Blog

Going Live!

For anyone who knows me or who has followed my page for some time, you will be aware that living in rural North Devon we have struggled for many years with a very slow broadband speed. We often struggle to play videos with lots of buffering and sometimes things stopping altogether. A couple of years ago I tried to do Facebook live – but our upload speed was so poor that the quality was just rubbish. 😞 People got fed up with watching and I got fed up with giving the wrong impression about the quality of my work!
Since it’s launch in July 2017 I’ve had to plan well in advance to get my Patreon Channel videos online as each section generally took me a good 3-5 hours to upload! So a month’s worth of content was tying my computer up for the best part of 24 hours….frustrating to say the least! But, enter the Huawei B593u wifi router our new best friend!

The Huawei works off the mobile phone network and we now work off this router instead of our phone line. You can see we don’t get a brilliant signal – just one or two bars. Despite this, the other evening I started a whole month’s worth of Patreon videos uploading and the whole process was complete within the hour. 😁 If only we had known about this a couple of years ago!!
So, I thought I would see if I could go live online again –

and……yes I could! I was so pleased to be able to go successfully live. There was no buffering, the image uploaded beautifully and viewers were able to see the detailed brush work involved in painting a section of the kingfisher’s head. The version here on my blog is from YouTube it was downloaded from Facebook and uploaded to YouTube in a matter of minutes…..yes I’m still getting used to the speed and still haven’t stopped doing speed tests or talking about it! It is just such a new experience to be able to do all these things without worrying about our internet dropping out completely! So what is next……

Well, I definitely would like to do more live sessions, on Facebook, possibly YouTube (once I’ve researched how you do it) and most certainly on Patreon – the latter will be exclusive live sessions for my Patrons…..so watch this space and look out for me popping up live on your social media feeds a bit more frequently from now on. 😃
Feel free to leave me a comment below, maybe you have an idea for a live painting/tutorial you would like to see or maybe you just want to say “Hi”.
Until next time, thanks for following my blog and don’t forget…keep those brushes wet. 😉
Paul

My budget brush holder!

The traditional method of storing your brushes, especially whilst painting, is to pop them upside down with the bristles up in a holder. You even find water pots with holes already made to stand your brushes in. The problem I find with this is that the water left in your brush soaks down through the metal ferrule and into the wooden handle, causing that easily recognised horrible brush handle paint splinter!

Do you have the same problem with the paint on your brush handles splitting and peeling away? In the past I’ve resorted to wrapping sellotape around the handle, but it is never the same as the feel of smooth undamaged paint between your fingers. ☹️ So I got to thinking….. 🤔
Now I love to make things which solve a problem or that simply do what I want them to do. When I’m not painting or out bird watching I’m often to be found in the garage amongst my woodworking tools, hammering and creating on a slightly bigger and in a more rustic style to my fine detailed paintings!
Firstly I got my ideas for the design down on paper.

As you can see from my photos this is a budget idea so all you need is a cheap broom handle, a block of wood and a foam tube from a paint roller. You can also use the grey foam pipe insulation, this is a little tougher to push your brushes into but does still work.

I would suggest that if the piece of wood you use for the base is lightweight, that you may need to put something heavy over the top of it to prevent it moving when you push your brushes back into the foam, or alternatively blu-tac it to your desk to stop it moving. My base was a piece of old oak so nice and heavy and really stable.

Should you fancy having a go at making my ‘Budget Brush Holder’ hopefully the photos here are enough for you to give it a go.

Please leave a comment and let me know how you get on. Or perhaps you have another method of preserving the life of your brushes – I would love to know what it is. 😉

Until next time, bye for now,
Paul. 🎨🖌



A very busy week!

Having never written a blog before, I am still finding my feet with the sorts of things to write about on here 😉  Do let me know if there is anything you would like me to chat about – I’m happy to learn!

This week saw us finally emptying the 50 bird boxes we have in a local wood, it has been a job we’ve been trying to get to for weeks months!  The boxes really need emptying before the end of January as birds start prospecting for accommodation early in the year.  The most interesting box was one that we knew a bumble bee had been in, we got to the box and couldn’t open it!!  The nest had completely filled the box and was welded to everything.  It was no longer being used so we could fortunately remove it.  Click here for some more information on bumble bee nests.

My main painting project this week has been filming the next Patreon video tutorial. People have been asking for painted backgrounds and I also wanted to do something really cute that would hopefully capture people’s interest….. All will be ‘properly’ revealed later this month. 😉

Over the past few weeks my partner Jo has been working hard on redesigning  my downloadable PDF’s.   The content is still exactly the same, so I’ll still remind you to get a cup of coffee or take a break, they just look a bit more snazzy and they all have the same format.  Hopefully you will like the new design and find it easy to follow and work with. 

For those new to following me, my PDFs are available through my site but they are also available as part of the $5 and above monthly subscription on Patreon and for the current monthly PDF there is an accompanying real time video available to the $10 and above level, with access to all the video back catalogue!  All in $ I’m afraid as it is an American site, but it does all the conversion stuff for you.  😀 

My most popular post on my Facebook page this week was Toffee, an Alpaca which I had the pleasure of painting as a surprise commission.  This was a large piece, roughly A3 in size, so took some doing with my little 00 brush!  The photo doesn’t really do it justice, it was one of those need to see to appreciate pieces.  I really like working on larger projects and it is good when someone asks for this size as it forces me to put aside the time to do it!

To finish today’s blog and in case you missed it over on Facebook:

What do race horses eat?
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Fast Food. 😁😁

On that note about food – we are hoping to get a bit of time for a nice walk and a lovely meal at a local The Old Farmhouse Kitchen this weekend, you should see the cakes there!! 🍨🍰🥧

So until next time, keep those brushes wet,

Paul

PS – Don’t forget to leave me a comment so I know you’ve been here. 😉

Welcome to my Blog

Paul Hopkinson, AKA The Devon Artist.  I specialise in fine, detailed watercolour usually of wildlife.  I teach my style online so others can learn my techniques too.
Welcome to my blog! Paul Hopkinson, The Devon Artist

Well it’s been a very busy Christmas and one where painting has sadly had to take a back seat. I’m sure you all know what it’s like to do all the visiting, chatting, eating and occasionally drinking.
I hope you had a lovely time and received some amazing gifts, preferably art related……oh just getting those new brushes wet for the first time!
I did get a cracking new microphone to be able to record some of our videos, ‘Watercolour Wednesday’ and ‘Monday Tips and Tricks’ should now sound a bit better! 🙂
I’ve also done a lot of research on social media, having discovered that my Facebook posts are not consistently showing on timelines even if you’ve ‘liked’ my page, I figured I’d put some content on my website for you to follow instead. 😉
Now the festive season is just about over, from next Monday it’s back to the table and start my next Patreon watercolour video!
Now if you start to follow my blog you may even get to see a sneak peek at the latest tutorial, so watch this very space!
So I’ll sign off now and get back to you soon, let’s make 2019 a creative one!
Paul 🙂

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