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Growing a Collection

Olivia's painting
Olivia’s painting

Recently I realised that RWB is a great way to build up a collection of paintings by some of my favourite artists. Now, every month I buy a painting done by a different artist. This is my Olivia Quintin painting framed and ready to hang on the wall.

I’ve written before about how thrilled I am that so many wonderful artists have joined in the challenge. I wanted to give something back to them wherever I could – and at least for those who have websites or Facebook pages for their art, Running With Brushes is able to do something in return for them.

So, what is it we can do for our artists? When we post new paintings on the site, we categorise them by artist, making all our paintings searchable by artist. Artists listed on our About page (soon to have their own page) have links to their websites (if they have one) so you can look at their other work. We post paintings to our Pinterest page and our Google+ page. In both cases, every artist gets credited when we post one of their paintings, with links back to their painting on the Running With Brushes website, and if possible their website again.

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Artist update

There are so many artists who have made generous contributions of paintings to this project I wanted to write a blog post to thank and recognise them. It has been mentioned that Running With Brushes sends a number of messages; it has many facets:

– Primarily, it’s purpose is to raise funds for Care For Casualties.
– It reminds people that they can make a contribution that doesn’t involve running a marathon
– It encourages people to buy original art

Since I started Running With Brushes, 21 artists have joined me. Here is a gallery with one wonderful original from each of them.

The workload on this project has grown significantly and I am working on finding ways to keep it manageable so that I can still paint as well.

It strikes me that the blog posts I write from time to time tend to be stories and news about our progress, rather than information about new paintings that have been posted onto the site. I’ve therefore decided to add a monthly email newsletter which will contain all the new paintings in the past month that are still available to buy. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a peek at the website from time to time, or follow us on Facebook: sometimes paintings go quite quickly when they’re put online and you wouldn’t want to miss the one you really, really want.

But if you want a one-stop list of new paintings one a month (around mid month) please sign up for the newsletter as well.

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Riverlea story

Watercolour painting. Riverlea (RWB0043) Artist: Vandy Massey
Riverlea (RWB0043) Artist: Vandy Massey

Running With Brushes has been the cause of some wonderful connections.

This painting was done for an old family friend from a photograph of a place that is dear to her heart. When she saw Running With Brushes on Facebook she sent a message via our contact pager asking for paintings with specific subjects she fancied. The first one was easy. She liked Early Spring in Green Park. Job done!

The second one was a bit more of a challenge. The image she had in her mind was of a scene on her family’s farm back in South Africa. All she could do to convey it was to point me at a specific photograph in the gallery on the farm’s website. Using a bit of artist’s licence, I decided not to include the clouds in the painting because on the first attempt it made the image seem brooding and quite dark, rather than quiet and serene. Thankfully, she loved the second version. It’s always a slightly nervous moment when you send a painting off and wait for the verdict. Her two paintings are now done and will soon be on their way to the USA.

What I find wonderful is the fact that by using four internet services (Facebook, email, WordPress and Paypal) we have managed to achieve something that would have been well nigh impossible before we lived in this connected world.  We have communicated about something very complex, personal and almost entirely visual.  We have completed the creation of paintings to a specific order. And we have jointly supported Care for Casualties by doing so.

If there’s a specific subject you’d like painted, drop us a line and we’ll see what we can do. Christmas is coming soon so stock up or ask us to do a painting to order.

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Going global

A month into this project I had to admit defeat on the e-commerce system I had started with. Not a decision I made lightly because the alternative was to completely rebuild the back end of the website and load all the available paintings again using a new system. But, as the thought of managing 1000 paintings using an unwieldy software system was enough to spur me on and I reworked the website at the beginning of August.

The new system has a wonderfully manageable shop system which has made the sales part of the website much smoother.  I’ll now be adding painting as products rather than blog posts so the change will be that the blogging will only happen a couple of times a month – and readers will need to have a look at the home page for all the new paintings.

Paintings can now be found by subject or main colour (using the tags in the right hand navigation column on the home page), or by artist (using the categories, also in the right hand navigation column). This last feature is perfectly times as I’ve had paintings arriving from a number of artists who have contributed paintings.The artist count will go up to five by the end of today once I have loaded the fabulous collection I received in this morning’s mail from Judith Farnworth.

I have been amazed and thrilled by the reach this project has already. I’ve received paintings from various parts of the UK and some from the USA. And paintings have been bought by people from the UK, South Africa, France and the USA.

Running With Brushes is multinational in it’s first month. I think that’s really cool. And I am immensely grateful to the artists who have joined in, and the supporters who have bought paintings already.