Jim Clark wrote:

I realized I did not make the most important issue clear. I want it 3D in both directions...not just top to bottom (which even I can do) but also tapering towards the tips. So it really looks as if it is rounded at the ends as well as fat in the middle. Sorry for the lack of clarity.

This sounds like something that might be easier to do in Blender, an open source 3D application at www.blender3d.org . While the tool takes some getting used to, it's well worth it.

Here's the rough workflow:
Add > Mesh > Cylinder
Add > Mesh > Sphere
Duplicate and move sphere
Set smooth
Move camera and render.
If you don't like the lighting, you can move or add lights as you see fit.

While I'm sure the GIMP can do this, the procedure for doing so might be pretty awkward.

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