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I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!
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I Eat Out, Alone… A Lot!

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It’s not like my wife and I don’t like each other. We’ve been together, happily, for quite some time. Over the years, we’ve learned that we both have different eating requirements. I like to linger …

It’s not like my wife and I don’t like each other. We’ve been together, happily, for quite some time. Over the years, we’ve learned that we both have different eating requirements. I like to linger after a meal and she does not. I like to engage in conversation with others at a restaurant and she tolerates it. I like to sketch new images and therefore, will sit, drink coffee as long as someone will fill the cup, and then, sketch until my wife returns or until, reluctantly, I have to leave and return to the harsh, cruel world outside.

And so, this slideshow is a culmination of the best meals and sketches I’ve created in the last year or two. When drawing, I normally use fine point Sharpies, or black Prismacolor pencils, but any marking tool works for me and occasionally you might find a blue ball point pen or thick black Pentels as the tool of choice or opportunity.

Most of these sketches, but not all, and the accompanying stories are taken from my two blogs:
http://graphicgumbo3.blogspot.com or, http://sketchiethoughts.blogspot.com

Behind each illustration, on the next page, are my comments about the food, the venue or restaurant, the waitresses, my sketches or my life experiences as an artist/ illustrator. Because some of these stories are a bit long and editing them is rather problematic, I’ve opted to invite you to click on the accompanying url, to fully enjoy a particular story.

By the way, let me just say that with all my lingering around after a meal, I have never been kicked out of a restaurant. At least, not yet!

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  • 1. I EAT OUT ALONE… A LOT!
  • 2. An EXPLANATION It’s not like my wife and I don’t like each other. We’ve been together, happily, for quite some time. Over the years, we’ve learned that we both have different eating requirements. I like to linger after a meal and she does not. I like to engage in conversation with others at a restaurant and she tolerates it. I like to sketch new images and therefore, will sit, drink coffee as long as someone will fill the cup, and then, sketch until my wife returns or until, reluctantly, I have to leave and return to the harsh, cruel world outside. And so, this slideshow is a culmination of the best meals and sketches I’ve created in the last year or two. When drawing, I normally use fine point Sharpies, or black Prismacolor pencils, but any marking tool works for me and occasionally you might find a blue ball point pen or thick black Pentels as the tool of choice or opportunity. Most of these sketches, but not all, and the accompanying stories are taken from my two blogs: http://graphicgumbo3.blogspot.com or, http://sketchiethoughts.blogspot.com Behind each illustration, on the next page, are my comments about the food, the venue or restaurant, the waitresses, my sketches or my life experiences as an artist/ illustrator. Because some of these stories are a bit long and editing them is rather problematic, I’ve opted to invite you to click on the accompanying url, to fully enjoy a particular story. By the way, let me just say that with all my lingering around after a meal, I have never been kicked out of a restaurant. At least, not yet!
  • 3. P.J.’s Coffeehouse Fleur de Lis… http://sketchiethoughts.blogspot.com/2012/10/its-where-you-find-it.html
  • 4. Mandy’s Maitre’d Complete the story at: http://sketchiethoughts.blogspot.com/2013/09/a-toofcleaning-sketch-and-comfort-food.html
  • 5. Melon-Cholly
  • 6. “Melon-Cholly Morning” I left quite early from my friend's house to catch a flight from Ontario airport to 'da Bayou. It was so early that no restaurants were open to serve any coffee except, "Applebee's." I didn't feel good taking up an entire booth just to have a cup of coffee, so I asked for a breakfast menu and there at the bottom of every wonderful photo of an omelet, or fruit plate, or pancake combo was the calories one would consume with any of these entrees. The only early morning offering under a thousand calories was the melon and bagel plate. It was about 950 calories including coffee. I actually wasn't even hungry having eaten a late dinner the night before, but if I was hungry at those caloric prices, I quickly would have lost my appetite. Me thinks it not a very good marketing strategy for a restaurant, but a very good one for the dieting kind. Copyright 2012/Ben Bensen III
  • 7. Chix-Pot
  • 8. Chicken Cacciatore? It has been a really crazy week, doing things for my mom that need to be taken care of... Sometimes, with her and sometimes without her in tow. It is a 60 mile jaunt from our home in Folsom to New Orleans. On this night, I met my wife at a funeral home to explore the ridiculous cost of dying. No need to expatiate further on that subject. My brother watched our mom for a couple of hours as we took care of business and then seized the opportunity to share a wonderful dinner together at a restaurant called, "Sandro's Trattoria' somewhere between Metairie and Kenner, LA. I highly recommend the daube! Eventually, Therese took off early for home to correct papers while I would return to my brother's to pick up mom. But after my wife left, I decided to stay longer and put off the inevitable by having desert and coffee. I sketched, on the paper table cloth, this ceramic rooster flower pot which was sitting on the shelf a few tables away. It went well with my third cup of coffee. Copyright 2013/Ben Bensen III
  • 9. The Cracker Barrel Game Complete the story at: http://sketchiethoughts.blogspot.com/2013/01/i-was-havingfun-until.html
  • 10. Savannah Breakfast
  • 11. “An Elliptical Breakfast!” This is one of a series of sketches I did while on vacation in mid June. It was a very relaxing ten days away from all the troubles and domestic headaches that come with the day to day. This is one sketch that I intended to expand on and eventually did. The breakfasts were delightful and the early morning cool courtyard was a great nearest faraway place. As you may or may not know, my wife loves to sleep in on vacations, so I get to have a quiet and reflective morning retreat with lots of coffee from Starbucks, a USA Today, and my sketchbook. Little did I realize, at this time, how reflective life was going to be on our return, but that's a story for another time. I, also, didn't realize how circular my drawing would become until I actually started to put pen to paper! Copyright 2013/Ben Bensen III
  • 12. “Somewhere Else” Complete story at: http://sketchiethoughts.blogspot.com/2012/11/somewhereelse.html
  • 13. “Feliz Navi-dat”
  • 14. Feliz Navi’dat… Well, I was sitting in the dentist chair when I received the good news. All systems go, that is, no cracked fillings, no receding gums, no cavities, no problems. So, I decided to celebrate by having a Mexican lunch. It would be a solo gig, and that was just fine for me! Earlier in the day, I, along with other dutiful and intrepid parents, braved the wet weather and attended a Christmas extravaganza presented by the Lancaster Elementary School. The performance went well much to the delight of parents and teachers. After the show, there was a party complete with all kinds of Christmas themes, decorations and goodies. Because I wanted to impress my dental hygienist, I abstained from the sugary stuff. But now, reveling in my dental report, it was my time to party and show off the "pearly whites. Ordering one of the luncheon specials, accompanied by a large frozen margarita, I noticed the festive Christmas decorations complete with Saints posters and the ever present, fleur-de-lis. How Mexican! But, the best was this restaurant's artificial tree standing proudly in the large glass window just loaded with all sorts of "multi-cultural" adornments. When I saw the black sombrero atop the tree replacing the standard star or angel, or "Gawd Forbid" a fleur-de-lis, I just had to pull out the sketchbook and capture it. Can you say Merry Christmas with a New Orleans 'Yat accent? Feliz Navi-DAT! Copyright 2011-2012/Ben Bensen III
  • 15. “Starbuck’s Schoolgirl” http://sketchiethoughts.blogspot.com/2013/05/you-mind-if-i-takepicture-of-that.html
  • 16. “A Bunch’O Bull” Complete story at:http://sketchiethoughts.blogspot.com/2012/10/its-just-bunch-o-bull.html
  • 17. “Tablecloth Art”
  • 18. Table Cloth Art #3... "Look Through Any Window!" Look Through Any Window... and tell me what'cha see. And then, draw it. This is another in a series of sketches I enjoy doing on restaurant paper table cloths. I just put the pen to paper and doodle away while I am waiting for service or, if the art is promising, continue on as I eat. Naturally, I would never ignore a lovely lady or someone else sitting across from me sharing a nosh in order to accomplish this. It is best performed solo, preferably at lunch. The sketch is from a restaurant in downtown Covington called, "Mattina Bella", which serves up some pretty interesting Italian lunches besides great all day omelets and benedicts. Today, I just had a hamburger and fries, ha! Copyright 2013/Ben Bensen III
  • 19. “Country Hat Rack”
  • 20. “Rack ‘Em” A few days ago, my wife had to have a stress test performed and she said it would take about an hour, so I dropped her off at the medical facility in LaCombe, LA. LaCombe is famous for the Big Branch Marsh Reserve which surrounds the northern portion of Lake Pontchartrain. I drove around for a bit looking for a coffee shop. Unfortunately, all I could find was a Chevron Mini-Mart with a small Subway Sandwich Shop attached. With no Wi-Fi available, I decided to buy a cup of coffee, pull out the sketchbook and draw... but what? This is what I came up with first... And, it was better than the coffee I bought! Copyright Ben Bensen III / 2011
  • 21. “Tuning Up”
  • 22. “A One Man Band Sound Check” After two small margaritas, I received word that my friend was not going to be able to join me for "Happy Hour" and dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, so I decided to put off my meal and sketch a little. I had my sketchbook handy because I wanted to share some of my drawings with a friend. While I was working on this sketch and a third margarita, one waiter and one waitress started moving tables around in one long line to the center of the restaurant. Apparently, someone was gonna have a birthday get together and this one man band prepared his computerized backup band, set up his microphone, music and lyric sheets, his over-sized wine glass for tips, and then began to, most importantly, tune his gut stringed classical... ax! Copyright 2011/Ben Bensen III
  • 23. “Drinking Coffee”
  • 24. Sketches From My Coffee House Getaway Just two sketches of people drinking coffee. The small head I pretty much faked because the man moved too much for me to get too interested in making him look like anything other than a gestural thing. The hand actually looks better in this pic than in the other sketch of the woman. Hands aren't easy, and they can ruin an otherwise beautiful drawing. I basically drew this woman's hand from past knowledge of how to not make it look like a claw. When I was drawing frames of hands holding product in my storyboard work, I always used reference because my frame style was more realistic than most storyboarder's art and beautiful hands always highlighted the product. I felt it was very important, especially with a woman's hand. My mom and my wife both have really beautiful and expressive hands. Many times, in the wee hours of a deadline, I'd pose Therese's hands and photograph it with a Polaroid. She was so good at modeling I rarely had to direct her before I shot. Analyzing, this woman's hand works alone on it's own, but next to the rest of the pose, which I love, it fails. Of course, I'll give myself a break by saying it is just a pencil sketch of a moving person expressing emotions during a conversation. If you look closely, I was rather timid with my lines which I purposely thought about before making a mark. Not so with the smaller sketch which is basically a mindless doodle. I love her eyes which I felt I captured pretty well. I sort of idealize this person because she wasn't as pretty as my drawing depicted... truth be told. Copyright 2013/Ben Bensen III
  • 25. “Cracker Barrel Lamp”
  • 26. "Long As I Can See The Light"... This is a twenty-two minute sketch I did in ball point pen while having breakfast at a restaurant on a very gray, wet Thursday morning. I'm pretty happy considering it is a sketch full of ellipses. I started at the top and tried to not look at the oval aspects of the glass top, but the deca edges messed me up. It has been my experience to assess the ellipse degree and then just draw it from muscle memory instead of trying to continually look at the hole as I draw it. Once I get the circle drawn correctly, it is much easier to follow up on the rest of the ellipses. Because I didn't get the top piece perfectly correct, I spent much more of sketch attempting to justify all the other ellipses in perspective. Still, I rather like this sketch for all the other aspects one might enjoy this piece! Copyright 2013/ Ben Bensen III
  • 27. “Goblet”
  • 28. "I'll Drink To Me, Drink To Myself, And Then I'll Just Draw All Alone...” There's a secret to getting bottles, jugs, mugs, glasses, and all containers symmetrical, but when you're waiting for the ladies to finish roaming the restaurant and powdering their noses, an artist type gets bored and decides to draw his empty loving cup. He knows full well his second empty goblet of some of the world's best draft beer, Abita Brewery's "Abita Amber" will distort his soon to be off center mug. If you look closely, there are light lines that I drew for myself to stay on course with my ellipses, but as usual, it didn't work. It's subtle, but almost every oval is off center. That is, it is bent! Oh well, it was a fun way to waste away fifteen minutes anyway! And, the liquid inside that off center mug was surely, "right on." Copyright 2012/ Ben Bensen III
  • 29. “Multi-Tasking”
  • 30. Sketching From My Coffee House Getaway… Number One! The other day I had the morning to myself and decided to space out at the local PJ's Coffee Shop. I was determined not to get myself in a funk over the response I got from a perspective client. I'm not even sure I wanted the job, but I nevertheless spent a few hours assembling a "pdf"slideshow of samples. It seems no matter how many "presentations" you have available, someone requires something you have, but have to put together in some logical form and present it to them. I liked it better when I could interview personally with a client, but it would have taken an airplane ticket to do so, soooooooo! So, I had a large cup of coffee and sketched people doing their thing. Just mindless quickies, in pencil, to keep the chops up. Here's the first... • Copyright 2013/Ben Bensen III
  • 31. "No Fountain Of Youth, But...” Complete story at: http://sketchiethoughts.blogspot.com/2013/10/nofountain-of-youth-but.html
  • 32. “Outside A Deli Window”
  • 33. From A Deli Window My wife and I took a two week vacation up the east coast in late June. I didn't spend as much time sketching in my sketchbook as I normally would do because there wasn't a whole lot of down time. Most of the sketches revolve around eateries because I like to linger after a meal, and Therese doesn't. In Charleston, South Carolina, I would get up early, mosey down to the hotel's beautiful courtyard and have breakfast while reading the complimentary "multicolored fish wrap. "After about the third or fourth cup of coffee, I would start sketching. I only have one or two really good sketches from that "courtyard session." This sketch, from a deli window in Georgia, is about the same. Therese got antsy and went walking and window shopping in downtown Savannah, and I sat and made this sketch with another cup or two of coffee. Both of us enjoyed our own time away and in our own way. It was time well spent. Copyright 2013/ Ben Bensen III
  • 34. “Water With Lemon”
  • 35. A Mindless Doodle Got up early, before dawn to help my wife get her day started. Today, is the annual Christmas Show starring all the second graders. Her class is performing, "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and she seemed to need breakfast and a little early morning encouragement. And then, I had to wrestle with the VA office about my mother's benefits. No need to go there! I promised mom breakfast afterwards and we had a nice one within walking distance of the VA office. Of course, being from the south, I enjoy lingering awhile after the meal and most restaurants are prepared for that eventuality, but, when my mother is involved, it seems to take a millennium or two. So, I sketch on paper table cloths, if I don't have a sketchbook. In a way, I kind of like it like that because it becomes a mindless doodle with no responsibility to the pen, the paper or my psyche! This is one of the two tablecloth doodles! Copyright 2012/ Ben Bensen III
  • 36. “Breakfast Wit’Chu…”
  • 37. “Third Times A Charm” Just another refinement from a sketch I did a couple of months ago. Sometimes, three's a crowd, sometimes you ridin' da pine, going down swinging, and sometimes... It's just a charm! Copyright 2012/ Ben Bensen III
  • 38. “Veggie Bar” http://sketchiethoughts.blogspot.com/2012/07/another-goldencorral-eat-thon.html
  • 39. “Enebriated Musings…”
  • 40. "The Visual Ramblings of an Inebriated Artist"...Take Two! My wife asked me to take mom out of the house so she could have some privacy and get some work done without interruptions, so I took mom to a Books-A-Million store for a looksie and then to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. Mom had nothing to say except how tender the chicken was in her "mexican poorboy." Monday Night Football was a horrible matchup and the Orioles and Yankees were still in a rain delay, so I drank margaritas and idly sketched on the table top paper cover. There were more scribbles, but this was the better of the rest. And yes, the styrofoam container did have "Who Dat?" embossed on the cover and I highly recommend the flan for dessert! Copyright 2012-2013/ Ben Bensen III
  • 41. “Sketching SCUBA”
  • 42. “Sketches On Demand…” On a return flight from a week at Langley, AFB, I was served an inflight meal. It just so happened that I was sketching this little piece trying to get my thoughts down on paper before I forgot what It was I was trying to depict about this flight instructor. His code name was, “SCUBA”, which, he told me, had nothing to do with the underwater sport. Well, that piqued my interest enough to work on this idea I had for a gift portrait. SCUBA was my pilot on an F-15 flight that never happened… not once, but twice. This sketch is the first of two for an illustration that also never happened. But that’s a story for another time. When I changed planes to complete my return, the connection was late… like a couple of hours. So, I went to the bar, had a beer or two and some peanuts, and continued on this first sketch. Landing a few hours later, in New Orleans, I found that my ride home was not gonna be available for a few more hours. I was okay with that. I got myself a piece of overlay paper and continued to flesh out my idea, and to help me visualize the concept even better, I got me an oyster poor boy and an Abita Springs Amber… or two. The second sketch is the refinement of my original first thought. The poor boy and the beer helped! Copyright 2014/ Ben Bensen III
  • 43. “Sketching SCUBA-#2”
  • 44. “Oil and Vinegar”
  • 45. Mindless Doodles 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
  • 46. “Thank You…”
  • 47. “I’m A Slow Eater, But Not That Slow…” Got up early, before dawn to help my wife get her day started. Today, is the annual Christmas Show starring all the second graders. Her class is performing, "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and she seemed to need breakfast and a little early morning encouragement. I, then, had to wrestle with the VA office about my mother's benefits. No need to go there! I promised mom breakfast afterwards and we had a nice one within walking distance of the VA office. Of course, being from the south, I enjoy lingering awhile after the meal and most restaurants are prepared for that eventuality, but, when my mother is involved, it seems to take a millennium or two. So, I sketch on paper table cloths, if I don't have a sketchbook. In a way, I kind of like it like that because it becomes a mindless doodle with no responsibility to the pen, the paper or my psyche! This is one of the two tablecloth doodles! Copyright 2014/Ben Bensen III
  • 48. Leftovers…
  • 49. Leftovers? Just another food aftermath sketch. We are really enjoying our stay here in SoCal, and eating way too much. One free ranging SoCal patron at breakfast was taking no chances on her organic, vegan start of the day. There wasn't any egg omelet left unturned. She wanted to know just about everything about the birds habitat, the origin of the spinach and whether the blueberries were seasonal or frozen. And, I thought, vegans didn't even eat eggs. With a straight face, she asked the waiter," How are these grilled hash browns cooked? With vegetable oil, canola oil or with animal fat?" The waiter, assuming the customer understood the grilling process, very professionally replied, "No ma’am... all of our potato dishes are grilled!" Regardless, I almost exploded with laughter at the thought of this woman asking good old Gus, Folsom's master chef, how the hash browns would be cooked! Ya gotta love SoCal! Copyright 2013/ Ben Bensen III
  • 50. Thank You… BURP!

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