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.
These are some of my favorite works by him.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Again, the image, the mat, the way it was all put together. I loved it.
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.
I love the detail in these. For me, anything can be beautiful. even a fork!
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.
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!)
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.
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!
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-
I am feeling rather introspective this morning. The morning has been lovely, quiet, and full of reflection. The sounds of waves lapping assertively against the break wall have a beautiful rhythm to it. Today, I made sure I was up to watch the sun come up. I sat outside, by the lake breeze blowing not only my hair but also my thoughts. (I am house sitting for a friend at her lake house). Sitting here in quiet, with my swirling thoughts, it is important to take some time to reflect on the past nine years of this journey.
Water is one of my favorite places to be. Water seems to be a comfort and an inspiration for me. The sun slowly rising. The breeze was significant, the water rather turbulent. I have always been fascinated by Lake Ontario as it can be so “oceanesque”. The waves wild and forceful, the water goes on forever both in-depth and distance.
This all seems to be the metaphor of the day for me. When I began Create Art 4 Goodnine years ago, I honestly had no idea of what this would become. In the beginning, just like a drop of water, it was simple. It had purpose, it certainly had intent, but I had no clue how expansive it would become, how wildly energetic it would be, and how it would create a vital new part of life for me.
I don’t want to write about the statistics for this business. I am honored to have hosted hundreds of artists, thousands of patrons, paid it forward to numerous charities and celebrated many events. Create Art 4 Good seems to have a life of its own. I have often teased that I need to try to “keep up” with the ball of energy that it is. While I do have an ever-evolving business plan, I often feel like the business is here to teach ME, it certainly inspires and challenges me.
I began this business shortly after my mother passed away. After losing her it was clear to me that I needed to direct my energy somewhere with the greatest of intentions. I wanted to do something proactive and positive. I wanted a place to be all that I am and become who I was meant to be in the world. Create Art 4 Good has provided many opportunities for me. I have grown, I have learned, I have trusted in sometimes the scariest moments. It hasn’t always been easy. It hasn’t always been a linear path. However, the journey has been rich and wonderful.
I have learned that organization is key, planning ahead is vital, and pushing out of my introverted shell essential. One of the biggest lessons learned seems to be about risk and authenticity. I believe I have wandered through much of my life trying to meld into other people’s expectations instead of living my true fingerprint. I have learned that my greatest success has come through my own authenticity. Create Art 4 Good began as a pop-up gallery, wherever I could find space. Nearly seven years ago, I found a permanent space at the Hungerford building. I represented seventeen artists that October opening, however, and shockingly, not one of them was me.
On opening night, I had work hung from the floor to the ceiling and there was literally not one piece of my own artwork. I explained that my work was primarily at my sister’s business at the time, there was no time to move it over, the excuses brimmed hollowly with the disguise of altruism. It was not until years later that I have discovered that perhaps it was not all so altruistic, but perhaps fear that prevented me from sharing my art as well.
Even though I have done art shows and shown in galleries for over thirty-five years, in the beginning, I considered it humility that I was showing the work of others and not my own. It is easier for me to speak about and promote other artists. It is more difficult to share my own, be that level of vulnerable and self-promoting. What I celebrated in others, I did not have the courage to celebrate in myself.
Oh, the lessons we learn!
In the last few years, I have moved to a new space, opened a greeting card company (Greetings 4 Good), and shared more of my work both in my own studio as well as other galleries and exhibitions. I have quit my full-time position to give all of my energy to this business. I have worked to open the door to vulnerability and embraced the opportunity to share more of me. Create Art 4 Good is a mindset, not just a business. Making the effort to share my own “fingerprint” seems to have a power that I could have never imagined. It allows me to confidently live this dream and also continue to offer the opportunity to others. I cannot ask others to share their work with the world if I was not prepared to do so with the same tenacity.
So today, I celebrate this nine-year journey. I celebrate a business that has survived against many odds, I celebrate the personal journey that has brought me here, I celebrate the opportunity to share my art, the art of others and pay it forward. Today marks nine years of a journey I could have never imagined, but am truly grateful for.
Thank you for celebrating with me today. I promise you, the best is yet to be.
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!
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.
When I think about mixed media I cannot tell you how excited I get. For me, each medium in art has a unique and wonderful strength. There are several (in my opinion) that work incredibly well together. It is magic. I LOVE IT.
If you think this is a trendy form of art I will suggest to you that it is actually the opposite. Degas would use charcoal, pastels, and even printing inks all together in one piece. You can see some of Edgar’s works here. Picasso, DaVinci are also fine examples. I suppose my point is an opportunity that some of the greats have utilized.
I suppose I have never been a purist. I don’t cook by the book, nor do I create art that way. I love the power of a watercolor wash, the texture and depth that collage creates, I get darn excited by adding layers of colored pencil, ink, and maybe even a stitch or two.
Mixed media art feels like a way of life for me. While some might see it as an excuse to buy more art supplies, I see it as a way to use everything for the strongest possible component to create one strong piece of art.
This week begins a five-week workshop to explore mixed media techniques. We will not only explore each medium for the gift that it is, but we will also learn how to incorporate it utilizing several other mediums. I hope you will find some time to join us- you will be glad that you did.
Mixed Media Workshop Mixed media is the best of all the processes for art. (in my humble opinion) Each medium has it’s own beautiful strength and lends itself to working in cooperation with others. This workshop will teach you the strengths and applications for a variety of media and then inspire you to apply them in your own unique and creative way. Each week we will build on the previous week.
Mixed media on watercolor paper- Susan Carmen-Duffy Artist
water media (both water watercolor and acrylic)
Facilitator: Susan Carmen-Duffy
5-week workshop- 2 hours a day. $145- most supplies included
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.
I have had the honor of witnessing the growth of this young woman in the art world for about seven years. Maria was one of the first students to hang her work in my then brand new gallery at the Hungerford building. Maria is smart, sensitive and one of the most gentle souls I have ever known. Like most of us, art has been a journey for her. Sometimes incredibly vulnerable, but also an opportunity for great pride.
Now in her sophomore year of college, Maria is joining us for a few weeks as a treasured intern. She will do some of the PR, some of the planning for the year and hopefully gain some experience in running a small art gallery. I am thrilled and honored to introduce her to you!
Maria has a few words to share with you too!
Hello everyone! I am so excited to spend my winter break interning here at Create Art 4 Good. I first came across this wonderful little gallery about five years ago when I was a freshman in high school. I was in studio art when my teacher informed me that a piece I had made earlier in the year was selected to be shown in a gallery. I was so excited. On opening night I remember staring at my closet trying to figure out what to wear; I wanted to come across as “adult” and “edgy”. (Looking back at that outfit I think I missed the mark stumbling in my high heels and ripped jeans.) When we arrived at Create Art 4 Good that night, I remember being amazed that a building like the Hungerford existed and that I had never heard of it before. I also remember the feeling of pride when I saw my artwork hanging on the wall. It was the first time I felt like I could truly call myself an artist.
That night opened me up to be more serious about the artwork I created. It also showed me how much the art community in Rochester has to offer. Throughout high school, I continued to explore different forms of art at school and in my free time. I remember first Fridays with my family and taking classes at the Brainery with my sister. All of it made me fall more in love with art. And then Senior year came and I was asked “where do you want to go to school?” and “what do you want to major in?” Suddenly everything felt to real. I was scared to tell people that I didn’t know. I was even more scared to say I liked art. As much as I love that world, I didn’t want to be an artist where it is hard to get recognition and even harder to get paid for it.
I ended up going undeclared to the University of New Hampshire. For most of freshman year I explored different classes trying to figure out what interested me. Once again, I found myself taking art classes but the one course that really stuck out to me was art history. I was still too scared to declare a major though. In the end, I was forced to when I signed up for a study away program in Boston. I had all my paperwork processed and had been accepted into the program but the university hadn’t given me the okay yet because I was undeclared. At the very last moment, I declared art history.
During my time in Boston, I have been reassured of this decision over and over again. I have explored so many art museums and have met so many great artists. It was because of the program I was in that led to me reaching out to Mrs. Carmen-Duffy for an internship at the gallery that first set me on this journey.
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
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.
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.
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!