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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Little Computer Girl...

I drew her older than she is, but so intense...
Well, yesterday I missed my doctor's appointment, again, and was stuck in Mandeville till 3 pm, so I decided to wait it out at Starbucks. A little waif of a girl with blonde hair and pretty blue eyes sat next to her father trying to get to his iPhone to, I guess, play a game online. Twice he told her to leave it on the table because it was loading up some program. On her third try, the father scolded her in front of me and one of his cohorts, who he was trying to conduct some kind of business with.

Twenty minutes later, the father arrives back at the same table we all were sharing, but this time he brought with him his laptop with a pair of pink and blue earphones.

Smart move. The little girl was transfixed and totally involved for the next half hour or so, as Dad continued his conversation with his friend.

I took the time to sketch her a few times. She was a little Tinkerbell waif of a girl. I expected to find little dragonfly wings behind her back. This is my best attempt at capturing her childlike beauty and budding computer whiz intensity. It was a fun way to spend an hour!

Copyright 2013/ Ben Bensen III

Monday, July 22, 2013

"She Just Goes As Rita"...

I had five good minutes for her portrait, then she was gone.

She just goes as Rita. And she goes and goes and goes.

It has been about six or seven months since I took my mother's complaints seriously and left one senior center in Abita Springs to join another one in Mandeville, LA. The group there is pretty active, and they all look after and care for each other, though many just prefer to sit and talk, eat and play cards.

My mom's no different. But Rita is!

If we arrive at 8:30, as the doors are opened, Rita is stretching and preparing her body for a good time. If we arrive between 8:45 am and 9 am, Rita can be found waving at you from the gym treadmill or the stationary bike or the rowing machine. By 9:30, she is sharing coffee with the group, laughing and talking with that squeaky, almost fingernail against the blackboard, voice of hers. She doesn't laugh, she cackles. When she speaks, she's waving those long, thin and bony hands everywhere. And, she likes to point her fingers at you for effect. By 10 am or so, Rita hops into her car and drives to the nursing home to visit her younger sister.

She reminds me of my father, who would always reply when asked about his condition, "I'm doing great!"

Not just fine, not okay and certainly not one of the maudlin, self-pitying, "I'll be okay" in a voice that trails off into some dramatic silent oblivion. No...

"I'm doing GREAT!"

"Well, okay Rita. What's on your schedule for today? How's your younger sister doing, still up and down? What's her prognosis, girl?"

"Lay some on me," I say, as I raise my hand up for a high five.

She gives me an eager five as well as a boney hug, and as she does, she squeaks that she has to go to the dermatologist to have a cancerous mole cut out from her cheek.

"When we were young, we used to spend a long time sunning ourselves on the beach,"she said, with a wrinkled wink of the eye. "You know back then, getting a tan was how we attracted the boys!"

"I guess I'm paying for it now!"

"Hey," I replied, in a sympathetically squeaky voice, "You ain't doing so bad for ninety-four years on earth!"

"Oh, did I tell you I was ninety-four?"

"I'm sorry, sometimes I lie and sometimes, I just forget!"

"I'm actually only... eighty-nine!"

Copyright 2013/Ben Bensen III

Monday, July 15, 2013

"And Now, With More Reasons To Stare and Sketch"...

A mindless study of ellipses...
With the myriad of life altering occurrences that have descended on me and my wife, I find it ever more  pleasant to stare out of a window, or sketch. After being an artist all of my life, and having the knowledge that I've broken more than two dozen chairs as well as fried countless electric erasers, I am constantly amazed at the difference between mindless doodles and doodles with a purpose. It just seems that by now, I should be able to doodle mindlessly and get it right.

This is obviously... a mindless doodle... and it is not right!

Drawing something as simple as a vinegar and oil rack suddenly becomes a study of ellipses in perspective. Beautiful painted illustrations of cars, aircraft, bicycles, place settings and so forth, are wrecked if the oval is wacked out in perspective. And I should know. Many an electric eraser has been trashed attempting to correctly get type or an insignia attached on a curved surface. Ellipse guides do help, if you understand the concept of a circle in perspective. If you don't, they won't help at all!

There was a time in my life, when I'd go for a jog, and within four or five minutes, my body would stop complaining, and my mind would just go any and every where.

Nowadays, my jogging is replaced by my sketching and my body doesn't mind it at all.

If only, I could get it right... mindlessly!

Copyright 2013/ Ben Bensen III