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!
There are so many things I want to say about today. However, I am certain you are going to be inundated with others’ thoughts and ideas too, I certainly don’t want to be “noise” I will do my best to keep this brief. (I cannot promise)
Today, on the international stage, has been declared “Empowered Women’s day”. While I am thrilled to celebrate this day, EVERY DAY should be empowered women’s day. But, I digress. Today is a day where I am hoping we step back and take a look at how we treat women. This goes for not just men, but also women. As a mother of one daughter (and two bonus daughters), and a grandmother of one granddaughter, this day is a reason for pause, to take stock, to certify that my actions are true of empowerment.
First- words matter. What you say and how you say it really DOES make a difference. We are here to help each other be the best possible humans we can be. I have preached to my children to be the best they can be, no matter what path they may choose. Living your best life is not easy. The world can be so full of roadblocks. My job as the chief cheerleader is to help them navigate the roadblocks, or sometimes just to sit and listen while they do. Sometimes empowerment means to just sit and hold space.
Think about this- what if you only had support for your ideas, for your dreams? Certainly, it is a journey and not every idea is going to bloom, but you will with certainty grow, learn what works and what does not. If you have support (and no judgment) the likelihood is we will celebrate the process instead of feeling shame about the lessons (aka failures).
Next, leave your garbage in the trash bin. The world can be a challenging place. However, my experience is not yours and yours is not mine. While personal experience can bring wisdom, it shouldn’t bring roadblocks for others. I see this, particularly when speaking with my children and grandchild. It is vital for me to step back, perhaps guide a little but ultimately let them follow their heart without me dashing their thoughts. I might not agree with their choices, and some might even scare me a little, but ultimately, it is their choice.
Perfection. This is the killer of all greatness in my opinion. As women we have these images in our heads that we have to have superpowers, be the ultimate —- fill in the blank along with a hundred other things. Certainly, I have learned that for me perfection is not attainable, and the seeking of which is ultimately setting myself up for failure. Today, my best might look very different from tomorrow. The goal here is not perfection, but to do the best and most invested you can be at this very moment. If you fail? Change the path a smidgen and try again, but perfection is not a worthy goal, authenticity is.
Lastly, your success does not diminish me. “A rising tide lifts all boats.”- Celebrating each other, our success, supporting each other through the difficult times serves everyone. EVERYONE!
So today. take a minute to ponder how your actions and words to empower other women. You have the opportunity to take stock and grow a little. You have the opportunity to send someone a text, remind them why they are doing so great. You have the opportunity to write a note of encouragement and slip it onto a co-worker’s desk. You have the opportunity to pay it forward even in the smallest of ways. YOU have the power to make a difference. So go do it.
A rising tide lifts ALL boats.
Sending you so much love,
In the #MeettheMakerChallenge- next up is Brand Values. When forming Create Art 4 Good, I worked really hard at defining what this was all meant to be. For me going into business was an opportunity. It was an opportunity to not only create art, and support the art of others, but it was also a way to be aware of the world around me and use my talents for good. I give a portion of every single sale to a local charity. It doesn’t matter if it is a greeting card from my card business – Greetings 4 Good, or a large painting, each piece I have created is used to pay it forward.
Toward that end, I created “the thoughtfulness project”. It is a project that seeks to pay it forward, give back, and create joy. It is a project that can be as simple as paying for someone’s coffee, dropping off hundreds of cards to a nursing home, or sending something to a stranger in need. Last year (2021) I sent literally thousands of cards, through the mail, dropped off, or otherwise. Most were sent to 97% strangers. The whole idea is to SHARE THE LOVE!
The best of what we are can be joyfully shared with others to support and celebrate! Life can be hard, but we as humans who care can make a difference. That is just what I seek to do.
Everyone loves a moment to be affirmed and a little proud of their accomplishments- This morning, Marketta Gregory shared a bit about my business and my mission! It is fun to see it in the newspaper- for sure!
It was nice to have such a lovely mention!
Thanks, Marketta and the Democrat and Chronicle!
Below is a blog post I wrote five years ago. It was a post to celebrate several years at Create Art 4 Good. It embraced the growth, the changes, and a big announcement. I am sitting here reflecting on this incredible journey that began over a decade ago, really appreciating all the lessons I have learned and the wisdom revealed. I am celebrating the fact that I have done what I set out to do. I am celebrating the incredible support I have been so blessed to receive. I am celebrating the revelation of my dreams. Each year seems to have brought growth and progress. Each year, the dreams became a little more refined.
Five years ago, I announced that I would begin formally Greetings4Good. Little did I know at the time that the mission was finally revealed. It is certain to me that I was absolutely meant to begin Create Art 4 Good as I did. I was blessed to support other artists, curate incredible exhibits, pay it forward with hosting charitable events, as well as financial contributions to local charities, facilitate countless workshops and other creative activities. This was all part of the process. I have learned so much, grown so much, and found perhaps a quieter mission.
Today, while I celebrate all the business of Create Art 4 Good has taught me, I celebrate more the direction this has taken. When I moved from the Hungerford in 2020, I dedicated myself to a new path, or perhaps just a more specifically dedicated one. I wanted and needed to create more, to honor all those millions of ideas swimming in my head. I wanted and needed to work more diligently on my greeting card business.
Greetings 4 Good has become my heart project. It IS my mission. Perhaps it sounds silly, but I have always needed to think I could change the world in some way. I feel that my “gift” is not necessarily art, but the ability to love. I feel that my affection for the underdog, the lonely, the uncelebrated has been the bridge to this business. Cards, especially for no real obligation brighten someone’s day, remind them that they are cared for, and well, it is a simple way to do so.
I have said for some time that I have been blessed to pick up tools and skills throughout my life that the purpose of which would later be revealed. When I went back to college for a graphic design degree, I thought it was to work on logos and business collateral for others. NOPE. It was so that I would have some sort of knowledge base to begin a card company. These skills coupled with my deep desire to paint and create seem to be the perfect marriage.
So today- I celebrate Create Art 4 Good. While I still do my best to support other artists through mentoring as well as Rochester Artisans (thank you, Stefani Tadio!), I am keenly aware that this was the foundational business that brought me to the mission of my life. I still support those in need through donations, the thoughtfulness project, and the 365 project. (in 2021 I set a goal of sending a card a day, and to date I have delivered/mailed/and otherwise nearly 940 cards to friends, family, and mostly complete strangers) I am completely determined to change the world… one greeting card at a time.
Thank you for listening… thank you for celebrating with me. (below is the original announcement of my card company just for giggles)
the best is yet to be.
Sending you so much love!
The Big Announcement (August 9, 2016)
Today is my anniversary! Create Art 4 Good was launched on August 9th. It will always be a “day” for me. I remember when I began, it was a dream in the making. I diligently wrote and re-wrote the business plan SEVEN times. YEP, seven. For me, it was about ensuring the success of my dreams. Today, I am celebrating with awe my successes and jumping with vigor into the next dream!
I could go on and on about how much I have learned, and that is completely true. I could share the changes that have occurred in the last few years, (not the least of which is celebrating my dream of a gallery at the Hungerford)- which is also true.
For me, this is a gigantic celebration that isn’t just about celebrating the success I feel in growing a small business. It is about the opportunity that I am jumping into with my everything. It is about the bubbling pure joy that is overflowing in my heart as I write this.
Let me give you the background information.
When I was little, my mom used to say when my father was feeling a bit grumpy he’d go to the hardware store. He would wander around and sort out his thoughts among the nuts and bolts and shiny new tools. When he returned, he was usually in much better spirits. As an adult, I recognize that this was sort of his time out. He didn’t have to talk to anyone, he just found himself in “the zone”- his zone.
I have a similar “thing”, however usually at a stationery store. I wander around, look and let go. My terrible mood usually turns into something proactive, I buy a card or two (or ten) not usually because I need them, but because I have thought of someone who seems to be going through something or someone who needs to be celebrated. My favorite opportunities are the ones that are not required. An encouragement, a thank you, or just a little bit of love.
Why am I telling you all this? In life we are given many messages, if we pay attention it seems that everything is revealed at the perfect time. My love of pretty stationery, beautiful cards, and fine papers isn’t just an artist thing, I would suggest perhaps it’s a vocation. (more honestly NOT just a vocation but a passion… maybe even obsession?!) I fully embrace the art of thoughtfulness. It gives me life and more importantly seems to positively affect those to who I send them.
One of the things that bothers me about our very fast-paced world is that we forget to take notice, to pause, to appreciate, to recognize. We don’t send cards as often as in the past. A recent survey that I posted on social media indicates that we don’t send as many cards, as we want to (which inspires guilt), we LOVE getting cards, AND we appreciate cards that are unique, and beautiful. The message is clear -it is vital to pause, to notice, to appreciate each other.
As an artist, it is a natural extension to make cards from the artwork I create. It is affordable for those who appreciate your work and it is a lovely way to share creativity. I have been honored by those who mention to me after sending some of my cards that they were not only proud to send my greetings, but the recipient was delighted as well. One person shares with me that she sends my cards to her “special people” because she likes to send beautiful art. I love it when I hear from someone I was inspired to send a card to sends me a message that my card positively changed their day, made them feel important or truly loved. I will admit, it is a bit of an ego boost when someone tells you that they exclusively send your images for every reason there is to send a card.
I have listened- and my next step has been revealed.
It is with great honor I announce the birth of GREETINGS 4 GOOD.
Greetings 4 Good will flourish under the parent company, Create Art 4 Good. It will use fine art images to create gorgeous stationery, greeting cards, and other inspiring products. Each week(from now until October) I will reveal the product line piece by piece. I want these images to be your very favorites, so I will humbling ask for your help in deciding which images should go to print! I will invite you to join Greetings 4 Good– which will have some really nifty perks! (free cards, promotions & special offers)
Are you in?
SAVE THE DATE! The official launch date for Greetings 4 Good will be October 7th, 2016 at my gallery – Create Art 4 Good. That night you will see the original images I have created married to the poetry I write to bloom into beautiful and unique cards for you. You will have the opportunity to view and purchase greeting cards that give back (just like with Create Art 4 Good- a donation is made with each sale) and help you to send a little bit of love to those you cherish. This opening will be the gala of a lifetime of making art and poetry and celebrating the bloom of thoughtfulness.
Thank you for celebrating my anniversary, your support of my work sustains me in ways you could never imagine. I appreciate your love and faithfulness.
with great joy, love & peace,
p.s. send someone a card today- for no reason- JUST BECAUSE – you will both be happy you did!
p.p.s. Starting in October, send a Greetings4Good card (just because you will send a beautiful art card- and make many people happy!)
All images and writings are by Susan Carmen-Duffy © 2016. The use of any content from this site without written permission from the author/artist is prohibited.
(Please be nice! The universe appreciates your kindness and honor and so do I!)
Hey there, how are you?
Today the rain is falling steadily in Rochester, New York. Today, I love the rain, it is cleansing and can be so beautiful. The fresh scent fills me. It nourishes the earth- which seems especially important these days.
Spring has arrived. Those beautiful yellow-greens are popping up everywhere I look. Grass, trees, plants, they all seem to have the courage of spring.
This season feels more hopeful to me than any others have in quite some time. The path might not be linear but, I seem to have made peace with the “new normal”. I am diligently trying to function, grow, and even bloom. I am doing the work, both personally and professionally. It is not always pretty, I assure you, (have I shared about the painting I started about a month ago that now has about 37 layers of paint on it with seemingly no success?!) *insert frustrated face here*
One of the things I am working on is my greeting card website. (Greetings 4 Good) I am sure you have heard the story no less than a thousand times.
The motivation to begin a greeting card company began decades ago. (truth be told, it was about half a century ago!) It is funny how life sometimes brings you full circle. Since I was a young child, creating cards has been a “thing”. I remember being quite young and visiting my great-grandmother. She was gravely ill. I was convinced that making cards would heal her. While the idea might be slightly naive, I do believe there was validity in the intent. I made her several cards, some from folded paper, some from leftover Christmas cards, each was filled with great love. Each made that sweet woman’s lips part in a quiet smile.
For me, greeting cards are about thoughtful intent. It is about sharing my art and my heart. It is about creating connections. Celebrating victories, mourning losses, reaching out to those who might be alone (or just lonely), saying your sorry when you have been wrong; it is about reaching out (even and especially during a pandemic) to share your love. Greetings 4 Good is not just a way to share my work, it is about sharing my love. (and encouraging you to do the very same!)
I believe that my business life just finally caught up with my heart.
So today, I just wanted to check on you, while I spend the day working on my big dream! (I am up to eight pages of products!) I hope you are feeling warmth and of course, loved. I hope you feel your life is also full of the courage of spring. It might just be time to bloom my friends…
Sending you so much love,
This weekend is the weekend! Please visit the Westbourne Art Weekend! Jen Born of P.S. Enjoy your life and I are sharing our art !
My mother passed away in January of 2010, I honestly wasn’t sure what to do with myself at that time. Losing your mother is so profound. You are with her for longer than anyone else in your life. I needed a place to put my energy. I needed a way to take all the lessons I have learned in my life and make them count.
Create Art 4 Good was born.
This isn’t my first business, but I suspect it is my forever business.
I have spent a great deal of time in reflection of this business- Here is a graphic created to share some of what has happened in the last ten years.
Thank YOU for what you have done to support this.
I promise… the best is yet to be.