#85 Hymns & Carols

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85 Hymns & Carols
 #85 Hymns & Carols
Click image to view full size or download poster for gallery-quality printing & framing.
This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.




Production notes for #85 Hymns & Carols:
Original size: 20×30 inches

Program: Adobe Photoshop
Font: Old English
Ampersand: Montage by Chaz DeSimone
Credit: Candle image GraphicStock.com
You may repost the image. Please credit AmperArt.com.
To download a full-size high-resolution 11×17-inch poster, click on the image.

For professional graphic design, please visit Desimone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#79 Love & Be Loved, a Valentine’s poem


Love & Be Loved

#79 Love & Be Loved
Click to view full-size or download hi-rez image for gallery-quality printing and framing.
This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

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.

How blessed
We are
To love
& be loved
For love is
God’s work
in our hearts

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.starrayz.com/wordpress/


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 & decor 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: 10×15 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.starrayz.com/wordpress/
Pendant: Андрей Гивель (Ukraine photographer, aka Trionis), 123rf.com
Background: vectortuts.com
Reference for rose gold hue: Tiffany (where else?)

For professional graphic design, please visit Desimone Design.

Desimone Design

Family & Friends & Ampersands…our greatest holiday gifts

Family & Friends includes my cats!

#75 Family & Friends
Click to view full-size or download hi-rez image for gallery-quality printing and framing.
This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

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…)