Creativity in Quarantine

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A new weekend tradition in times of social distancing?

Ahhh, looking out the window of my office at streets and homes again covered in snow, I long for the warmer weather that surely must be ahead!


The current world situation does not diminish my desire to be sitting around a picnic table or campfire at night with family and friends on a beautiful summer evening. I see us chatting casually with snacks and favorite beverages, while maybe playing cards or telling ghost stories that are not too scary for adults! At the end of the evening, we all retreat into whatever camping unit is ours, for some personal time, preparing for what will be a restful sleep in each of our homes away from homes. Betty of course is my #1 choice!

Connection with loved ones is critical to enriching our lives at all times. With the current social distancing requirements I hope all are following, how do we have achieve that connection while keeping everyone safe?
Well, our extended family tried something new this past weekend that was simple but left a big impression. The idea was born from attending paint nites. We tried the professional ones, but had a bad experience that remains a legendary tale. The instructor clearly was focused on saving costs, so limited all painters to half a paper towel sheet and refused to allow changing of yucky paint water. This was a mystery to our group because our first action had been to cover the canvas with black paint. Quietly mumbling and grumbling about the situation, someone was the first to realize she was an adult and had paid for the course. She stood up and went into the nearby bathroom, replenished her paper towel and changed the water. After pausing a moment to gauge the instructor’s reaction, most of us took the same action. The paint nite joke remains there will be enough paper towel and water for all.

Between all families, we would have enough canvases, brushes and paints to make it happen. On YouTube, I had bookmarked several Canadian painters who seemed easy to follow, encouraged creativity and were very accepting of beginners to just do their best. But, painting an entire landscape seemed a bit much for our first on-line Creative Crew night. And there is the social distancing requirement right now.
Then I stumbled across Rainbow Playhouse – Art for Everyone on YouTube. The site has so many ideas for drawing! The cute camper was the first choice for three reasons: RV City is always top of mind, the drawing was classified as being for kids, and the tutorial was only 7 minutes long.

In preparation for our on-line gathering, I opened a free Zoom account. A free account means you can host meetings for dozens of people at one time, for up to 40 minutes.
I selected email addresses from my Contacts and setup a meeting for 8 pm on Saturday. Seems late, but what else is anyone currently doing on Saturday nights? Additionally, family members with kids might have them in bed. It could be they would be available and ready for an adult beverage and snacks. The one consideration was family in Nova Scotia. It meant they would be drawing starting at 11 pm. But they showed no hesitation to join in.
As the drawing hour approached, I signed on to Zoom and started the meeting, setting up my shared screen to show both me and the YouTube feed from Rainbow Playhouse. As people entered the meeting, we could see them at their tables or desks, ready with paper, pencils and colouring pencils or markers. It was relaxing to sit and chat with family members and see that they were okay and also a bit stir-crazy with being inside.
As the cute camper began to be drawn, I would stop the video at what seemed logical spots for our group of artists to catch up. The video had us draw the camper first, followed by colouring. At 8:30 pm, we had progressed 32 seconds into the 7 minute video. In our defense, getting the tire right – the first thing we drew – was challenging for adults who feel the need to get it right.
We overcame the tire and agreed that all of us were really doing our own interpretation of the drawing. The on-line drawing became secondary to chatting, teasing, connecting, laughing and stopping to say hello to other family members in the background too young or tired to join in.

RV Coloring project with family


At 9:30 pm, having watched a 7 minute video over the last 90 minutes and not been shut down by Zoom, we had a showing of everyone’s completed camper van artwork. As the video tutorial promised, our family drawings were all cute with no two decorated the same way. Before the Zoom meeting ended, it was suggested pictures be taken and posted to Whats App. Within a few minutes, that was done because there was already a family group setup for another purpose on Whats App.
The story continues…The next day, one of the families that had not been able to participate the night before, drew and colored their own cute camper. Both Mom and the almost-five years old great nephew added their creations to Whats App. I guess I have to say it myself — what a creative family!
Maybe during this time of needing to stay home, you could try this on a night when you don’t have plans. If you are like me, currently, that is pretty much any night! Talks are currently underway for the next family art project to be done via social media.
You will find dozens of drawing ideas on YouTube, including the playlist offered by Rainbow Playhouse.

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