Susan Carmen-Duffy designs, writes greeting cards in Irondequoit

The first time Susan Carmen-Duffy held a pencil, she knew she was onto something special.

By the age of 7, she had created her own magazine which she expected her family to buy.

And by the time she was old enough to be accepted into art school?

Well, as sometimes happens to adults, doubt and discouragement crept in.

“I denied the art in me,” she said, but life went on. A happy marriage. Children. A few tops. A few bottoms. Still a need to create.

“You can’t deny who you are.”

She bought a kiln and started fashioning artistic Nativity figures. Every year she presented new pieces and every year she grew more as an artist. Eventually, her work began to be exhibited in galleries, but the clay took a long time for a busy mother of three.

And then, one Christmas, her brother gave her a set of colored pencils.

“I made a resolution to draw every day for 20 minutes,” she said, and it opened up a whole new artistic realm for her. Later, she earned a degree in graphic design, started teaching art, and moved into her own studio.

“Art is who I am as opposed to what I do,” she said as her brush slid quickly over a watercolor tassel. “I want to make art that has meaning and that brings it back.”

That’s why she started Create Art 4 Good, which supports other artists and organizes charity events, and why she then launched Greetings 4 Good, where she turns her paintings and multimedia works into greeting cards to help people to celebrate life and connect.

“My favorite reason to send a card is not a reason,” said Carmen-Duffy, who challenged herself to write 365 notes and letters in 2021. By mid-July she had sent some 826 from his home in Irondequoit.

By early November, the number had risen to 1,235.

“People talk about changing the world, curing cancer and fixing global warming, and we’re afraid our micro-actions don’t matter. But they do,” she said. “I’m overwhelmed with all the anger in the world, and I think sometimes a little piece of card stock is a game-changer.

“We have become such an electronic society. We send e-mails and SMS. We send everything instantly, and the written word is not instantaneous.”

With greeting cards, “There’s no spell check. No word suggestions. It’s all from you. It’s all from your heart.”

And being brave enough to share and create from the heart is what brings true connection to any art form, she said.

“When you don’t believe in yourself, when you don’t take the time to be who you really are, you lose yourself,” Carmen-Duffy said. “You have to take time to meditate and be aware of who you are.”

Learn more

  • Learn more about Susan Carmen-Duffy and her art at CreateArt4Good.org and at Greetings4Good.org.
  • You can also follow her on Instagram as @CreateArt4Good and @Greetings4Good.

Holiday pop-up

Susan Carmen-Duffy and several other artists organize a Holiday Pop Up.

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday to Sunday, November 26 to 28

Or: Central Creatives, 349 W. Commercial St., Suite 2795, East Rochester

Admission: To free

Mika R. Pyle