#85 Hymns & Carols

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85 Hymns & Carols
 #85 Hymns & Carols
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BEST WISHES FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON

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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!

#70 Candy Canes & Silver Lanes

70 Candy Canes & Silver Lanes


#70 Candy Canes & Silver Lanes
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Do you recognize these lyrics?

I borrowed a few words for AmperArt #70 Candy Canes & Silver Lanes from this song that was popular when I was growing up:

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
by Meredith Willson

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’rywhere you go;
Take a look in the five & ten glistening once again
With candy canes & silver lanes aglow.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Toys in ev’ry store
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door.

A pair of hopalong boots & a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney & Ben;
Dolls that will talk & will go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice & Jen;
& Mom & Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’rywhere you go;
There’s a tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well,
The sturdy kind that doesn’t mind the snow.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
Soon the bells will start,
& the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart.


Song from 1951

“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”  was written in 1951 (the year this AmperArtist was born) by Meredith Willson. The song was originally titled “It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas”. It has been recorded by many artists, but was a hit for Perry Como & The Fontane Sisters with Mitchell Ayres & His Orchestra on September 10, 1951, & released on RCA Victor as a 45 & a 78 (kids, you know what that means? —no, it’s not pixels per inch). Bing Crosby recorded a version on October 1, 1951, which was also widely played. —from Wikipedia

Although I’m glad I found a song with the lyrics Candy Canes & Silver Lanes in the first stanza, I like the middle part best where the melody changes, playfully & humorously describing how the holiday affects the kids & parents.


Origin of the Candy Cane

According to folklore, in 1670, in Cologne, Germany, the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral, wishing to remedy the noise caused by children in his church on Christmas Eve, asked a local candy maker for some sweet sticks for them. He asked the candy maker to add a crook to the top of each stick, which would help children remember the shepherds who paid visit to infant Jesus. —adapted from Wikipedia; full story here


ChazHeadXmasHat

“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” vividly describes the Christmases I remember as a kid: the candy canes & silver lanes (I think that’s describing the silver garland decorating store aisles), the five-&-ten (we called it a dime store & they actually had lots of stuff for a dime, a nickel, even penny candy. Duncan’s was very conveniently located on our path to and from school.)

Christmas to me used to shimmer with lots of silver: the tinsel which my mother so carefully placed onxmas cookie silver balls the tree; the shiny little round nonpareils on the Christmas cookies that she baked (a decoration that was always special to me, but they’ve been discontinued due to the ingredients — funny, no one’s dead that I know of from eating them); and of course, the aluminum Christmas trees popular in the 1960s, with their magical color wheels. Yes, we had one, as well as white flocked, pink sprayed, & then plain ol’ artificial green throughout the years. The year we went back to a real tree somehow felt more like Christmas again.

Merry Christmas to you, my AmperArt Subscriber.

(more…)

#76 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.


 Note on design:

I frequently have the opportunity to apply my formula for “aha!” design, which is luck + talent = damn good design. Take a look at the lyrics in Corn Cob Pipe & Button Nose. There is at least one “o” in each line! That gave me the idea to use Frosty’s body for each “o.” Though it appears there might be missing or hidden letters, they’re all there. We (Frosty & I) have just turned every “o” into a snowball.


 

Production notes for Corn Cob Pipe & Button Nose:
Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: Illustrator
Typographic styling: There are no letters missing or hidden by Frosty’s body. Each “O” is rendered as one of his snowballs.
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

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…)

#55 Returns & Exchanges

AmperArt-55-Returns-Exchanges

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The day after Christmas must be as dreaded to retailers as the day after Thanksgiving is welcome—you know, Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year.

Used to be, before online shopping & big box stores, all the department stores from Sears & Penneys (as it used to be called), to Saks & Nordstroms, had a special window or room all its own (with a classy, discreet sign) that handled returns, exchanges & complaints. Next to that was the gift wrapping service & layaway department.

Remember the smell of fresh popcorn & candy when entering your neighborhood Sears?

Today a couple stores still offer a comfortable setting for such returns & exchanges (no candy or popcorn, though), but the big box & deep discount chains mostly just have a return counter (with a tacky “Line Starts Here” arrow hanging from the ceiling) and a  trail of customers (all “dressed up” in the latest Big Box fashion) that extends out the door.

So December’s AmperArt #55, Returns & Exchanges, repeats the trip to the same brick-&-mortar store (or the online equivalent) that November’s AmperArt #54 portrayed: Stop & Shop (in case you missed it, get trampled here). (more…)