first let me thank everyone for their wonderful and honest opinions. that means a lot to me and helps guide me in the direction of selecting the final artwork for the game.
second, i'd like to share on this thread sources for free game art to help you in your games...if you are a experienced game developer you may know of these sites below (and probably a lot more), but this is what i've come across and would like to share with you:
free pixel art: http://www.openpixelproject.com/
free art, sound, music: http://opengameart.org/
free vector art: http://www.zipup.me/
thank you everyone for your advice, recommendations, and help...hope the above links are of some value to you.