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Ten years in business

It’s hard to believe, but this month marks ten years as the owner, artist, cheerleader, floor mopper at Create Art 4 Good. It honestly doesn’t feel that long, but indeed- here we are.

As you may have noticed in the past, I have much to say. 

celebration logo
Celebrating ten years as Create Art 4 Good

But I am not going to say it all right now- All I mean to say today is how grateful I am for you. Many of you have been with me since before this began. You have held my hand through the doubts, given me light when it was dark and supported me every way you knew how. 

I am so grateful. 

This celebration is about YOU, too. 

…the best is yet to be!

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

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Whisper words of wisdom, let it be…

UNAIDS and China working together during the COVID-19 outbreak to ...The world. it has begun to spin out of control. Covid-19 has infected many and even take the lives of some. Because of this, my life has gone from, “How many hours can I spend at the studio today?” to “When did my life become a Science Fiction Movie?”. 

Weirdness abounds. On Thursday, I went to the grocery store to buy some vegetables. We were running low and well, we like vegetables. So, off I went to my trusty grocer- Wegmans (the best in the universe) to find a level of panic that I describe as Thanksgiving with 300 people meets a blizzard stuck in the same house for a month.  The grocery carts were stacked high, the shelves were pretty bare, 

PEOPLE- calm down. 

As I made my way through the store, the anxiety in the air filled my lungs. I could feel the panic in my fellow shoppers. I could see the disappointment on the pasta aisle when there was literally nothing to choose from.

I think my point is this. This is the time to be taking care of each other, NOT going bonkers and buying 39 boxes of pasta, 4 cases of toilet tissue, and 9 cases of water. I understand that there is uncertainty, that there is fear. However, I am also very aware that we need to take a step back, realize that we are in this together and slow the heck down. 

The Beatles song was ringing in my head all day today.  I have faith that this horrific situation will resolve and life will somehow return to a more comfortable place. I am also keenly aware that this might not be a very easy process, that it might be stressful and full of heartache. I DO believe, it will be better if we work together, and not separately.

Breathe… take good care of you and yours… wash your hands…let it be. 

Let It Be
When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree,
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is
Still, a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be. Yeah
There will be an answer, let it be.
And when the night is cloudy,
There is still a light that…
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Celebrating Women

 

Image result for international women's day 2020

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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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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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!