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Open House This Saturday!

This is my last formal open house! I hope you will consider supporting my small business!

I do not know how to express to you what a difference it makes when you support artists and other small businesses. I don’t want to whine about it being a difficult three years. (but it has) I don’t want to tell you that this year has been hard. (but it has)

I do want you to know that the art and other products I have to offer are made with love. Art, the creation of art, seems to be taking the best that I am and putting it into a card, a painting, or a scarf. It is carefully choosing the colors and images to create something wonderful. It is working on a painting until it feels finished. It is about bringing the best that I am to offer to you and to the world. This can be incredibly vulnerable, but also incredibly thrilling when you affirm that I am doing good work. This happens with your kind words, your purchases, and your encouragement. 

I hope to see you Saturday- 

thank you for your support!

Sending so much love, 

Susan

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Holiday sale, Black Friday & Small Business Saturday

Let the holidays begin! Find unique artisan gifts for everyone on your list. Cards, original art, prints, one-of-a-kind gifts, and so much more!

Current hours are by appointment-

Open house hours are Friday, November 25, 11 am until 4 pm, Saturday, November 26, 11 am until 4 pm, December 10, 11 am until 4 pm

(I’ve been working hard!)

I am located at 349 West Commercial Street – at the Piano Works Mall. Enter our building between the weaving shop and the golf pro shop, it is a red door- enter there, go down the hall to the elevator, take that to the second floor and Central Creatives (the group I am in) is right across the hall. Our suite number is 2795- my studio number is 12! 
I look forward to seeing you! 
 

 

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You make a difference…

Celebration Hugs to you!
Celebrating with a hug!

I have seen several post calls for support of late. The suggestion at the end is to repost the message. The offer seems to be, if you need something, I am here for you. The texts apply to depression and other illnesses. This got me thinking.

It has been a difficult few months for me. I don’t say this for sympathy- just stating a fact. Challenges have prevented me from doing what I would normally do.

What I have been keenly made aware of is that people offer what they can do. For instance, a kind word, an offer of prayer or good thoughts, a card, sometimes dinner, or to offer to drive somewhere. Covid has made me understand in a whole new way that we are all in this together. Aging and challenges have made me understand that I have limitations, and a prayer might be the best I have to offer at the time.

I guess I am writing all of this for the simple reason that often I beat myself up because I am not able to do all the things I would normally do to support those around me. However, sometimes the simplest things have made the biggest difference for me.

Yesterday someone carried tables for me after a workshop, before that someone helped me arrange the classroom, someone made sure I had cups and water for the class, someone shared a very supportive word, and someone was empathetic (when I suggested I was pathetic). I share this because each of these actions was simple, but each made a huge impact. Each made me feel like I am supported and cared for. I am incredibly grateful.

So, my advice is to meet people where you are. If you can listen to someone who needs a kind word, please try to do so with your greatest love, If you can offer a ride, or a grocery run, please do. If you can do nothing else but wish someone well in your heart, then do that. We are all in this together.

You make a difference. I am grateful.

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No Tricks, Just Treats- Pre- Holiday Sale!

Come visit for pre-season sales!

Just before the holidays begin, several at Central Creatives and I are having a studio sale! Watch our social media pages for details on what Treats will be offered! Original art, prints, and more!

located at 349 West Commercial Street – at the Piano Works Mall. Enter our building between the weaving shop and the golf pro shop, it is a red door- enter there, go down the hall to the elevator, take that to the second floor and Central Creatives (the group I am in) is right across the hall.
Our suite number is 2795- my studio number is 12! 
I look forward to seeing you! 
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Challenge Time!- Drawtober

October has been a time for many artists to find a way to draw daily. It seems like we have spent so much time doing businessy things over the summer that we need to shake the dust off and get back to creating. Since its beginning  Create Art 4 Good has facilitated workshops and other good things for all those creative, and this year I wanted to inspire a back-to-basics kind of challenge. Just like self-care, sometimes taking a moment to draw seems to happen too rarely. 

That said, I know there are many challenges this month, not the least of which is Inktober. I certainly respect what they are doing, but I don’t always love the topics. The “Drawtober” challenge I created is an effort to explore some of the basics again. Think about textures, shapes, and color. Make the ordinary extraordinary! Make it yours! 

I would love for you to share your drawings! Feel free to use whatever media makes you happy. Work for thirty minutes or less, and then post on social media! I’d love to see! Please use the hashtags #drawtober and #createart4good

Let the creation begin!

 

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We Remember 9.11.01

I wasn’t aware that history was being made that day. At first, I was in complete denial. The first plane hit the twin towers and I thought, what a horrific accident. I was in my car when I heard, I was about to teach a mixed media art class. As I pulled into the parking lot the second plane hit the twin towers.
The DJ on the radio declared, “this is an act of terrorism!”
Still, I was in denial.
I set up for my class with such a heavy heart. I went over the details repeatedly in my head. I struggled with this reality. My heart raced, and my spirit sank.
My students arrived and seemingly unaware set their spaces up to create art. I struggled with what to do next. I was still swimming in the sea of denial and well, how do I sound the alarm on information that still boggled my mind? I sat down with them and gently opened the door to the reality of the news I had heard. I shared what I knew, and then we turned on the news on the classroom television. One by one, they decided to go home to be with their families. (For context, I was living in Pennsylvania at the time – by that time we turned on the news the plane had crashed in Pittsburgh) Each left apologetically, but with the complete understanding that this was a devastating day. Life had changed.
As I was cleaning up the classroom, I received a phone call from my daughter. She was hysterical. She wanted to come home. (truth be told, I wanted to go get her, but officials thought it was safer for children to remain in the schools.) It broke my heart to tell her to stay in school.
 
As all the events unfolded, the realities, the horrors, I could have never anticipated, I knew that life, and my country was forever changed. The horror of all who passed. The endless courage of those who tried to save people and perished themselves. The generosity of souls, families, and businesses coming together to feed workers, and people in the streets, sustaining each other through the worst of times. The ramifications that are felt even today, decades later, have left a mark on life as we know it.
 
911 is a day in our history. It is a day that changed us but also unified us.
I pray we never forget.
#91101 #patriotday #bettertogether #sharethelove #unitedwestand
 
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In a blink, twelve years…

It seems like a blink when I reflect on the past twelve years. As stated in a previous post, I have spent a great deal of time analyzing where I started, where I am, and where I want to be. The past twelve years have been under my personal microscope profoundly for the last few months. I felt that a decision needed to be made. Change was in the wind. While this is without question a heart lead business, I have also tried to make sound business decisions. With as objective of a view as I could muster, I would say that there are many moments to celebrate. There are also many challenges that I could have handled better. Many of those became lessons, some of which I had to learn more than once. (insert smirk here) Isn’t the image always clearer in the rear view mirror?

The Oxford dictionary has this to say about success:

suc·cess
noun
1.
the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
“there is a thin line between success and failure”
Oxford isn’t kidding, there is a very fine line between success and failure. 
 
Create Art 4 Good has grown into many things. I believe the logo being a tree seems to be perfect. (who knew?- I thought I just liked trees!) When I reflect on the growth of the past twelve years, that alone seems to be a reason to celebrate. Today, I believe there are more reasons than just my growth as a human, a businesswoman, and an artist to celebrate. 
 

They say that humans are drawn to their vocation. It is often what you love to do, what inspires you, or perhaps what you are curious about.  However, the road is not always clear. Sometimes there are detours, or the path is not linear as the road map for life is rarely easily found. Sometimes what you “thought” you should do, is just a vehicle for what you should actually do. This isn’t to say that your original goals (or business plan) were wrong, only that you have grown, and perhaps even accomplished what you set out to do.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

 I have grown. I have loved the past twelve years. The adventure, the surprises, even the challenges, as well as the opportunities – these have become some of the greatest joys of my life.

I know that year thirteen will be an adventure. I know that even though I LOVE to plan things, this year might not have a strategic plan. I might just have to take one day at a time. I might just need to follow my heart. I need to explore my life and business with tenacious curiosity. Perhaps that is the real gift here. 

 Speaking of plans…As part of my anniversary celebration, I decided to create a mixed media heart every day.  There are multiple reasons for this. Some of which is the ability to spread love with my art. Hearts are love without the need to have a common language. Another reason has been to return to the practice of art every single day.  I have been in the practice of art for my entire life(or as long as I could hold a utensil of creation)

Oh, but life, gets in the way, doesn’t it? They say we make plans and God/the Universe laughs. As you may (or may not) know, I recently had a hospital stay for a heart issue. This took me by complete surprise. I have always felt as though one of my gifts was the ability to love and love fiercely. However, for the first time, I felt like my heart was literally broken. When this happens it is scary. I felt like couldn’t trust my body. I felt like I was not on steady footing any longer. 

Dragonflies are the symbol of healing-

The heart, both literal and figuratively has been a central theme in my life, and in my work. So, I decided to stick with “the plan”(even though I found it completely ironic) and create a heart (or more) a day. In the end, it has been just what I need. It has been a time to heal. Time with nothing too pressured, and time to prioritize.  (love begins at home, right?) Even though technology has not been my friend,(that’s another story) I am able to post a heart or two a day and share my love.

So yes, the last twelve years have felt like a blink. I look forward to the next year, two, or more and the adventures we will share. Thanks for your love, for sticking close, and for sharing my journey. 

The best is yet to be. 

Sending you so much love, 

Susan

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12 years…

I can already feel it, this is going to be a long one. Please get yourself something to drink before you sit down – you might need it. 

Over the past few months, I have been very uncertain about what news this blog would ultimately share. I have been considering closing Create Art 4 Good. 

Navigating a small business is no easy task. You find essential tasks you never imagined would be essential to your success. You put in very long hours. As a solopreneur, you do it all. It can be so incredible, and also so disheartening. August 9th is my twelfth anniversary for Create Art 4 Good… The last two years have made the path forward very difficult. Particularly for small businesses. This coupled with some sort of balance with a personal life (along with all the challenges that living the big life entails) has caused me to take a step back and carefully evaluate my next step. 

I appreciate you allowing me to share…

I began Create Art 4 Good as sort of a traveling art show. (Think Tupperware parties for art) Many invited me into their homes and businesses to share my work. It was wonderful! Eventually, I found space in the Hungerford building and really opened up the BIG HUGE dream. At the Hungerford, I represented hundreds of artists, I held countless events, art workshops, business, social, and socially conscious events. I paid it forward with a portion of every single sale.  In early 2020 I decided a change was in the wind and I needed to move. I then closed the gallery at the Hungerford and moved to a small studio in the Piano Works Mall. I decided it was time to do for myself what I had been doing for other artists. My focus was to be more on my work, and my greeting card company.

Then the global pandemic hit literally two weeks after I moved.  

Throughout the pandemic, I did a lot of treading water. I pivoted a whole big bunch in early 2020. I painted signs for birthdays and other celebrations (often installing them fully masked at midnight to surprise the recipient without detection), I created subscription offerings for my card company, I held virtual art workshops and more. Throughout 2020 and into 2021 I sort of ignored the challenges of the pandemic and pushed harder to survive and even thrive. In this process, I put a great deal of pressure on myself to not just survive but increase the income I had previously made from my art. (Isn’t that the mark of success?)

By 2022 I admit burnout was so full on that I felt like I was in ashes. For the first time, I thought about closing Create Art 4 Good. (I cannot tell you what a painful thought that was)  From a financial standpoint, it seemed to make sense. My husband has suggested frequently that if I could just be “seen” I would be successful.  I felt like I was the needle in the haystack, no one could find me and every time I thought a big break would come, it vanished.  

Over the last few months, I have thought a great deal about this decision, I meditated about this,  sought advice and wisdom from trusted friends and colleagues, and sat with it. I knew making a careful decision was essential. In the past, I have had other businesses. I have never had a business last for twelve solid years. During this time I had to define what my current objectives were. I have evolved. My needs are clearer after twelve years of experience.  

Society encourages us to measure our success with the numbers in our bank accounts. I admit I got caught up in that too. I have said several times, I work too hard for what my bank account reflects. However, success should be measured in more ways than financial. No, I am not dripping in money, but I DO have enough. Isn’t that what we all need? As I further evaluate the last twelve years, I am grateful to say I believe my business met the goals in my original business plan. I can pay my bills, I can even buy a fancy paintbrush when I want.  I have been able to encourage other artists, establish a working gallery, paid it forward with my work in the arts, and more. I have learned, I have grown.  In my big picture, this is a success. 

That said, I am still darn tired. I spend more time doing the businessy things I don’t like rather than the stuff I love.  So is it time to let go of the business? This has been a constant question to which I believe I finally have an answer. 

Personally, the last week of my life has been pretty incredible. I have been in a pretty difficult place. Closing a business is such a loss. I was deeply grieving even the possibility. Deciding the future with all the components has incredible weight. I also do not deal well with limbo.  However, this was too impactful a decision to rush through. 

Then last Sunday, I woke up feeling unwell. (I promise I will give you the news soon)

The day before had been a very busy day. It was incredibly hot, I had so many errands to run, and we hosted family at our home to celebrate my husband’s birthday. The day was full, but not horrible, yet I felt like I was much more tired than I should be, but ignored it and pushed through. Sunday was different. I was sofa bound. I felt completely off. I had a huge to-do list that was going to sit there completely undisturbed. (this is where it gets stupid)

Being completely transparent, I am not great with seeking medical attention. However, even I was thinking that might be the right course of action. I did not share how I was feeling with anyone. I just said I wasn’t feeling great. However, fun fact, my apple watch (gift from the aforementioned husband) has an O2 monitor on it as well as a heart rate monitor. One of the issues I was having felt like Tachycardia that wouldn’t quit. (I have occasional tachycardia) Sure enough, my apple watch confirmed this about eight different times. I continued being a couch potato evaluating my next step. 

I vigorously debated if I should bother people on a Sunday to go to the doctor. I knew they would send me to the hospital and that was the last thing on earth I wanted. I talked myself in and out of this for way too many hours. In the end, I lived the day and eventually went to bed.  The next morning, I got up with resolve, took a shower, and prepared for what I knew was coming. I called my doctor and set up an appointment.  Long story short, after several EKGs  I was sent to the hospital. (the very last place I wanted to be)

I was in the hospital for two days. There were countless meds, blood tests, EKGs, heart monitors, and more. Because of Covid restrictions, I was alone for most of this. I spent hours wondering what was going to happen next.  I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular response. (it sounds fancy, it just means my heart was misfiring, beating too fast, and just plain not working.) Essentially I had a broken heart.  If you know anything about my work, you know that I paint a LOT of hearts. I laughed to myself several times, a human with a heart that is broken is passionate about painting hearts. Irony?  It sure feels like it. 

I am happy to say that my doctors found a solution that seems to be working for me. I also will share that the next time, if there is a next time, I will be going to the doctors or hospital promptly and not wait for thirty or so hours before seeking treatment… but I digress. 

So where am I going with all this?

If I look at my original goals for Create Art 4 Good, it was to make art and to pay it forward using that art. If you boil it all down I have attained that goal. So, should I continue?

Yes, I should.

Let me tell you why. This business has been a joy, a whole lot of work, and yes sometimes heartache. But, it is also my heart. I can continue to share love through the art I create. I can share love through the messages in my cards. I can share love with the support I give to charities in various ways.  This business is a way for me to be who I really am. A simple human, that loves color, a plethora of mediums, and messy hands doing her best to share the love every single way. This business amplifies my voice. This business strengthens my courage. This business is my heart. 

I know that another change is likely in the wind. That is okay. I know that I need to find a balance. That is good. I am not suggesting my heart issue is a result of working hard. It is just a thing. But if you put all the ingredients in the blender, you come out with 1. Don’t give up your big dream 2. Keep making art, keep exploring, and keep putting love in the universe.  3. make sure you have time for self-care, reading a book, and walking in the park (Not necessarily in that order)

So, continue we must. With love, more balance, and a whole lot more paint…

Help me celebrate twelve years… the best is yet to be. 

sending you so much love… 

Susan

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Happy National Piano Day!

My mom’s piano sits proudly in my livingroom
Today is National Piano day! I am celebrating for multiple reasons! (It’s the 88th day and there are 88 keys on the piano FYI) A little over two years ago I moved my studio/gallery from the Hungerford building to the Piano Works Mall in East Rochester. My time at Piano works has been a time of great growth and exploration!
 
ALSO, I actually own my mother’s piano. This was a love story between my parents. Dad surprised her one Christmas with “renting” the piano for a few months. She was a very well trained pianist who had long since lost any opportunity to play the piano. The piano was a surprise that certainly inspired much happiness in my mother’s life. I believe it was one of the most unselfish gifts he could have ever given to her. When it was time to return the piano, my father informed my mother that it was not going back. (They were not exactly swimming in money at the time so this was a big deal) My father saw the joy in my mother and wanted her to have it forever. Now I am learning (struggling) to play her piano. (I took guitar lessons, not the same, I assure you!) But it is because of their story I am so happy to celebrate today!
The piano is full of meaning for me. It is a symbol of love, it is a symbol of hope. It has a beautiful sound and inspires joy. The building where I work (where my mother’s piano was made by the way) has rich history and you can see some really fun pianos in the main lobby area – so take a moment, maybe 88 seconds? and celebrate this wonderful instrument. Celebrate because we can.
Sending you so much love! #Piano #Nationalpianoday #Daddywasonebigheart #loveyoumom

 

 

 

 

 

 

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a mixed media art retreat?

a mixed media art retreat?

Have you ever thought of attending an art “retreat”? For me, this means going somewhere for a few days, enjoying a change of scenery, take advantage of an opportunity for me to work on a ____ (fill in the blank) or perhaps participate in a workshop or two to learn something new. It means my basic needs are met – I have a place to sleep, good food (perhaps by a trained chef), and freedom to just breathe for a bit.
2022 seems to be the year of realizing some of those dreams that are swimming in my head a bit. This one has been steeping for quite some time.
I have done quite a bit of research, planned, and pondered. Now I want to gauge if there is any interest besides my own! I have created a quick survey- I would love it if you would take a moment to fill it out, feel free to share it with anyone you think might be interested!
Thank you in advance!

Here is the survey!