“Reining Gold”

This is one of two paintings I dropped off today at the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts for the Sunlight and Shadows Exhibition. First, I am pleased that I set a goal, and met the goal. I even dropped it off on time!

I share this piece particularly because this piece reminded me deeply why I am an artist. It fortified the idea that art is my oxygen and is important and essential to my life.

In December I broke several fingers on my dominant hand. I worked around the inconvenience fairly well. But soon, deadlines started looming. I wanted to enter this exhibition and to be completely transparent, I hadn’t even begun the painting yet.

I tried to paint with my splinted hand. It was not possible. SO, I switched hands. This painting (with the exception of my signature) has been created entirely with my non-dominant hand. It was slow and painful to do it that way. However, I rejoice in the fact that I did not let anything get in my way! I learned so much. I learned to have more patience with myself, I learned layers really are my friend, and I learned how to do this adapting to my new reality.

So I share this with you- proud of what I learned more than the aesthetic of the painting. Thank you for listening…

“Reigning Gold” copyright 2024 Susan Carmen-Duffy

#art #sharethelove #grateful #Mixedmediartist #susancarmenduffy #entrepreneur #nondomininanthand #nondominanthandart #nondominantpainting #susancarmenduffyart #CreateArt4Good #rochesterny #artist #createart #centralcreativespw #trees

International Women’s Day

To celebrate women seems too little for one day.

I am in awe of the incredible women around me. The women who give life to ideas, hopes, art, technology, and well… humans. I am grateful for the women who have gone before me who have generously given me love, support, and encouragement without question, without concern for practicality or logic. I am in awe of the tenacity of women who have bloomed beyond their own pain and scars, who have courageously colored their lives with brilliance and shine brighter than the most luminescent stars. I am grateful for the women who continue to inspire me, support me, and love me with endless perseverance.

Celebrating women, in all seasons of life.

#internationalwomensday #art #Art #rochesterny #susancarmenduffy #Greetings4Good #artist #sendingyoulove #mixedmedia #susancarmenduffyart #entrepreneur #sharethelove #CreateArt4Good #Mixedmediartist #celebratelife #grateful

What are you grateful for?

So many people in my life are struggling. I am also not immune to the challenges of life. The past year or two have been a rolling and interesting series of challenges but also joys. I know that there are people struggling hard with health issues, financial issues, and otherwise.

I remember having what I perceived to be one of the worst days of my life. In the span of about three hours, during a horrible snowstorm, I was in not one but TWO car accidents, (with my youngest child in the car) ran over someone’s mailbox, ran over a squirrel (I have never killed anything!), and came home to a flooded basement. I remember calling my mom, just wanting to hear that it was going to be okay. After I shared my tale of woah, she responded…

“What are you grateful for?”

Seriously Mom? I am not grateful for anything that happened today. She then went on to explain that while the squirrel might not agree, everything else could be fixed. It was just stuff. My son and I were both fine. UGH. That was so frustrating…

But she was right.

So… right now. In your current situation, I ask you- What are you grateful for?

Sometimes it has to be the smallest thing. I have a roof over my head. I have heat. I have a car to take me to work. I have food to eat. The leaf on the sidewalk is brilliant. Sometimes it is the smallest thing. But I try to see that as the pinhole of light I might need to light up a dark day.

Gratitude is a lifeline- especially on the dark days. I hope you find the light today.

with so much love,

Susan

The term “artist”

I was talking with a friend last night about the term artist. He suggested that there are broad definitions of the term. I hadn’t really thought of it before in the way he suggested. However, as I age, my needs and desires in the realm of art seem to be more defined.

Let me explain. He suggested that there were some artists that create art as a means to an end, for pay. Just like any job. They have a skill, they use that skill for a purpose. They are artists. This would include any creative. – Writers, musicians, fine artists.

There are also artists, that have a deep need to create. They create because it is a part of the fiber of their being. While it is lovely to sell or share a piece of art, this is not the main motivation. The goal is to create. This can be again for any form of art. Personally, I always refer to the act of creation as my oxygen. My husband can testify, that when I am not making art I am much more stressed and unfun to be around.

My friend asked me what my earliest happiest memory was. I shared that it was my Gumby light board. I was six or seven creating a magazine that I had written and illustrated. I used the Gumby lightboard to make copies for my family. (and tried to charge them money to have a copy that I carefully copied on the lightboard) He suggested that from my earliest memories, I was happiest when creating.

“Do that”, he said.

I looked at him with a sort of disbelief. I wanted to say, “NO KIDDING!” I then calmly explained that being in any business, even an art business, seemed to be even more about the business aspect, rather than the creation aspect. I am honest to tell you that I shared my discouragement. The last couple of years (thank you Covid) have been rough. It feels like I spend more time on everything other than actually painting. Nope. That is NOT what I want.

My friend sat across the table from me with that sweet Irish grin he has and simply said,

“So, paint. Just paint. Create. We will figure out the rest later.”

It seems so simple when he said it that way. In my head, I had a hundred (or more) arguments about why this wasn’t possible. (this all happened in the span of a few seconds). In the end, I looked at him and said,

“Okay”.

So. I think I have a lot to think about. I know that change is in the wind. I just have to figure out where this is all going… I will let you know when I do. <3

Sending you so much love,

Susan

I am with you

I said to friends just yesterday, it seems like our current mentality is that we either have covid or we are healthy. The last two years seem to have captured our attention and narrowed the view.

It’s just not true though. Pain is everywhere. Disease is too. We have loss, we have heartache, we have incredible challenges.

Everyone handles things in their own unique way. Some share widely, some very quietly. I suppose there are as many ways to handle life’s big challenges in as many ways as there are things that challenge us. I say this because I think that it is sometimes difficult to see when others are hurting (especially if we are hurting ourselves) if they are not actively sharing. Sometimes we make judgments about people having no real clue what might be going on in their lives.

Unemployed, aggressive cancer, repetitive cancer, damage from having covid, chronic pain, unstable home life, addiction, unidentified health issues, heart issues, covid, loneliness, depressionloss of a spouse, loss of a child, loss of a home, concern for their family who live in Ukraine, isolation, mobility issues, and so much more.

These are just a few examples of pain that I recognize in my small circle. These are people not sharing their burdens. They are just going through life, doing the best that they can. They ask for nothing. There is no fanfare, no attention, nothing. They are simply trying to navigate their lives.

So… please – be gentle with those around you. You have no clue what they might not be sharing. The burdens are deep. Remember just a little gentleness goes a long way.

Sending you so much love,

Susan

be gentle… be kind..

Tags:burdenCoviddepressiondiseasesend love

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We’ve got this…

Yesterday was a people day. Like you, I have been very isolated and not out in the world, so to be honest, it was a bit of a shock to my system! Friends and strangers alike were picking up art and cards at my studio. It was MUCH more peoply than anything in recent times! Socially distant and with masks on- Each one shared a few moments with me. Most shared how discouraging life is right now. Each one shared about their losses, their sadness, their frustrations, and discouragements. 2020 has certainly been a year for challenges.


Covid has touched all of our lives. Too many lives have been lost which has broken the hearts of so many families. Our habits have changed, our realities have changed, our celebrations severely modified or canceled altogether. LIFE IS very DIFFERENT.


I too am finding this journey all so overwhelming at times. Some days are better than others, but in general, I am overwhelmed by the challenge of this pandemic. I am saddened by not seeing my children and granddaughter. I am stressed over trying to safely support those who are elderly or compromised by health concerns safely. It is a dark time, requiring so much energy and thought.


We are all in the same crazy challenge but are living it very alone. Now more than ever, it seems it is important to return to basics, recognize that life isn’t “the same”, nor can it be. I believe some of our strife comes from the fact that we mourn the loss of what was normal, and often forgetting the blessings we do have. Sometimes counting blessings is very difficult to remember.

Here are some thoughts: This is what I know- kindness always feels better. Sending a card to people you know, love, and maybe a few that you don’t know! (I am not suggesting this because I own a card company, however, I do – Greetings4Good.org), Call someone who lives alone, sometimes just a five-minute phone call can make a difference(for you both). Pay it forward somehow, there are countless ways to do that- especially at this time of year. When we take a moment to put someone else first, that seems to balance us a bit, introduce some light in the darkness. Small things seem to make a big difference.
Alsoself care. Take a walk (bundle up if you live in Rochester!) Drink your water, get your rest, meditate, breathe deeply, eat food that nourishes your body, MAKE ART! (yes, everyone can do this!) Read a book, turn off the electronics. Light a candle, sit in silence. Call your family/friends on a video- seeing each other’s face is a good thing! Write down every single thing you are grateful for. (yes, everything- it helps, I promise)Do things that are good for you. Celebrate what you have the ability to still do!

It seems we are given this lecture often. There also seems to be some wisdom to the fact that you are given a lesson repeatedly until you learn it.

I am not in any way suggesting life will be perfect if you send Uncle Pete a greeting card, I just know that I am happier when I claim the little victories, recognize the light around me and celebrate that. I think the bottom line here, is that while I recognize that life (for me as well as others) is an incredible challenge, I also want to do something about it. Some days I really struggle. But the good news is, I am celebrating each new chance I get.

There are all these little repostings around the internet about checking in with each other, about mental as well as physical health. This is me, reaching out to you. Do your best to reach out to others too. – both of you will benefit. Life is easier with a willing connection to others (even if we cannot have a cup of tea together in the same room).

Sending you love….hang in there….we’ve got this!

Susan

Sending you so much love…

no more cliches

I was very young when I recognized that pride in my country was just about mandatory in my family. My parents would cry at hearing the national anthem, my father would talk about how his parents arrived from Italy hoping the new world would afford them unimaginable opportunities. (grandpa came over TWICE!) My parents flew flags, voted, and believed the United States was the best place to live on earth.

This was not without its harsh realities. My parents were not blind to the faults of our political system, the horrors that those coming to the new world perpetrated upon the indigenous peoples, and the savagery that is glossed over in the (very white) history books.
Still, my parents shared such pride in being a United States citizen, it was difficult not to attach to that sentiment.

Once my brother entered the military, this sentiment was multiplied by about a million percent. (you think I am exaggerating, trust me, I am not) They were very proud of the sacrifice my brother made to serve with honor and ambition for thirty years. They were also proud of his family, who served right along with him, missing special occasions, long periods of time with him, and every day life. Trust me, they BOTH served. But yes, I digress.

As an adult, I feel like patriotism has been a requirement of my humanity. I have voted every opportunity I could (I actually both cried AND laughed the first time I was able to vote- I was so excited to do so), I have paid attention to the details when I would have much rather bury my head in anything but politics, and I have researched every single person I have ever voted for (or against. )

It sounds like a cliche, however, I believe deep in my being the ability to vote is my right AND my privilege.

Those are not just words. They are a directive.

Recently I have become quite enthralled (not the right word) captivated? (perhaps) by the Suffragette movement. (Both in the United States and abroad. )These women had the gumption to believe that every single person is equal and has a right to express their unique opinions. This was sparked on a trip that I took with my daughter. We stopped in Seneca Falls on the way home and visited The Women’s Rights National Museum. To say it was a profound experience was an understatement. To be there with my daughter was even more defining.

A few years later my daughter, a friend, and I returned to Seneca Falls on Inauguration day in 2017 to protest. If you know me at all, this is completely out of my character. I don’t rock the boat too hard on purpose, however, I felt the need to voice my opinion. I felt the need to stand up for what I believe in. It was uncomfortable, it was scary and uncertain.

I am so grateful that I took the chance to stand with countless others that day. I cannot begin to express to you the power I felt, the history in the making, the unity of every person there. The speeches, the actions, the gatherings were that of proactivity, not of hate. It was of unity, it was of action, it was life-changing for me. I felt like I was a part of something much bigger than myself. I felt like my opinion really did matter.

Thinking about the actions the original suffragettes took is incredibly powerful to me. They risked everything, (including their lives) for their beliefs. They took action daily to gain even an inch of progress. They were relentless in their pursuits. Eventually, they won women the right to have a say in what happens in their lives.

Skip to 2020- I have heard things like, “I don’t even want to vote this year.”

HOW DARE WE GIVE AWAY THIS OPPORTUNITY.

I am not going to tell you how to vote. That is not my desire or my mission. My mission is to remind you that this is not something to be taken for granted. This right, this privilege has been fought for by many. How dare we squander it because of our frustration. It is all the more reason that we SHOULD vote, that we should voice our opinions.

Today, I visited the grave of Susan B. Anthony. Maybe it was all the research I have done on her, maybe it was the sisterhood, but I felt such power standing there. It was a moment for me. I was alone, standing at the grave of the woman who gave me so much. She gave my daughter, my granddaughter, my sister, my nieces. so. damn. much.

While Susan had a tribe of women and men who fought the fight with her, she is an icon. She is a symbol, a reminder.

Susan said,” Forget conventionalisms; forget what the world thinks of you stepping out of your place; think your best thoughts, speak your best words, work your best works, looking to your own conscience for approval.

I believe her wisdom still applies.

I charge you with this… dig deep, research, look at the facts, look at what each candidate stands for. Do this for every. single. level of government. Vote for who YOU believe in. Don’t worry about what Uncle Jon thinks, what Aunt Tilly might say, this is between you and your ballot. This is between you and your future. This is important.

Fight for what YOU believe in.

VOTE

Say their names…

I try NOT to rock the boat. I tend to be a peace at any price kind of girl. But I cannot stay silent. I cannot.

What I seem to have no way to convey or express is that I am feeling angry and desperate and hopeless. The horrors of what I witness in our world seems to be much more than I can comprehend. It is unfathomable to me that the targeted murder of specific human beings is discarded without a global uproar. It is somehow accepted as the latest new story and not a motivation for EVERY.SINGLE. HUMAN to cry out.  Why on earth do we accept this?

Please don’t tell me that there are “bad apples in every bunch”. I don’t want to hear it. The killing of innocent people is happening too often for it to be the isolated incident of one or two power hungry people.

I have a healthy respect for the police. I know many who are downright altruistic and some of the finest humans on the planet. This is not the issue. The issue is much larger than that. It is a segment of society that has a complete disregard for precious human life.

Throughout history, we have experienced incredible loss because of violent action prompted and propagated by ignorance and unreasonable fears. We have lost to those who seek power. We have lost to those who disregard the sanctity of life. I can assume nothing else. What we do not know, we hate. What is unfamiliar, causes fear. Fear inspires violence. Violence destroys. The cycle continues.

I could spend the day naming historical dates and actions that would support our total lack of regard for human life.

Make no mistake, we have not evolved as a human race, we are still driven by our own power and need for territory. We have stuffed ourselves into a quiet little corner with our protections and locked doors. We are afraid to cross the street to help our neighbors, we are encouraged to “keep to ourselves”.

If you are quiet, you are complicit.

Read that again. If you are quiet, you are complicit.

We are blessed with a world full of color. Humanity is a plethora of colors, talents, dreams, and opportunity. Our reaction seems to be not one of curiosity and opportunity but one to abolish all that is not the norm for “me”.

However, I feel like because the color of my skin I have no right to declare my dejection. I do not feel the depth of despair that a black mother feels mourning her gunned down child. I do not live in fear that I will be accused of something going about my normal daily activities. I am an invisible middle-aged white woman who generally goes about a day with little apprehension for my personal safety.

 But I feel it none the less. I feel hopeless. Humanity should be better than this. I am confused and revolted by the propagation of fear and need for power that results in lives being destroyed. 

For most of my life I have tried to love. I felt like this was my gift. To love all humans, not just the ones that looked like me.  Dr. King’s sentiments of “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” have been words I try to live by. 

At this very moment, the world feels very dark. It is not just the pandemic related to the Coronavirus and the hundreds of thousands of lives lost. It is indeed, the pandemic related to the flagrant disregard for the sanctity of human life, of human rights, of freedom.

It is time for each of us to examine our very soul and discover the light and the ugly. It is time to look in the mirror and face our fears, understand the motivations, and begin to resolve the darkness. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; ONLY LOVE CAN do that.

Seeking the light in every human is not a choice but a necessity. I have no delusion that we are all peace keeping hippies trying to save the world. I do believe that when you assume darkness in every human that is exactly what our tainted eyes will see. What’s worse, is that we are literally all in this together. One pebble in a stream causes the change in the flow. One light, illuminates the darkness. One person’s actions influence the actions of those that surround them.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

We ALL should be outraged at the behaviors that have led to the loss of life, the destruction of families, of dreams, of possibilities, of the future. We all should hold this personally. We all should seek change, responsibility, and clarity.  

We all… should say their names:

George Floyd
Trayvon Martin
Breonna Taylor
Ahmaud Arbery
Tamir Rice
Oscar Grant
Eric Garner
Philando Castile
Samuel Dubose
Sandra Bland

Let America Be America Again

Langston Hughes – 1902-1967

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

Gallery hours

The gallery is closed this week and part of next week. I am taking some time to prepare for the next show, as well as Artist Row & Irondequoit Art Market!

Have a great week!