#140 Love & Light

140 Love & Light
#140 Love & Light
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.

Happy Birthday, Diane

 

Amper­Art #140 is inspired by a gift from my friend, a real­ly cool amper­sand sculp­ture that lights up. She signs her name with the words “Love & Light” which gave this piece its title. But tru­ly, Diane is the per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of love & light. The back­ground is also inspired by her, as she is always admir­ing cloud for­ma­tions. I am issu­ing Amper­Art #140 Love & Light on Diane L. Donohue’s 60th Birth­day, August 6, 2019.

Her BIG 6‑OH is a real­ly big deal because Diane was not sup­posed to live past 58. At least that’s what the doc­tors said. More about that lat­er.

60 Smart & Strong

Diane L. Dono­hue is the cre­ator of 60 Smart & Strong, a series of pod­casts & the web­site to inspire women & men who are 60 & bet­ter to live their lives to the fullest…like Diane does.

I met Diane less than a year ago (seems I’ve known her all my life, she’s that kind of soul) at a group of aspir­ing artists & writ­ers where I was offer­ing my ser­vices pro bono which I do a cou­ple times a year. She took me up on my offer to design a logo & a web­site. Here is the orig­i­nal sketch, but before I had the chance to refine it too much, she request­ed that I keep it pret­ty much the same, as she likes things “per­fect­ly imper­fect.” 

 

Her web­site, 60s​mar​tand​strong​.com, is still being devel­oped but it is live if you want to take a look. (Please sub­scribe & you will be the first to see her series of snap­py, inspir­ing videos.) If noth­ing else you will enjoy her list of “Diane-​isms” to enlight­en & bright­en your life.

Here are just a few:

No excus­es = No regrets

Healthy Thoughts = Healthy Actions

Grat­i­tude is a mag­ic wand that turns every­thing you have…into every­thing you want.

Your bat­ter­ies are in your feet.

You’re not sweat­ing, dar­ling; you’re detox­ing!

If you want more ener­gy, eat more ener­gy foods.

I don’t diet, I just don’t buy it.

When life gets mental…you get phys­i­cal!

If it should­n’t be, it would­n’t be.

The C word

Accord­ing to the doc­tors, Diane was not going to live past August, 2018 — one year ago. But you wouldn’t know any­thing is wrong if you met this amaz­ing lady.  Always smil­ing, upbeat, laugh­ing, giv­ing, she bright­ens every space around her — kind of like that amper­sand lamp she gave me! Diane walks her talk, eat­ing healthy & con­stant­ly exer­cis­ing, teach­ing a strength & car­dio class no less, sev­er­al days a week. All while being ful­ly aware she’s liv­ing with stage 4 breast can­cer, dis­cov­ered six years ago. I have nev­er known any­one so full of love & light as Diane. She’s amaz­ing, embrac­ing life to the fullest & accept­ing death as some­thing just meant to be. 

(I refuse to believe she won’t be around anoth­er 10 or 20 years. This world needs peo­ple like her to keep them lov­ing & laugh­ing & smil­ing — and if Diane were to edit this she would add eat­ing right & exer­cis­ing!)

Happy BIG 6‑OH Diane!

Wish­ing you Love & Light for many years to come. 


 Please comment here.


chaz sez

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

An occa­sion­al bit of use­ful advice.
des​i​monedesign​.com/​c​h​a​z​-​sez

 


Production notes for #140 Love & Light:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Program: Adobe Photoshop
Font: Rockwell

Ampersand: a special gift from a special friend
Credits:
Clouds image: deposit​pho​tos​.com

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 & graph­ic design that is prop­er, per­fect & pro­fes­sion­al.
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​.star​rayz​.com/​w​o​r​d​p​r​e​ss/

rosegoldSOLIDHUEhearts

Concept & design

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 like them just the way they are.)

I 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

And…

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
Credits:
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

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. Read More