More Change. New Blog.

I’ve been thinking for a while that I need to finally get an artist website up with my portfolio, etc. and that the blog should probably migrate with it. So I am saying goodbye to this blog and heading over to jessgreenestudio.com/blog

I am calling the blog jetfuel because that is the name I lost when moving from Blogger a few years ago. jetfuellines was just a substitute. jetfuel really captures what it is all about: fuel for my life.

I get attached to spaces and ways of doing things (like my classroom). Even though it is time for a change I will miss this space. Just like I missed Blogger when I moved here. Every platform takes some getting used to, but I feel confident that Squarespace will do the job. So come find me there!

I quit my day job.

I couple days ago I thought this post would be of a different flavor. I thought I would be screaming from the rooftops, “I QUIT!” I thought I would be jumping for joy. I thought I would be writing a post about how I never wanted to go “back to school” again. But instead I feel melancholy.

816 for 5 years

In reality, I couldn’t say the words “I’m leaving” without tears. It was harder than I though it would be. When it comes down to actually saying goodbye, I’m always just a pile of mush. It doesn’t matter how ready I am to leave and move on.

Thinking about all this, it hit me…in my conscious exsistence I have NEVER not gone “back to school.” Never. I went from school, to undergrad, to masters, to teaching. I don’t know what a year is without a school year governing it. And no matter how much I have been looking forward to this, it is strange and scary. Like being cut loose without a map.

the daily walk to my room

Clearing out my classroom was hard. I kept feeling like I was forgetting something. I kept looking through the same cabinets making sure I had everything. I had all my stuff. I left memories, moments, growing up, pieces of my life, and attachments to the place left behind. I loved my classroom. A room of my own. Always messy with creative projects and piles of undone grading. Always loud with shouting and laughing. Always full of questions and frustrations. Sometimes a retreat. Sometimes a mosh pit.

And I liked the routine. It was boring and I did get tired of teaching the same things five times a day for five years, but there is something to be said for blocks of time, deadlines, and structure. I got used to it and found creativity within it. Now I need to create that for myself.


Okay! Enough moping! I just bought tickets to go to Europe for two months! I am excited to be starting something totally new and totally based on my passions. I am still searching for a routine that will make this all work, but it will come. I know it will.

Looking forward. What will I now be doing?

Painting and running Seek Your Course. I got an artist residency in Spain for a month. So along with backpacking through Europe with Ben I will be in Europe for two months this fall. It is going to be an amazing journey. And I will blog about every bit.

I have 8 days left to raise the rest of my funds for my residency. I am confident I will get there.

Celebrating with delish vegetables: Vegetable and Goat Cheese Chimichangas and Matt Bittman's Creamy Fried Tofu with dipping sauce and asian stir fried vegis!

Took a trip a couple hours east to the coast for the last couple days. Saw a bunch of friends and spent some quality time with my brother Aaron and his wife Lauren. Lovely time.

My first stop was catching up with Lucy, who is a month old. She was born a month early but is growing strong now.

first stop: lucia

I decided to make the trip because Beth Nicholls of Do What You Love was in Boston from England. If was wonderful to catch up with her and hear about her latest projects as we shopped Newbury Street. I had forgotten my suitcase at home (pissed me off at the time, but not really a big deal) so we had reason to shop. We then enjoyed some great pizza at Scoozi. She mentored me through the spring as I designed and launched Seek Your Course and remains a wonderful source of ideas and insight.

Impetus for the trip: Beth Nicholls; Dinner with Michele in full costume after a day of tours

I then linked up with my teacher friend Michele who is running tours on the Freedom Trail all summer. We had dinner at the Green Dragon. Lobster #1.

Then headed to the North Shore and got to spend some time on the coast.

Beach time with Lauren and Poppy pup...struck by the colors and patterns there.

Poppy loves to run up to seagulls and watch them fly away, but one seagull she found could not fly away. This seagull had a giant hook through the nose holes of its upper beak! It was so sad. Lauren held the seagull by the base of its wings while I pulled it out. We had no tools so it cut him a little to pull it out but we figured it was better than leaving him. I pray it was okay.

Even though it was only a common gull it was life and life is worth caring for. It pained me to hurt it.

It felt almost like fate to be holding another wild bird so soon after holding the hummingbird in Oregon. I felt like it was waiting for me. I felt like I had to help it. I only hope I did the right thing.

The hooked gull and the weight that was holding it down.

My friend Mary Aarons saw I was up on the North Shore and invited me up for a visit. I met Mary also at Squam Art Workshops. She does e-Marketing for Quayside Publishing and talking with her was a real encouragement. People who do the things that baffle me for a living always have a way of sparking new life in my work. We chatted a bit about my upcoming residency too. And I just loved her house!

An inspiring visit with Mary Aarons in Gloucester

Ended my time there with more lobster (#2&3) at Tides restaurant in Nahant. Whirlwind of friends and business chatting…got me set to tackle some stuff come Monday!

I know this long of a post really doesn’t count as August Break…it is supposed to be a break after all. Oh well! 🙂

It has started to rain as I am writing this post. It made me think. What if I could control the weather, orchestrating it like music? What if weather was another art form? Bring in some soft rain for a nice meditative moment and then the clouds break into brilliant sun and humming insects to energize the moment. And then maybe a soft mist rises with the setting sun for the end of the perfect day.

I suppose the weather actually has its own symphony playing and I should take notice more. Today started blue and beautiful then slowly grayed and brought us now a gentle rain to sooth and cool air to force us to cuddle and bundle up. A cozy evening setting.


August Break 1 & 2

I am doing The August Break with Susannah Conway and hundreds of others. I need to focus on the good things in life and photography always helps. If only I had an iphone it would be easier…soon enough.

These were taken with my not-iphone early this morning while leading a two-day canoeing trip on the Connecticut River. Pretty good trip. Up-and-down. Lovely campsite. Lots of huge hail. Calm water. 14 year-olds. Lots of birds and damselflies. Cliques. Homemade hummus from camp. Everything wet. Home again.

The Entirety

Finally today I began to feel the entirety of what I have been doing for the last seven months (or is it the last 10 years?). Launching a website/business, finishing the school year, three art conferences, putting myself out there, getting into my residency, 60% backed on Kickstarter, traveling and more traveling, life decisions, great successes, and a “to do” list that wants to eat me for dinner!

All day I have teetered between crying happy tears, shouting for joy and panicing.

To fight the panic I need to let go a little. But I feel so guilty about the emails that have piled up. And the weeds are taking over the gardens. The studio is a disaster. Seek Your Course is always evolving. I am about to embark on my third trip into downtown today. But most of all, I don’t know what day it is or what time it is and whenever I sit down to do something I can’t remember what I was going to do and end up going around in circles. Around and around and around.

Last night I just watched Glee. Like 5 episodes I think. I feel like I could sit and watch the whole freakin’ season. Still catching up.

I am trying to make realistic lists. I am trying to set little goals. But even “charge phone” has proven difficult. I go upstairs to plug it in and remember the charger is still in my bag. Go downstairs and forget what I am doing down there. Come back upstairs and remember. Go downstairs and search two bags before getting to the third and last one and find the charger. Figure I might as well unpack some other things while there. Go upstairs with full hands. Put away various items. Realize that I have a charger in my hand for a reason. Plug in phone.

I’m not sure why today. But today was the day I felt it all.

I scored big yesterday with the ever-wonderful Southwest airlines. I volunteered to be bumped in order to get a $520 voucher for a future flight. I stayed at a Hilton in Chicago because getting bumped involved getting re-routed through there and put up in a hotel for the night. Totally worth the voucher, mainly because it makes going to Artfest 2012 way more possible. Score!

Unfortunately now Chicago is getting hit with a thunderstorm and I am delayed going home. Blah.

I was looking forward to seeing the sunset on my flight last night. I always love watching the sky turn colors from the plane window. Turns out we ended up being IN the sunset. The misty white clouds around the plane slowly turned pink like they were on fire.

It always strikes me how unnatural flying is for humans. My body protests. Nausea threatens. And yet watching creation sing the song it sings everyday from that perspective always puts me in awe of this earth.

Seeing the earth day-after-day turn and grow without any help sparks in me resolve to live out my life following my path wherever it takes me knowing there is a plan, just like the sun, land and clouds do without conscious thought. The earth doesn’t have a debate with itself about whether it feels like doing the right thing and doesn’t think it might not be good enough to do what it is meant to do. The earth just sings and is so darn beautiful.

This trip has been wonderful and also very important for me. I feel stronger, more confident, more convinced that I am going in the right direction. And it feels so good to feel so happy and confident. I know hard times will come again, but I am in the right place and I know I will find the strength when I need it in the future too.

up on a mountain in breckenridge

The last four days with Kristin and Nathanael in Denver have been really fun. For family, we really don’t see them enough so it was especially nice to have them show me around their stomping grounds.

breckenridge and hanging with Ali DeJohn

Friday Kristin and I went to Breckenridge to meet up with Ali DeJohn and see the area there. We had coffee with the creator of The Makerie along the river that runs through the town. Ali and I quickly realized that we had actually met before at Squam Art Workshops in New Hampshire in 2009. It was really nice to catch up and talk about the respective ventures we have launched since we last saw each other: her retreat, The Makerie and my website, Seek Your Course. I always find it inspirational and refreshing to swap notes and thoughts about the arts world with fellow entrepreneurs in this small but growing industry.

After seeing Ali we decided to check out the town, including the gondola that goes up to a bunch of fun attractions. Unfortunately we just went and went without our sunscreen, water, or food. So of course we are both pretty sunburned and spent more money on mediocre resort food than I care to admit. But we had the best time.


Once up there we bought lift tickets to go up to around 1200′ and then decided to hike a little higher even. The view was stunning. I felt like I should have been singing Sound of Music or something…and my altitude sickness had gone away thankfully. It was just the best.

escapades on the mountain

the amazing part: we hiked the super steep dirt road in skirts and these! we're tough like that.

Once back in Denver we met up with Amy Blum of Live It To The Full for a drink. Thankfully I realized while in Colorado that she lived in Denver. So nice to actually meet her after talking over email about Seek Your Course. Live It To The Full has been listing their ecourses on Seek Your Course and I am thrilled to have them enthusiastically involved.

Colorado is drier and flater than I expected. This raises the debate in my head about which would make me happier: lush green with lots of rain or dry dust with lots of sun? I really loved the variation and combination of Oregon…the intense green of the coastal area and the dry high desert, so close together. When I traveled to Oregon I didn’t realize it was an exporter for nursery and landscaping plants. I did know it was a big fruit-growing area and driving through fields of fruit trees and wineries was blissful. I guess the secret is kind of out: I am in love with Oregon. And frozen yogurt, btw.

frozen yogurt...mine with fruit and kristin's with candy. good times.

Today was a day I learned more about how truly blessed I am. This morning I finally launched my Kickstarter project and announced that I am going to Spain for an artist residency program. You can read all about my residency on my project page. My goal is to raise $2000 and today I got to 40% of that goal. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and simply in awe of the strong community I have surrounding me, even though many of us are physically far apart.

First Glimpses

So besides all the good news and love that will enable my dreams to come true, today was also awesome because Kristin and I finally got up to Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, and Boulder. We had a lovely time hiking and eating ice cream. Yesterday was devoted to hanging out in Denver and relaxing.

Driving in CO


Me Doing My Thing

More Hiking

Kristin on a rock island...then I climbed out too.

Estes Park and Boulder...ate at Mountain Sun Brew Pub

Judy's Studio

Besides visiting gardens my last three days in Portland, I also visited some of the nicest artists I know. I had a lovely time seeing their studios and going out to lunch. Monday I visited Judy Wise‘s house and studio.

Walking into an artist’s studio is like walking into a room-sized embodiment of their creativity, energy and personality. It is where they pour out their soul and collect their treasures. It is a space that is truly their own. Walking into Judy’s studio I could feel her creative energy in the space. It was wonderful and made me so happy.

Judy's Studio

Lunch with Judy...really good Thai.

I also got a tour of Judy’s husband’s gardens. They were wonderful as well. So many things that grow in Oregon and do not grow (well) in the Northeast. John was working away and it was nice to finally meet him after seeing his gardens for so long on Judy’s blog.

Judy and John's Gardens

Tuesday I visited Bill and Linda Womack and their two dogs Sadie and Jack. Linda’s studio is in a converted garage behind their house. It was perfect. Linda has it set up with room for students so she can teach right in her studio. She has her work displayed along with work-in-progress and sample boards. She showed me how to crack shellac on wax, which I think is one of the last techniques in encaustics I’ve been wanting to try. Now I need to buy some shellac when I get home.

Linda's Studio

I had lunch that day with Bill, Linda, Kimberly Kent, and Judy Wise. We had a nice time catching up since our time together at the International Encaustic Conference in Massachusetts in June. We went to American Dream Pizza, which was fantastic and very cool inside. Kimberly’s grandson, Hugh, went with us.

Lunch at American Dream Pizza

So in 10 days I went roughly 600 miles, took over 1000 photographs, and doubled the weight of my baggage. I really loved my time in Oregon.

The baggage is a funny story. I spent all morning squishing all my stuff into my one suitcase and somehow I was successful. But when I got to Linda’s house I was telling her about my bags and she suggested I weigh it just to be on the safe side. Deep down I already knew I was in trouble, but how much trouble? I could barely pick up my bag to hold it on the scale. It was over 80 pounds! Oops! So Linda, being the wonderfully nice person she is, lent me a bag from their attic and I spent the next 20 minutes putting over 30 pounds into that bag. It was ridiculous, but it worked. The big bag was 50.0 pounds when I checked it! I had to laugh. Thanks, Linda!