Seeing through the color blue

Life is complicated. I find myself weaving through the noise to find a way to just be. As a small business owner, it seems to be about searching for the special sauce, the recipe that will help me be successful, the MOST successful.

We are bombarded by messaging on an entirely new level. Social media has taken over life in so many ways. We follow people and messages we are attracted to, interested in, and curious about. And before you know it, that curiosity has become a new addiction. We scroll through aimlessly when in reality, if we are just centered. Listened to ourselves and practiced our authentic fingerprint the harmony would align to our beautiful lives.

Without consciously doing so, I often find myself in comparison. I am not enough, I am not successful enough, I am not generous enough, I am not in enough galleries, I am not known enough for my art, I am not talented enough, I am not… you get it right?

This not enoughness seems to lead to a host of other things. It feeds the depression monster and smothers creativity. It diminishes the ability to any sort of forward movement ultimately leaning into what can be perceived as more failure.

Well doesn’t that just stink?

The trick seems to be to see clearly regardless of the filters that might challenge us. It is perspective. It is an objective perspective.

As an artist, when I am struggling with a piece, I often take a photo of it on my phone. The camera doesn’t lie. It shows the good, bad, and, well… ugly. It shows what needs improvement, but also shows the success.

Speaking of success. Isn’t that a whole bunch of perspective too?

When I see through the blue… I cannot see any success. I am not a millionaire, I am not famous, I am not special. But is that success?

When I fully dive in, even through the blue, I can see that I have grown so much as an artist. I have grown as a human. I can pay my “art bills” with art-related income. I have an expansive collection of art created (and has been collected nationally and internationally), I have awards graciously given by my peers, I began and have a greeting card company, and have the opportunity to venture into the “dream ” or “heart” projects- (my Affirmation decks) for one. I make my own schedule (which is still too busy) – but… I would say, I am doing okay. Blue and all.

Here’s my point. Don’t listen to the lying brain. She’s not a nice person. She believes in all the comparison cultures, the banter on the internet, the lies.

Take a moment, to see through the blue. See how far you have come, see the good you put out into the world. Celebrate that. I believe in you.

Sending you so much love,

Susan

Celebrate the growth!

Have you ever noticed how growth happens sometimes before you even recognize it? Lately, I have witnessed growth around me with something as simple as watering my plants. I am surprised and delighted by a new leaf, a new stem, a new bloom.

It occurs to me that I don’t always recognize growth within my journey, my path. It is easy to see the mistakes and the failures, it isn’t always easy to recognize the growth. Today, in my journal, I took note of what progress I have made and how I have grown recently.

Today I encourage you to take stock. Today, recognize how far you have come from even a month ago, a year ago…We are a work in progress! Every moment is a new opportunity. (Have a great day!)

#growth #celebrate #bloom

“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

Co-painting? Yes, please!

I am excited to share that I will be facilitating a painting workshop at The Artisan Cove in East Rochester- Piano Works Mall. I thought it would be fun to add a little twist (no pun intended) to the usual painting fun! (you can find the website for Artisan Cove here!)

What if you grabbed your bestie, sister, mother, or other and did a co-painting? Or come solo and paint something wonderful too! For all attendees this is only meant to be a spark for your imagination- be inspired by this or paint something else- Be free and creative! I have every confidence that you will make something quite spectacular- I will be there to cheerlead you every single step (and change your paint water and stuff). I can walk you through these paintings or help you paint something completely different- the choice is yours!

No skills are needed, just a readiness to explore and have fun! Tickets are $35 a seat and include all the things you need to create a painting alone or with a group of friends!

Another perk to this event? Glynis Valenti of Art Soul Wine will be popping in to share her passion for art and wine. Her website is lovely and can be found here: Art Soul Wine. She has a wealth of knowledge and this will be a fun and added treat whether you drink wine or not, Glynis has a breadth of knowledge sure to impress!

There is limited seating, so please reserve your seat today! Let’s start March off ready for fun and taking a few moments to be creative. It’s important- YOU are important, Fun is important!

See you soon? By the ticket(s) here: Let’s Paint on March 1!

sending so much love,

Susan

Welcome to the dark side…

Last night I gave a demo at a local shop for creatives. It was a mixed media demonstration that I have given dozens of times before.

I will be completely transparent here…It’s been a rough few weeks. There have been deaths, sickness, and heartache, and well, it’s January dipping into February in Rochester, New York. So, everything is GREY!

Interestingly enough when I was setting up, there were a couple of other artists in the room. We were talking about how important making art was for us and how vulnerable it is to do a demonstration or create in public. We talked about how that can lead to imposter syndrome and well- I then confessed that I had been struggling. I wondered if I had anything to offer the world. Was I making a difference? My fellow artists were very supportive and sort of laughed at the notion. But sometimes it is hard to see value or accomplishments when life is such a challenge.

I decided (what was I thinking?!) it would be a great idea to start with a blank canvas. I generally do not do this. It is easier to show progress if you have the basics at least started. However, I paint rather intuitively so, I felt that my spirit would take over and it would go fine.

prepared for demonstration

Welp. Paint and medium take a bit to dry. So a twenty-minute or even an hour demonstration was not going to be all that impressive. I got in my head. (surprise?) It was difficult to show real results with slow-drying media. Add that to the fact that I was carrying a lot of sadness, and well, to say I was unhappy with the results is probably an understatement.

I am old enough to know that everything has something to teach me. I can still hear my mom ask me what I was grateful for every time I complained about nearly anything. So this is what I learned…

First, I am not alone in doubting myself. Perhaps the real lesson here is to just be. Art has a way of healing. For me, it isn’t a performance it is a path, a process. That is exactly what I was there to share.

Secondly, my husband often suggests that I am “too hard on myself”. Maybe. More to the point. I think when I spin in the negative cycle I get in my own way. Art is healing and joy for me. It is part of my spiritual practice. It is a life-giving activity for me. When I get in my own way or lead with expectations that muddies the water and the pressure is too great. Perhaps if I just took a deep breath and worked through the process I was there to share, I would have been happier with the results.

Lastly, I am grateful. Last night wasn’t perfect, but it did teach me a lesson. It taught me about myself and about others. It made me realize that I am not alone in my self-doubt, I am just working on the journey like everyone else is. That said, I showed up, I shared the process, and well… I started a painting.

Be gentle with yourself… we are all in this together.

Sending so much love,

Susan

it’s a start!

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