Posted on Leave a comment

Brand Values

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. 

Posted on Leave a comment

February is for love! (EVERY DAY is for love)

I personally LOVE February- (not for the snow in upstate New York, I assure you.) I love it for the love. It’s Valentine’s day, it’s hearts everywhere, and NOONE gives me any grief about painting hearts all day long. Painting hearts seems to be one of those carefree mixed media fun things I so enjoy. I enjoy it on such a pure and sweet level. (when I am not self-editing)

But it goes deeper than that. I see my art as an opportunity, as a meditation, as a way to put an intention out into the world. While the shape of a heart might be an obvious symbol of love, the intention goes far beyond that. This is a motivation behind my card company Greetings 4 Good.  

Greeting cards can show love every single day of the year. Greetings 4 Good seems to be one of the ways I can do this. I make art, I photograph it, pop it into my creative suite, send it to the printers and voila! Cards! Some of my earliest and happiest memories have to do with cards. Making them, receiving them, seeing the variety, how people sign them- I noticed (and still do) all of the details. While it may just be a piece of card stock, for me it is a symbol of love. 

I am not sure why I woke up on a fourteen-degree morning to share all this with you- but I did. Today, I think I am feeling the gravity of the two-year pandemic. I feel the weight of not being able to see people, I feel the weight of separation, isolation, and concern. When an unexpected piece of “happy mail” (happy mail = unexpected mail that is not related to bills or other adult things) shows up in my mailbox I feel valued, loved, and thought of. It’s a good thing. 

So… send the card- the note, the postcard- whatever! Share the love! It matters. 

love you…

Susan

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Welcome, July

Hello July
Hello July
Welcome July in a sassy way! It’s going to be a great month!

 

Well, hello there! Welcome to July. I wanted to take a moment to share all the fun things going on in my life. 

First, I am not (typically) one to make a big deal out of my own birthday, however, this year, this month, both my husband and myself are turning sixty. I admit, I kind of don’t believe it. There are days my body sure does feel at LEAST sixty, but I feel like I am just getting started in so many ways. But, regardless of what is ahead, I am celebrating. I feel like more than ever, I am in awe of the preciousness of life, the countless gifts I have received, and the love that I have in my life. I AM one blessed human. I am ever so grateful. 

That said! I am celebrating with a one-woman show at Sylvan Starlight Creations. I have been creating for a long time (see above) and I want to celebrate that! I am grateful to Sylvia Serry who owns the gallery for this invitational. The opening is on the fifteenth of July and should be downright fun! I will be demonstrating mixed media art as it is my great love! (one of them anyway) Sylvan Starlight Creations is found at 50 State St bldg c, Pittsford, NY 14534. The opening will be from 4-8 pm.  The show will be up through September! 

Celebrating sixty years of life and creation!

 

Next, I have updated my workshops. At this point, I am very willing to facilitate workshops in person at the gallery or on a video chat. It is important everyone feels comfortable, but by all means, let’s be creative together! 

you can find the listings on the website here: Create With Me

Join the Central Creatives for an open house!

Next up, (so much fun to share, isn’t there?) My beloved new home (well sorta new) is having an opening on July 30th! You can come to visit between 5-9 pm that evening. If that doesn’t work, PLEASE make an appointment- I would love to show you around! This is becoming my happy place! Make an appointment here: Susan Carmen-Duffy

 

Lastly, I HAVE SO MUCH FUN NEWS! I am going to press soon AND that means I will be offering a new subscription plan! Stay tuned! I think it is going to be really nifty and fun!  There are several to choose from right now- find them @ Greetings4Good.org

REALLY lastly, I hope you are doing okay. Covid has paused the world in such an unbelievable way. I feel like the ramifications are far-reaching for each of us. Personally, there have been struggles, sadness, and loss. What has profoundly saved me has been the practice of gratitude, my art, my family, (chosen and gifted family as well!). Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to others. If never before we understood that we are all in this together – we sure as heck should now. 

A blue heart on a white background.
sending you love

That said… I am sending you big giant love. 

Happy July! 

Susan

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Celebrate this life

My other daughter (Patrick’s almost wife)turned thirty over the weekend, Duffy’s Dad has a birthday on Saturday and my granddaughter will turn eleven on Sunday. We are a celebration family. Maybe it is part of my heritage, but the current pandemic seems to have changed life and put it pretty much on its ear. There is no way to celebrate. At least not what we are used to. I found this incredibly frustrating. I am a doer. We make a big deal out of birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions, and really any other reason to celebrate. This was so frustrating to me!

So in typical fashion on one of my 3 am moments, I decided I would take some fabric that I had for another purpose and use it to make a sign. I’d paint it, and we’d sneak to my son and other daughter’s house early on the morning of her birthday (and we did) to put it up. 

Can I just tell you? IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! I felt like a birthday fairy or something! She loved it. The neighbors loved it, my son loved it. Before I knew it I had two more signs to paint, and another, and another. I did one for my sister. (graduation), One for my father in law, then people who I didn’t even know, started calling me to make one WOW! 

First, let me say that I am so honored to be a part of your celebrations. This is not only fun, it feels like a renewed purpose to send out some love.  Secondly, I am here. I would love to make a sign for you- We can discuss your needs (I have even mailed them out of town!) 

Keep celebrating. Keep connecting- the pandemic is not allowed to take our spirit! 

sending you love, 

Susan

 

Posted on 2 Comments

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

 

Posted on Leave a comment

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. 

title piece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 These are some of my favorite works by him. 

image.png
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. 
image.png
 
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. 
image.png

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. 

image.png
 
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.
image.png
 
Again, the image, the mat, the way it was all put together. I loved it. 
image.png
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. 
image.png
I love the detail in these. For me, anything can be beautiful. even a fork!
image.png
 
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. 
image.png
 
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!)
image.png
 
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. 
 
image.png
 
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
Posted on Leave a comment

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

Posted on 2 Comments

Integrated Voices- a female perspective

Several years ago I was brainstorming details for the gallery and diligently tried to come up with ideas that would be unique, interesting, and perhaps even challenging as future exhibitions. Over the years there have been many, some fun, some tenacious, some fairly common. This month, however, is a bit riskier. 

Last February, I invited thirteen female artists to collaborate on this exhibit. First, thirteen?  An odd number?? What if they all said yes? I asked who I thought I was supposed to and knew it would work out. In the end, ten said yes. TEN! Perfect. 

I put all the names in a hat and paired them up. I DID! This way, I had no control over anything. The directions were simple. Each artist would collaborate. Each would begin a piece, pass it to their partner and then finish the piece they were given. This involved a diverse group of artists, few who worked in the same media. What a challenge! 

I believe I speak for all when I suggest that we have each learned so much, not only about our own work and process, but about ourselves, and certainly about our partners. 

The exhibit officially opens on Friday, August 2 @5pm. Many of the artists will be there! 

I hope you will be too!

And so it begins
Posted on Leave a comment

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