With Gratitude

Sometimes, the busy of owning a small business seems to get in the way. I spend a great deal of time “working this” business. I do everything from bookkeeping to mopping floors, making art for cards and other fun, to PR. There always seems to be a minimum of 45 things on the to-do list. Sometimes I get weary. 

Today, there were about 145 things on the to-do list. Each one led to about 34 more tasks. It seemed to be unending. However, I did manage to get a few things done, and I even prepared dinner for my husband and me.

But it was frustrating. For a time I concentrated on the frustration part Things were not working the way I had become accustomed, while more and more demands were made on my time. Technology was wonky, time was passing too quickly without accomplishing much, and distractions seemed to be winning over work. 

But the gratitude thing. This way of life I have chosen seems to always be sitting in the passenger seat of my world. Even though I was frustrated, tired, and yes (ask my husband) grumpy, I am grateful. While finishing up my taxes, I realized that my hard work has been paying off and I didn’t even realize it. 

But numbers don’t lie. 

I have spoken a great deal of late about how I don’t view success in dollar signs. While that is absolutely true, dollars do help keep your doors open. What I witnessed as I finished up is that it has been my most financially successful year yet. Once that realization sunk in a bit, all I could feel was grateful. 

So thank you. You who read my blog, support my art, support the work of my guest artists and those who buy cards. Thank you for holding your celebrations in my studio, for attending workshops, for coming to First Friday or a random Wednesday afternoon. Thank you for participating in challenges, and calls for art. Thank you for stopping in to say hello, for encouraging words, and for your kindness. You are the reason that this is growing. You are the reason for my efforts. You are literally helping me make my dream come true. 

Thank you. I am so grateful. 

Peace & love, 

Susan

Welcome March

Well… it has been a heck of a winter. Personally there have been challenges and professionally I have not been painting nearly as much as I hoped. BUT! Spring is coming! As I write this, the sun is shining and all seems to be moving in the right direction. 

Tonight opens Andrew Dumar’s “Layers of Illusion”. I honestly cannot wait for you to witness this exhibit. It is truly amazing. Please be sure to make time to see it this month. 

The exhibit will be open for the month of March and after tonight you may make an appointment to see it, come to an event at the studio or stop in Wednesdays 10 am – 2 pm, Thursdays 3-7 pm, Fridays 2-5 pm and Saturdays 10 am – 3pm. Do make time to see this. It is incredible!

Create Art 4 Good and Greetings 4 Good just sponsored a month long inspiration called, “the month of love”. It seems silly to dedicate all that love to one day, so we spread it out. We sent notes and letters all month long using daily prompts. You can see what we were up to here: The Thoughtfulness Project. 

Speaking of which- at the top of that page there is a little inspiration for March. It is definitely a feel good project- give it a shot. 

So how are you doing with incorporating creativity in your life? I don’t know if you have heard, but creativity improves your health. Don’t believe me? Check this article out! In all seriousness, creativity helps to reduce stress, is an active mediation and frankly it is so many good things! I offer private workshops as well as group workshops. Take a chance on  you, no experience is required, only an open heart. Here are the current offerings, more to come!

I want to thank you- thank you for your support of Create Art 4 Good, for Greetings 4 Good. These are lifelong dreams come true. I simply cannot express the depth of my gratitude. 

I hope your day is beautiful. Take time for yourself. Breathe a little. Smile intentionally and love so big. 

Love & Peace to you always, 

Susan

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

Gifted- A Curated Holiday Boutique

Gifted- A curated Holiday Boutique

The gallery is alive with the work of over twenty-five artists! It is such an honor to host such a lovely holiday boutique. The weekend was a busy one celebrating Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Now it is time to get to work! 

If you are in the Rochester Area– The gallery is open Tuesday and Thursday from 10 am until 8 pm. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday it is open from 10 am until 4 pm. 

If you are NOT in the Rochester, NY Area, no worries! You can still shop for the most wonderful and special gifts for those you love. Each day for the next twenty-five days I will post a curated collection from the boutique.
The great part is you won’t even need to leave your house!

Shipping is available for you! I will use USPS shipping and will be the actual shipping cost. You will notice the collection of gifts and then each gift individually. Select the grouping or an individual gift! 

Because these gifts are each very unique, it will be first come, first served! 


How it works: check in every day- this tour of gifts is not to be missed! Look for gifts for your special holidays, birthdays or just because! Each day will be labeled. For instance, Day 1 will be 1. Each part of the gift collective will be labeled 1a, 1b, 1c, etc. As soon as you see what you want- send me an email (Susan@CreateArt4Good.org) and I will invoice you and prepare your package for shipping! Once your invoice has been paid for I will notify you when it has also shipped. This event ends on the 20th! Items are available until they are sold. I will note what has sold as it sells. 

One last detail- your purchase actually support very worthy charities/good works. Please review this page: http://createart4good.org/pay-it-forward/ and let me know which you’d like to support.

I am so excited to share these amazing pieces of art! I hope you are too! Please share with your friends! Let the fun begin!

So excited to share Collection #1– If you’d like the collection it is $153 plus tax & shipping! First Come, first served. These are unique items unless otherwise noted – Do you have a special someone you’d like to purchase this for? Or perhaps you’d like one or two of the pieces, simple Email Susan@CreateArt4Good.org to make that happen!

Item 1a:  Book Necklace – Just Terrific $38

 

Artist Rachael Gootnick of Just Terrific

Item 1b: Handmade Journal with special papers- Belinda Brasley. 5.5″ x 8″$45

Hand bound Journal by Belinda Brasley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1c: Hand-turned pen- James Duffy $26

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1d: A candle to light while writing! Peace & Joy Candles $12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1e: A calendar to keep your deadlines organized! Artist Susan Carmen-Duffy- Each month has a different piece of art that relates to trees. (Multiple available) $15

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1f: Jackie Baker of Artistic Threads hand printed this canvas bag. It is approximately 15″ x 14″ and is $12

Jackie Baker- Artistic Threads- hand printed canvas bag

 

 

 

checking in

When I began the process to form Create Art 4 Good over eight years ago, I had no idea where I would be standing today. As I write this, the snow is falling gently outside, the hum of the heat is clanking in the building I rent, and yet it is otherwise quiet. Most of the other humans who create in this building have yet to arrive. This moment feels so peaceful and so intoxicating I wanted to take a moment to notice it. 

When I quit my job in June to give all of my energy to this gallery, the artists I am honored to represent and the vision I have had in some form since I was seven years old, I had no clue how magnificent this would all be. For me, this is not about selling art. While that is a lovely byproduct of what I do here and also a rather necessary one, it is about the energy, the encouragement, and the beauty.

It is about a new artist thrilled that she got into a juried exhibition. It is about the look on her face that suggests dreams DO come true. 

It is about First Friday when the public makes their way through our studios, walking through doorways, appreciating art, enjoying conversations with the artists, and supporting their endeavors. 

It is about moments of creative facilitation, possibility, and joy. Watercolor on tables (and maybe hands), scraps of collage paper here and there and messy hands. It sounds silly, but it evokes such joy for me. 

It is about pushing through the dark moments of doubt to stay true to the path, the mission, and my heart. 

At this moment, I don’t think I could be more grateful. I am so incredibly excited about the next steps, the infinite possibilities and even the unknown. (this, by the way, is a HUGE accomplishment for me. I ALWAYS want to know what comes next, but I have learned that this process is not linear and that is okay- sometimes even great!)

This month has been all about gratitude for me, and for a few others who have decided to tag along. I wanted to thank you for your love, your support, every piece of art you have purchased here, every card, every encouraging word. 

I am off to begin the flip of the studio. In the next week, we shall go from a lovely small gallery to WOW, glittery and beautiful holiday boutique! 

See you soon?

Big huge love and gratitude, 

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

 

 

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