Creative in Isolation

Popular thought about creativity in general is contradictory at first glance.

While many artists say that they are at their best in solitude, others find the presence of others fires them up. Inspiration may come from people in ordinary life and other artists, and the reaction of audiences plays its part.

But overall it’s true to say that artists need both time alone and time with other people to bring out their most creative moments.

So what can you do when the balance is upset?

Well there are so many ways to join with other people now that did not exist before, and there are even several ‘old’ ways that have been around for a long time, such as the post.

Sending something a person can touch

I like to make a card for people, now and then – this was one:

Painted card

  • Making things to post – cards – story pictures cartoons – paintings of places you have in common. Take a look through your photo albums.
    Personal Notebooks – you can paint the cover or make a little bag to hold notesbooks.

Sending something people can talk about

  • Making things to share online
    photos of artwork
    Videos of how you do your work, a process

Well, who am I to say you should do this – I haven’t done much on social media, but I have been painting bits and pieces.

I’ve been painting objects around the house. When I haven’t picked up a brush for a while it loosens me up and gets me using paint and ideas start to come to me. It’s satisfying just to make use of stuff that would otherwise be thrown away and conquers the ‘blank canvas’ syndrome.

These are various containers that got a lick of paint, some yoghurt pots

Painting Pots in Isolation

and a bit of silliness with empty deodorant pots!

Mr and Mrs roll on freedom

Roll on freedom!

So as far as I can see, this period of solitude that has be thrust upon us can be used to explore ideas that were put aside, find ideas from things you already have and prepare to enthrall your friends and aquaintances when isolation ends.

It’s can be a time to lighten up – make silly things and use materials we haven’t considered before. There’s no-one to see, criticise or mock so let loose and make a fool of yourself in private.

Why not Welcome self-isolation as an opportunity, even a blessing, because resistence just makes unhappiness. Remember that isolation is not unusual for very many people and that so many have no choice at any time. They must be astonished at the railing and moaning they see on the news.

Temporary Isolation is the least of the problems that face us in a pandemic. The world as we know it is likely to be changed for good by the end of this one.


If you are looking for inspiration for things to paint whilst on lock down, why not get some photos out. Outdoor scenes can be a good starting point for any kind of painting. You don’t have to make it realistic and you can find shapes and colour relationships you can explore.
My leaves series painted in acrylics were inspired by real leaves I had picked up, but they are not relistic at all.

Making things for little kids.

In the course of looking at other artists projects I came accross a number of sites full of ideas for keeping toddlers and babies occupied and teaching them skills at the same time.

Activities that encourage learning about colour and shapes and developing motor skills are important and you can make simple toys with cardboard and paint while doing your bit for the environment by recyling things.

Whenever you paint anything for children to play with, it’s important to use non-toxic paint because little kids are as likely to suck and chew your creations as they are to play with them as you intend.

You can get Certified Safe Acrylic paint from Outlines Art. The link will open in a new window.

Make a Match and Drop Rainbow Colours Learning Aid

This simple game helps very young children learn colors and develop their hand-eye coordination and older kids can join in with the painting.
It consists pom poms and rainbow coloured tubes to drop them into.

These are the toilet-roll tubes, with the paint in Rainbow colours.

Rainbow Paint


Team Effort

Perhaps you’d rather paint With rather than For your kids? Once you get started you can probably think of all sorts of projects you can do together that involve painting.
Children like doing things on their own, (Proudly: “I did it all by myself”) but they also like doing things as a team, contributing to a project can be very satisfying for them.
Look how happy the boy that helped with the caravan was.

Making art together with children takes the pressure off when it all seems too ‘hard’. They are less likely to give up and unexpected twists and turns happen.
You might be surprised at the results and find you have kept the memory and the item as a precious thing many years later.

If you are feeling isolated Keep in touch!
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