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Happy New Year!

It has taken me a day or two to catch up with the fact that the new year has presented itself. A brand new, shiny, clean new year.  In the past, I have always looked at the new year as a fresh slate. This year, circumstances don’t necessarily present that optimism as clearly for me.

It is also a time of reflection on the year past. From what I observe online, many are suggesting that 2021 was a horrific year. I agree, it certainly had its challenges. I am discouraged that it is so easy to discard an entire year as horrific. 

Before you get defensive, I know there has been great loss. I know that we are tired. I know that the world is STILL in a global pandemic. I know that our lives have changed in order to manage that pandemic. I know. I know that likely every single one of you reading this knows someone who is suffering from covid, cancer, or some other horrible affliction. I am keenly aware that the challenges are great. I might even suggest that I am pretty aware of the same. 

Yet. I cannot dismiss three hundred and sixty-five days as all bad. When I reflect upon the past year, I see the personal growth I have worked towards. I see my children blooming in their relationships, their careers, and their humanity. I see my business changing and growing. I see many positive things happening. I see good deeds, good people, generosity of souls, kindness, and caring.

I won’t pretend that I ignore the darkness. There has been so much loss, so much illness, not just Covid, but cancer, and other scary things. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the darkness. But these are the times I actively seek the light. I try to do my best to ramp up the courage and a healthy dose of hope. 

As I said, I take time each new year to reflect. Reflect on accomplishments, on lessons learned, on growth, on the joys, on… well many things. I think it would be easy for me to see only the darkness if I didn’t consciously seek gratitude for all of the good, for the joys, for the kindnesses. I saw something recently where someone suggested that we don’t have bad days, we have bad moments. Rarely is every single minute of a day horrible.  This offered an interesting perspective that I try to adhere to. 

The year presented us with some really horrible things. I know that many are weary. Many have faced giant mountains. I only seek to suggest that we see how many of those mountains have been conquered. How many moments of joy have stitched us together. How many blessings have we received? 

So… seek the light, my friends- it is not that we won’t have challenges this year, but I believe that we can meet those challenges more successfully if we focus on the light, even if it is a sliver of light in the darkest darkness. 

Happy New Year- sending you so much love, 

Susan

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In the right place…

Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm. A. Lincoln

I have had to ponder this for a bit, it all felt too jumbled emotionally to share. I honestly couldn’t decide if I was happy or sad or both. At this point, I feel the emotion just “was” and defining it ultimately served no real purpose. It was instead an opportunity to move through it and find a way to the other side. 

A few weeks ago, would have been my tenth anniversary having a studio at the Hungerford. I bring this up only because leaving the Hungerford marked a huge transition for me. I made note of the date literally the day before. As I said above, I wasn’t sure if I felt happy, sad, or otherwise. 

The Hungerford was my first “real” studio. I made a studio space into a gallery. I embraced the esthetic of not so long ago industrial and created my own real-world gallery.  I supported artists there. I had a new exhibit with a guest artist (or artists) every single month. I held workshops there. I held events that supported and reached out to the homeless, women in crisis, and those being treated for cancer. I held meetings to support small business Marketing, Artisan Socials, and more. 

I worked so hard there… I grew as an artist and a person there… I made some dear friends there… it was home. 

In January of 2020, I made the decision that it was time for a change. I love(d) what I was doing- but something in me knew it was time for a big change. I had a lot of time to think about this as I spontaneously drove to Florida by myself (after an invitation twelve hours earlier from my son and bonus daughter) to spend a week with them.  I did it! (If you only knew how out of character this was for me) 

When I got home about ten days later I knew that change was in the wind. It was happening, I just wasn’t sure how. ( The last time I felt this way I went back to college.)

Enter a Facebook post by Brandi Marino. Brandi shared about a new collective at the Piano Works Mall. I decided to go check it out. My original intention was to see it and if I liked it, consider opening a second site for Create Art 4 Good. Perhaps I would hold workshops there. 

Two days later, after seeing the space twice, I made the decision to move from the Hungerford to Central Creatives. (My husband was not pleased, but thankfully he was supportive) 

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew this wasn’t just about changing location. It was about changing the business altogether. 

The universe must have agreed because out of the thin air I had people volunteering to move me. SO many people! It was really quite amazing. (talk about grateful!) I moved in on February 23, and on February 29th, we as a collective had our first big opening. 

Then… the global pandemic hit, and we shut down. 

Why on earth am I telling you all this? Well… you see, I changed far more than location. I changed the business. While I still try to support my fellow artists, I do not have a new exhibit every month (who could in a pandemic?) This forced me to make some changes. I am certainly not suggesting that I love the pandemic, but as my mother would have said, “There’s always something to be grateful for.”

What I am grateful for is that I have found a way to prioritize my own work. I have taken quite seriously my art, my greeting card company, and my mission. I still pay it forward with a portion of the profits going to charity. I still support other artists- I am a pretty good cheerleader, but also I have taken over Rochester Artisans started by the ever wonderful Stefani Tadio. This is a group that assists other artists with all things business. It gives me joy to facilitate that group. I even still do a workshop or two. During the height of the pandemic- zoom became a very handy tool. So the changes are there, but maybe it is more of a shift. Perhaps it was time. 

So, I might not be at the Hungerford. But I am celebrating a business that is twelve years old. I am celebrating my own personal and professional growth. I am celebrating surviving and even having moments of thriving in the pandemic world. I am grateful for the opportunity to take my own work more seriously, and the courage to do so. I am grateful for you.

(whew, this was a long one, wasn’t it?)

I believe, with my whole heart, I am in the right place.

The best is yet to be… 

Thanks for listening! With so much love, 

Susan

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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

 

 

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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

 

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Mini Paintings, big love

I have always believed that art is vital to the survival of the world. It marks history, it shares beauty, it reflects and inspires ideas, and it is a tool of expression. For me, it is oxygen. Not just the creation of art, but having it in my home, seeing others’ art, learning about art, breathing art. As a professional artist, I am always trying to find a way to share my art that is accessible to all humans that also still honors my work and shares my love. I am well aware, as I am one of them, that art can be sometimes difficult to access. As vital as it is to me, it is not always in my budget to purchase the $5,000 painting I just fell in love with.

So, I do my best to share my art, my gratitude, my love in the most accessible ways. It feels almost like a mission to do so. The world as we currently know it is a stressful place.  (I suppose that is normal, but this is OVER the top Stressful. So, I have set out to create a set of small paintings to share with the world. 

This accomplishes many things, really. I paint. Which is very good for me. Otherwise, I get downright stuck in my head. As the weeks of this pandemic continue, I find myself on a roller coaster of emotions, sometimes all in one day.  Also, I am a doer. In a crisis, I generally need to be doing something. Cooking, organizing, taking care of those who are in difficulty. It is hard to comprehend a way that would effectively make a difference to a global pandemic. While I enjoyed biology in high school, I cannot say that I have the facilities to cure a pandemic. (Though I sorely wish I did)

My mission of painting one little bit of love at a time makes me feel as if I am doing something. The reaction in the last two weeks has been incredible. I feel so honored to participate in this and share my art with you! So it continues. I will paint three or so paintings each day and share them with you. Typically I post them on Facebook, but if you would like to be notified, shoot me an email! (Susan

This time is truly unprecedented. Vital to our survival is how we navigate this time. I am not always good at sitting still. I am  MUCH, MUCH better at it when I have a paintbrush in my hand. I am a hugger, giving love and support is a life source for me, and hopefully helps others. These little paintings are my hugs for now. 

I hope you and yours are doing well. I pray that you have found a way to take one step at a time, live your day, and embrace the opportunities this time has given to each of us. I am here if you need a virtual hug, or you know, a mini painting. 

Sending you so much love, 

Susan