Archive for the ‘Artwork’ Category

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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Still not bored? Wow…
Then you should follow me on Twitter.
And probably Instagram too. Before I delete it.
And while you’re at it, what the heck, check out some of my videos. Before I delete them too.
Also, please share this with all your artsy friends. Thanks!

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

The Newsletter I Just Emailed

In case you’re not on the e-list, here’s what I just sent out.

Hello!

I just wanted to let you know that I’m wheelin’ n’ dealin’ this weekend. Now through Sunday when you order two prints you get a third one for free. This is a great opportunity to start collecting art or to add to your growing collection. There is no coupon code for this deal. Simply add the first two prints to your cart and leave a note during checkout with the title of the third print you’d like. That’s it! Easy peasy nice and easy.

I currently offer 37 signed 8″ x 10″ prints. This is a standard size for easy framing and each print is signed on the back. These are high quality matte finished prints made in a real photo lab using state of the art equipment. In other words, they are not printed on a store bought ink jet printer using that cheap “photo” paper.

You can see all the 8×10 prints here or simply click the above image.

In other art nerdy news:
– Here’s a video of me painting a broken drum cymbal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mQCnkX63q4&t=1s

– I’ll be having a show at Sally Loo’s in San Luis Obispo in April. I haven’t had an official show in years, so this is exciting. I’m making all new paintings for that right now, so it will be a very busy time from now until opening night.

– Coral and I have jumped on the podcasting bandwagon. We launched “Live/Work/Love” in September and have uploaded 8 episodes with more in the works. Check it out on iTunes if you get a chance.

And last, but not least…if you haven’t checked out Viva Paso (my new shop) yet, make a trip to Paso Robles and say hello.

Thanks for all your support!
I hope you have a great weekend!

– Jeff

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