New Painting And Video: A Fine Frenzy


(* Disclaimer: Although the title of this post is “New Painting And Video” the truth is that the painting was made last summer, but it is new to you and to this blog. With that said, let’s continue.)

I don’t talk much in my videos. Or at least I try not to because it makes me cringe when I have to watch/listen to myself when I’m editing video. Anyway, how this painting came to be is very interesting to me and I wanted to share the story. If you’re only here for the video then feel free to scroll down and skip all this gibberish. If you’re a loyal reader/voyeur of this blog you might remember my “Secret To Selling Art” post from last August (I can’t even remember what I ate for dinner last night, so if you remember my blog posts from 11 months ago you should seek professional help.) Well, the story of this painting is even crazier than the story about the painting from that post. In the chance that you don’t know, I am a bit obsessed with stories about synchronicity or, for the layman that’s not referencing Wikipedia while typing their blog trying to appear smarter than they actually are, “meaningful coincidences”. That’s right, coincidences do not exist. Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we don’t understand the reason, but let’s not get into that here because it’s a rabbit hole best saved for another day. I’m also quite fascinated with the butterfly effect. I think the two theories work hand in hand to some extent. Anyway, enough psychobabble, let’s get on with it already.

Back in 2008-2009 my sister and her husband opened a pizza restaurant. One of their employees, Amy, liked my artwork. Well, let’s be honest, ALL of their employees probably adored my artwork 😜. Fast forward 10 years or so and Amy walks into my shop in Paso Robles. We chit chat about Pizza Fusion and whatnot. I have this canvas print on the wall called “Gone But Not Forgotten” and she tells me it would look great in this black and white themed room in her house.

She wants to buy it, but it’s not quite what she’s looking for. She wants something bigger and vertical and, if possible, with a little gold added for fun because the room she wants to hang it in has some gold accents. Naturally, I said I could paint her one.

And that’s how a commission painting comes about. Some of them take 10 years to happen and others happen in 10 seconds. Here’s a time lapse of making Amy’s painting.

Bored yet? No? Well, shit…let’s just keep this thing going, shall we? So, what does this have to do with synchronicity? Remember, “synchronicity” means “meaningful coincidence”. You would never think that my sister and her husband opening a pizza restaurant would result in me getting a commission job 10 years later. Amy walking into my shop was not just a meaningless coincidence. Synchronicity was at work here. It had been years in the making and I find that incredibly fascinating.

Is there a lesson to be learned here? Probably. As cliché as it sounds, good things can come from anywhere and they can be totally unexpected. I think the lesson here is to continue to put yourself out there. Being an artist can be frustrating and it’s easy to get jaded when things feel like they are not working in your favor. I can’t tell you how often I think of deleting my Instgram account and my YouTube channel while spiraling in a fit of frustration. But, I don’t because I remember stories like this one and remind myself that we just never know when something we do (like meeting somebody 10 years ago) will have a positive impact (getting commissioned to make a painting) on us later.

What are your thoughts or crazy stories about synchronicity? I’d love to hear them.

Thanks for reading!
– Jeff

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Time Lapse Tuesday: Hand Painted Slingshot And One Mini Canvas

I can’t possibly be the first person to think of “Time Lapse Tuesday”, but something tells me it’s not anything that’s really going to catch on. However, that did not stop me from making this video last week. Per usual, I forgot to post about it here and had to wait a full week just for it to be “Tuesday” again. Anyway, enough blabbering. Check out the video!

I hope you enjoyed that. Trust me, I am trying to figure out a way to make art videos a little more exciting and I’m totally stumped. If you have any suggestions hit me up. Anyway…

I painted a bunch of slingshots back in May, which you might have seen on Instagram, but I am pretty sure posting them here was another forgotten task. Until now!

I pretty much gave myself a headache coming up with clever names like, “Billy The Bearded Bombarder”, “Torpedo Tim”, and “Freddie Fling”, which will surely bring joy to all who love the pleasure only a slingshot can provide.

If you’d like one of these hand painted beauties please check them out in my shop. They are $30 each and right now there are still 4 available.

And, our dear “Julien” is patiently awaiting to be adopted by a caring, but charmingly dysfunctional, family. If that sounds like you then click here.

That’s it for now. As always, thanks for reading!

– Jeff

New Video: Making a Timelapse With Procreate And Why I Hate Digital Art

I’m calling him “Truth Seeker”. Anyway, I’ve been using the Procreate app very sporadically since I first downloaded it a few months ago….until now! The past couple of weeks I’ve been using it a lot more and am starting to see that I finally “get” it. Let me explain. Obviously, I get how a drawing app works, but you know when you use something for the first time there is a bit of a learning curve and the only way to understand the thing is to spend time with it? Well, I finally reached a point where I’ve spent enough time with Procreate that I feel a lot more comfortable with it now. I’ve seen and used a lot of the features it offers and there is no doubt why it’s become the industry standard for drawing apps. Even my 6 year old loves it.

He sort of gets it too. Admittedly, the app has so many features and ways to customize brushes and whatnot that I will never be an expert with it, but if a 6 year old can have fun and be creative with it you know you have something awesome on your hands. I sat with him and showed him a few things like how to pick/change colors, brushes, and brush size. He didn’t quite get the idea of using layers, which makes perfect sense because when you’re 6 and used to working with markers and paper there are no layers. You just draw your thing and you color it in. Done.

If you have a minute please check out this video.

If you know me, you should know how uncomfortable I am talking to the camera, but I’d like to go a little deeper about my hang-up with digital art. When you’ve done something one way for 30 years it can be a bit of a challenge to change your ways. At a very young age I stopped drawing with pencils and only used ballpoint pens. It probably has something to do with commitment issues because using a pencil means you can erase what you don’t like. In other words, there is no commitment with a pencil. With a pen I forced myself to deal with whatever I put down on paper. If I drew a face and one eye was bigger than the other eye I had to deal with that imperfection. If I accidentally smeared the ink I would have to turn that smudge into something and work it into the drawing somehow. I’ve always loved this type of inventing and letting chance play a role in the creative process. Digital drawing throws all of that out the window because it’s so easy to erase or undo your last step. Just in the past week I’ve started to get over this hang up of mine and am trying really hard to think of erasing as a tool instead of a hindrance. Using the “undo” option as a benefit as opposed to seeing it as a handicap.

This probably seems obvious, but painting with a brush on a wood panel is different than using an apple pencil on the glass surface of an iPad. Even though I know they are different my problem is that I’ve been thinking of drawing apps this whole time as synonymous with painting. Sort of like how driving one car is practically the same exact experience as driving a different car. You might have to adjust the seat and mirrors, but the steering wheel works the same. The reality is that making digital art on an iPad is wildly different than painting on a wood panel or a canvas. Instead of throwing the two in the same category and thinking of them as being synonymous I should have been thinking that the two are synonymous with creating, not painting. Now that I’ve come to this realization it’s getting easier for me to embrace and enjoy making digital art. It’s a totally different beast and needs to be treated as such. Why am I talking about this? Because making art, whether digital or physical should always be fun. It can and should be challenging at times because that means you’re making progress, but it’s not supposed to make you frustrated or mad and that’s what drawing on the iPad was doing to me. It was making me mad, which is crazy because I love creating and making things. What it comes down to is this. I was using a hacksaw to do the job of a hammer. I was putting a band aid on my elbow when I had a skinned knee. I was boiling an egg when…oh, I don’t know, but you get the picture.

I’m not sure if you’ve had this or a similar hang-up, but the lesson here is something I got from watching Big Hero 6 last night. “Look for a new angle.” If it worked for Hiro it can work for me. Thanks, Tadashi.

Thanks for reading!
– Jeff

P.S. – Spoiler alert, but Tadashi should totally not have been killed. Freaking Disney!

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I know that was a lot, but if you’re not sick of me yet…
Follow on IG: @jeffclaassen
Subscribe to my channel, or at least watch some of my videos.

We’re Not Bringing That Fraudulent Shit

Nope, this is the Real Deal Holyfield.

We’re talking REAL cactus with REAL spikes.

And hey, while we’re here, we might as well promote something. After all, we do have bills to pay and food to eat and whatnot. Check it!

Yes, we are experimenting with our Viva Paso online shop and offering FREE shipping on ALL items. No coupon code or any B.S. Just straight up free shipping for you. Happy shopping!

In art news…
I haven’t been very productive lately, which bums me out, but I’ve been using the Procreate app on the iPad and it’s super awesome. For me, NOTHING (at least at this point in my life) could ever replace brushes, ink, paint, and wood, but those 4 things are not the most convenient items to carry around when you’re on the go. I mostly draw using the iPad during Elliott’s gymnastics class or late at night in bed while Coral is listening to an audio book or watching videos about WWII. She loves that stuff. Anyway, Procreate has this really cool feature where it records everything you draw and then you can export the file to your camera roll, email, etc. and have a time lapse of your drawing. It’s the easiest way I have ever seen to make an art time lapse. It’s amazing. Check out the video!

I hope that was worth your while. Thanks for reading/watching and have a great weekend!
– Jeff

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In case that wasn’t enough of me:
– check out my instagraham cracker: @jeffclaassen
– watch all the videos.
– And, of course, read all about The Bite Fight. It has nothing to do with me at all, but still.

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

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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.

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