#137 Hot & Humid

137 Hot & Humid
#137 Hot & Humid
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#137 Hot & Humid was eas­i­ly inspired:

July 2019 is the hottest month in recorded history

Glob­al warm­ing used to be a phrase I’d pret­ty much ignore, but no more. It’s real­ly hap­pen­ing, & I feel worse for the ani­mals (from hip­pos & whales to the tini­est insects & fish) than I do for the humans; after all we caused it. Let’s hope it’s not too late to reverse the dam­age. Here’s a Newsweek arti­cle on the sub­ject.

July 2019 is the hottest month ever record­ed, accord­ing to accu­rate, sys­tem­at­ic, glob­al ther­mome­ter mea­sure­ments of sur­face tem­per­a­tures — that means only since 1880. Still, it’s the hottest July in over 100 years.

Going back fur­ther, start­ing in 1639, with the inven­tion of the rain gauge & evap­or­ime­ter, & sev­er­al years lat­er, the barom­e­ter & con­den­sa­tion hygrom­e­ter, new instru­ments made it pos­si­ble to stan­dard­ize the record­ing of mete­o­ro­log­i­cal data from place to place. More at earth​magazine​.org

Too hot to cool off

Zero table fan
This is the cute lit­tle fan our fam­i­ly grew up with in the 50’s & 60’s.

It’s so hot — mean­ing every­body in town is run­ning their a/​c at max — that my air con­di­tion­er keeps cycling on & off due to lack of pow­er, so to save it from burn­ing out I just turned it off & sur­round­ed myself with a bunch of box fans, table fans, and even a lit­tle per­son­al fan. (They are also keep­ing the place cool for the cats.) Inter­est­ing how fans keep us cool: By blow­ing air around, the fan makes it eas­i­er for the air to evap­o­rate sweat from your skin, which is how you elim­i­nate body heat. The more evap­o­ra­tion, the cool­er you feel. (A fan alone actu­al­ly increas­es room tem­per­a­ture from the heat gen­er­at­ed by the motor.)

Concept & design

I’m cre­at­ing this piece in 100º weath­er with no air con­di­tion­ing (rea­son explained above) so there was no lack of inspi­ra­tion for the art­work. Swel­ter­ing sun, and humid­i­ty that caus­es glass to fog up, lends itself to the very device I used in my teens to learn the art & nuances of hand let­ter­ing: draw­ing on the bath­room mir­ror right after a steam­ing hot show­er. I used to draw on the mir­ror, my fin­ger repli­cat­ing the exact shape of a ful­ly loaded let­ter­ing brush or mark­er, some­times using the side of my thumb, some­times using my fin­ger­nail, but always pro­duc­ing nat­ur­al script & hand­writ­ten style let­ter­ing. I still do that to this day. (Fin­ger­paint on that slick paper accom­plish­es the same thing.) That’s where the amper­sand came from in #137 Hot & Humid. The rest of the design was inspired sim­ply from the heat & humid­i­ty I cre­at­ed it in.

Here, cool off:


 Please comment here.

chaz sez

Want more?
Rants & raves most­ly about design, some­times about the uni­verse.

An occa­sion­al bit of use­ful advice.


Production notes for #137 Hot & Humid:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Program: Adobe Photoshop
Fonts: Block Berthold, Boli

Ampersand: Boli
Artwork images: deposit​pho​tos​.com
Fan: apart​mentsi​like​.files​.word​press​.com/​2​0​1​1​/​1​0​/​z​e​r​o​-​f​a​n​.​jpg
Note: &” replaces “and” in most or all text, including quotations, headlines & titles.
You may repost the image & article. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster, click on the image.

An excel­lent com­pa­ny, prod­uct or ser­vice needs brand­ing and graph­ic design that is prop­er, per­fect and pro­fes­sion­al.
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#84 Love & Devotion


84 Love & Devotion

 #84 Love & Devotion
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Leona L. DeSimone
May 26, 2016 — February 13, 2001

Beloved Wife, Mother and Grandmother
1916 – 2001

This piece was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in Feb­ru­ary 2017 for the anniver­sary of the pass­ing of my moth­er on Feb­ru­ary 13, 2001. It’s the per­fect piece to send again for Moth­er’s Day, for I’m proud to intro­duce you to this incred­i­ble woman who brought up four young kids on her own after our father’s ear­ly death. She was always smil­ing (except when I heard her secret­ly cry­ing as she count­ed pen­nies to feed her chil­dren). Hap­py Moth­er’s Day to every­one, for you are either a moth­er or you’ve had one.

—Feb­ru­ary 2017—

Before I release Amper­Art #100 with a big cel­e­bra­tion lat­er this year, I want­ed to include in the first 100, two specially-​numbered pieces of my art­work to hon­or my mom and dad, from whom I inher­it­ed my tal­ent:
My father, to whom I will pay trib­ute with Amper­Art #62, died at 62 years old on March 29, 1962. It will be released in March.
My moth­er, to whom I pay trib­ute with Amper­Art #84 (she died at 84 years old on Feb­ru­ary 13, 2001), which is the Amper­Art I release today.

We had huge hydrangea bush­es in our front yard, and I always asso­ciate those flow­ers with my mom. They are soft and pas­tel (ours were a mix of pink, blue, white and pur­ple), and big and round and cush­iony look­ing. I was very pleased to find this beau­ti­ful art­work which depict­ed the exact col­ors of Mom’s hydrangeas.

I always called them big bul­bous old-​lady flow­ers; today I dis­cov­ered the prop­er term (thanks to my friend JoAnn — I thought they were aza­leas). As for “old lady,” we kids were for­tu­nate our moth­er lived to a won­der­ful 84 years old, in pret­ty good health, too, all the way up until almost the very end. For the last sev­er­al weeks we took turns stay­ing with her and nurs­ing her. One thing I will always cher­ish is the hon­or, although it was very embar­rass­ing to my mom, to change her dia­pers, for that is what she did for me a long, long time ago.

Mom’s favorite col­or was deep cobalt-​navy-​indigo blue, so I chose that as the back­ground to this piece of art. The type­style is soft and friend­ly, but also a time­less face which express­es solid­i­ty and integri­ty. That’s what my mom was — nur­tur­ing, always smil­ing, but stern enough to bring her kids up as decent human beings. Well, most of us; I’m the eccen­tric black sheep. In fact I actu­al­ly hat­ed my moth­er because she would­n’t allow Dad­dy to spoil me all the time. After our dad died when I was 10 and my broth­ers and sis­ter were even younger, it did­n’t take long for me to real­ize who was real­ly keep­ing the fam­i­ly in line. I loved my dad dear­ly, but when I real­ized that his gen­er­ous and spoil­ing nature was tamed by my down-​to-​earth mom, I gained a true respect and admi­ra­tion for her. A dif­fer­ent kind of love, one that is based on sen­si­bil­i­ty, love and devo­tion to her chil­dren.

The peach col­or in the let­ter­ing is the col­or of ros­es we, specif­i­cal­ly my sis­ter Roslyn, chose for her funer­al. We expect­ed per­haps 50 – 75 peo­ple, and over 200 showed up to pay their respects. Our moth­er touched so many peo­ple with her smile and kind­ness, peo­ple we nev­er even knew, that it blew us away. How proud I felt for hav­ing such as spe­cial per­son as a moth­er that spread so much joy to strangers (well, strangers to her kids).

Mom always sang a lul­la­by to us that is still one of my favorite melodies. We had it played on the organ at her funer­al. All Through the Night (the Welsh lul­la­by, not the Cin­di Lau­per hit)You can lis­ten to it here, sung by Per­ry Como and the Ray Charles Singers in a TV broad­cast from 1958, just around the era Mom would be singing it to all us chil­dren. Appar­ent­ly it struck some­thing deep in Per­ry Como too, as you’ll notice he was­n’t able to fin­ish the song.

My broth­er Rob took that spec­tac­u­lar pho­to of her grave­stone. The reflec­tion of the tree and branch­es are mean­ing­ful. They’re like the strength and endurance that mom always had to with­stand some tough times, mak­ing sure we kids grew up in a nur­tur­ing and lov­ing home.

You left us one day before Valen­tine’s Day, so it’s fit­ting that I sim­ply say Mom, I love you. 

chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at Des​i​moneDesign​.com, my com­mer­cial graph­ic design web­site. It’s most­ly about design, typog­ra­phy, print­ing, pub­lish­ing & mar­ket­ing, but on occa­sion I’ll divert to a side­ways top­ic that just can’t escape my rant­i­ng & rav­ing.

Production notes for #84 Love & Devotion:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Program: Adobe Illustrator
Font: Goudy Oldstyle
Ampersand: Goudy Oldstyle
Hydrangeas: deposit​pho​to​.com
Mom’s gravestone: Robert DeSimone
All Through the Night: The Perry Como Show /​ YouTube
You may repost the image. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster, click on the image.

For pro­fes­sion­al graph­ic design, please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#142 Snow & Ice

142 Snow & Ice
#142 Snow & Ice
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This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Snow & ice & unbelievably freezing cold weather

Liv­ing in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, I can­not com­pre­hend how cold it is in the mid­west & north­east this win­ter. Schools are closed, postal deliv­ery is halt­ed, & sad­ly there have been sev­er­al deaths relat­ed to the freez­ing weath­er & slip­pery roads.

Neither rain nor sleet…

I was giv­en a great idea from a friend, to do this piece about the unbear­ably cold weath­er & name it after the “mail­man’s mot­to”— 

Nei­ther rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the post­men from their appoint­ed rounds.

That sound­ed like a great idea until I real­ized it’s all “nors,” not “ands” — no place for an amper­sand! But the idea for the top­ic stuck, & I learned some inter­est­ing facts about that “mot­to” to relay here:

First, it’s not an offi­cial mot­to of the US Postal Ser­vice. There is, in fact, no mot­to for the agency. 

What’s more sur­pris­ing is that the orig­i­nal say­ing, “Nei­ther snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these coura­geous couri­ers from the swift com­ple­tion of their appoint­ed rounds,” was said about 2500 years ago by the Greek his­to­ri­an, Herodotus. He said this adage dur­ing the war between the Greeks & Per­sians about 500 B.C. in ref­er­ence to the Per­sian mount­ed postal couri­ers whom he observed & held in high esteem.¹

The rea­son it has become iden­ti­fied with the USPS is because back in 1896 – 97 when the New York City Gen­er­al Post Office was being designed, Mitchell Kendal, an employ­ee for the archi­tec­tur­al firm, McKim, Mead & White, came up with the idea of engrav­ing Herodotus’ say­ing all around the out­side of the building.¹

This unbear­able & unsafe weath­er has even defeat­ed the unof­fi­cial “mail­man mot­to.” Postal ser­vice has been halt­ed in the cold­est regions. I don’t blame those mail deliv­ery work­ers one bit. Mail­men & mail­women are many peo­ple’s favorite ser­vice providers. Some­times they’re the only human con­tact peo­ple have in a day. I’ve seen videos where cats wait for the mail­man, either to rub an affec­tion­ate hel­lo, or jump to the mail slot in the door to destroy the incom­ing “toys.” For all their ded­i­cat­ed ser­vice, includ­ing the friend­ly hel­los, mail deliv­er­ers deserve to not go out & endan­ger them­selves. I read that frost­bite can occur with­in min­utes with the cur­rent tem­per­a­tures. 

Baby, it’s cold outside

When I heard how ridicu­lous the flack was last Christ­mas sea­son about the lyrics in the clas­sic song “Baby, It’s Cold Out­side,” I was dumb­found­ed by how stu­pid­ly the PC Police have cen­sored just about every­thing, just because some peo­ple are too frigid­ly sen­si­tive or just plain fool­ish. It’s embar­rass­ing. We’re talk­ing about a clas­sic song here, writ­ten in 1944 with a fun lyri­cal exchange, & win­ning an Oscar in 1949.

Seems that in this MeToo move­ment, every hint of a rela­tion­ship between a man & a woman should be regard­ed as date rape. This is just too much. Get real. Espe­cial­ly when it is so cold out­side. Baby.

Here’s a good arti­cle on the top­ic, by Inc. Mag­a­zine.

Snow & ice — what’s the difference?

Here are some mete­o­rol­o­gy facts about the sub­ject of this Amper­Art piece, Snow & Ice:

Is snow a form of ice?

Snow is pre­cip­i­ta­tion in the form of ice crys­tals. It orig­i­nates in clouds when tem­per­a­tures are below the freez­ing point (0 degrees Cel­sius, or 32 degrees Fahren­heit), when water vapor in the atmos­phere con­dens­es direct­ly into ice­with­out going through the liq­uid stage.
Nation­al Snow & Ice Data Cen­ter 

Why does frozen water appear as snow in some cas­es & ice in oth­ers?

Water comes in a vari­ety of forms, or phas­es. Depend­ing on tem­per­a­ture, the three com­mon­ly found are gas (water vapor), liq­uid (liq­uid water), & sol­id (ice). Snow & ice are made of the same mate­r­i­al but snow is com­posed of crys­tals with reg­u­lar shapes, while ice forms as sheets or sol­id chunks.

The dif­fer­ence between snow & ice lies in how water freezes into its sol­id form, & here’s how that hap­pens. (Read the entire arti­cle at the Boston Globe.)
—Boston Globe

What is the tem­per­a­ture for it to snow?

The falling snow pass­es through the freez­ing lev­el into the warmer air, where it melts & changes to rain before reach­ing the ground. When the air tem­per­a­ture at the ground is less than 32 F, the pre­cip­i­ta­tion begins falling as snow from the clouds.
—Uni­ver­si­ty of Illi­nois arti­cle with illus­tra­tions

Why does snow some­times sparkle?

Some­times on a sun­ny day, fresh­ly fall­en snow may appear to sparkle or glit­ter. This hap­pens because when light hits an object light, it can be absorbed, in which case the object is heat­ed; trans­mit­ted, in which case light pass­es through the object; or reflect­ed, in which case it bounces back.
The Why Files 


The artis­tic con­cept for this piece was obvi­ous, but I did want it to be rather somber for those who are deal­ing with the cold & dan­ger­ous weath­er. One prob­lem I had to solve was whether the com­mon phrase should be “snow & ice” or “ice & snow.” I pre­fer the design of “ice & snow” but sound­ing it out, real­ized most peo­ple would prob­a­bly say “snow & ice” because it rolls off the tongue eas­i­er (as long as their tongue is not stuck to a lamp post). Also, I think you have to have snow before you have ice, right? Or is it rain? I don’t know — I con­sid­er any­thing beyond a driz­zle a full-​fledged storm.

Maybe I’ll switch the words lat­er & re-​issue the piece. What do you think? 

I was pleased with how the ice blocks stacked to form the amper­sand. The type­style for the words “snow” & “ice” — called Pel­i­can (seems it should be called Pen­guin for this piece) — offered the per­fect ice shard effect.

Hang onto this issue! Print & frame & intense­ly stare at it this sum­mer, when we’ll have record-​breaking tem­per­a­tures on the oth­er end of the scale. I could use some of those right now. Any­thing under 70 degrees is too cold for this So Cal beach bum.

Stay warm & dry.

I sincerely hope you, my ampersand friends, stay warm & safe this winter.

 Please comment here.

Production notes for #142 Snow & Ice:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Program: Adobe Photoshop
Font: Pelican

Ampersand: Chaz DeSimone, manipulated stock images
Stock images: deposit​pho​tos​.com
Fire: giphy​.com

¹The Phrase Finder, UK
Mailman illustration: attic​pa​per​.com 1956 John Hancock Insurance ad
Other editorial credits as noted in article.
You may repost the image & article. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster, click on the image.

For pro­fes­sion­al graph­ic design, please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!