Watercolour artist captivated by east coast

Paintings featured at 28th annual Riverdale Art Show and Sale

It took a couple of years, but a local artist’s ship has finally come in.

William Brisland, who creates coastal-inspired artwork, has taken part in the Riverdale Art Show and Sale for the past three years. In all that time, he didn’t sell one of his watercolour paintings.

This year, however, he sold four paintings within a couple of hours at the  annual show and sale, held Oct. 14 and 15 at Saint Barnabas Church on Danforth Avenue.

“I guess it’s just the type of crowd,” said the Scottish-Canadian artist. “It’s all a matter of taste, you know, if you like this kind of subject matter.”

Brisland likes to relax and “recharge the batteries” by painting. He’s inspired by the eastern coast of Canada, especially Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, and Cape Cod in the U.S. He visits these areas and paints mostly coastlines, harbours and related landscape themes.

“Two years ago, I spent 10 days in Fogo Island (off the northeast corner of Newfoundland) and that was really quite inspirational. I came back with a lot of stuff from there,” Brisland said. “It’s to find something that is unusual. Who would think of painting a rusty old van? It comes up with a sparkle at the end of it all.”

Brisland prefers using watercolours, and the paintings he had on display at Saint Barnabas Church were evidence of that.

This year marked the 28th anniversary of the Riverdale Art Show and Sale, which was started by artist Jenny Reid, who is also a member of Saint Barnabas Church. Over 20 artists participated in this year’s show.

“It’s a lot of fun. We love getting together,” Reid said. “Some of these people we only see once a year, so (we get) to see how their work has progressed.”

The event is also a fund-raiser for the church. There’s a table fee and a commission of 20 per cent per sale.

“It’s nice to have new people coming in each year and not many people leave,” Reid said. “It brings the community into the church.”