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JANICE WELLS: Enjoying the ride down the YouTube rabbithole

You never know what watching painting videos might lead to. — Janice Wells Photo
You never know what watching painting videos might lead to. — Janice Wells Photo

The first time I became aware of YouTube I was lying in bed listening to a newscaster say it had been sold for some astonishing sum of money.

I had never heard of a band being sold for any amount of money, and couldn’t understand what was happening to U2. Ha ha on me.

Now, I know all about YouTube (ha ha again) and I have made a discovery that I must pass on to you; how-to videos. I realize that I may well be in the minority for not knowing about this sooner, but I know in my Boomer heart there are enough of us to make sharing this worthwhile.

Of course enjoying watching someone show me how to do something doesn’t mean that I’m actually going to do it. If I do, I may have as many flops as successes but what odds, if I love what I’m doing and enjoy myself ?

Loving gardening does not automatically make one a good gardener. I took horticultural design courses from the University of Guelph and I’ve always said that I’m a better gardener on paper than in the actual garden. I could make really gorgeous gardens if I had a real gardener to do the actual gardening part, hence my self-designation as a Gin and Tonic Gardener. But I learned as I went and had fun.

I’ve done some painting classes; decades ago with Gerry Squires and then Christopher Peet and recently with Ruby Beaumont, but I am not an artist.

What I’m doing with YouTube tutorial videos is having fun playing with colours and trying different image making media.

So here I am on a cold winter day, snug as a bug, enjoying The Great British Baking Show (with no intentions of baking) and creating something. It might be with paints, pastels, pencils or even tissue. With a couple of TV trays I don’t have to move from my comfy chair by the window. I usually pick tutorials that aren’t too messy but sometimes I cover the kitchen table with plastic and release my inner Jackson Pollack.

You don’t even have to paint. Tissue paper art can produce quite pleasing results and can be done on a tray on your lap. How fun is that! I can have a fire going, enjoy the birds at my window feeder and try my hand at making my impressionist reproduction of said birds with tissue paper (not tissues, craft store quality tissue paper which bleeds nicely when wet). I get so engrossed that a glass of wine lasts me an hour!

Fun painting using Q-Tips instead of brushes — no talent required. — Janice Wells Photo.
Fun painting using Q-Tips instead of brushes — no talent required. — Janice Wells Photo.

You might discover a creative bone that you didn’t know was in your body. Even if you’re not remotely interested in fooling around with this stuff for your own pleasure, you can still become creative (and responsible) grandma of the year by introducing the little darlings to the kid’s tutorial when they ask for TV.

When I discovered these short kids videos I set six year old Reed up with a pencil and paper. Now he asks if he can “watch an art video” and is ever so proud of his accomplishments, especially if it is something he’s already familiar with like Yamper from Pokemon or Greg from “Diarrhoea of a Whippy Kid” (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” as it is otherwise known).

Kids like watching things being created even if it’s beyond their capabilities. I remember how much my two loved Bob Ross, so much so in fact that Daughter #2 was him for Halloween one year. She turned out to be very creative and her sister has recently taken up painting herself.

My guess is that there’s not much you can’t find a DIY tutorial for on YouTube. I came across one for building a reptile enclosure from an old dresser. Who wouldn’t want to watch “10 shoe hacks (tips in my language) that will change your life.”

After my column on cleaning, a reader wrote “I am concerned that you have gone down one of those rabbit holes on the internet. Please save yourself.”

Good advice and I may well be going down a YouTube rabbithole but at least I’ll enjoy myself while I’m at it.

Janice Wells lives in St. John’s. She can be reached at janicew@nf.sympatico.ca. (or jwelloeo@hotmail.com.)


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