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.

New Paintings: Simon, Sydney, And Richie

Today I have 3 new blockhead paintings to show you. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you’ve probably already seen them. And if not, then you’re seeing them for the first time and that’s cool. There are a lot of things I would love to see for the first time again. For some reason, the movies Matrix and Fight Club come to mind. Or even The Sixth Sense. Anyway…I hope you enjoy these. If you’d like to add any of these to your art collection they are all available in my online shop.


“Simon The Owl”
3.5″ x 7″ – mixed media on wood
Available here.


“Sydney”
3.5″ x 7″ – mixed media on wood
Available here.


“Ritchie”
3.5″ x 5″ – mixed media on wood
Available here.

Thanks for looking!
– Jeff

In case you don’t want this fun to end:
– Check out my time lapse painting videos!
– Visit my shop Viva Paso at 1211 Pine St in Paso Robles, CA – online at www.vivapaso.com
– Listen to our podcast, Live Work Love.

My YouTube Dreams Are Shattered

I already cried like a little girl with a skinned knee to my Instagram followers about this. Maybe you don’t follow me on there, so I’ll whine about it here too. Below is my actual IG post. Be sure to click on the photo to scroll through the entire 10 image series.

The coders at IG are very smart and I can’t seem to edit a single thing in the above image/post. I’m no computer whiz, so maybe it’s possible, but I can’t figure it out. Why am I mentioning that? Because I wasn’t able to put a direct link in the above image to my channel (which is the whole point of this post), but I can do it here.

Please check out my YouTube Channel and subscribe to it (if you’re into subscribing to things. Or subscribe even if you’re not. Nothing bad will happen to you if you do.) Anyway, I know it’s a long shot to get 4000 hours of watch time on my videos when I’ve never averaged more than an hour of watch time a day, but whatever. I might as well try. I am happy to report that since the original IG post a couple of days ago I have earned some new subscribers, which is amazing. Thanks, guys! I now need 483 more. My views and watch time also increased quite a bit, but we have a LONG WAY to go before hitting the 4k mark.

I don’t honestly expect anybody to play my videos on a loop 24 hours a day, but it would probably take a lot of people doing exactly that to even get close to the goal here. So, here a few places to start. I’ve made some playlists you can check out so you don’t have to scroll through all my random videos looking for something interesting.
1. Time Lapse Paintings – This is self-explanatory.
2. Vlogtober 2017 – This is when I dazzled the world by posting one video a day for the entire month of October. I thought for sure this series would gain some traction (meaning views/subscribers), but Buzzfeed never gave me a shout out.
3. Viva Paso – These are all videos having something to do with my retail shop in downtown Paso Robles, CA.

And here are all my videos listed in order from most popular to super sucky.

With all the shit going on in the world thanks for taking the time to read this and watching a couple videos.

But wait…
there’s more.

On the real, the amount of money I’ve made from ads running on my videos is so miniscule it’s too embarrassing to say, BUT I will say this. I think it would be absolutely amazing to make money on YouTube. The amount of time it takes to record and edit a video is crazy. Seriously, I’ve probably spent a good 4 hours to make a 3-4 minute long video. By the time I set up the camera and record multiple takes because I suck at talking to the camera and then looking through all the footage and editing it into somewhat of a story…well, getting a little something back would be so cool. Maybe I’ll start a Patreon page? Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to read all this. If you don’t want to click any of those YouTube links you can just stay right here, sit back, and watch my most recent video without even leaving this page.

Here ya go! Enjoy!

Live Work Love Podcast One Year Anniversary

Coral and I started our podcast, Live Work Love, one year ago on International Podcast Day. Tomorrow will be our 1 year anniversary, so we recorded a short episode this morning and I’m editing it today so it will hopefully be up tomorrow. If you’ve ever tossed around the idea that you want to have a podcast there is no time like the present, so get off your ass and do it. We have 3 very demanding kids and own a shop that’s open 62 hours a week (not including all the after hours work like painting my pretty pictures) and we’ve managed to put out, on average, 1 episode a month. We’ve recorded every episode on my iPhone so if you think you need fancy recording equipment, you don’t. It did take some digging around to learn how to get the thing on iTunes, but it’s nothing you can’t figure out in an afternoon. Or like me, at 3 in the morning. Anyway…

We’re excited to have a year of podcasting under our belts and are thankful for all of you that have listened to our rambling nonsense.

If you haven’t listened to our rambling nonsense, but are curious, you can start binge listening now on iTunes.

If you’re anti-apple you can download or stream all the episodes at jeffclaassen.com/podcast.

We’re editing episode 12 today, so it will hopefully be up and ready to download tomorrow.

Thanks!
– Jeff & Coral

Getting Twisted With My 6 Year Old

No, I didn’t get drunk with my 6 year old. We just played a good old fashioned game of Twister where he loses, but still claims the championship. In his defense, some of the moves are pretty hard to pull off when you’re only 40″ tall. But that’s his problem, not mine! Here’s a video of the BIG MATCH.

If the video doesn’t work for you try this.

Enjoy!
Jeff

* music in the video by Bear Market Riot.

Pink Mocha Cupcake Breakfast

On my way to work this morning I stopped by the downtown gas station to pick up the world’s healthiest breakfast, a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino and a pack of cigs. And by “cigs” I mean a pack of Hostess Cupcakes. I know, I know…you’re impressed with the healthy food options at our gas station. It’s like “farm-to-table”, but with a twist of “shit you should not be putting in your body”. What can I say, this town is a treasure. Speaking of treasure, this is what I walked out of the gas station with.

Not exactly what I planned on, but why not toss some fancy Rosé into the mix with your gross “coffee” and awful “cupcakes”? I have been a long time fan of the Chronic Cellars artwork, but this is my first ever purchase. Of course, I’ve also heard plenty of good things about the wines. And you probably didn’t realize how fancy I am, but I’ve also met Josh a few times. He’s the winemaker and one of the Beckett Brothers that created Chronic Cellars back in 2004. Anyway, I’ve been trying to hunt down this Pink Pedals Rosé for a few weeks. Despite living 3.5 miles away from the Chronic tasting room I’ve been trying to find it at local grocery stores. Going straight to the source is always my first choice, but my work hours conflict with their tasting room hours. I see their other wines in the stores and figured it would be no problem finding the bottle I wanted, but have yet to come across the elusive Pink Pedals. Until now…

So, I was at the gas station and a lady in line before me was buying a bottle and I was like, “What the…? They sell that here?” This place is about one minute away from my shop. It’s like Pink Pedals has been laughing in my face this whole time. Well, I’ve got you now, Pink Pedals!

If I seem a little more talkative and animated (or we’re closed early, but you see me asleep and drooling on the counter) at work tonight you know why.

Rosé all day,
Jeff

Oh yeah, check out Joe’s artwork on IG: @jkalionzes. He’s freakin’ awesome.

Live Work Love Podcast: The Margarita Episode

Listen on iTunes: http://tinyurl.com/ybbcl4dn
Listen on my site: http://tinyurl.com/ybgq843r
Or use one of the gazillion other places that feature podcasts. In fact, leave a comment with your favorite website/app to listen to podcasts. I’m curious. Anyway…

In this episode Jeff and Coral are presented with a very rare and exciting opportunity. All the kids are gone for the night and they have the house to themselves. What will they do with this amazing gift? Do they go out for a fancy date night? See a show? No. They stay home, make enchiladas, drink margaritas and talk about everything from vigilante justice that involves somebody’s hand and a garbage disposal, gender neutral bathrooms, their first drunken experiences, high school house party keggers hosted by Jeff’s sister, turning 40 and we can’t even remember what else.
Cheers!

We don’t ask for much, but if you enjoy this episode please rate it on iTunes and if you’re feeling really generous write a review. We’ve been told that both things help in the iTunes rankings and being a couple of nobody’s we need all the help we can get!

If you have any questions or topics you’d like us to discuss please let us know.

Thanks for listening!
Jeff & Coral

The Secret To Selling Art, Part One

Selling art is weird. Actually, selling art is awesome. Trying to sell it or coming up with ways to sell it is when it gets weird. Let me try that again. I think to put it more accurately, after it sells and you ask yourself how and why it sold is the weird part. The answers could be infinite and if any of the answers made any sense or were consistent we’d all be selling a lot more artwork than we are.

Take this painting for example.

I made it during the Summer of 2016. I happen to be in the very fortunate position to own a shop in the town I live, which means I have a unique opportunity most artists don’t have. I have a venue to display my work in hopes of selling it. This is a pretty amazing thing. It doesn’t take an economist to figure out that the more eyes that see your work the better chances you have of selling it. With that said, every artist should be doing whatever they can to get their work in front of as many people as possible. So, here’s the story of selling this painting and why I think it’s weird.

As soon as I finished making the painting I hung it up in my shop. It was on display from mid summer until October 10th. In that time A LOT of people saw it and yet it remained unsold. I only know I took it off the wall on the 10th of October because I was invited to hang some paintings at a restaurant in a nearby town and I made a dumb video about it. Anyway, it hung on the wall of that restaurant for two months.

Do you have any idea how many people eat at a popular restaurant on a weekend? Hundreds. That’s a lot of eyes. Obviously, people are not there for the art. They are there to eat, but you know some people have to notice the artwork on the walls. After two months and probably a couple thousand people seeing this painting it still had not found a home. After the restaurant gig I hung it back up in my shop. This would have been December, which is the biggest sales month for probably every store in America. Still, it sat. Or rather, hung. Unsold. It hung all the way until April when I removed it from the wall again. This time I was invited to display some paintings at Sally Loo’s Wholesome Cafe, which is an awesome cafe/coffeeshop in a different nearby town. While hanging at Sally Loo’s somebody, a saint, bought the painting

Obviously, I was thrilled. Like I said, selling artwork is awesome. And then it gets weird. So, consider the logistics of this. If you think about it too much your head could explode. Literally, thousands of people saw this painting in three different venues, each in a different town, spread out over the course of 9 months. That’s A LOT of effort to sell a piece of artwork. I easily drove that painting over 100 miles back and forth from venue to venue. Then consider the time of having to coordinate with the venues and hanging the artwork, promoting the art shows online, etc. It’s kind of mind boggling. And just plain weird. It only takes one person to buy the painting, but in this case it took having to be seen by 1000’s before the right person finally saw it. What if that one person would have walked into my shop in August the day after I hung it on my wall? Would they have bought it then? What if that one person went to a different coffee shop that day? Would somebody else have purchased it while it hung at Sally Loo’s? Maybe the painting would be hanging on the wall in my shop right now?

YOU NEVER KNOW.

That’s the weird. If you came here looking for The Secret To Selling Art there is no surefire guarantee to sell a painting. The best thing I can tell you is that the secret is you have to keep showing it to people. Just keep showing. That’s it. Sometimes a painting sells within the first two minutes of posting it on Instagram and sometimes it takes showing it in three different venues over the course of 9 months. You just never know. Some people buy after seeing the image on their phone and others need to see it in person while they’re eating a bowl of granola and drinking a latte at a coffee shop.

Like Dory says, just keep showing.

See ya!

– Jeff

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