Painting by numbers: Artist's daily works 'an escape from the gloom'

Viv Rainsbury

Artist Viv Rainsbury has posted a painting every day since the start of the pandemic and is determined to carry on for a full year, buoyed by feedback from fans looking for a break from the Covid gloom. - Credit: Viv Rainsbury

It's day 306 and artist Viv Rainsbury has been forced to issue a global appeal for copies of her works.

After her daily posts gained an unexpected following the 73-year-old has had to reach beyond her own archives to track down copies of paintings she completed decades ago.

It all started when, through a friend who works in the NHS, she became aware of the trauma being suffered by hospital staff.

Viv Rainsbury

Day 299 - The Spanish Sofa. Artist Viv Rainsbury has been spreading cheer with her paintings during the pandemic, posting a picture every day. - Credit: Viv Rainsbury

"It was right at the beginning of the pandemic," she said.

"I have a friend who works in one of the Covid wards at the James Paget University Hospital and she posted a picture of herself saying 'this is what we have to contend with.'

"So I thought 'what can I do for them?'"

Viv Rainsbury

Day 142, In the Shade. Pets and wildlife painter Viv Rainsbury has captures Crufts's champions and more anonymous mammals like these cows with her brushes. - Credit: Viv Rainsbury

In the beginning she spent an hour a day doing a little painting, posting it on Facebook, and inviting offers.

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They all sold, raising £920, allowing nurses to buy themselves a freezer for the staff room.

"It took off from there," she said.

"People were just saying how much they liked seeing the art work every day.

"It was something that wasn't Covid.

"It was something that was a bit more cheerful - an escape from the gloom."

Viv Rainsbury

Day 199, Judy's Owl. Viv Rainsbury has been delighted by the response to her artwork as she posts a picture a day. - Credit: Viv Rainsbury

However, when she got to 300 there was a concern about supply if she was going to carry on for a full year.

And although she had photographs of a lot of her works, many were out there in the world on their own.

Now, people she painted for decades ago are sending images of pictures they have hanging in their homes 50 years on, delighting Mrs Rainsbury who has been a painter all her life and lives near the seafront in Great Yarmouth.

"Art is a fantastic escape," she said.

She added that the success of her daily posts had taken her by surprise.

Viv Rainsbury

Viv Rainsbury raised close to £1,000 allowing staff at the JPUH to buy themselves a freezer by selling her one-hour paintings. - Credit: Viv Rainsbury

"It was as much for me as for anyone else," she said.

"I have had so many lovely messages from people saying they really do look forward to seeing my pictures and it brightens their day."

Mrs Rainsbury studied graphic design at Great Yarmouth Art College when she was in her 30s and went on to teach there.

She is a widow and mother to one son who died aged 27.

Visit her Facebook page here.

Viv Rainsbury

Viv Rainsbury has been helping people to escape the Covid gloom by posting a painting everyday, often featuring dogs or wildlife. - Credit: Viv Rainsbury

Viv Rainsbury

One of the smaller one-hour paintings Viv Rainsbury produced to help the NHS. - Credit: Viv Rainsbury

Viv Rainsbury

Day 113, The Bassets. Artist Viv Rainsbury from Great Yarmouth has been posting a picture every day during the coronavirus pandemic. - Credit: Viv Rainsbury

Viv Rainsbury

Self portrait of artist Viv Rainsbury who has been hailed for her efforts trying to break the Covid gloom with her art. - Credit: Viv Rainsbury

Viv Rainsbury

One of Viv Rainsbury's one hour offerings she sold in aid of the JPUH in Gorleston at the start of the pandemic. - Credit: Viv Rainsbury