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Monday, April 21, 2014

"Kristen, the Starbuck Barista, In Green!"

Kristen In Green!
This is actually my best impromptu sketch of Starbucks barista, Kristen. It is created in a standard Bic ink pen, which allows much more sensitivity than the Sharpie. Using the Sharpie forces you to concentrate much harder to capture the defining lines. I have to assume it freezes me up more than it should. The ball point affords me the confidence to just dive in and sketch.

When I showed Kristen this sketch, she was a bit taken back. Maybe, she thinks I'm this weirdo that only comes in, for a full year, just to drink coffee and sketch female baristas. So, in my inimitable way, assuming the best defense is an offense, I asked her if I could take a pic of her on my cellphone
( I still use the old clamshell type! ) and she posed for me.

I'll do two more sketches of Kristen and then, I'll move on. Maybe, this sketch I do of her from the pose will be the one she prefers. But, all things being said, I really like this one. It really looks like her and it still has that #loose, sketchy thing happening!

We'll see, one way or another!

Copyright 2014/ Ben Bensen III

Monday, April 14, 2014

"Kristen, The Purple Haired Barista!"

Sharpie composite in my mind...
I've sketched a bunch of baristas at the Mandeville Starbucks where I many times sit and stare out the windows of my mind and any other window I can find. This my second attempt at capturing a little dynamo named, "Kristen." Her statue, energy and vivacity belie her years. She has an independent spirit that tells me she older than that "little girl" image I've got embedded in my head.

But, maybe, that's just me creating stories as I draw. Sometimes, taking a certain approach, an angle, a storyline, helps me see through and yet all around the image. For me, it is more than entertainment... it's focus!

Copyright 2014/Ben Bensen III

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Passing A Good Time At A Tractor Festival"… Number Two!

My first attempt at the tractor festival.
Last weekend, I went to the Loranger Antique Tractor Festival. This was my first sketch there. I spent about an hour walking around, taking photos and listening to all the stories about tractor owners and their love of tractors.

There's an aesthetic for everything, eh?

When I went back to the car to drop off the camera and returned with my sketchbook, quite a few farmer's were impressed... I think! Maybe, they felt I was "showing off" and gave me that "tongue in cheek" amazement. But, it was all in good fun and besides, I'm an artist. I've learned rejection comes in all forms...

Even, in the form of a compliment, ha!

Copyright 2014/Ben Bensen III

Monday, April 7, 2014

"Kristen, The Purple, Green and Blue Haired Barista!"

One of quite a few sketches of a Starbucks barista!
This barista's name is Kristen. When I first completed this sketch six months ago, I really didn't know much about her. I still don't. Kristen is short, though she can reach the countertops and the cash register without standing on her tiptoes. Maybe that's why she is mostly at the drive up window, ha!

She's short, she's cute, she is quick to smile. She has tattoos, and paints her fingernails black, at times, but I can't say she is a "Goth!"

Does it matter?

One thing is for sure, she likes her hair short... boy short, and she likes to color it all kinds of crazy colors. That's all I can see at this time. If the "book" is as interesting as the "cover", I would not be very surprised.

Copyright 2014/Ben Bensen III



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"A Junkyard, A Junkyard Dawg And A Junkyard Tractor!"

I believe the owner said it was a 1940 Ford, I believe!
About one month ago, my wife and I got a Sunday afternoon off from everything, so we decided to go for a ride. We had had so much wet and cold weather, but on this day it was positively beautiful, so we went out for a ride in the countryside.

A better description of our environment would be to call it a "bayouside!"

We took Louisiana highway 22 through Pontchatoula and Hammond and continued following the signs that said LA#22, but somehow we took the wrong turn at Albuquerque and ended up following what we thought was the Amite River. It was a real strange mixture of nice homes, neo-south plantation styled homes and disheveled trailer homes and campsites.

Outhouses notwithstanding…

Well, I found this property that had all kinds of junk covered in high grass from old refrigerators, baby strollers, kitchen sinks and tractors! Therese didn't like the idea that I wanted to stop and sketch, at least, one of these rusted beauties. But I did, and this is my sketch of a Ford tractor circa 1940. It took me about twenty minutes to complete, but I later added the tone at a local restaurant to hide some of glaring mistakes.

The owner, figuring I was some sort of "revenuer," ( just kiddin' ) came out with his big shepherd to investigate my investigation of his rare collection. Feeding off my wife's anxieties, I hurried the big wheel and when the dog said "hello," I backed away from him only to twist my already sprained ankle,  and collapse in a muddy culvert. After apologizing for his dog's behavior, I showed the proprietor the reason for my impromptu and unannounced visit. He was impressed with my interpretation of his rusted beauty, not enough to buy it, but, from that point, all went quite well.

He had about four or so tractors that he swore would turn over from a battery jump and get right out to plowing the uh… bayou, I guess! The man told me the make and models of all four of the tractors that I could see half hidden in the tall grass. He was especially proud of his 1940 and 1952 Fords. I believe the one I sketched was one of those Fords. I thanked him for allowing me the time to sketch his tractor
( and, I thought to myself, for not shooting first and ask questions later! ) and asked him if I could photograph the others with my cellphone.

He agreed it was okay, I snapped a few quite hastily, hobbled back to the car, and split.

Driving away, I thought, "Ain't the backwoods of America, great… or what?"

Copyright 2014/ Ben Bensen III

"Seems An Extremely Appropriate Nickname!"

Administrators, the Senior Center cannot do without!
I sketched these two women as they both stood in the doorway of their offices overseeing the party festivities at the Mandeville Senior Center. What festivities, I've no idea because there is always some gala event going on there and on certain occasions, I sit in the background, or with my mother, and sketch away.

Arnita is usually parked in her office behind a glass partition and her desktop computer. I assume she is the person to handle the business portion of the center while "Mellow" is more hands on, making sure all the senior's many needs are met. I don't know what came first, Mellow's name or her disposition.

If, it is not her real first name, it seems an extremely appropriate nickname.

I think I captured her in this sketch quite well. Her eyes tell the story better than any words can, at least, any words I can conjure up. I've seen Mellow sit many times alone with my mom when I'm late picking her up and everyone else is gone. Mellow's there, if mom needs reassurance that she won't be forgotten, and doesn't seem to mind listening to, ad nauseum, all of my mother's heroic stories of days long gone. Also, she's not one to shy away from a good line dance in the dance exercise sessions that happen every Monday. I can't tell if she is just there in case one of the members gets dizzy or whether she's really there to get her exercise. With those early morning moves, it probably is Mellow just "gettin' on a good foot!"

Regardless, she's just always "there"… Taken care!

Copyright 2014/Ben Bensen III