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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Three Rivers, "The Birdhouse Man!"

Birdhouses for every occasion!

Birdhouses with pitchfork perches, birdhouses with golf club perches… perches of Jimmy Durante noses attached to long, tall abodes for our feathery friends. Houses made of tin and assorted wood combinations, colored in various designs and textures. Stripes, polka dots, fancy filigreed entrance holes, LSU colored and logo-ed homes and, of course, the ubiquitous fleur-de-lis laden houses for all those fine, feathered fans of the New Orleans Saints.

Well, you name it, this guy had it… it seemed.

He was one of few booths in my block, at the Three Rivers festival,  that was selling items late in the afternoon, which was why this sketch isn't as nice as the first one. It's not bad, just not as good. He only sat still for about a minute or two, which was just enough for me to think I could capture him with his varied products.

I never did get to show him my finished product because he slipped behind his tent and was never seen again until we all were in our disassembly mode at the end of the day. Let me tell you, building your tented booth in anticipation is a hell of a lot more fun than disassembling it at the end of a long weekend!

And, I wonder if his sales would have been even better if his tent was actually... a giant birdhouse!

Copyright 2013/Ben Bensen III

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Three Rivers, Some People Read and Some People Sketch!"

Allan's down time in between sales!

I'm told Sundays at art festivals are usually pretty slow. There are lots of people strolling, but seldom looking to buy. It is even worse, in the fall, if you favorite football team is playing that Sunday afternoon. Well, the New Orleans Saints and the LSU Tigers played night games last weekend, and the weather was conducive for an outdoor event like an arts and crafts festival, so the Three Rivers Art Festival was fairly crowded.

Be that, as it may, by early afternoon Sunday, things were slow enough for someone like me to make the best use of my time by pulling out the sketchbook. This is one of three sketches I finished on that Sunday afternoon. It is, as well, the better of the three because the vendor, who sat in the booth directly across from me, was entranced with the New York Times business section and barely moved a muscle.

At least, that's what he told me when I showed him this sketch and complimented him on being a great model to draw from.

I started the drawing from the top carefully dissecting the straw fedora on his head and patiently worked my way down from there. I hoped that he would remain still as I was beginning to feel good about the direction of the sketch. Sometimes, you work fast, complete the drawing only to have it look horrible, and sometimes you take your time and concentrate, only to have the subject walk away.

An earlier sketch of another vendor I call, "The Birdhouse Man" was not as successful as it could have been because the subject squirmed all through the time that I started sketching him. Eventually, I had to fake the seated pose because he disappeared completely behind his tent.

Anyway, this vendor, whose name was Allan, approved of the ten minute sketch!

Copyright 2013/Ben Bensen III

Monday, November 11, 2013

"Okay, So I Eat Out Alone... A Lot!"

Leftovers... for the little lady!
When I finished my breakfast at Russell's Marina Grill, I still had about one hour to kill before I met up with an old friend. I decided to get to New Orleans early and run a few errands before breakfast. It's all boringly convoluted, so I won't expatiate.

I kinda was hoping a friend to join me, but she had a previous gig and couldn't fit me in. I read the entire USAToday, which I always enjoy, while eating an oyster and artichoke omelet topped with a mustard remoulade sauce. As yet, I haven't had a bad meal there.

It is very New Orleans and the waitresses are nice.

I ordered some toast or a biscuit with my meal and told the waitresses that it was for my wife because I was allergic to wheat.

She said," Oh honey, you don't want the biscuit! The blueberry muffins are to die for! Let me bring one out for you!"

I had no biscuit to compared the muffin with, but she was definitely right, and later, my wife thought so too!

Anyway, this sketch is how I spent a portion of the hour.

Fifth cup!

Copyright 2013/ Ben Bensen III 

Monday, November 4, 2013

"A Gullseye View Of Opulence!"

Four stories up above the Savannah river, in Savannah, GA, I spotted this immense white yacht sitting below my hotel window. Further up the river, beyond the span bridge that takes you across the state line into South Carolina, is the Port of Savannah, where wharfs are filled with container ships and more  heavy freighters. I had a great view of the river, but couldn't help focusing on that yacht just below me which later in the day actually hoisted the Union Jack flag.

Maybe, she was on a goodwill tour or celebrating something special, in Savannah, that weekend.

One afternoon, after gouging ourselves on some great seafood, we waddled back up to digest our feast with a power nap. I woke up about an hour or so later, still a bit goofy from one two many beers. I decided to let my partner in the culinary crime continue to snooze.

It was now or never to sit at the window and sketch the ship, for who knows what tomorrow would bring. She could slip away in the night and I'd never get the chance to sketch something so incredible from such a rare vantage point.

Looking at the sketch, I think I did Union Jack proud!

Copyright 2013/ Ben Bensen III