With a combination of Southern Hospitality and European Charm, master artist Benini and his wife, Lorraine, graciously welcomed the Blanco Women’s Club to their Benini Gallery and Sculpture Ranch on a cold, rainy day in March. Nell Krueger and Maryella Vause of the BWC Arts Committee facilitated the visit, along with a hostess group headed up by Janie Jones and Kathee Copeland.
Benini kept the ladies entertained as he described his career as an artist, describing his unique artwork, his working pattern, and his motivations, all in a charming Italian accent.
“I work on my land in the daytime, but every night I work at my art. Every night. My inspiration is “discipline” and I always strive to do better than I’ve ever done before. I strive to combine the product of the heart (color), with the product of the brain (geometry).
All my career, I’ve been a very controlled painter. I painted roses for 15 years. But my work is different today. When I turned 63 or 64, I had to give up control and allow for the accident. “
His newest series, Kaos/“In the Face of God”, shows expansiveness and freedom he claims is not necessarily seen in his prior work. Using 15 to 20 individual layers of hand brushed acrylics on aluminum wrapped in canvas; Benini achieves an incredibly smooth, dreamy look to his work. The result seems almost airbrushed, with colors melding seamlessly together.
“It takes many, many brushes to create this work. So many that I feel like a glorified brush washer sometimes,” Benini joked with his captivated listeners.
Benini has had over 160 one-man shows during his art career. His work is collected internationally, even though he accepts no commissions and only exhibits his work in public places. He paints every night from 10PM to around 6AM, and must create his work in temperatures below 50 degrees year round to achieve his unique look.
Inside the gallery, there are many other artists’ works presented in addition to Benini’s own pieces. Outside, on the Sculpture Ranch, there are 115 large scale sculptures strategically placed around the property. The sculptures are by new artists as well as by artists who have been in the industry for many years.
The Benini’s welcome visitors from Tuesday through Sunday, from 10AM-6PM, but they may accommodate other days. They also hold an “Arts Encounters” group five times a year on their ranch, gathering artists and artisans from many disciplines.
“At the heart of the Arts Encounter is education,” explained Lorraine, “and it is all free of charge to the community. We include dancers, architects, musicians, sculptors, and much more. If you are interested, sign up on our FACEBOOK site, or visit one of our web sites, www.Benini.com or www.SculptureRanch.com. We’d enjoy having you with us. You can call us at 830-868-5244.”
When the visit was over, Nell Krueger thanked Benini by giving him one of the Blanco Sesquicentennial pins and saying that “no gift would be as great as the gift you’ve given us today through your time.”