Art and rituals

Hannah Hamad shares the gallery this month. Hannah, like many of us, is a lovely assemblage of many things. She is a medical student (nearly finished), devoted to fitness and maybe a little adventure, and she is an artist. There are countless more ways to describe Hannah, but we will settle here for now. Her friend, Connie suggests that Hannah never does anything half way. She is “all in”.

That is clear with this exhibit. There are dozens of bowls carefully and pristinely crafted waiting to go home with the right person. Hannah’s workmanship is incredible. Her vision goes far beyond a block of wood. She is careful in her selections and sometimes even gets multiple pieces out of one block. As someone who has turned, this is not an easy thing to do! What Hannah turns into another vessel, would be woodchips on the studio floor for me. 

I have spent quite a bit of time with Hannah’s work this month. I am fascinated by the textures and colors that I witness. I am enchanted by the multiple shapes and sizes.  I began thinking about the fact that these are not only art but art that could have a purpose other than appreciation. 

Hannah’s title, “To Celebrate the Void” also inspired me. It has been a challenging month with a great loss of my “other” mother, Ginny Duffy. If I could ever name a time where I felt completely empty and useless it is during the time I have lost my own parents and now my other mom too. I felt powerless. I wanted to help, heal, anything! Prayer became a constant for me. 

One of the frustrations I have about merely praying silently is it does not seem to be proactive enough. I suppose because I like to write, am an artist as well as visual and tactile in general, I want there to be more. I have used prayer beads when words fail me, I have a prayer journal to remember all those who are in need. There is something sacred about a more physical opportunity for prayer. It seems to have a power that I cannot explain. 

Back to Hannah’s bowls. For me, the fact that they have come from the earth already makes them a sacred vessel. How much more so to use them as a prayer or intention bowl? I certainly do not wish to push my belief system on you, however, I see these pieces of art as not just beautiful, but also as an opportunity for utility. Like a prayer journal, her bowls could hold the most sacred and urgent of intentions, her efforts lifting the hearts deepest desires. 

I hope that you will make time to stop in and see these beautiful pieces. Hannah has gone above and beyond to create the perfect piece for you to celebrate your own journey. 

blessings, 

Susan

Hannah Hamad’s To Celebrate the Void will be up through May 27th, 2019. Hours are Wednesday 10 am – 2 pm, Thursday 3-7pm, Friday 2-5 pm, and Saturday 10 am -3 pm. Hours are also available by chance or appointment. Susan@CreateArt4Good.org

Mixed Media Art

When I think about mixed media I cannot tell you how excited I get. For me, each medium in art has a unique and wonderful strength. There are several (in my opinion) that work incredibly well together. It is magic. I LOVE IT. 

If you think this is a trendy form of art I will suggest to you that it is actually the opposite. Degas would use charcoal, pastels, and even printing inks all together in one piece. You can see some of Edgar’s works here. Picasso, DaVinci are also fine examples. I suppose my point is an opportunity that some of the greats have utilized. 

I suppose I have never been a purist. I don’t cook by the book, nor do I create art that way. I love the power of a watercolor wash, the texture and depth that collage creates, I get darn excited by adding layers of colored pencil, ink, and maybe even a stitch or two. 

Mixed media art feels like a way of life for me. While some might see it as an excuse to buy more art supplies, I see it as a way to use everything for the strongest possible component to create one strong piece of art. 

This week begins a five-week workshop to explore mixed media techniques. We will not only explore each medium for the gift that it is, but we will also learn how to incorporate it utilizing several other mediums. I hope you will find some time to join us- you will be glad that you did. 

Mixed Media Workshop Mixed media is the best of all the processes for art. (in my humble opinion)  Each medium has it’s own beautiful strength and lends itself to working in cooperation with others. This workshop will teach you the strengths and applications for a variety of media and then inspire you to apply them in your own unique and creative way.  Each week we will build on the previous week.

Mixed media on watercolor paper- Susan Carmen-Duffy Artist

  • water media (both water watercolor and acrylic)
  • colored pencil
  • collage
  • inking
  • monoprinting

Facilitator: Susan Carmen-Duffy

5-week workshop- 2 hours a day.  $145- most supplies included

March 13, 20, 28, April 3, 10 4-6pm or  Evening workshop tickets

March 14, 21, 28 April 4 & 11 10 am- 12 noon   Daytime workshop tickets  

Introducing Maria Rollinson

I have had the honor of witnessing the growth of this young woman in the art world for about seven years. Maria was one of the first students to hang her work in my then brand new gallery at the Hungerford building. Maria is smart, sensitive and one of the most gentle souls I have ever known. Like most of us, art has been a journey for her. Sometimes incredibly vulnerable, but also an opportunity for great pride. 

Now in her sophomore year of college, Maria is joining us for a few weeks as a treasured intern. She will do some of the PR, some of the planning for the year and hopefully gain some experience in running a small art gallery. I am thrilled and honored to introduce her to you! 

My treasured intern! Maria Rollinson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maria has a few words to share with you too!

Hello everyone! I am so excited to spend my winter break interning here at Create Art 4 Good. I first came across this wonderful little gallery about five years ago when I was a freshman in high school. I was in studio art when my teacher informed me that a piece I had made earlier in the year was selected to be shown in a gallery. I was so excited. On opening night I remember staring at my closet trying to figure out what to wear; I wanted to come across as “adult” and “edgy”. (Looking back at that outfit I think I missed the mark stumbling in my high heels and ripped jeans.) When we arrived at Create Art 4 Good that night, I remember being amazed that a building like the Hungerford existed and that I had never heard of it before. I also remember the feeling of pride when I saw my artwork hanging on the wall. It was the first time I felt like I could truly call myself an artist.

That night opened me up to be more serious about the artwork I created. It also showed me how much the art community in Rochester has to offer. Throughout high school, I continued to explore different forms of art at school and in my free time. I remember first Fridays with my family and taking classes at the Brainery with my sister. All of it made me fall more in love with art. And then Senior year came and I was asked “where do you want to go to school?” and “what do you want to major in?” Suddenly everything felt to real. I was scared to tell people that I didn’t know. I was even more scared to say I liked art. As much as I love that world, I didn’t want to be an artist where it is hard to get recognition and even harder to get paid for it.

I ended up going undeclared to the University of New Hampshire. For most of freshman year I explored different classes trying to figure out what interested me. Once again, I found myself taking art classes but the one course that really stuck out to me was art history. I was still too scared to declare a major though. In the end, I was forced to when I signed up for a study away program in Boston. I had all my paperwork processed and had been accepted into the program but the university hadn’t given me the okay yet because I was undeclared. At the very last moment, I declared art history.

During my time in Boston, I have been reassured of this decision over and over again. I have explored so many art museums and have met so many great artists. It was because of the program I was in that led to me reaching out to Mrs. Carmen-Duffy for an internship at the gallery that first set me on this journey.

Maria Rollinson

 

Some riches aren’t in the cash register

Tonight I had a guest artist come to visit. During this Holiday Boutique, I have invited the various artists to come and share more of their work along with visiting with potential clients. It is a fun business practice. It offers a more quiet opportunity to have a lovely conversation with the artist. 

As a business person, in this situation, you want a line out the door. You want people ready to speak to your guest artist, but also, ready to buy from her and frankly,.. you. Art is one difficult business because most artists create with their hearts. It is difficult not to feel rejected when your art isn’t flying off the walls or shelves. 

I invited Racheal Gootnick of Just Terrific to share the evening. We both did the work. We advertised, we invited friends and followers. We had big hopes!

Rachael brought so many delightful pieces. It was incredible! Journals, pendants, earrings, ornaments and more! I wanted the entire world to see what she created! Rachael’s attention to detail and integrity in not only creation but in using materials that are upcycled was inspiring. Rachael pays attention to not only her workmanship but also each piece has depth and meaning. 

Tonight was not a retailer’s dream. It was much quieter than anticipated. However, as I sit here to write this for you after a fourteen hour day, I feel so much richer for the experience. I am so grateful. 

I have known Rachael for a few years, however, tonight, I really got to know her. I learned about her journey, what motivates her, that she loves restoration, but REALLY loves her miniatures. I learned how deeply she cherishes family, but maybe not every single one of the 20,000 photos that were stored as treasures marking family history. (frankly, some were just blurry!) I learned that like me, Rachael NEEDS to do meaningful work, not just work for the sake of it. She likes the layers, the journey, and the detail. I learned that this young human is a very old soul. Even her table is dressed in her grandmother’s antiques. (If you took a black and white photo of her, she could be from the 1920’s!)

In a life where we

Rachael Gootnick of Just Terrific

are so often running to the next appointment or hustling out the door, I sat, with my friend, and learned about her. There was no hustle or bustle, there was quiet, stories, laughter and sharing. We even discussed the idea of collaboration for an August exhibit (more on that later!)  

 

 

While we both have bills to pay and huge sales would have been lovely, tonight was full of riches for me. I connected to someone on a real level with art as the stage that was set. Regardless of age, art seems to break down walls. It opens up the opportunity for much more than a few sales. 

Rachael is a woman who is on a mission. Who is changing lives, one book at a time. I am honored to share her work and to call her my friend. 

blessings to you on this beautiful night, 

Susan

Gratitude.

So… today, if you listened to the news, you heard that there was yet another shooting. This comes the day after someone was arrested for sending pipe bombs to prominent political figures. As an artist that lives in Rochester, New York; a place where I don’t feel particularly powerful I don’t know how to fight this kind of horror. To purposely want to murder someone because of their political beliefs or their faith astounds me. 

I am a wife, a mother, an aunt, godmother, grandmother, sister, friend and well… you get the idea. I want to shield my loved ones from horror. Truth be told, I want to sort of live in a bubble and not attach to any of it as well.  Over a year ago, I consciously made the choice to stop listening to NPR. I honestly couldn’t take it. The horrors, the rhetoric, violence put me in a bad mood and kept me there most of the day. I couldn’t sleep at night. I HAD to let go for a while. 

A few months ago, I started listening again. You cannot make changes unless you understand what needs to change.  I wish to be an informed participant of our country. I wish to have a clue about what is going on in our world, even if it is hard to listen to.  I have tried to not let it take over my day, my ability to function, some days I find it more difficult than others. 

So today, listening to the fact that people gathered to worship and were gunned down, saddens me to the deepest level. I don’t know how to make it stop. As a person of faith, someone who believes in prayer, I pray. I pray for not only those close but also the country, our leaders, the world, peace….. well, you get the idea. But praying doesn’t seem to be enough. Today these people who were senselessly gunned down WERE PRAYING! They were bothering no one. They were murdered in one of the most vulnerable places one could be. 

I believe in the power of prayer. But I need to do more than that. It’s not enough. I believe in the power of knowledge. I am proud to say that I am an informed voter. Again, not enough. 

So here I sit, the world seems so dark and yet I have faith in the light. It would be easy to allow fear to take over, it’s human nature. It seems everywhere we turn there is another tragedy. 

Darkness will not drive our Darkness – only light will do that.  MLKing, Jr. 

I know I have written about it in the past,  today is no different. When it is the darkest dark, all I know to do is to take inventory of what is right in the world, in my life and celebrate it. If gratitude is the whispering light in the darkness and love defeats hate, then we need to gather together to fill the world with hope. I don’t know how to fight this hatred, this bigotry, and this complete discord. I only know that I have to love bigger, be more grateful, and be more proactive. 

This is where you come in… I invite you to join me. This month (November) we will explore gratitude. I promise if you dive in with me, you will see a new perspective. You will hopefully feel move love and more love. Each day you will receive a prompt. It is up to you what happens next. 
I hope you will join me. I hope you will find bountiful reasons to be grateful. I know that you will share your light. 

To join, just email me: Susan@CreateArt4Good.org – I will fix you right up. 

Until then- I am grateful for you! 

Blessings and love, 

Susan

October- Enlightenment

 

 

Life. The twists and turns that have inspired and kept me on the path have been nothing shy of incredible. I have taken chances I would have never believed, felt joys and successes that I only dreamt of. 

The path to the creation of my dream in Create Art 4 Good has been and continues to be a path of self-realization for me. You learn about yourself with the stresses and strains of a small business owner. You grow, you struggle, you blossom a bit. It is a journey I could have never anticipated but one I am incredibly grateful for. 

October 4th is the 5th anniversary of my first opening at the Hungerford. I am sure you have heard the story of how I got keys to my studio just about a week before, and even though I was working full time, I pulled off an opening (with buckets of help from my family) with seventeen artists represented. It was a proud and scary moment. The opening was wonderful, well received and feels like a million years ago. 

Now five years later, about sixty openings later so much has changed. In June I left my position of thirteen years to fully commit to this dream. I have changed studios, I have grown my business plan. I even have an official Create Art 4 Good checking account!  (hey,… it’s the little things) I want this opening to be a celebration. I want it to be a yes, it might have been more difficult at first, but I DO see the forest AND the trees. 

And I continue. 

To seek wisdom, beauty, and wonder. 

I continue 

To pay it forward, and to support my fellow human. 

I continue 

To hold creative opportunities and support art in the world. 

I continue 

to live this incredible dream.

Thank you for walking with me. 

with love and gratitude, 

Susan

 

No Superwoman here….

So. It’s time. 

It’s time to admit that I am no superwoman. That life has gotten in the way and well, admit defeat. In a month I hoped to release my book, “Be Still and Listen”. I have set up social media for it, I have worked countless hours on it and still… I am not ready. 

It might be my fear of imperfection. It might be the rude and terrorizing inner editor, it might be…. goodness so many reasons! But the bottom line is still that I know it’s not right to push out a piece of work that is not where I want it to be. 

WELL! Doesn’t that just put me in a pickle! This feels like a failure to me. This feels like I have not kept my word. This feels sad. But like a pickle, sometimes they taste better if they have been in the brine for a bit, maybe my book needs a bit more stewing as well. 

There was a group at my studio a week or two ago. I shared with them my concerns about the book release. The calendar was ticking away the days and while I think the book is SO DARN CLOSE, it is not where I really want it to be. They were very supportive and suggested that the craziness in my personal life was a perfect excuse to not release the book as yet. While I appreciate their support, I believe the real reason is that it just not ready.

So, here is the irony- I FEEL so much urgency about this. But you know.. it’s not yet done pickling I suppose. I have issues with the fact that this book has been in the works for far too long. However, if I am following what I suggest YOU do in my book- the whole premise of the book is to, “be still and listen”.

So, dear patient and wonderful friends, that is what I am going to do. I suppose things will blossom on their own time, not when we wish to force it to. I am frustrated with this decision (again, that whole failure thing) but I do have peace with the fact that this is the correct decision. That said I shall end this missive now, as I have an anniversary exhibit to plan! Stay tuned, this book WILL be out soon. 

Thanks for your love, and your patience. 

My love and gratitude to you!

Susan

 

 

it’s starting to be real…

In June I left my position of nearly thirteen years to live the little girl (and big girl) dream of being a “REAL” artist 24/7. I no longer have to divide my time or my energy with two full-time positions, but one. ONLY ONE. 

I could have never anticipated what happened next

First, I am well aware that life does not roll out like it does in the movies. The main character whom you have cherished during the previous 79 minutes of the film gets her dream after enduring and overcoming every possible obstacle. All the sentimentals in the theater get a heavy dose of dopamine as the credits roll and all is right in the world. What we don’t see is the main character’s struggle AFTER the credits roll. What we don’t understand is that even when dreams come true it does not guarantee success nor does it ignore the fact that it is usually a heck of a lot of work. 

AND…there is the fact that the entire game has changed. What you have done for decades you are no longer required to do. There is comfort in routine. There is comfort in having a backup to your dream plan. There is comfort in knowing that you have your fingers in several pies… 

So, all of that said, this is a very vulnerable time for me. I am trying to focus in spite of a few unexpected challenges. I am trying to build the new road and focus my energy.

Here’s the thing. This is scary stuff. The summer has been hot and humid. That encompassing overwhelming feeling you get on a really hot and humid day is sort of how my spirit has felt for these last two months. 

But today- I woke up, and I felt stronger. The air had that autumn crispness to it. I feel rested for the first time in months. I feel like I was able to make a difference in this day. I feel strong. I feel focused. 

The new normal isn’t always a linear path. Sometimes you have to dig around to find out where the road is and set with intent the destination. I have dreamt about a vocation as an artist since I was a very little girl. I have felt the joys and balance of my own spirituality and wonder every single time I have held a colored pencil or paintbrush. I believe that this step is vital in my pure authentic life.

Today I do not have to rely on my faith of this to feel the rightness of it. My footing is solid, my hopes feel like a plan and I am secure in the next step. 

Today, I am actually understanding that while the struggle was real (and might be again tomorrow or even this afternoon) the light for this path is on full strength. I am secure in the unknown, I am equipped to handle the path and I am joyfully accepting of the darkness. It is in that darkness where I have found the brightest of lights. 

The dream is real. There is a plan. There is a paintbrush,,,it awaits. 

I pray you find your dream- I pray you have the courage to live it 100%. 

with great big love and gratitude, 

Susan

the struggle is real but the faith is big!

Celebrating seven years

It doesn’t seem possible that I began Create Art 4 Good seven years ago. I know it didn’t happen over night, It was a lifetime of gathering tools and clarification before making the big jump. Little did I understand at the time that what I craved ultimately was the key to my success. I just wanted to be me- all of me, and move through the world with that. I was frustrated that I felt like I had so much to share but had no venue in which to do so. 

Create Art 4 Good was a path to authenticity. I think that embracing all of who we are ultimately serves us and others perfectly. 

So here we are. Seven years later! I suppose I not only am excited about all that has been accomplished, but I suppose I am embracing my “seven year itch” with leaving my full-time day position to dedicate all of my time to Create Art 4 Good. This is such a huge dream come true, I cannot even believe my life!

Below find a little video, celebrating the last seven years. I am grateful to you for your love and support. On to the next 7 years! 

big love and bigger blessings, 

Susan