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Monday, January 27, 2014

"They Can Be A Cruel And Tough Crowd."

She posed real well...
I can always count on the senior group members to give me their seal of approval by recognizing, when I show them a completed sketch of the people I attempt to draw. It was confirmed.

Her name is Marilyn. Although no one seemed to remember her last name, they were amazed at my capturing her likeness. I don't dare show them my numerous failures. They can be a cruel and tough crowd. I have attempted to sketch her many times, but with not much luck. Marilyn moves around a lot even though she has a bit of a limp. It appears that she favors a red felt skull cap and many times, she has a crucifix necklace draped around her neck.
Two attempts to capture Marilyn.

As I mentioned, if they can recognize the portrait, then, I'm happy… and therefore,  I am quite happy with this final sketch.

Copyright 2014/ Ben Bensen III

Monday, January 20, 2014

"Covered In Red She Became The Poinsettia!"

Should have colored it...
Well, there was this woman elegantly dressed in red who sat up front where the seasonal festivities were happening. There were all kinds of Christmas decorations where the stage was and the stage had quite a few performers entertaining the crowd. A Christmas tree, blinking lights, candy canes, red stockings and lots of red poinsettias set the stage for a real celebration. I found the lady almost consumed in red with only her face visible as another color.

And, this is what I came up with… wish I had had some markers with me.

Mainly red…

Copyright 2014/ Ben Bensen III

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"Sheriff Santas...Serving It Up Right!"

A lot of faking going on in this sketch...
The Sheriff's Department of St. Tammany parish here in Louisiana put on their own Christmas extravaganza complete with singing, dancing and a seasonal comedy act. At least, I think it was intended to be a comedy act of the season. For all I know, they might have been serious. My mom and I got there pretty late and so we didn't get any turkey and stuffing…

They ran out!

But the best part of the celebration was checking out all the great costumes that the entertainers, as well as the audience, wore. Most of the older folks that live on the north shore of Lake Pontchatrain are transplants from New Orleans. Many of them lost everything in the hurricane of 2005. Its name was Katrina. Of course, Christmas is just a rehearsal for the real celebration... Mardi Gras.

For this generation, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if many of these creative outfits are designed red and green on the outside for Christmas and, like those reversible belts that has one color, usually brown,  on one side and black on the other, the inside of their costumes are the festive Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold.

The best Christmas costume I saw was a woman dressed as a Christmas tree, which was very well thought out and executed. She must have sewn waves of green lace in concentric circles like the branches of spruce or noble pine tree. The lace branches faded into a green "dunce cap" that sat on top of her head, culminating with a hovering, illuminated angel. The green lace "branches" were complete with ornaments and blinking lights. It truly was a joy to see and to feed off of such creativity when so many are, for one reason or another, a bunch of " bah humbugs."

I brought my sketchbook, but wished I had brought my camera instead in order to photograph all that creative energy. I did find the time, while my mom was still chowing down her lunch, to capture, as best as I could, the strange symmetry of plastic capped officers in uniforms loading round paper plates, in unison, with Christmas cheer.

Copyright 2014/ Ben Bensen III

Monday, January 6, 2014

"I'm In Love... Will You Marry Me?"

He'd say with a twinkle in his eye...
"My name is Tony." I'm Jewish!"

"You're Jewish?", I asked feigning astonishment.

"That's wild!" I've never met a Tony that is Jewish!", I said.

"No, you're not," screamed the ladies, but forgetting to close the discussion by reminding him what his real nationality is.

"Yes, I am a Jew and was born in Japan and raised in China," he said with a twinkle in his eye.

Three of the women at the center confirmed he was surely Italian, but they could not remember his last name. They all seemed concerned that I actually was sold by him about his nationality.

But, I was having a little fun at their expense. They didn't know I already had a few run ins with Tony and quickly learn of his shenanigans! Once before, he insisted on dancing, I think it was the "cha cha", with my mom.

Mom, of course, played along.

The next time I saw Tony, he told everyone that he was in love and wanted my mom to marry him! I have to assume that my mom didn't hear him, otherwise, she surely would've given him such a punch!
And, I guess, it was the "cha cha" that threw him into a romantic seizure. You know with that generation, all it takes is a dance partner to have some kind of rhythm to instill romantic thoughts of heavenly marital bliss. It's no wonder why they couldn't understand dances like the frug, the swim, the hully gully, the twist and 'da funky chicken.

No one ever touches one another. That generation barely held each other's hands when they danced.

When I showed him this sketch, he laughed and then complimented my effort. Everyone else wanted to see it and also complimented me on capturing his likeness.

Thanking everyone, who saw the sketch, for their kudos, I began to make my exit and get on with the day. As I started for the door, Tony catches my eye and said…

"You never asked me what my last name is!"

"Oh yeh," I said, expecting some long, rhythmic, multi-syllabic, Italian last name.

"What is it, Tony?" I ask.

"Sakamoto," he said…"Tony Sakamoto!"

Copyright 2014/ Ben Bensen III