in his arms. I thought about getting up out of my seat to get my sketchbook, but my bag was too deep in the over head compartment. All I had was the e-ticket stuffed in my back pocket, so I decided to sketch the sleepy time scene on it.

I like it enough to actually entertain putting it to paint!

Copyright 2012/Ben Bensen III

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sketchin' Nature...

Maine's Rocky Coastline...
I really thought I'd spend more time sketching the coast line of Maine, but coordinating our schedule with the weather left me uninspired. Also, trying to find the island's rocky side was a bit daunting. We went on a hike with a guide, but she never stopped in one place long enough for me to get out the sketchbook.

I finished this sketch by filling in the foliage on the plane ride back home because when I started to arrive at the point of filling in, it started to rain. This sketch is near a popular visitor's site where waves stream up a granite crevasse creating what sounds like thunder, thus the site is called, ThunderHole!

But, you wouldn't want to use this sketch as a reference point to find ThunderHole because you'd get lost!

 I've taken way too many liberties ( artistic license, you know! ) for its completion, but it does look pretty inviting, doesn't it?

Copyright 2012/Ben Bensen III