#82 Full & Empty


82 Full & Empty

#82 Full & Empty
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I’ll write the full story when my urgent list is empty. If you’re a sub­scriber you’ll get the update.

 chaz sez ...

Noth­ing. Talk later.

Pro­duc­tion notes for #82 Seek & Find:
Orig­i­nal size: 20x30 inches
Pro­gram: Pho­to­shop

For pro­fes­sional graphic design, please visit Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone Design


Love & Be Loved, a Valentine’s poem


Love & Be Loved

#79 Love & Be Loved
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Dear Amper­sand Lover,

Happy Valentine’s Day!

A lovely poet inspired my 2015 Valentine’s Amper­Art piece. In fact, her poem actu­ally con­tains an amper­sand. Her poem’s title is also my Amper­Art title: Love & Be Loved.

The poet’s name is Saman­thi Fer­nando. She is a Cal­i­for­nia Poet who writes inspi­ra­tional & spir­i­tual poetry.

Her writ­ing is remark­able. I am not a huge poetry fan, but what Saman­thi writes — & the way she writes — touches my heart. Her way with words is com­pelling, suc­cinct, crisp, mod­ern. (I like modern.)

Visit Samanthi’s blog, where she’s writ­ten lots of poetry. You don’t just read her poetry, you feel it. The pho­tog­ra­phy in the head­ers is all hers, too. Just like her writ­ing, her visual com­po­si­tion is stun­ning. (If you don’t think the Valentine’s header mea­sures up to the rest, don’t blame it on Saman­thi. I con­tributed that one.)

Fall in love with Saman­thi Fernando’s poetic min­istry of hope & heal­ing at http://​starsafire​.star​rayz​.com/​w​o​r​d​p​r​e​ss/


If you find aes­thetic beauty in this Amper­Art piece, you can thank Saman­thi for that as well. She intro­duced me to rose gold, which she says is very pop­u­lar in fash­ion & décor right now. (I should know this stuff.) I find it a valu­able addi­tion to my list of favorite col­ors. I pre­fer sil­ver over gold. Sil­ver is light, crisp, mod­ern, where gold is heavy & old (just sayin’). How­ever, sil­ver just doesn’t con­vey the rich­ness of gold, & that’s where rose gold comes in. Con­tem­po­rary, invit­ing, & rich.

The locket was orig­i­nally sil­ver, so I sam­pled some acces­sory pho­tos (thanks, Tiffany) & lay­ered the new color over the sil­ver, turn­ing the heart into rose gold. I wish I could do the same to every­thing—I mean for real. Every piece of alu­minum, stain­less steel, pewter & even my sil­ver Cray­olas — open up Pho­to­shop & turn them all into real gold! (On sec­ond thought, leave the Cray­olas alone.)

I LUV U candyheartI LUV U

In devel­op­ment, an ear­lier ver­sion of the art­work had a candy heart where the pen­dant is. I wanted some­thing that said “I love you.” What bet­ter than those iconic hearts! I tried “I LUV U” but that was too friv­o­lous. In fact, I felt the candy heart itself was friv­o­lous and too “candy pink” for such a beau­ti­ful poem, which required a sophis­ti­cated design. I bro­ken­heart­edly (not really, but it is the theme here) decided to sac­ri­fice the words “I love you” for a more ele­gant image. I found sev­eral beau­ti­ful pen­dants with gold & sil­ver & gems…then I found this. A sil­ver pen­dant, beau­ti­fully hand-​​tooled in an organic ham­mered fin­ish, with the words “I love you” in sev­eral lan­guages. The per­fect piece!

That is, until Saman­thi com­mented on its color, sil­ver. No, it wasn’t the rich color I had con­ceived for that ele­ment of the art­work, but that’s the color it was, & gold would actu­ally clash with the other col­ors of typog­ra­phy and back­ground. Then she asked if I had could pos­si­bly make it rose gold. Yes, I’m sure I could — if I knew what rose gold was. She directed me to a few exam­ples & voila! Rose gold is the per­fect color for the locket and for the poem!

That just goes to show…you can teach an old designer new tricks!

Wish­ing you a lovely Valentine’s Day.
Love & Be Loved

 chaz sez ...


To Roslyn, Andrew & Robert:

I love you!

Actu­ally, the head­ing this time should say “Char­lie sez…” because that’s what I’ve always been to my sis­ter & broth­ers, and to my very old­est friends. (I acquired the name “Chaz” in my drink­ing days…I was called “Chaz the Spaz.” Some of my artsy friends liked it so I kept it. Eas­ier to write, too. In fact, I can’t even prop­erly pro­nounce my given name, “Charles,” named after my Sicil­ian grand­fa­ther, Carlo. Though I detest being called “Charles” — too for­mal! — I like the fact that it offers so many options, such as “Chuck,” “Char­lie” & “Chaz.” My sis­ter calls me “Char.”) I do digress. Chaz the Spaz.

Just the other day I was think­ing, sadly, about the fact that as my broth­ers & sis­ter are get­ting older (me too — I’m the old­est) we see each other less fre­quently. I’ve moved 100 miles away & one of my broth­ers is plan­ning to move over­seas. Plus, my sis­ter is kept busy with work, kids and grand­kids. And my other brother is miles away and busy, too.

We’ve always been close as a fam­ily, and I am extremely grate­ful for that. It hurts to hear when fam­i­lies are torn apart. I think we stick together partly in honor of our great par­ents who bestowed immense love upon us; and also just because we respect and love each other a great deal. Although I don’t deserve much respect for all the fuck-​​ups I’ve pulled in my life, end­lessly ask­ing my fam­ily to bail me out or lend me money (lend?). Still, we stick together.

But at the same time, it seems we’ve phys­i­cally been drift­ing apart.

I cher­ish all the trips we took as kids to visit our uncles and cousins (on my dad’s side, just a few cities away; our mother’s fam­ily was in Indi­ana, sev­eral states away). My par­ents’ sib­lings were all very close, and they vis­ited each other fre­quently — by long dis­tance tele­phone calls if not in per­son. I felt the warmth among them, the love.

When will it be too late, I was won­der­ing recently, when one of us is gone before we all got together as a fam­ily again? It was a very sad thought.

Well, a happy thought came in as a text a few days ago. It was a mes­sage from my sis­ter — wait, let me find it so you can read it yourself…

Hey there Broth­ers,  i am hop­ing the 4 of us can get together for din­ner on either Feb­ru­ary 6 or 8.  I spoke to Rob awhile ago and I told him it would be great for just the four of us to “manga” (is that spelled right) together.  I will cook Mom’s spaghetti snd meat­balls with all the fix­ins.  Rob is in so hope u two can join.  It will be a De Simone Happy New Year din­ner!  ♥♥♥♥♥ Roz


I even have Mom’s spaghetti bowl to serve our main dish :)

I felt an immense warmth read­ing that. I felt our close­ness. I felt…love & be loved. I look for­ward to this din­ner very much. Yes, the din­ner itself, as Roz is a fan­tas­tic cook and if she can pull off just a smidgen (one of Mom’s words) of what our mother would have made, it will be a real feast. (I’ll bring the Ital­ian cook­ies.) Note: Our mother was full Ger­man, but Daddy made sure she could cook Ital­ian, and mama mia she could!

By the way, Roz,  it’s spelled “Man­gia!” and you gotta shout it and use your hands.

Even if just peanut but­ter & jelly sand­wiches were served, being with the best sib­ling friends that I grew up with for the past 60 years is one joy­ous occa­sion I’m really look­ing for­ward to. I miss them very much as the kids we once were (okay, they’d say I am still the same irre­spon­si­ble child­ish brat).

I am very happy to tell you, my Amper­Art friends, how much this occa­sion means to me. I wanted to make some sort of pro­found state­ment at this very spe­cial din­ner with­out sound­ing too pompous or sappy, but thanks to you, my readers…I think I just said it. Hope­fully my broth­ers & sis­ter will open this Amper­Art & read it.

So, whether it’s “Char” or “Char­lie” or even “Chaz the Spaz”…I want to say I deeply love, & I know I’m loved by, my incred­i­ble sis­ter & my two mag­nif­i­cent brothers.

UPDATE: Din­ner was mag­nif­i­cent! My sis­ter out­did her­self. After the antipasto, the Ital­ian appe­tiz­ers, olives, meats & cheeses, as well as Ital­ian cook­ies & bread­sticks, there was hardly enough room for the spaghetti, meat­balls & sausage. But we man­aged to stuff quite a bit down, as it was so incred­i­ble to taste “Mom’s spaghetti” again. Then there was dessert: can­no­lis, cheese­cake and gelato. Plus an Ital­ian almond nougat candy which dou­bled as a charm­ing placeholder.

There was still one more course: the fam­ily gath­er­ing itself: just my sis­ter, two broth­ers & myself. We laughed, rem­i­nisced, played trivia games like who could remem­ber all the streets in order to the left and right of our house — a good test for senil­ity. We all dis­cov­ered, or were at least reminded, of events in our child­hood we’d for­got­ten about, and some we never knew.

This meant more to me than the typ­i­cal hol­i­day feasts. That night was a lot of fun & a lot of food, but it didn’t end when we departed. I still feel the warmth and love that my sis­ter & broth­ers brought to that spe­cial evening, and to my child­hood, and to our fam­ily as a whole. I know our par­ents would be very proud that we have stayed so close as a family.

My deep­est grat­i­tude and love to Roz, AJ & Rob­bie (the names they had as kids).

Love & Be Loved…absolutely!

Pro­duc­tion notes for #79 Love & Be Loved:
Orig­i­nal size: 10x15 inches
Pro­gram: InDe­sign, Pho­to­shop
Font: Eras
Amper­sand: A sil­ver pen­dant turned into solid rose gold, thanks to Samanthi’s fash­ion sense
Poem: Saman­thi Fer­nando, starsafire​.star​rayz​.com/​w​o​r​d​p​r​e​ss/
Pen­dant: Андрей Гивель (Ukraine pho­tog­ra­pher, aka Tri­o­nis), 123rf​.com
Back­ground: vec​tor​tuts​.com
Ref­er­ence for rose gold hue: Tiffany (where else?)

For pro­fes­sional graphic design, please visit Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone Design


Seek & Find — A Resolution & Solution for the New Year

Seek & Find what you need in 2015


#77 Seek & Find
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Some­one dear & close to me inspired the title Seek & Find for this New Year’s AmperArt.

2014 was a tough year for many of us. Loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, loss of property.

I was even at a loss of how to turn the numer­als 2 – 0-​​1 – 5 into an amper­sand, a tra­di­tion for every New Year’s Amper­Art ren­der­ing so far. Absolutely noth­ing came to mind, so I sim­ply decided to skip this year’s endeavor & issue a non-​​new-​​year piece instead.

But then I got some shock­ing news. A very close, very dear per­son in my life – I’ll call him Mr. A – some­one who has intel­li­gence & wis­dom & integrity that is unsur­passed – was laid off ear­lier this year. He has tried relent­lessly to find another job, & is now even sur­viv­ing on peanut but­ter & jelly sand­wiches; in fact, now just peanut but­ter since he ran out of jelly. This is some­one who is respon­si­ble about time and money, and who is not lazy about send­ing out resumes. And he will even set­tle for work that is below his mul­ti­ple degree level. Still, no nib­bles. My heart goes out to Mr. A,  a per­son deserv­ing of so much. Yet his humil­ity, per­se­v­er­ence and strong faith keeps him going, seek­ing work until he finds something.

“The New Year, Twenty-​​Fifteen, will bring a change; it has to.” I didn’t say that; Mr. A did. Right then I told him he inspired me to design a 2015 New Year’s Amper­Art after­all, no mat­ter how hard I had to seek & find some­thing rel­e­vant & maybe even clever.

The words were right in front of me: seek employ­ment, find a job. Seek & find. Or as the bible says,

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you…”

—Matthew 7:7 (King James Version)

To my dear Mr. A, may you seek & find the posi­tion that ful­fills not only your finan­cial needs but also your pas­sion for cre­ative problem-​​solving & reward­ing work.

To my fam­ily & friends & read­ers, may you seek & find suc­cess & pros­per­ity in 2015. May you seek & find health & hap­pi­ness. May you seek & find joy & wonder.

For those of you in a posi­tion like Mr. A, may you seek & find your dream job early in the com­ing year.

& to all amper­sand fans, I hope you seek & find the per­fect amper­sand in 2015.

 chaz sez ...

The font for Seek & Find was cho­sen for its clas­sic pro­por­tions & round ele­ments to com­ple­ment the style of the numer­als & amper­sand. Obvi­ously, a designer does not choose a type­style based on its name, but after Seek & Find was fin­ished I real­ized I coin­ci­den­tally did seek & find an appropriately-​​named font for the new year: Futura.

For those of you who can’t find the amper­sand in this edi­tion, just seek & find a lit­tle fur­ther: it’s the “plus” sign inside the zero. (That big round cir­cle is a zero, you know. It’s part of the abstract “2015” that makes this a new year’s piece just for this new year.) The “plus” sign is “short­hand” for the amper­sand (which is short­hand for “et” or “and”). You can see how that works here:


Seek & find more inter­est­ing facts about the amper­sand here.

Pro­duc­tion notes for #77 Seek & Find:
Orig­i­nal size: 20x30 inches
Pro­gram: Illus­tra­tor
Font: Futura
Amper­sand & numer­als: drawn in Illus­tra­tor by Chaz DeS­i­mone
Phrases: The Phrase Finder — phrases​.org​.uk

For pro­fes­sional graphic design, please visit Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone Design


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

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:


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: 20x30 inches
Pro­gram: Illus­tra­tor
Font: KB The End Is Bro­ken
Amper­sand: the finest wool, of course
Images for Corn Cob Pipe & But­ton Nose:
Snowflake back­ground: psd​graph​ics​.com (hun­dreds of free hi-​​rez images)
Top hat: cli​partbest​.com


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…)