Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Feature - artist profiles

As I open more and more of your mail and familiarize myself with your artistic styles, I find myself wondering about your lives. Some of you I know a bit through your blogs, but many of you don't have an on-line presence. So here's what I'm going to do - post a profile of a different swapper each week. I'll get the ball rolling with my own introduction, and then it will be your turn.
Meet your hostess!

Name:  Karen Isaacson
Age: 45
Day Job:  Director of a school-age childcare program and summer camp
Home:  Shrewsbury, Massachusetts (United States)
Family:  Married to my college sweetheart.  We have one son, age 12 and an extremely helpful black cat named Jake.  

My Art Journey
  • 1967-2008: I try my hand at every craft known to man, and yet do not consider myself a creative person.
  • October 2008: I go to the DeCordova museum with a visiting friend and stumble upon an exhibit of artist's journal pages. I am enthralled, and experience a painful yearning to create something that cool.
  • May-August 2009: An extremely stressful professional situation prompts me to keep something of a visual journal in an old datebook.  I find a few websites that offer inspiration, I buy some books, I buy some art supplies. I take over our dining room with my stuff and all family meals are eaten at the family room coffee table for the entire summer.
  •  September 2009: I start a new job and pack up all my art stuff. Over the next 18 months I occasionally try to create something, but it rarely seems worth the effort to unearth my supplies.
  • Winter 2010-2011: It snows every day. A foot at a time. Snow banks tower above my head. I feel trapped, desperate and depressed. I tape photos of my flowerbeds to my windows and try not to cry every day. I leaf through my art books. I find a few new websites and blogs. I become increasingly despondent. And then one weekend I get fed up. I empty our so-called "guest room" of the enormous piles of junk we've been storing there. I buy cheap shelving, drag a folding table up from the basement and make myself a little art space. 

I hang these two things on my wall:

  • March 2011: I start my blog, I Am Rushmore, so that I have a place to post the work I am creating in response to on-line challenges and classes.  I don't tell my family about it for four months. 
  • I join Swap-bot and IUOMA, open a PO Box and start getting wonderful things in the mail. I'm immediately hooked on mail art.

  • Today: I still find time to create almost every single day, even if it's only for five minutes. I am finally comfortable calling myself an artist without putting it in air quotes. I have wonderful artist friends all over the world. Postcards are my favorite format for my art, but I've also started creating works on canvas, and have even hung some in my home. My primary loves are collage and abstract painting, but I can't resist trying any new technique I come across.
Here are a few of my favorite recent pieces.

mixed media 18"x 36"




encaustic mixed media 8"x 10"

Things I've learned so far
  • I stopped worrying whether my art is good or bad, I just show up and have fun. By playing with my art supplies on a regular basis I can't help but improve my skills and develop my style.
  • No time spent creating art is wasted time.  Creating art fulfills me, which in turn makes me happier, calmer, more patient and all together nicer to be around. Everyone wins.
  • Every single thing I create teaches me something.  I can spend all afternoon in the studio and end up with nothing but a full wastebasket, and yet I've gained valuable experience and understanding of what not to do next time.  Figuring out what doesn't work is every bit as important as figuring out what does.
  • Commenting on blogs, participating in challenges and joining swaps are all great ways to meet people and make friends.  These relationships have enriched my life in ways I could never have foreseen when I started this journey.
 So there you have it, folks, our first artist profile.
Who wants to be next?
(don't make me beg!)
Email me your story and some pictures and I will feature you in the coming weeks.
We really want to get to know you better.
I've added a permanent tab at the top of the blog with the general guidelines/suggestions for your profile.


  1. Very cool idea you've had...and going first, that was also inspired. I will work on getting something together this week, I'll probably second guess every single part!

  2. Karen!! This is so great! I find myself wishing I could discover more about all these wonderfully amazing people I am meeting, round the globe, who are so extraordinary in their BEing just Very Ordinary People who, like me, have discovered the JOY of BEing creative. I love your story and especially how everything you DO teaches you BEcause that, I think, is the key to my own "bug" that I love Love LOVE to learn.
    What a grand way to come to know YOU a little bit more and I will definitely look forward to learning about others as well as share my own hurky-jerky story.

  3. Love this profile. Wonderful how you brought it forth in chunks of time and the most marvelous "It's ok to suck"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, I'll do one too, tell me when....or I'll just do it and send it and you can put it up when you want. Have fun in DC!! xox

  4. You're a truly beautiful person, Karen. I'm really glad to have found your blog. I feel that I not only found a way to share my Art with others but have made a new friend.

  5. HELLO...KAREN! I Love you. I still remember where I was sitting when I read your 1st letter that you mailed to me. Telling me that you were new to the mail art scene...and that you were trying lots of art techniques. LOOK AT YOU NOW! OMG, GIRL! YOU ROCK!

  6. Karen--The Hostess with the Mostess!!!! You are wonderful. Keep making art with wild abandon and no worries. It's all about the process! xo

  7. Love this post, Karen!! So fun to read through your creative have come so far in such a short time! You really took hold and made it happen, and I think that's awesome. I love, love, love the piece that says, "No one knows I'm an artist." Really poignant (and I'm pretty sure I've never even used that word before!!).

  8. Very nice Karen! Thanks for sharing. Such a nice feature. I am so glad to have found your blog. I would love to share my profile with everyone!

  9. Fantastic! Maybe I can figure out how to start an "online presence"

  10. Well, I haven't read all of this yet, but I am TICKLED TO DEATH that you did this! What a great photo! I just came here to see if I lamely forgot to send something out by the deadline, and LOOKIE!!

    Okay, I'll send some stuff over, but don't expect me to be nice. Or honest.


    p.s. In fact, I may send someone else's information over. Who's gonna know?

  11. You just can't help're just so likeable!
    ...and you have great ideas....this was great!

  12. You are awesome-ly amazing, a true inspiration, Karen!!! (and I use the word 'awesome-ly' very rarely!)

  13. Such a delight to know more about you Karen. Your journey to this point is enlightening. Glad you found Mail's certainly added another dimension to my life. If only I was 45 again!

  14. You are magical, Karen! I am so thankful for the creative, fun, and nurturing community you have created and I especially love your message about not worrying "if it's any good." A big hug and thanks to you!

  15. Oh, Karen! It's so nice to officially meet you and see your beautiful (smiling) face! xoxo

  16. Karen... the little snippets of how you have proceeded on your art journey is inspiring!!! I agree about not worrying if your art is good or not...just do it! I'm afraid I fall short when it comes to commenting on blogs but I do appreciate all the creative things I have learned in the blog world. I need to tell others that more. I appreciate what you do here...thanks!

  17. I love this so much.
    I am going to work on this after doing my art projects this weekend.
    Great idea!

  18. Great profile. Has a strangly familiar ring to it. I love your color palette and honest sense of humor.

    Just thinking the other day about old fashioned letters of Introduction. Wouldn't it be cool to introduce an artist you admire to another artist maybe by passing on a piece of their mail art. Made me think of you and all your interesting collaborative projects.

  19. Terrific Bio! I loved reading this. And you gave a great breakdown of your art history. I think this is a great profile!

  20. You are so inspirational! Thank you for that!
    Hugs, isabella

  21. Art is everything. Of course our Mother Earth is.... but any object from a spoon to a chair to the computer an artist held the concept image and released it into the world. It is the most important subject. And you, Karen are an amazing super artist. Not only are you creating - you are changing many lives by doing so. Thank you, for sharing your inspiring story. Peace, Bridget Ps I will mail you

  22. Loved your Bio and yes what an inspiration you are. I have always loved crafting but am new to collage art.Because of you, I look at everything differently now. Everything can be art,( or made into art.) It's all about your perspective and how you look at it. Thanks for that Karen.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Patti. I'm so glad you found the blog and decided to jump in!