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. Read More

#55 Returns & Exchanges

AmperArt-55-Returns-Exchanges

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

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). Read More

#36 Doorbells & Schnitzel

Amper­Art #36 is the fourth and last line of lyrics that contains “and” in the song My Favorite Things from the 1960 musi­cal and the 1965 film, The Sound of Music:
 

Rain­drops on ros­es & whiskers on kittens
Bright cop­per ket­tles & warm woolen mittens 
Brown paper pack­ages tied up with strings

These are a few of my favorite things


Cream col­ored ponies & crisp apple streudels

Door­bells & sleigh bells & schnitzel with noodles

Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings

These are a few of my favorite things


Girls in white dress­es with blue satin sashes

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

Sil­ver white win­ters that melt into springs

These are a few of my favorite things


When the dog bites

When the bee stings

When I’m feel­ing sad

I sim­ply remem­ber my favorite things

& then I don’t feel so bad

This is a col­lec­tion of four edi­tions, each fea­tur­ing a line from the song that includes the word “and” which of course we replace with our favorite charac­ter, the ampersand.
 
Notes about the art­work: 

 

The art­work was mod­eled after the orig­i­nal movie poster, and I hand-​lettered the & to resemble the orig­i­nal poster title, which was also hand-let­tered back then. (I used to hand-​letter head­lines and titles with pen and brush, before pix­els took over.)
 
The amper­sand does dou­ble duty in all my prints for this set. Not only does it con­nect rain­drops & kit­tens & ket­tles & ponies & door­knobs, it also ties the last two lines of the song togeth­er:I sim­ply remem­ber my favorite things & then I don’t feel so bad
 
 
 
The col­ors were sam­pled from the movie poster, and I select­ed just a few from the palette. I did not use any blue, as I thought a nice sky blue would be a beau­ti­ful mat col­or if you decide to print and frame this set.
 
I hope you enjoyed this series inspired by The Sound of Music.
 
More impor­tant­ly, I hope you get to enjoy your favorite things this hol­i­day sea­son & always.