Saturday 12 April 2014

Guest Blogger Week 111 ~ From Little Acorns

I would like to say a huge welcome
to Gill Hobbs 

Hi Everyone! Let’s start with the basics. 
I’m Gill Hobbs, a Decorative Painter and Teacher from North Cornwall. UK. 
I’ve dabbled in several crafts over the years; knitting, crochet, patchwork, cross stitching 
and stamping to name a few, but my love of painting has out shone them all. 
I found Decorative Painting 12 years ago, and I have yet to look back. 

I started with the Donna Dewberry technique One Stroke; it is a good starting point.
 The technique teaches brush control and although it looks easier than it is, 
the projects are quick to paint but not really my cup of tea. 
My next teacher was Lola Gill.  
She taught me the basic techniques for Tole Painting, floating colour to shade and highlight.
 Just one lesson was enough to know I was on the right track.
 I was hooked on this style of painting, more detailed and not as quick but the results are amazing. 

I painted the project again at home by myself onto a wooden chopping board, oh my, 
even the family were surprised and impressed. 
I was well and truly hooked, oh yes and line and sinker too. 
Lola introduced me to BADFA (British Association of Decorative & Folk Art). 
I attended my first Convention in 2006. Painting with other teachers 
and meeting new friends and it opened up a new world of possibilities.
I have attended lots of conventions and seminars in the last eight years. 
I’ve travelled far and wide from Cornwall to West Yorkshire, across the country to Essex
 and Norfolk and lots of other places in between. 
I’ve painted with the best teachers available here in the UK 
and been extremely lucky to attend several seminars with International teachers too. 

No artistic talent is needed. No drawing skills. 
The only thing a beginner needs is the will to try. 
We use pattern packs and books and we follow the instructions to colour the project with paint.  
Anyone can learn, it is all workshop taught. 
A few basic techniques will open the door to a new world of craftiness and art. 
Once these new skills are acquired, you’re not constricted to specialised patterns or books by designers,
 there’s a huge amount of digital stamps to buy and free line drawings everywhere. 
Colouring books/websites, clipart and Google will become your best friend. 
Make sure you check for copyright, ask permission and link it back though.
For example, this owl design was floating around Pinterest, it is a  crewel embroidery design. 
I’ve taken it, and made it my own by using an unusual painting technique called 
Russian Khokhloma (pronounced Hokloma) where you start with a gold metallic background 
and then introduce the black detailing. 

The best aspect of Decorative Painting is that you can paint on a wide variety of things. 
I can paint on candles, fabric, wood, MDF, terracotta, plastic, paper and card! 
Having the right paint, which in my opinion is DecoArt Americana Acrylics, 
and the right mediums, the sky really is the limit. 
Take a peek at my Picture Trail, as there is a huge range of projects to get inspired by.

Now, I started teaching because I had reached a point where I was confident enough to pass on my knowledge. 
I have been taught by some of the best teachers around, and in doing that; 
I know what works and what doesn’t for me. My daughter and her friend were my test students. 
They had very little experience in painting, but the projects they created 
and their enthusiasm to learn more really inspired me to get cracking. 

Upgrading my BADFA General membership to Teacher was the easy bit, what to do next was a little bit trickier!

Choosing a business name and promoting me was something that needed some serious thinking!

After some thought, my business had a name “From Little Acorns”  
I’ve always had a quirky sense of humour and painting should be fun. 
My classes are laid back and enjoyable for everyone each learning journey is unique. We all learn at different speeds.

 “From Little Acorns” (Beginners) to “Saplings” (Intermediate) to “Oak Trees” (Advanced)

I now have a business name and I’m listed as a BADFA teacher, now time to promote myself. 
It started with a regular article aimed at Beginners in BADFA’s newsletter “The Decorative Folk Artist”. 

A bantering remark from a friend “you ought to be splashing paint all over YouTube” – LOL - 
“No don’t be silly I can’t do that!” – But according to my daughter it was a possibility. 
Gee Whizz it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks. 
Gina had the camera, tripod and the knowledge to film and edit.
Oh my, we have lots of fun. Our videos are basic and they are in most part free for everyone, 
although some line drawings are only available for BADFA Members. 
My aim is to share basic techniques. Sponging - Tracing & Transferring - Liner Work etc. 
It is possible to be self taught. 
There is a lot of information on the internet to help you. If you are lucky 
and find a teacher near you that would be good too. 
Painting with others is more fun and you can learn and help each other.

I have been displaying my personal portfolio with a Picture Trail Account. I’ve been extremely happy with how it showcases my projects. But for tutorials it is not user friendly.

 “Blogging” – everyone seems to be blogging
OK what can they provide? How do I start? Oh stop worrying about it and jump straight in.
 I played and explored. 
I asked Gina to help add the HTML buttons; the youngsters understand the IT jargon. 
If desperate a Google Search will most probably have an answer.
First step – open an account which will need a name and that has to be unique -
 From Little Acorns oh bummer, not available, not really a big surprise!
My blog name is maybe a bit too long, but it is easy for me to remember and it says what I want it to convey.
I started creating my Blog in August 2013 but didn’t really start “blogging” until the end of January 2014. 
I was a little nervous but have now relaxed and I really enjoy posting. It is perfect for step by step tutorials.
I can add lots of photos which is ideal for beginners. 
I love the fact that pages can be created, it keeps certain categories together. 
I use my Home page as my painting diary and tutorials, although I ought to keep them apart.
“Acorns” this page lists the first group of projects for new students.
“Saplings” lists the projects that stretch students after learning the basics.
“Oak Trees” Now at the moment this page is empty. 
My saplings need more practise before entering this stage of their journey.

All of my new projects are now posted on my blog and what I paint is so varied.
 I love all the different painting styles and I jump from one to the other as the mood takes me. 
These two designs use the same two brushes - a No 4 Round and a No1 Liner  
They are both Stroke Work, the Folk Art Daisies use single comma strokes 
and the Tulips are variations on the comma stroke. 
                           From Little Acorns – Big Oak Trees Grow and these two designs show that growth perfectly.                                                      
  First Design for Students 
 designed by Maureen McNaughton         

My personal acorn is somewhere between Sapling and Oak Tree 
and when I learn a new technique it shrinks back to an Acorn.
 The learning curve is endless.

I enjoy sharing knowledge and techniques to anyone who shows interest. 
When I was invited to join the Cuddly Buddly Design Team I was a very happy painter :-).
It has given me the opportunity to use and play with my favourite brand of paint. 
I’ve got a ton of ideas to share with you! Cuddly Buddly sell a huge amount of craft related goodies. 
Lots of items to paint on alongside my favourite brand of DecoArt paint. 
Check out their Blog for their monthly challenge the tutorials cover a variety of crafts. 

Although I freely give and share on YouTube, my Blog and the Monthly Challenges, 
my teaching classes are a separate area of learning and I do charge. 
Due to where I live my student numbers are quite low, travel teaching is an option, if interested please contact me. 
My email can be found on my Picture Trail Home Page or BADFA Blog – Teachers Page

Plans for the future.... 
I’m happy as things are right now, maybe another page on my blog to sell overspill class projects.
I love designing and would love to sell E-Packets, but I also own a vast library of painting books. 
The amount of possible future projects is enormous! 
I’ve still got lots of projects to paint for my teaching portfolio. 
More techniques, flat brush stroke work, dry brushing and fur to name a few. Lots to keep me out of mischief!

I am totally addicted to Pinterest where I’ve got lots of boards full of things I like.
 I sometimes think I’ve buried myself in ideas and really need to focus on production.
 I think this all comes from being a crafter. 
We tend to gather together items that we might use one day. 
We call it our “stash” but in reality we hoard. 
But the real beauty of Pinterest is the ability to pin direct from your blog to one of your boards. 
The networking is amazing.

Life is a busy place and I’m happy within my creating space. 

Thank you for taking the time to read all about me and what I do.

BADFA promote Decorative Painting at several Craft Show Venues around the country. 
I’m part of that team and I help at Westpoint, Exeter, Devon in September 
and The Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset in April.
Please stop by the stand and say hello if you attend either of these shows.

A HUGE THANK YOU to you Sue for this opportunity to be a Guest Blogger. 
It is always a pleasure to promote my love of this art form.

And in true “From Little Acorn” style
I’ll finish as always with.....
Until Next Time.

Relevant links

My YouTube Channel page

My Picture Trail

My Blog

Cuddly Buddly Blog

My Pinterest boards

Wow thank you ever so much Gill!!
I hope you will all join me in thanking Gill.
You are just so talented!
Your work is amazing!
I can't wait to follow you and see what you get up to.
I hope you'll all check out Gill's links.


  1. I loved the blog, Gill, brilliant!

  2. Thank you Lynne - there is a vast amount of info here and the other Guest Bloggers are amazing too :-)
    Thank you Sue too, hope you are feeling better?xx


I hope you enjoy the blog!
Thank you ever so much for commenting!
I love reading everything you put and I will try and reply but it just depends on my health.
Thanks Sue