Spring Break 2018: Ostriches, Tramps, And Other Exotic Creatures

Spring break has come and gone, but the memories will last forever.

Is that the cheesiest line to start a blog post with, or what? Ok, let me wipe the throw up off my face and brush my teeth. Yes, that sentence made me vomit. Anyway…

It’s a bit overdue to post about something that happened over a month ago, but that’s just my life. Before we dive into the Spring Break shenanigans I have to show you a couple of things. First:


Elliott wanted to draw a little boy so I made a very quick drawing of a little boy and Elliott colored it. That’s right, it’s a collab. Limited edition prints coming soon! Just kidding.

Second, Elliott drew the coolest freaking leprechaun I’ve ever seen.

Limited edition prints coming soon!
Again, just kidding.
But maybe…

And now, I’ll tell you all about the crazy Spring Break debauchery that went down. You’re not going to believe it, but Elliott and I went to Fort Lauderdale to party and pick up some beach betties. And we’ve got the photo to prove it!

After a couple of days in “The Fort”, as we call it, we couldn’t get out of there fast enough. If you’ve ever been there you know what I’m talking about. Two days is too many. So, we went where everybody else goes when they’ve partied too hard…SOLVANG!

We fed the ostriches and a couple emus. Nobody quite knows exactly what an emu is, but we didn’t discriminate. We made sure to feed the emu whatever we found on the bottom of our feeding dish. You know, just like you would any other second class citizen. Did you know you can now ride the ostriches at Ostrichland? Here’s Elliott taking Ozzie The Ostrich for a little joyride around the farm.

(Sidenote: It’s taken me 4 days to get to this point in the blog. I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore, but let’s continue. Shall we?)

You can count on us to sniff out the coolest playground in town and I’ve got to tell you, Solvang did not disappoint.

This photo is literally just a fraction of what Pirate Park has to offer. It’s not actually called Pirate Park, but I don’t have the time to google “cool park in Solvang” to find out its real name.

Ok, we need to backtrack a little bit. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. As parents, Coral and I never look forward to breaks. Thanksgiving breaks, Christmas breaks, Spring breaks, Summer breaks and all of those 3-4 day weekends that are scattered throughout the school year. For some people, particularly the kids, I’m sure they are great. For us, we twiddle our thumbs and wonder what the hell we’re supposed to do with these damn kids all day. Well, this past Spring break I actually thought of something. I decided to take Elliott on a little out of town adventure for a couple of days.

I love trampolines.

That sentence will seem less random in a minute. When I was a kid I had a trampoline. I’m not very good on them, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve that make me feel like a rockstar. A few years ago these trampoline parks started sprouting up. A trampoline park is basically a warehouse full of trampolines that are all lined up together and you can jump from one to another to another to another to another until your face smashes into someones knee while they’re going up and you’re falling down. Nose bleeding fun for the whole family! They are basically a dream come true to the 15 year old that still lingers somewhere within my psyche. I’ve been wanting to check out one of these parks since the second I heard about them a few years ago. My plan was to hunt one down and take Elliott there for our daddy-son getaway. It wasn’t totally selfish. Ok, sure, it was a little selfish, but he loves trampolines too. Did you not see the video? Like and subscribe? 😜

But really, like and subscribe. Or don’t. But you should. Well, wouldn’t you know it, some genius opened one in Santa Maria, which is only 1 hour away from where we live. Discovering the one hour away trampoline park was exactly the catalyst we needed to set the rest of our adventure in motion.

The plan went something like this. Leave Paso Robles, tramp park in Santa Maria, feed ostriches and stay the night in Buellton, wake up the next day and go to Santa Barbara zoo (which neither of us have ever been to).

All this trampoline talk and the only photo I have is of Elliott climbing a wall at the trampoline park without a single trampoline in sight. But here’s the thing. I did take some video and one of these days (if we’re lucky) I will edit it and upload it to my channel for your voyeuristic viewing pleasure. Stay tuned, but don’t hold your breath. Oh, here’s an idea. How about I post a screenshot from the video?

Great idea! Here it is.

I typed way too much about trampolines. The idea was to post photos with captions and I failed big time at that, so I’ll keep it minimal on the words from here on out. Don’t worry, it’s almost over. Look, I’m bored too. I can only sit at SLO Do Co surrounded by 19 year olds for so long. Also, it’s currently 10:50pm on a Wednesday night and I’m 35 minutes from home and still have real work to get done before the night is over. I’m doing this for you. That’s right, because you NEED to know all about my Spring break that happened 56 days ago. What was it I said about keeping the words at a minimum? Ok, here we go!

Elliott’s main goal at the zoo was to see the elephants.

Goal accomplished.

We also saw this amazingly impressive staghorn.


We waited so long to get this picture. This gorilla sat with its back to us for an insane amount of time. You’d think it would be more concerned with the humans getting good photo ops, but no, not this gorilla. It’s just going to act like it has nothing better to do all day while trapped in a zoo wishing it could be back in the Congo where it belongs.


Spider-Elli!

You know what, that park in Solvang is called Sunny Fields Park. Turns out I do have the time. Ughhh…

Speaking of time, it is time to wrap this thing up because, let’s face it, this post has outstayed its welcome. Trust me though, I totally spared you. Things missing from this post:
– The Easter Egg Hunt and other Easter activities.
– I didn’t mention how Elloitt may have had just as much fun on the escalator in the Santa Maria mall as he did in the trampoline park.
– Hotel room tour photos.
– Continental breakfast photos at The Marriott.
– A plethora of other things that I can’t even remember.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. Even if you skipped all the words and just looked at the photos I still appreciate that you checked it out when you could have been watching trick shot videos on YouTube instead. Speaking of YouTube, I really did take a lot of video of our Spring Break adventure. I’m going to edit it and will try my best to upload before Spring Break 2019.

See ya!
– Jeff

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You can’t possibly still want more of me, but who knows…maybe you’re crazy. If so, check me out on:
– Instagram: @jeffclaassen
– Snapchat: kidding, I don’t snapchat.

I Need A Tripod

One thing about running a retail shop is it really cuts into my painting time. It’s been awhile since I completed a painting bigger than 3″, but I am happy to say I have a couple of big paintings in the works. I’m filming the process of one of them and this is my current late night set up.

If you are wondering what’s happening here let me explain. I propped a piece of plywood on the crossbars of a 13′ tall ladder to use as a place to balance my camera to film a time lapse of the painting. Not the most efficient “tripod” and certainly not a set up for portable use. Also, it’s not really something I can use during business hours because we don’t want our shop looking like a construction zone.

It was a pretty late night and I usually clean up before I head home because it’s a real drag coming to work in the morning to a mess, but I made an exception this time. I fooled myself into thinking I would start painting early…like 8am. Ha! To think…anyway, who in their right mind would want to drag out a 13′ ladder again? Not me! So, I left it out. And did not come back until 10am, when we open the shop. And that’s when I realized my fatal mistake. My rookie move. I totally forgot to clean the paint off my brush.

And this is why you don’t put things off until morning. On the plus side, now I have an excuse to buy more art supplies.

Anyway, I hope you’re all having a great weekend.
See ya!
– Jeff

New Video: She’s How Old?

So, if you subscribe to my YouTube Channel this video is not “new”, but I’ve been such a lazy blogger I haven’t posted about it yet. Anyway, this video is a compilation comprised of random clips throughout February and March. It’s much more family oriented, but there is a little art stuff going on too.

Enjoy!
– Jeff

Some Paintings And A Sick Bird


Still working on the big bunny painting. This photo is about a month old, but I just found it on my hard drive and was all, “the people NEED to see this!”

Ok, not really, but so much effort goes into taking a selfie in the middle of the night…what, with putting the camera on a tripod (or gorilla pod in this case), setting a timer, running to get into position and posing as if you’re “in action” all before the camera timer goes off and takes the picture. Why have all that effort go to waste? Anyway, the painting has progressed a little bit since this photo, but not much. Hopefully I can finish it very soon. There is an extremely sad and lonely empty wall space in the shop that needs filling. So, the sooner I finish this thing the better.

Since I was going through my hard drive you are in luck today, because I found a couple more things to share. If you frequent this blog you know about my recent mini canvas obsession. Por ejemplo: this and this. Anyway, I am happy to report that the obsession has extended past my own desires and trickled down to my offspring.


Not my best octopus and I blame the tools. I’m simply too advanced at this point in my career to use Crayola markers on a canvas. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. Elliott, on the other hand, has got it down. Flowers and sunshine, baby!

This next one is just to illustrate how funny I think I am.

Sadly, this little birdie never did get better. Sorry, buddy.

That’s it for now. Thanks for tuning in!
– Jeff

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Keep the good times rolling!
– Post from 2 years ago in which one of the kids invents a new awesome word.
– Tweeting: @jeffclaassen
– Gramming: @jeffclaassen

Make The Thing: A Rainy Night Photo Adventure

A couple of nights ago I closed the shop late (9:30pm) and then stayed after hours to work on some paintings. Time just drifted by, as it often does when you’re having fun, and all of a sudden it was 1:40am. I packed up my stuff to go home, where I planned to annihilate a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles (because that’s healthy right before you go to bed), maybe watch a couple YouTube videos (or 13), and then pass out on the Tempurpedic. But then I went outside and it was raining.

The streets were empty and it filled me with that opportunistic energy that you have to do something with. If you let the chance pass you by you’ll be struck with a bad case of the FOMO (fear of missing out) and that’s no bueno. You can’t just pass out in a Cocoa Pebble coma when the streets are empty, rains coming down, and the stillness of the town makes everything beautiful. So, photo adventure! I wasn’t really ready to go home anyway.

Inspiration in the middle of the night is a funny thing. It can be very similar to those genius million dollar ideas you have as you’re taking the last swig directly from the second bottle of Rosé. The next day your million dollar idea seems, realistically, more like a $3 idea.

And there is nothing wrong with that, really. I’ve dedicated my life to making things, good or bad, in the pursuit of having something to show for my time on this Earth. It really is about the journey (making things), not the destination. I always like making the thing more than I like the thing itself.

Do yourself a favor next time you have the urge to make something and just make it. That’s the fun part. It doesn’t matter if the outcome totally sucks. You’re not doing it to make a masterpiece. You’re doing it because something inside you is telling you to. So, if it strikes your fancy to drive around town for an hour in the middle of the night to take photos in the rain, by golly, do it. Just try to be done before your lady calls you wondering where the fuck you are at 2:30am.

See ya!
– Jeff

* * * * * * *
Keep this journey going by following on the IG: @jeffclaassen.
Watch some videos.
Start an art collection!

Freshly Painted Three Inchers

I’ve been a little obsessed this past month with painting these 3″ square canvases and this is the newest batch. All of these are available in my shop. They are all one of a kind originals and the awesome little easel is included.


This is Eli. He likes chillin’, long walks on the beach, and gobbling space cake.


Meet Arturo. This little bun bun is all about those late nights sipping wine on the couch while talking to himself.


Henry The Bunny. This little bun-dle of bunny is quite the sassy whipper snapper, but that only makes him more lovable.


Say hello to Russ. He likes hunting, fishing, and playing Parcheesi.

These are $30 each and make great Valentine’s presents except Valentine’s Day was last week, so it looks like I posted this late. But not too late, because they still make great President’s Day presents except that was on Monday and people don’t give presents for that. You know what though, tomorrow is National Margarita Day and that seems like the perfect excuse to buy a painting.

Cheers!
– Jeff

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If you don’t want this party to end…
check out some of my videos.
and follow the grams.

New Video: You Don’t Have No Talented

Even cute kids have their bratty moments.

Enjoy!

Elbows Deep In Acrylic Ink And A Quick You Tube Update

I uploaded this video about a week ago, which means I am extremely efficient about promoting my videos on this blog. But not really. It’s an update on some of the paintings I’m working on.

I hope you enjoy it!

Thanks for watching!

And now a for a quick YouTube update.

As you might know from my whiny post in January, my YouTube Channel will (probably) soon be demonetized. To sum it up, YouTube is changing the terms of what it takes to be a “partner”. Being a YouTube Partner basically means that a creator can earn money from the ads that are placed on their videos. The new terms require a creator to have 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time per year (that’s 240,000 minutes) in order to have “partner” status.

Here’s part of the email from YouTube.

I currently have 525 subscribers and in the past year have had 22,205 minutes of watch time. That means I get about 1 hour of watch time per day on my channel and to retain my partner status I need 11 hours, on average, per day. The deadline to meet the new requirement is February 20, 2018. In other words, in the next four days I need to get 475 new subscribers and 3,630 hours of watch time. I’m no pessimist, but I just don’t see that happening. It might happen sometime in the future, but not in the next 4 days.

Anyway, I know it’s silly to whine about my dumb YouTube channel, but I enjoy making videos and it takes a lot of time and energy to put them out. Getting a little something for the effort would be pretty sweet. After my first whiny post about it some of you actually checked out my channel and even subscribed, which is super awesome.

Thanks for listening and BIG thanks to those of you that have subscribed and watched a video or two. It is much appreciated.

– Jeff
youtube.com/jeffclaassen

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Not bored to tears yet?
Stalk on Instagram: @jeffclaassen
Check out my available artwork at https://jeffclaassen.storenvy.com.

SLO Adventure: We Hiked Madonna Mountain

We finally hiked Madonna Mountain. I can see the hardcore locals cringing now, but I grew up in SLO and I know that’s not the real name. It just happens to be what (almost) everybody calls it. Should I even mention the giant M on the side of the mountain? Maybe it’s stating the obvious and the M simply stands for “mountain”.

You say, “I’m hiking Cerro San Luis Obispo” and people will undoubtedly ask you what that is. And if you say something like, “Oh yeah, me and the kids are hiking one of the Nine Sisters today.” then you can expect a drop in from Child Protective Services because no parent should be taking their kids to a brothel even if Nine Sisters offers a buy one get one free deal. So, let’s keep it easy and just call it Madonna Mountain. Anyway, it was Elliott’s first time hiking it.

Is it really a “hike”? We were both in jeans and I was wearing the type of shoes you might wear to church or a business casual luncheon. In no way are they ideal for hiking, so let’s be honest and simply say we walked up a hill. And it’s a beautiful hill, but if I am going to go truly hiking then backpacks, canteens, bug spray, and a Swiss army knife should be involved and the fancy leather Clark’s will be left at home.

Elliott had been talking about hiking for weeks and was incredibly excited to go. He doesn’t remember it, but he actually sort of hiked it before. Or, at least, attempted to. Well, it’s more like he was carried up the hill and did no actual walking on his own. It was around Christmas and I wanted the whole family to hike up at night so we could sit under the Christmas lights on the top of the mountain. He was strapped to my chest in a front pack and we didn’t even make it halfway because somebody in our group wimped out. I won’t say any names (Coral), but we all turned around, walked back to the car, and returned home. Defeated.

This time was different. It was just Elliott and I and no front pack. If you think I’m strapping a 6 year old kid to my chest and walking up a mountain then you’ve gobbled down one too many space cakes. Growing up in a neighborhood near the base of Cerro San Luis gave me the opportunity to hike/walk up it a million times. It was basically right in my backyard and somehow I had never once walked by the giant M until a couple of weeks ago when I was with Elliott.


(Sidenote: It does not stand for mountain. I’d tell you what it stands for, but you can wikipedia that shit.)

Even then, we only discovered it by accident because I took a wrong turn. I know, how could I take a wrong turn when just a minute ago I claimed the entire mountain as my backyard. Well, as a youngster I always started the hike/walk from what I guess could be referred to as the north side of the mountain. Perhaps the locals call it the Foothill side. For this particular adventure we started from the parking lot on the Marsh Street onramp.

Here’s Elliott at the tippy tip top. We made it to the summit just before sunset, which was pretty awesome.

In case these photos weren’t enough I made a video of our hiking adventure. Check it out!

If you’re planning on watching the sunset from the top of this or any mountain, be sure to take flashlights. We did not take any and it was totally pitch black for at least half the walk down. It made it somewhat exciting, but maybe not the type of exciting you’re looking for.

Thanks for reading and watching!
– Jeff

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If you’re not totally sick of me yet I encourage you to:
– check out the other videos on my YouTube channel.
– Follow me on the IG.
– and next time you eat a donut, think of me.

Compilation Vlog: January 2018

January was a busy month. One kid had a birthday Another kid made a parkour course in the living room. There was a fire. Somebody cried at the beach and I almost finished a painting. Hashtag family life.
Enjoy!

New Mini Canvas Paintings

I posted this photo on Instagram back in September.

After this the mini canvases sat. And sat. Then they sat some more. They sat all the way until mid-January. That’s 4 months of sitting. Obviously, other projects I had in the works took priority over these three inch square art pieces. But why? I could have just set aside one night to finish them. Procrastination and the inability to prioritize efficiently are two traits I’d like to delete from the hard drive of my personality. Just drag them straight into the trash can. Ughh, I’ll do that later. Anyway, I am very happy to have finally finished them.

Thankfully, they sold fast. The only one still available is this dude.


“Willy”
3″ x 3″ – mixed media on canvas.
He’s available to purchase on my site.

Once I finally got the mini paintings finished and on display in my retail shop it got me excited to start a new batch. Here’s the first one.


This little bunny is named Martin. He’s already found a new home, but I am on my way to the art store now to pick up more mini canvases. I want to say I’d like to paint a couple dozen of these, but let’s be honest. If it took me 4 months to paint, essentially, 5 of these who knows how long it could take to paint 24 of them. Time will tell. Don’t hold your breath.

Thanks for looking!
– Jeff

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If you want to keep this party going…
Follow me on the IG: @jeffclaassen
Check out my videos.

Trampoline Surprise

So, my lovely nieces gave their little cousin, Elliott, their trampoline. Obviously, he is THRILLED.

He totally adores these girls.

It’s safe to say, they adore him too.

And here’s a video of me setting up the trampoline and surprising Elliott with it when he came home from school the other day. Enjoy!

Thanks for watching!
– Jeff

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If you’re looking for more things to click on, check these out:
– Time lapse painting videos!
– The Vlogtober Challenge, in which I teach you how to be a professional art vlogger.
– Listen to the Podcast Coral and I never have time to record, Live Work Love.

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