Corn Cob Pipe & Button Nose & –do you remember the lyrics?

corn cob pipe & button nose

 


#76 Corn Cob Pipe & Button Nose
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…& two eyes made out of coal.

Merry Christmas!
Happy Hanukkah!
Happy Kwanzaa!
and for a few dear friends of mine…
Bah Humbug!


Frosty the Snowman

“a corn cob pipe & a button nose & two eyes made out of coal”

I chose this frigid but fun little guy to wish all my AmperArt friends a Happy Holiday Season. I don’t think Frosty has any religious preference—well, maybe he worships the Ice Man.

For this AmperArt piece I couldn’t quite remember the lyrics—I just recalled “a corn cob pipe & a button nose & something something something”—so I pulled up the animated short that I’ve always heard about but never seen: Frosty the Snowman by Bass/Raskin Productions (1969). I was delighted to hear one of my favorite voices narrating the story—Jimmy Durante. (Paul Frees, the voice of Disney’s Haunted Mansion Ghost Host, Ludwig Von Drake, and Boris Badenov of Rocky & Bullwinkle, is featured as Santa Claus himself.)

Here are the full lyrics:

Frosty the Snowman
Written by Jack Rollins and Steve Nelson
Originally sung by Gene Autry & The Cass County Boys
Released December 14, 1950

Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul
With a corncob pipe & a button nose
& two eyes made out of coal
Frosty the snowman is a fairytale they say
He was made of snow but the children
know how he came to life one day
There must have been some magic in that
old silk hat they found
For when they placed it on his head
he began to dance around

Oh
Frosty the snowman
was alive as he could be
& the children say he could laugh
& play just the same as you& me
Thumpity thump thump
thumpity thump thump
Look at Frosty go
Thumpity thump thump
thumpity thump thump
Over the hills of snow

Frosty the snowman knew
the sun was hot that day
So he said
Let’s run &
we’ll have some fun
now before I melt away
Down to the village
with a broomstick in his hand
Running here & there all
around the square saying
Catch me if you can
He led them down the streets of town
right to the traffic cop
& he only paused a moment when
he heard him holler “Stop!”
For Frosty the snow man
had to hurry on his way
But he waved goodbye saying
Don’t you cry
I’ll be back again some day
thumpity thump thump
thumpity thump thump
Look at Frosty go
thumpity thump thump
thumpity thump thump
Over the hills of snow

If you want to watch the 1969 animated short, click on Frosty’s hat:

tophat

I wish all of you, my loyal subscribers, visitors, and ampersand fans around the world, a warm and wonderful holiday season…except for Frosty—a jolly freezing cold one for him & his corn cob pipe & button nose.


Production notes for Corn Cob Pipe & Button Nose:
Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: Illustrator
Font: KB The End Is Broken
Ampersand: the finest wool, of course
Images for Corn Cob Pipe & Button Nose:
Snowflake background: psdgraphics.com (hundreds of free hi-rez images)
Top hat: clipartbest.com

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Family & Friends & Ampersands…our greatest holiday gifts

Family & Friends includes my cats!


#75 Family & Friends
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First, to my own family & friends:

I love you, I appreciate you, I respect you,
I enjoy you, I thank you.
But most of all, I love you.


About this edition

I got the idea for AmperArt #75, Family & Friends, featuring our friend the fun & fabulous ampersand, about a month ago, after a friend & a family member came to my rescue. More on that later. (Thanks, Joe. Thanks, Roz.) 

Family & Friends is a very special AmperArt title to me & hopefully to you. I went through several iterations to bring you a meaningful, elegant piece that you might want to send to others with your own sentiments, or frame for your family room (or Family & Friends Room) wall. It was issued for Thanksgiving 2014, but let’s face it, Family & Friends are timeless.

First, you’ll meet my own family & friends (including my pets, of course). I am blessed with a loving family &  friends that are the very best. That includes you, too, my awesome readers & subscribers—you’re my AmperArt family!

Then, you’ll see how the Family & Friends edition was created. In response to several requests from subscribers who want to see how I create AmperArt, or how I even choose a topic, I’ve explained the process in the next section. (This particular Family & Friends piece posed several challenges even though the design is quite simple. It’s a perfect example of why each AmperArt piece can take 20 hours or more.)


My own family & friends

I am blessed with a wonderful family:

Mom & Dad (both gone but always in my heart)—both of my parents are the definition of integrity.

My sister Roslyn & my brothers Andy & Robyou are the epitome of love, friendship, honesty and generosity. You’ve always been there when your eccentric black sheep of a brother needed a helping hand or a hand-out. Thank you.

Mary Ann, you helped me get my very first van so I could start my business. You took care of us kids when Mom nearly died. And today you comment on every one of my AmperArt pieces. You’re very special to me…cuz you’re my favorite cuz.

My friends are so plentiful there probably aren’t enough gigabytes on the server to list them all, so I’ll mention the oldest and dearest, in the order they came into my life: Gary R, Gary S, Joe R (we’re talking elementary and junior high on those three), Lande WGregg & Jill, Mardy D, Deborah T, Lisa S (& later Sean), Jim B (if it weren’t for him I’d still be designing with a T-square), Mark H (& later Crystal), Pat B, Tara K, Marty K, Sandy J, Denis W, Jeanette F. Those who have departed, whom I miss dearly: Gilbert (the one & only!), Joe F, Preston H.

My furry family: Tiger, Bulldog, Donald (yes, a duck), Woofer (my very best friend for sixteen years), Briquette, Amos & Andy…and my current awesome creatures, Jeepers & Bebe.

I feel like I’m at the podium for the Oscars! Well, you see, that’s what my family & friends do for me.

Now back to what inspired this piece: Last month I had a serious circumstance, and between my best friend Joe Rinaudo and my best sister Roslyn (she’d be my best sister, I’m sure, if I had a dozen but she too is the one & only) they did something for me as a complete surprise, saving me from being homeless for the second time in my life. Immediately I thought of combining “Family & Friends” into one piece of art—to me they are often one and the same. My brothers & many friends & even a few clients have also helped me in need—tremendously. If I didn’t have to get this sent out right now I’d tell you about those Family & Friends experiences, too. Instead, I’ll come up with some new ideas to illustrate those episodes in future editions.


How this project began…and wouldn’t end

This Family & Friends piece encountered so many obstacles and morphed through so many changes I figured it’s the perfect example to explain how I create my AmperArt pieces. (more…)

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#60 Precious & Adorable

C'mon, look at the camera!


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I had been wanting to feature animals, specifically pets, in an AmperArt piece for a long time.
A special event inspired me to create what you see here.

A birthday party to help homeless animals

In Augsm_arvee_robinson_1ust I was invited to a “milestone” birthday party for my friend and professional speaking coach Arvee Robinson (that’s her, the pretty lady in the picture).

Arvee always does things with pizazz, flair and the most upbeat attitude. But what she did for her birthday took me by surprise, and really warmed my heart. Besides a grand party with fabulous food, dancing, and a magic show, Arvee themed it with dogs and cats to double as a fundraiser for H.O.P.E., a rescue and rehab for homeless animals. (More about H.O.P.E in a moment.) Arvee even had “doggie bags” which were full of swag for our pets. And she helped me select the breeds for this AmperArt piece–she once had a siamese and a pug.

Arvee Robinson is also the founder of the Christian Women Speakers Movement, where her goal is to help other speakers overcome the fear of “bringing God to more stages.” She asks,

“Are you afraid you might be unpopular if you bring God to the secular stage?” 

She once was, she says. Read about this special group at christianwomenspeakersmovement.com.


 Helping Our Pets Everyday

HOPEcalendarAt Arvee’s birthday party I had the honor of meeting Margaret Coffman, the founder of H.O.P.E.–Helping Our Pets Everyday. Isn’t that a wonderful phrase? I told her I would definitely spread the word about her very special foundation, where Margaret and volunteers have compassionately saved hundreds of precious animals from abandonment, starvation and death. She has cared for animals her entire life.

Please visit www.helpingoutpetseveryday.com to adopt, volunteer, donate, or just be charmed! Their 2015 calendar is available, shown in the picture.


Big pets, too

Just look at these amazing photos. Who says we can’t all get along? These pictures are on Ron Levy’s Inner Alignment Method website, where Ron shows how you can discover your life’s magnificence. I urge you to read about Ron’s enlightening exploration of life for over 50 years, in his blog.


 

Production notes:
Original size: 10×15 inches
Program: Photoshop
Fonts: Minion, Futura
Ampersand: Futura (modified)
Images:
Siamese: Bonzami Emmanuelle / 123rf.com
Pug: Copyright: Kitch Bain / 123rf.com

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#74 Creak & Quake

AmperArt 74 Creak & Quake


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Greetings, mortals.

This morbid installment of my AmperArt series could have been entitled “Crypt Doors & Tombstones” but I chose the just-as-eerie verbs over the nouns “Creak & Quake.” These words are all from the first stanza of Grim Grinning Ghosts, the theme song permeating Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion. 

Truth be told, I’m still only 99% sure that the song starts with 

“When the crypt doors creak & the tombstones quake…” or
“When the crypt goes creak & the tombstones quake…”

Why? Because after visiting several websites to make sure I got the lyrics right (even though I’ve heard the song hundreds of times, it’s not embedded into the skull like “It’s a Small World”) there were discrepancies. The first site which sounded like an official lyrics site is what threw me off: It read “…goes creak” which was surprising, as I’ve always heard, so I thought, “When the crypt doors creak…” The original songwriters—Buddy Baker, melody, and lyrics by Xavier “X” Atencio, the Disney legend—were listed, along with dates and other information.  So I figured that was what they wrote, and everyone just adapted what they thought they heard. 

Until I visited a few more sites. Everywhere else the song goes “…doors creak…” which sounds so much better; is part of the Disney fans’ venacular; and what I chose to use in my piece of artwork. (It’s probably the correct choice.)

William Shakespeare & his poem, Venus & Adonis, influenced the title of the Haunted Mansion’s theme song:

Look, how the world’s poor people are amaz’d
At apparitions, signs, and prodigies,
Whereon with fearful eyes they long have gaz’d,
Infusing them with dreadful prophecies;
So she at these sad sighs draws up her breath,
And, sighing it again, exclaims on Death.
‘Hard-favour’d tyrant, ugly, meagre, lean,
Hateful divorce of love,’—thus chides she Death,—
Grim-grinning ghost, earth’s worm, what dost thou mean
To stifle beauty and to steal his breath,
Who when he liv’d, his breath and beauty set
Gloss on the rose, smell to the violet?

The tombstone and graveyard in this piece really do exist: The Granary Cemetery, Boston, Mass. Well, almost. The top and borders of the tombstone are authentic (except for the iconic “D” under the skull); I elongated the entire monument and replaced the somber inscription with silly lyrics. So much for reverence. I wish to give credit to an incredible photographer, whose image I came across on the Internet and used as reference for this piece. Her name is Della Huff. Her photography is spectacular. See it at http://dellahuffphoto.zenfolio.com/ I had no idea such morbid tombstones actually existed. The graveyard, though heavily distorted by my twisted mind, is among many wonderful photographs I found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/mbdezines/sets/72157607857008082/


listen up!

As much as I detest innacuracy (why can’t others do a little research like I did, even though it took longer than the artwork?) it led me to several interesting haunts:

I discovered alternate, highly entertaining versions of Grim Grinning Ghosts; a great video for the kids (and the grown-up kids); and of course it was hauntingly wonderful to hear the original soundtrack again (where I could swear they enunciate “doors”). Here are those sites:

Turn off the lights and turn up the sound:

Entertaining a capella from VoicePlay:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpw0yQpvb_c

Here’s the original soundtrack followed by a cool alternate version (which seems to have been produced by James Presley) and some of the beginning and ending narrative:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSaqSVi–Ms

The kids will enjoy this singalong video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eavo08IXduQ (I like it very much myself.)

And something really entertaining — spooky at first with organ and choir, then wildly zany with unique voices, and all sorts of other sounds…produced by James Presley:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI_4vzqevLg


Production notes:
Original size: 10×15 inches
Program: Photoshop, Illustrator (for the dingbats)
Fonts: Willow, Eccentric, Harrington
Ampersand: Harrington (line shadow added)
Images:
Tombstone & graveyard  reference: Granary Cemetery, Boston, Massachussetts, USA

Della Huff is the photographer whose tombstone photo was used for reference and sampling by the artist. See her spectacular fine art photography at http://dellahuffphoto.zenfolio.com/  Della’s original photo that made this AmperArt piece possible:
http://www.pbase.com/dellybean/image/40946116
Graveyard background: mbdezines Image modified so extensively it does not resemble the original photograph…but the background would  not be “authentic” without this photographer’s contribution.
Artist discovered that crypts do have doors at:
http://idiotphotographer.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/the-crypt-doors-of-ricoleta/
Music and lyrics sites visited for reference:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpw0yQpvb_c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSaqSVi–Ms
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eavo08IXduQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI_4vzqevLg

H u r r y  b a c k . . .

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#29 Success & Nothing Less


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Download to print special size for Balboa students’ notebooks: 8.5 x 11 inches


AmperArt #29, Success & Nothing Less, was inspired by Balboa Elementary School, for it is their motto, and it’s where I learned my abc’s, in Glendale, California. (It’s also where I learned the difference betweens it’s and its.)

The typestyle is Aachen, same as used on their school signage. The ampersand is derived from the Z in the team’s name, Blazers. The colors used in this edition are, of course, the school colors.
The phrase was made famous by Snoop Dogg on the show Entourage where he said, “Success and nothing less, man!”

One of my favorite quotes about success is by Jack Canfield: “If you love your work, if you enjoy it, you’re already a success.” I guess I’m a success then, for I love creating AmperArt and all my other graphic design.

That and many other quotes on success can be found here. And there’s a Facebook page called SuccessAndNothingLess.

The Leona L. DeSimone Award

I have always been grateful that I went to three tremendous public schools, all in the Glendale, California Unified School District: Balboa Elementary, Toll Jr. High and Herbert Hoover High School. I even went to Glendale Junior College but didn’t learn much there as I was already more focused on running a graphics business.

It was at Balboa School, during 4th Grade, that I lost my father to emphysema. I was the oldest of four, with a sister and two brothers. Our mother struggled, I mean really struggled, to clothe and feed us, holding down a job at a lunch counter in a vitamin store. Somehow she always had time for us kids and made sure we were to school on time, and helped us with our homework. All the while putting up with tantrums from me, the spoiled firstborn.

I’ll never forget seeing Mom cry when money was short, counting pennies to feed us, going without dinner herself. Or walking five miles to work in the blazing heat when the buses went on strike.

We didn’t have much money but I don’t think there was a family in Glendale any richer than ours with love.

Several years ago my sister Roslyn set up an annual scholarship at Balboa Elementary, in our mother’s name, for a deserving student (especially if their family was in similar circumstances that ours was in), and each year one of us siblings presents the award.

I was honored to present the scholarship at the end of the 2012 school year to a special student who was also raised by a single mother, and who came to school early and stayed late to work on the computers, since the family could not afford their own.

Upon arriving at the school for the presentation, I discovered the school motto is “Success & Nothing Less” so of course that would be an upcoming AmperArt piece.

This year’s Leona L. DeSimone Scholarship recipient is a shining example of one who aspires to achieve the very meaning of her school’s motto, “Success & Nothing Less.”


Production notes:
Original size: 20 x 30 inches
Program: Illustrator
Font: Aachen
Ampersand: hand-drawn, based on school team lettering

If you’re an ampersand fan subscribe to AmperArt here to receive future AmperArt editions. They’re always fun & fabulous & free. Subscribers also receive special bonuses.

 

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