S: RICK BENSON
BC: Rick Benson, Sept. 1952 - Sept. 2012 | When I gave Rick his 60th birthday card, I felt such a landmark anniversary deserved a special sentiment so I wrote out “Rick A-Z,” noting something special about him that started with each letter of the alphabet A for artist, B for baker, C for creative and so on. Some letters required several descriptions, as just one didn't seem to do him justice. He was all those things and more, perpetually growing and changing into a new version of himself. Whether in the form of a new dish he prepared, a new arrangement of flowers or music, a new book or school of thought, he easily adapted this information and expanded to meet it. He never stood still for a moment and when he learned something new he felt it incumbent on himself to share this knowledge and watch it light up in others. We lovingly called him a “Renaissance Man” and he happily and proudly wore that title. Whatever he put his hand to magically transformed. He could look at a collection of seemingly random objects, or ingredients or even people and find a unique way of bringing them together. He made love, he made art and finally, five days after his 60th birthday, he expanded beyond this physical form and is no doubt doing an enlarged version of the same on the other side. Rosemary Taylor | ...With Mini
FC: R I C K B E N S O N
1: In loving memory of Rick Benson, beloved brother, friend and son. He will be widely and deeply missed.
4: Pass-a-Grille Community Church, St. Petersburg, Florida | founded in 1910
6: Children's Place Mat
7: "Circle of Friends" This illustration represents the role of education in world cultures and the promise of a brighter future for all children of the world.
8: Rick frequently engaged in making seasonal wreaths through a selective gathering of twigs, berries, cones and various other discoveries that met his attention.
9: Dendrobium Orchid
11: Michigan Seasons
13: Clearwater Beach, Florida
14: Search for your lands where sound flows free where whispers of waiting are wanting to be Sacred music trade winds and rains chanting through the forests moving the days Charcoal shadows dance to fade make room for the sunlight to bleach their gray r.b.
16: You'll whisper to the flowers you'll walk among the trees then in time you'll only realize that that was only me I am so often hidden and standing in the shadows alone just waiting for the moment to stand for all i know Come back to nature that's where it all began emerging very slowly and returning back again r.b.
17: Mark Twain
19: The guardians of light move the spirits of age forming echoes through echoes built from rains It's all such a circle spinning so free making it's cycle turn and agree Your god holds the balance by the thought of a tree he is your nature and energies to be What have we taught us about what, do we know our answers aren't answers but figments of show r.b.
20: The Lake House
23: Throughout his creative journey Rick saddled his attention on the details as you can see in the previous ink illustration. The deeper one explores here the more one sees, much how Rick embraced life. If ever you had a chance to visit his residence in Grand Ledge, MI you would have fell upon an extraordinary collection of novelties, each exhibiting a unique attention to detail.
24: Music Class
25: Orange | A carefully peeled orange methodically pinned back together and placed on a window sill to dry was the inspiration for this ink drawing. The orange long remained hung from a thread in the window at the farm.
26: St. Mary West Phalia, MI
27: "Sky Blue Stone Shop", co-designed with Bob Kirkpatrick, dear friend and later brother-n-law.
29: The Farmhouse - Diamondale, MI Rick lived here with his brother Alan and two comrades in the early 70's. It was rumored to be a haunted house by locals, most likely because of its overgrown land and decrepit appearance. Adding to the farm's local mystique, on the back end of its eighty acre plot was the town cemetery. An overworked wood furnace in the dirt floored basement aided in keeping the winter months bearable and the ghosts away.
32: This illustration was used as poster art for the band "St. Elmo's Fire".
33: The weary wizard made statements profound the prophet works wonders but so does the clown Who can draw the line where wisdom prevails who tells the stories and who lives their tales Wiser we'll grow and truth will be free our hearts will be lifted from the soul of the sea r.b. | Shadow World
34: This illustration was presented to the Olds and later represented in a large basement mural.
35: "Sun Face" recycled in numerous projects over Rick's versatile career.
39: Menu Board Clips
40: Silent tears are spoken from the lips of your eyes they tell me that you hear me with fears of your disguise With words I've tried to tell you but words cannot describe they're adjectives of feelings feelings I can't hide I have so much to give you if only you'd let me try I was never meant to hurt you only love your lives You've envisioned a love, in body and the body isn't mine but the spirits that they shelter will hold our love in time | That thought is very shallow that, that body isn't mine for the love you're searching for is awaiting in my mind For this is more important to be spiritually combined for in time you'll see me and I'll be waiting close behind "Just a friend", you see me but there's more, and this you know only through God, and Love, and Freedom will it began to show r.b.
41: Address Mailing Label | Invite for brother Eric and Cheryl's wedding
43: Murals | Michigan State Spartans
44: "Siren", first used as cover art for a poetry-art book titled "Siren". Books 1 & 2 were co-authored with brother Alan and contributing friends. Later used in other promotional works.
46: Those who knew Rick appreciated his love for cooking and sharing of tasty creations with others. Here are just a few. | Grandma Benson's Chocolate Pie Melt over double boiler: 3 regular size Hershey Bars 1/2 c. milk 24 standard size marshmallows Cool mixture while you prepare 1/2 point of whipping cream, beaten not too stiffly. Add 1 tsp. vanilla. Fold chocolate and whip cream together and pour into a graham cracker crust. Crust-Crush 15 graham crackers and combine with 1/4 c. melted butter. Chill before filling. Chill entire pie 1 hour before serving. | Rick's Ma's Valentine Cookies 1 c. butter 2 1/2 c. flour 1 c. powder sugar 1 Tbs. milk 1 tsp. vanilla Combine butter, sugar - blend in flour, milk and vanilla. Roll out 1/4" thick, using heart shape cookie cutter cut out and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes Icing 1 c. powder sugar 1 Tbs. butter 1/2 tsp. almond extract few drops of milk to desired consistency 1-2 drops of red food coloring
47: Butter Rich's Cream: 3/4 c. butter 1/2 c. brown sugar 2 Tbs. sugar 1 egg yolk 1 tsp. vanilla Blend in 2 c. flour Form into small balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Flatten with glass bottom to 1/4 thickness. Bake 9 minutes at 350 degrees. Icing Brown 1/4 c. butter Add to 2 1/2 c. powder sugar 1 tsp. vanilla 4 Tbs. milk as needed Garnish each cookie with slivered almonds. | Rick's Barbecue Sauce 1/4 c. (1/2) stick unsalted butter 1 1/3 c.cider vinegar 1 c. brown sugar, packed 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper 6Tbs. minced onions 1 1/3 c. catchup 1 tsp. Worcestershire's sauce Melt butter in heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is reduced to 2 2/3 cups, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
48: Rick's Potatoes AuGratin Cook 6 medium potatoes cut in bite size pieces until tender in salted water. Save water. Melt 4-5 Tbs. butter adding 3 Tbs. flour to form a roux. Slowly add 1-1 1/4 c. potato water. Thicken and lower heat, add 1 c. shredded cheese and 1/3 c. Parmesan cheese. Combine 1 small diced onion, potatoes, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. paprika and cheese sauce. Pour into oiled casserole disk, dust top with wheat germ. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes | Swedish Rye Bread, family recipe 2pkg, yeast 1/2 c. warm water 1/2 c. brown sugar 1/3 c. Molasses 1 Tbs. salt 3 Tbs. shortening 1 c. white flour 2 c. rye flour 3-3 1/2 c. white flour optional: 1/2 tsp. caraway or fennel seed | Soften yeast in 1/2 c. warm water, sprinkle w/white sugar and let stand 10 minutes. In large bowl mix brown sugar, molasses, salt, shortening, and caraway or fennel. Pour 2 c. hot water over mixture add 1 c. white flour, stir and let stand until warm. Add yeast, rye flour and enough white flour (3-3 1/2 c.) to make soft dough. Knead and place into bowl in warm place until double in size. Punch down and let rise again. Divide dough to make three loaves. Let rise 1 hour in tins. Bake at 350 degrees, 45 minute or less.
49: Rick spent an amount of his career catering. And with that, cakes and flower arrangements. Early on he worked in partnership with a company "Hawaiian Paradise". I believe this is where he first discovered his love for tropical flowers and birds which thereafter filtered throughout his art and home.
50: One of Rick's many sessions in Steve Scarborough's studio. Much of what he created here has been documented onto CD. Rick always enjoyed a bountiful and eclectic music collection. A revolving door of house guests would be the recipients, one song at a time. | It was later in life that Rick acquired his driver's license, a most monumental occasion. And for those who familiarized with his weekly routines, they would forever retire their chauffeur's hat. This was Rick's first car.
51: I would like to thank all Rick's friends who transitioned in and out of his life and to those who remained a constant. It was you, his friends, that fueled his passion and wonder into world events. I am reminded that Rick was very much the life line that kept an ever flourishing community engaged and informed. My deepest appreciation to you for enriching Rick's life. A special note of thanks to Steve Scarborough (studio photo), Tiffany Warner (back cover photo), Don Benson/dad (Rick's first car photo), Rosemary Taylor (back cover letter) Alice/mom and Ellen/Grandma Benson for recipe contributions. All art represented in this book was created by Rick Benson. Book design, layout, digital editing, writing and truly a labor of love was by Alan Benson (Rick's brother). Published February 2013