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Celebrating Women

 

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It is International Women’s Day. I wish to celebrate this with a simple blog. I have been taught many things that have inspired my personal success by a diverse group of women. Women who shine in their greatness in the most subtle of ways, yet are powerful, profound, and inspiring. These women deserve my deepest gratitude and more. 

As I ponder the countless women who have influenced my life, it is literally impossible to mention each one. However, here are a few who I have much to be grateful for. 

To an artist who has inspired me for over twenty-five years. Who gave me more than she could ever know. Her friendship, her joy, her art. I am blessed not only by your inspiration but by the honor in which you have taught me to regard my own work. 

To a fellow small businesswoman, who struggles with people’s horrific bigotry about her cultural identity, I humbling apologize for the ignorance of humans and am deeply indebted to you for your grace. You have taught me that even though I diligently try hard to embrace the wonder and see the good in all, I too have bias about what is not completely familiar to me and need to work on that.

To a woman I worked with long ago- a missionary, a nurse, unfettered by the dangerous and unfamiliar, thank you for teaching me that there are difficult things in life that are meant to teach us and as we “accept them with joy”, the power of these tribulations takes on new meaning. 

To my mother, who taught me gratitude in all things. Even on the worst of days, light will shine. 

To my great grandmothers – one from Italy, for teaching me unconditional love. I am grateful for the gentle way that you put your family first. Your tenacity in providing when you had nothing to share, your heart when you felt broken, and your smile. I remember the smile of each of these women. Their beauty and kindness burnished into my heart.

To my daughter, who celebrates life with her big giant heart. Her humor, her passion, and her ability to find incredible joy in twinkle lights, a cup of coffee, and walks in a park. You have taught me so much about embracing the moment. 

To my other mother, who would work well beyond what anyone could have expected of her. She would move a tree literally), bake five pies, and wash every window in the house JUST because it was on her to-do list. She was anything but lazy, She found joy in these accomplishments, and her laughter…. oh the laughter will forever be in my fondest memories. She knew joy in the simple things, the honest work, her beloved family. 

To a long time friend. She taught me that friendship can be lifelong and honorable. Even with distance – your friendship is real, present. You have taught me that relationships don’t have to be easy to be wonderful. You have taught me that I am worth caring for. 

To my sister. You have taught me that when your world literally ended, you could go on. You made a new world, with big love, with patience, with tears, with incredible courage… You made the best of incredible hardship. You raised your family and created more than love than anyone could have thought possible. You have taught me so much. You have encouraged me beyond measure. 

To the lady driving through the parking lot about four years ago smiling your face off. I was so lifted by your smile. It occurred to me that smiling is maybe something I should do more. You changed my life. 

To my husband’s grandmother. You taught me to do my best to put ME first. To take care of me, to enjoy the little things and do it while drinking a nice cup of tea. You taught me that life is to be celebrated, you taught me that I was worthy. I will always be in your debt. 

I could go on and on… there are women I have never met who have also influenced me. There are traditions that have inspired me that I could have never known had I not opened my heart and mind up to something unknown. I am grateful.

For me, International Women’s day is a celebration of the wonder of women. Embracing not only who we are, but where we have come from is a profound aspect of this. I am grateful for the incredible women in my life. Those who walk with me, inspire me, and love me. I celebrate you. 

with deepest gratitude and love 

Susan

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It’s been quite a week.

So today is special, for so many reasons! First, it’s February 29th! (How often does that happen? – HINT: not very often) Also, it is the anniversary of Sharon & Tim (my sister and brother- original to Duffy- be sure to wish them a Happy Anniversary! The actual day doesn’t happen often MAYBE every four years except for when someone with a magic wand somewhere randomly decides we shouldn’t have one.) ALSO, (thus the reason for this post) it is the first open house for the Central Creative(s) @ The Piano Works Mall!

Why is that blog-worthy you ask? Well! Let me just tell you! 2020 has been a heck of a year so far. It is almost like I needed a new year to boldly go where I have not been brave enough to go before.

Farewell studio #203, Gratitude to the Hungerford for helping me realize my big crazy dreams!

That said, this week I moved out of my art home of nearly eight years. I found that process to be completely overwhelming and weighty. (Not just the boxes were heavy!) Even though I have not doubted the decision to move to a new studio, it was incredibly hard to leave the place that I see as giving me wings. Having a gallery, supporting other artists, the community and more has been a dream that was realized at the Hungerford. Taking this next step was HUGE for me. 

The grace about knowing the decision was the right one is that once the major stuff was done, (the big move, the continued move, eating dinner at midnight because you worked sixteen hours that day, cleaning the carpets, painting the walls, painting the walls AGAIN, unpacking, reorganizing, and well… the list goes on.) is that you wake up full of joyful anticipation on the day of your open house, which happens to be TODAY! (Please note FIVE DAYS after I moved the big stuff out of the Hungerford I am participating in an open house at the new studio. I know, I know that doesn’t make me a hero or anything, just REALLY tired, but I digress)

SO, people! Today is the day. My fellow creatives have been busy in their own studios and in our common spaces. We have taken the vision Brandi Marino had a few months ago and nurtured the seed to a new beginning. We have all sorts of mediums and genres represented. We have beautiful art on the walls, studios at the beginning of wonderful workspaces and hope for a new level of opportunity as well as personal and collective success. Central Creative(s) at the Piano Works Mall is definitely a work in progress, a beautiful work at that. 

Come through this door to the left of the golf shop, it will lead you to stairs/elevator to the second floor where you will find the Central Creative(s)!

So come visit. Make this a stop for your Saturday. The creatives have gathered and will be open from 5-8 pm. Join us to celebrate this momentous day! The 29th doesn’t happen that often!

See you soon! 
Much love and gratitude!

Susan

 

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We have moved on over to the East Side!

Yesterday, with the help of 12 people that are way too good to me (and whom I love dearly) I moved from the Hungerford to the Piano Works Mall! I am proud to say I am part of a new collective called, ” Central Creative(s)”- I hope you will find your way to the new gallery! This next step is exciting for me. I will take some time to concentrate on my own work and continue living the big darn dream!

The collective will have an opening on Saturday, February 29th, from 5-8 pm. I hope you will join us. Other than that, give me a few to get settled and create a wonderful space for you to visit. 

Thank you for your support-

Peace and great big love always, 

Susan

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You make a difference…

As I prepare to move my studio from the Hungerford building to Piano Works mall into the Central Creative(s) Collective, I believe I have gone through some sort of mourning period. Abhorrent to the idea of that level of drama, I have perhaps been a little unkind to myself as I work through this transition. I have believed from the beginning that this was the right decision, perhaps not the easy one.

I love the Hungerford. I love my funky space, tall exposed ceilings, big windows, old wooden floors. I appreciate that at any given time when I am there creating art, no doubt there are countless other artists at work doing what they love too.  I love that the space is finally getting close to the vision I had swimming in my head. Sheers on the windows, professional signage, interesting opportunities for sharing work, a hanging system, card racks on the wall and floor.  It’s always a work in progress, but I was getting there.

Moving into the Hungerford nearly eight years ago, was my dream come true. I finally had a gallery space, creative space that I could really live my mission in. Since then I have hung a new exhibit almost every month for nearly eight years, I have hosted countless workshops, social activities, as well as socially conscious activities. I have paid it forward. I have had the opportunity to create and celebrate there. It has been almost like a best friend. Always there, always waiting. 

All of that said, for me, this space has been very important. I have grown so much as a human there. My mission has been lived and deepened. Opportunities bloomed there not only for me but for others. Making the decision to leave there seemed preposterous!

But it’s time. 

These last few weeks as I have worked through my own feelings about the upcoming move I chided myself for being silly. The new space is an incredible opportunity. The new collective will help me to take my business to a new place. (literally and metaphorically) But I felt like I was processing this like a loss. In a way, I suppose I was. 

Last night, a dear friend visited the (second) opening for the current exhibit. We spoke about many topics, not the least of which was reminiscing about the last 7 years of exhibits for West Irondequoit Schools. It was wonderful to hear another’s perspective. I felt great pride in her gratitude. 

Then she looked at me with a tear welling up in her beautiful eyes and said, “I didn’t realize how much this space meant to me until you said you were leaving it.” 

WOW

Those words were so powerful to me. I have always believed that I should follow my heart, I should do what I think is right regardless of the financial or personal gain. Create Art 4 Good is just exactly that for me. The opportunity to create art, pay it forward, get more beauty into the world. 

Then she said, ” You have made a difference in so many lives.”

WOW, again. 

I needed to hear that. Mission accomplished, I suppose. That is all any of us really wants to do, right? Be a force for something good, for positivity, for love and make some sort of a difference. 

I think what I didn’t want was to leave the Hungerford in any sort of negativity. It isn’t like quitting a bad job, it is more that I am ready for the next step and this move will help support that. The Hungerford, my spaces there, have been a true dream come true. I shall be forever grateful. But the dream has grown or changed. It is time to take the risk and move forward. 

Thank you, dearest Lu, for saying all the right things last night. For caring, for sharing in my joy at the Hungerford. Thank you, for making a difference. 

with love and gratitude. 

Susan

 

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New beginnings…

Hearted by Susan Carmen-Duffy

As I begin this post to you, I feel a plethora of emotions. I feel the thrill of new ideas and opportunities bubbling up, I feel gratitude for the last nearly eight (really ten) years of your support, your faith in my business and mission, and your kindness. I feel that quivering thrill when you begin a new or different project, see something with fresh eyes. I also feel a bit melancholy. 

For nearly a decade, much of my energy has been dedicated to my beloved, “Create Art 4 Good”, a business where I can be all of who I am. Artist, mentor, socially and humanly conscious, and more. It has helped me to grow as a human and businesswoman, it has been my teacher, my inspiration, and my taskmaster.  I have suggested countless times that it seemed to have an energy of its own and I had to try to keep up with it. This comment was said with humor, but it is a fact!

In the first two years, I was sort of a cross between a gypsy and a Tupperware lady for artists. I would do a mini pop-up wherever I found a welcome space. My business plan (yes, I ACTUALLY wrote one!) hoped to get a brick and mortar in five years and even that was a big dream. To my deep heartfelt joy, I was able to give Create Art 4 Good a home at the Hungerford inside of two years. How amazing!

Since then, almost eight years later, the Hungerford has been a most wonderful home for me and Create Art 4 Good. I have hosted countless workshops, encouraging creativity and a moment to breathe from the crazy of life. I have hosted events that reach out to those less fortunate, blessing bags, collections for the homeless, battered women and more. I have hosted cd release parties, a plethora of celebratory events, and a town meeting with the most amazing Louise Slaughter. I have been honored to share the work of literally hundreds of artists featuring a new exhibit every month during my time at the Hungerford. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. 

 

The Hungerford was a dream come true. It afforded me opportunities I could have never anticipated when I signed the first lease. But now, new opportunities are on the horizon. With that, I am excited to announce that I am moving from my current working studio/gallery to Central Creative(s) in East Rochester.

Central Creative(s) is a new opportunity with a small group of artists. It hosts about twenty-three studios, two lovely classrooms, and a huge gallery space! It is an inspiration and collaborative space. I am so excited to be a part of this! I will continue the work and the dream, with perhaps new and different opportunities. 

Please know I am so incredibly grateful for you! You have been a big part of the reason that my work is so fulfilling and joyous. Your support has been the fuel to my fire! Continue to walk with me as I dance in a new space, explore new ideas and push the boundaries. Look for a new website, new workshops, new exhibitions! I promise as soon as I am settled, I will invite you to come to visit! See the new space and meet my fellow creatives! 

Thank you again for every encouraging word, every piece of art purchased, every workshop taken. I am looking forward to the next steps… the best is yet to be. 

with so much gratitude and love in my heart, 

Susan

 

 

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an inspiring visit to the Memorial Art Gallery

The Alphonse Mucha exhibit at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY had been up for months, and of course, despite my best intentions, I managed to slide in to see this exhibit just as it was closing. I was SO inspired by this work. Here are a few of my thoughts.

Alphonse Mucha was an Art Nouveau Illustrator. He was Czech. He worked in the late 1800s into the early 1900s. His work was very stylized and in my opinion, had hidden treasures inside each illustration. One of the things I loved most was seeing a black line illustration before it was colored in and then seeing the colored version. You could see the details. It was magical. 

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 These are some of my favorite works by him. 

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Sarah Bernhardt was very represented in this exhibit. There were tons of pieces, sketches etc. They were essentially the playbills or advertisements, but that was funny to me, as they were magnificent! Very flamboyant – 
 
This one made me giggle as it is an ad for a bicycle. The bike seems to be the least of it. But I thought it was spectacular! Duffy (my husband) is so obsessed with bikes – I was obviously drawn to it. 
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He did a lot with biblical stuff –  the seasons, the constellations, even the calendar. I loved it. I have been wanting to do more with saints, the sun and the moon.. stuff like that. I was very inspired by what I saw. 
 
These are the images for a calendar. I love creating my calendar each year! These images are magical! They are so fun. and certainly, kick things up a notch. 
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It is hard to see, but this is a piece of jewelry. I actually create original pendants using original tiny watercolor paintings. I was dazzled by this piece. It was so amazing. It made me want to take what I do and kick it up a big honking notch. 

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I loved these for the way the images were displayed, the mats …. oh goodness! I was giddy! The fact that these mats had to be hand cut- the impressive nature of the pieces as well as the attention to detail thrilled me.
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Again, the image, the mat, the way it was all put together. I loved it. 
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This changed the ballgame when I think about what I want to use for my books for dividers and chapter titles and all of that. 
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I love the detail in these. For me, anything can be beautiful. even a fork!
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I LOVE this. You see the same piece in three different ways. This is where you see the details. I sat on a bench and studied it for several minutes. LOVE this so much. 
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As someone who doesn’t do much in the way of pre-sketching my images, I LOVED this. It had his handwriting and ideas – I loved it so much. (I am using “love” a great deal, but truly, this experience was dazzling!)
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I won’t blather on further- but this is one of several like this. You can see that it had to be printed on multiple sheets, because in the day – they didn’t have the ability to do so continuously. I would say this is at least 5′ tall- but so magnificent! I loved them. 
 
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So… there you are. I could go on and on, but I am incredibly inspired and suspect this will inform some of my 2020 work. 
 
My advice to you? GO see art. In galleries, antique shops, your neighbor’s studio. Get out. go see different work. It is good for you! A breath of fresh air!
Thanks for listening, 
Susan
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Art & Love will change the world

Happy New Year! 

As I write this the “Uncle clock” (a small grandfather clock that hangs on our dining room wall)  as my children have called it is ticking steadily in the corner. The house has gone a bit quiet as my children are each in their own homes or on the way home. The air crisp and fresh with the coming of the new year and is fully optimistic with my long list of personal and professional goals. 

As I reflect on the last year, I recognize many positive things. It would be easy to create a long list of gratitudes. But there is something else calling me, I am sure of it. 

I anticipate that the coming year will bring many changes. Some are scary, some are exciting, some are a little of both. I have been planning and researching and it is time to be a bit bolder with my career. I know that much of this will depend on the opportunity I create for myself. For the first time in a long time, I don’t know exactly what that will be, only that it is time for a change. 

I am excited to see what 2020 will bring for me. I hope that you feel the same. A new year feels like a fresh canvas- I cannot wait to paint it. 

I hope you feel optimistic too. I hope this year challenges you. I hope you grow, laugh, and reach new heights. I hope that you find a way to bring the best of you to the world. To love deeply, to create wildly and to know, without doubt- 

the best is yet to be. 

Happy New Year- 

Love, 

Susan

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with gratitude

I learned so much this year. It was a full year of giving it everything I have got! There have been surprises and disappointments, there has been growth. There have been joys beyond measure, and yes, there have been dark moments of doubt.

I sit here writing the day after I close for the holidays. I am honest to say that I am so tired, but I am also so hopeful. I feel like I have taken some time to learn, to grow, to fine-tune a bit. I recognize that even though sometimes this journey is a challenge, that exact thing is what brings me closer to my goals. 

So. I am so grateful. 

I am grateful to you, for your encouragements for your patronage, and for your belief in my big dream. 

I want to wish you the happiest of holidays- enjoy the quiet moments and the loud ones. Enjoy the loud ones too. 

See you in 2020- lookout! I am a whole new version of ready to share art and love!

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It’s been a while

There are many things I want to discuss with you- so many things I want to say. There just never seems to be enough time in the day. So I will keep this brief.

Take time.

No one is going to give it to you. So take it. do what YOU need. 

take a minute longer driving to work because you detoured to see the leaves. 

Take a moment to wish someone a good day- and mean it. 

Take an art class. 

Read a book

TAKE TIME

it’s important – 

speak with you soon. 

Susan