Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

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.

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

New Video: You Don’t Have No Talented

Even cute kids have their bratty moments.

Enjoy!

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

* * * * *

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!

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

* * *

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.

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.

A Little Late, But Here It Is…

I film a lot of video and I’m super good at saving it to my hard drive and then never doing anything with it. And I mean SUPER good. I finally got the idea to put together a compilation video, which seems a lot less daunting than making a video for each separate event I film. I say “film” like I know what I’m doing, but I don’t. I just turn the camera on and hope I get something worthwhile. This video is a compilation from all the stuff I filmed in Decemeber, which is a fun month for obvious reasons. Elliott is pretty much the star, but when you have a 5 year old that’s just what happens. This is also a lot more personal or family oriented than the typical things I upload to YouTube, but there is more to my life than making weird paintings.

Enjoy!
If the video below gives you trouble and doesn’t play then visit: https://youtu.be/MxFNzA-JJ_g

Somebody Get This Kid A Camera

So, it’s probably around 12:30am. Evelyn and I are sitting across from each other at the kitchen table. She’s on her phone doing whatever 15 year old girls do. I’m on my computer looking through video clips trying to figure out what to post next on YouTube. Evy sees my camera on the table and starts messing around with it. Being a Canon T5i it’s slightly more complicated than the camera she is used to on her phone. She’s pushing buttons and messing around with the flip screen and then tells me to look up. SNAP! She takes a photo of me. Just one single photo. No setting up or adjusting the light or anything. Just a simple push of the shutter button. After inspecting the monitor she says, “It sort of looks like one of those portraits.” I can only assume she meant it looked like a fancy, or possibly artsy, portrait. One that you might pay a photographer to do. Here it is. Totally unedited. No photoshopping. No filters. Completely spontaneous. Straight from the horses mouth.

I really don’t feel biased because it’s a photo of me or because my 15 year old daughter took it, but I think it’s a pretty good portrait. But who am I? Let’s get mom’s thoughts. After all, she’s the real photographer in the family. Here’s what Coral had to say.

“My first thought was – I love the lighting. I love how warm it is against the contrast of your black hoodie and the dark kitchen behind you. I also think it’s funny that you two are night owls together, and it’s kind of a quick glimpse into your relationship with her. You’re not scolding her to go to bed – or annoyed by her being up at nearly 1am… you’re just letting her mess around with an expensive camera, and do something creative in the middle of the night – because that’s normal for you. I also like how comfortable you look. You can’t get a portrait like that in a professional setting, or with a stranger.”

Naturally, when you’re messing around with a new camera you have to take at least one selfie.

What can I say, this girl has skills. Also, somebody get this kid a camera!

Oh wait, we’re the parents. That’s probably our job.

Thanks for looking!
– Jeff

The Live Work Love Podcast Is Here!


Podcast editing essentials: Adobe Audition, headphones, two chocolate donuts and a large Thai iced tea.
Location: SLODOCO

Coral has been dreaming about hosting a podcast since 2014. I finally jumped onboard with the idea and now “Live Work Love” is a real life thing in this world. It’s not “real” in the sense that you can touch it. You know, because it’s all digital and stuff, but you can certainly watch it grow just like a gaggle of sea monkey’s in an old mason jar.

What happened was this. A friend from high school posted a poll on Facebook, “Is sexting cheating?” I found myself thinking about it all day long, composing a lengthy response in my head that I never got around to writing. When I told Coral about it we decided that should be our first podcast. And alas, it was.

Oh yeah, I found out that “International Podcast Day” was on Sept. 30, so that gave us a deadline. We “officially” launched on Sept. 30 with two episodes and it totally blew up on iTunes.

Just kidding, iTunes doesn’t provide any solid stats to the publishers, so we have no idea, but we like to imagine that it totally blew up all over social media.

Anyway, give it a listen. You can stream it or download it on iTunes at
itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/live-work-love/id1159309526

And if you are so inclined, we would love some feedback. Please leave us a review on iTunes or at least give us a 5 star rating. Yes, I’m totally asking for 5 stars. No shame.

Oh, and if you’re anti iTunes, like by buddy Neal, you can stream or download the episodes at https://soundcloud.com/jeffclaassen.

Enjoy!
Thanks for reading (and listening).

– Jeff

It’s Not Just An All Night Party


Night time print making session at Viva Paso.

I love making artwork and I feel extremely fortunate that I’ve been able to make a living at it, but something crossed my mind while I was cutting these prints. I was thinking about my family at home and how I wasn’t there to tuck Elliott in bed and I won’t be there cuddling on the couch with Coral watching a movie after all the kids are asleep. Instead, I’m being an artist, which might sound glamorous to some, but it’s still work. As rewarding as it can be it’s not just an all night party. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I am truly grateful that so many of you have supported me through the years. It’s really amazing. Seriously, every day I’m amazed. Here’s what hit me while I was cutting prints and thinking about all of this stuff.

If you want to make it in this game you have to make a lot of sacrifices.

You can’t just paint on the weekends or when you feel “inspired”. You can’t wait around expecting to be discovered. If you’re waiting for the perfect time to launch your website or open a store or whatever, you’ll be waiting FOREVER because there is no such thing as “the perfect time.”

And back to my original thought about having to make sacrifices. If you’re young and single, take advantage of the time and the freedom you have because you won’t have it forever. If you have a family you’re going to have to make sacrifices and they don’t just affect you. You need a partner that’s willing to accept that you might not be at home every night. That can be really hard for some people and it’s hard to find the right balance. If you want to make it in this game you need to find that balance or you’ll fail. Somehow I got really lucky finding Coral because she’s willing to put up with my late nights (among other things. Thanks, honey!)

I could go on and on, but guess what, I need to get back to work!

– Jeff

Coral Totally Took The Wind Out Of My Sails

For some reason I was home alone on Saturday morning, which doesn’t happen often. I think I even slept in a little, which happens even less. These two things made for the beginning of a great day. It got even better when Coral texted that she was coming to pick me up. That sounds weird considering we live together, but it was exciting because normally when one of us comes home that is exactly what we do. We park the car and go in the house. This idea of getting picked up seemed so spontaneous. Romantic even. Visions of hot cocoa and chocolate chip croissants filled my head. Where could she be taking me, I wondered. Feeling like an excited little boy on his way to the candy store I grabbed my backpack and camera as I ran out the door. Whatever cute adventure she had in mind I wanted to document it.

This photo was taken in May 2015 and has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but since I’m writing about Coral I should really have a photo of her. Anyway…

I get in the car full of excitement and as she begins backing out of the driveway I ask where we’re going. She very naturally says, “Oh, we need to put gas in the car and I need you to pump the fuel because I don’t want to.”

I’ve been walking around in a lifeless zombie like state ever since. With a single solitary tear running down the side of my face.

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