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Friday, May 24, 2013

"You Mind If I Take A Picture Of That?"

Studying students are even better to draw than sleeping people...
Especially, if they are actually studying, like this young high school student. I'd qualify her as a Catholic school student if I thought that, nowadays, only Catholic school students wear uniforms. But, I've been informed, by those who are in the know about these things, that some public and private schools have uniform requirements.

But, for the sake of this sketch, I will assume she is a Catholic high school student. This is the third sketch of three that I drew on a rainy day Wednesday instead of painting outdoors. I thought the sketch came out pretty good, but mainly because the teenager barely moved.

I could never have done that when I was in school. Nothing, in books, interested me enough to remain that focussed... and still.

The first person I sketched on this same, wet day, got up to get a refill "to go" and saw me drawing a second sketch. For the next twenty minutes, she talked about her artistic inabilities in a college course that took her to Italy. She was a biology major that needed crip courses like "PAINTING AND SKETCHING IN ITALY!" in order to finish her requirements for graduation.

I said," Gee, I've been a professional artist for most of my life and I've never been to Italy!"

Anyway, she saw my depiction of her at the computer and, amongst other things, ( like wanting me to draw homes for her real estate business. ) asked if she could take a picture of the sketch with her iPhone thingy!

When our conversation fizzled out, she gave me her card and asked for mine. I guess I really gotta get my business card designed and printed, though in my ad circles, it was considered, kind of silly, to present one to a client.

Everyone, here, seems to require a business card. But, I told her that I had a plethora of websites and would use her biz card with the email address printed on the card to send her more url's than she will ever have time peruse!

After she waved goodbye... I mean, "Chow!" I thought to myself that, by the weekend, my visual data will "go viral" all over the local real estate industry.

So, what does this impromptu "Italian fandango pseudo business and art seminar" have to do with the little teenage "Valley Girl" so diligently studying with her granita?

As I packed up to leave, I decided to break her concentration by showing her my sketch. I didn't give it any more thought than if one "model" wants to spread the word of my artistic prowess, two would be even better!

I said, in passing while showing my sketch of her, "I'm impressed with your diligence... you barely moved, and that makes it easier for someone like me, to complete a nicer drawing...

"Oh my god!" Is that me? Oh, that's awesome... That's really awesome!

"Thank you," I said, rather demurely, not wanting to come off like a dirty, old "arteest" waiting to lure young Catholic high school girls into my studio to see my... "etchings!"

"Thank you, I said again. "You were a great model!"

"What are you studying?" But, before I could continue to change the subject from that "dirty old man status," she blurted out...

"Mister, would you mind if I take a picture of it to show to my friends?"

"Of course not, I'm flattered that you approve!" I laughingly replied, waiting in the back of my mind, like Pavlov's dog, for the standard art director's qualification of, "But...!"

" I like it... But!"

But, as I folded close my sketchbook to quietly dismissed myself, I heard her say, "This is great!" and then something that sounded something like... "Everyone will be so totally...

"Jealous?"I thought.

As I walked across the parking lot to my car, a few other things crossed my mind. My first thought was that she's was gonna be grounded if her parents find out. The other was, with her back to me, the sketch couldn't be considered a portrait though that probably doesn't matter now because it already has "gone viral" with all of her classmates.

Talk about one stop advertising!

Oh, and another thought that bounced around in my head on that day...

I wonder how nice it would be if all art directors were Catholic High School Valley Girls?

Copyright 2013/Ben Bensen III

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"Another Rainy Starbucks Sketch"...

Second cup sketch at Starbucks...

It has been a while since a sketched anything worthwhile posting... if I even sketched every day! But today, my planned plein air painting date got rained out, so setting here, watching the rain and sipping Starbucks, sketching soggy scenes is perfectly fine for now.

The woman in front of me has barely moved since I got here, which motivated me to "do her!"

Copyright 2013/ Ben Bensen III

Thursday, May 9, 2013

"I Never Actually Saw Him Smell The Glove"...

One of thirty inset marker comps for a client ( Brian's glove! ) 

Baseball gloves... I love 'em. Next to guitars and model airplanes, they're the best. I used to go to La Canada's Sport Chalet every spring and mess around with the gloves. I'd check out the fit of a third baseman's A2000 or the Rawling's pitcher's gloves or some Nekossa's, Mizuno's and other models.

Love the new car smell, too!

Apparently, I wasn't the only one! At least, once a year, in the middle of the day, I'd run into Kevin Costner, who fancies himself a ballplayer, trying on this year's model and poppin' it a few times too.

But, that's a story for another time. This is about the travels and travails of my kid's Wilson A2000 second baseman's glove. At the time, I paid a pretty penny for that glove, but it fit his hand so well, and it really was a great piece of leathered sculpture. I felt it was worth it. The glove, now, is over twenty years old and has been restrung three times, and oiled and coddled for most of those years. My wife and I witnessed many a put out at second base with that glove. Many a swipe tag! Occasionally, it received gouges from the cleats of sliding players attempting to take out the second baseman... our son!

Four to six to three, six to four to three!

Many times the glove was left at a friend's house or the baseball diamond, in the dugout, overnight in the grass, baking in the sun. It traveled to minor league ball games across the California landscape, to catch a foul ball at a Padres game, have Dodger dog juice and mustard accidentally slathered across it. It traveled to see Oakland play, enjoyed both Pac Bell and Candlestick park. On one road trip to Seattle, our son insisted on getting his ground balls everyday, so everyday from Pasadena to Victoria, BC, we searched for a baseball diamond to shag some baseballs. He took it to Mammoth when we went skiing, on hiking and fishing trips in the Sierras and to Bishop when we left during the LA riots. It shook during all those late night earthquakes which, a few times, was knocked off his bookshelf or unzipped bat bag.

It has seen some things!

Yesterday, I found it on the floor of my adult kid's closet. I really hadn't seen it since the time I used it to model a concept for a client, "Palm Source" and that was over eight years ago. Call me silly, but I got a little choked up about seeing it... especially on the floor.

I am one of those guys that gets attached to material things, especially, if the money I paid for it's performance, was well worth it. This glove could tell some stories, and it was, well worth it!

So, I had no choice, I had to sketched it...

An old friend...

Copyright 2013/ Ben Bensen III

GraphicGumbo...Daily: A Senior Extravaganza With "Crawfish Conversations...

GraphicGumbo...Daily: A Senior Extravaganza With "Crawfish Conversations...: Portrait of a well satiated "Yat." I couldn't hear exactly what they were saying, but the satisfied look on these faces to...

A Senior Extravaganza With "Crawfish Conversations!"

Portrait of a well satiated "Yat."
I couldn't hear exactly what they were saying, but the satisfied look on these faces told me that it could not have been terribly controversial! While sketching, I had several seniors come over and talk to me about art. Talking about art amounted to the pride that someone in their family,"is so talented" or the disgust that a family member either chose another line of work or just didn't think much their talent to go to school or continue.

"Oh, it is such a waste," one woman said. "A God given talent like that just should not be wasted!"

"Well, I said, "I used to think that about my tall friends who never tried to play basketball."

"Of course, having the talent to be an artist and to actually make a living doing it, is two different things."

"I wish I could draw like that... I can't draw a straight line," he said.

"Well, check this out," I said, as I proceeded to draw a pretty darn straight line with the pencil using my pinky finger to align with the edge of the sketchbook.

"Emile, come see this," one man yelled. "You know how you say you can't draw a straight line to save your soul?"

"Do it again for my friend, please." He will get such a kick "outta dis!"

With a chuckle, I proceeded to draw another straight line and Emile was duly impressed.

"That's amazing... how do you do 'dat?" Emile inquired.

"Lotsa practice," I said rather glibly.

"See, 'dats why you'll never be an artist," the friend joked, as he gently elbowed the once aspiring artist!

"You can't even draw a straight line!"

Copyright 2013/Ben Bensen III

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sketches from,"Seniors Do Crawfish Extravaganza!"

Dealing 'da Cards Out...
Nothing like a good game of cards for the digestive system. But, no stomach can settle when this gang gets the cards flying.

"Only eight, only eight," a small, but severe looking woman screeched.

"She's got ten cards... it is supposed to be only eight!"

"No, Lydia, said one elderly man, who seems to be overseeing this card game amongst the crawfish rubble,"We're now playing with ten!"

The little lady caught my eye as I was sketching their game from two tables across. She shrugged her shoulders in disgust as she attempted to drag me into their game for a second opinion.

"Look, that man over there saw her with the deck. Tell them what you saw," she hollered in a scratchy,  fingernails across the blackboard, voice.

"Sorry mam, I said,"I'm just an artist sketching that man over there ... I don't play cards and wouldn't know whether someone is playing by the rules or not!"

Copyright 2013/ Ben Bensen III

Friday, May 3, 2013

"Lawdy Lord, Doctor ... Please Don't Tell Me I Have To Give Up Eating Too!"

Another "Crawfish Conversation"

It was a confusing, noisy and rather unruly group of seniors seated for the event of the day, which was only moments away. Many had already "scoffed up" lunch and was settling in for the desert. My mom occasionally visits the local Senior Center to socialize. Naturally, I have to be there if it is something different going on from the ordinary social scene.

And it was different alright!

It was an indoor crawfish boil that was supposed to be held outdoors across the street, but the inclement weather changed all that. On the menu with corn on the cob, seasoned Irish potatoes, jambalaya and banana pudding was crawfish!

The food fest was supposed to start at 1pm, but the very mature masses were getting too restless to ignore, so the president of the club rang a very familiar hand held brass bell to get the group to settle down. I remember this kind of bell on the school playground when teachers used it to announce the end of luncheon recess. The bell rang loud and true, but it didn't phase anyone from their chatter and jousting for position in a rather haphazard "bread line" reminiscent of those depression era newsreels of the thirties.  

The analogy to school children is quite poignant, I think!

A rather pragmatic board member suggested that the crawfish, which was put in individual bags ahead of time, would be delivered to each paying member at their table. It was a stroke of genius.

With some help from a few of the hearing populace, the president of the club, a big hearted, loud mouth  transplanted New Yawker yelled, "We can't get started until we say grace, and in ORDER to do that, I need silence. Still, no complete and reverent silence! So, the wise president, understanding her audience, began to tell a story.

"I... I was at 'da doctahs office 'de other day and 'da doc told me that I'd have to lose some weight. I couldn't believe he was tellin' me 'dis.!"( Yats, Chalmashuns and New Yawkers have a lot in common... They have their own "dictionary!" )

She continues,"I said, Doc... I don't drink, I gave up smokin' years ago. I don't gamble, and I've given up on the opposite sex!"

The crowd started to giggle... and pay a bit more attention!

"Lawdy Lord, she announced. Please don't tell me, now, I have to give up eating too!"

After a loud applause and lots of laughter, the gathering settled down. Grace Before Meals was followed by a very reverent "Pledge of Alliance." It was the "one nation under God" version with everyone's hand over the heart, standing at attention and facing the flag!

With the formalities dispensed with, it became, "Laissez les bon temps roulet!

"Lawdy Lord!"

                                                                    Copyright 2013/ Ben Bensen III

Copyright 2013/ Ben Bensen III