Opening the Door

Island Fish House (ink and watercolor, 22×18)

Even though he?d been drawing since he was in high school, it took a chance encounter at age 40 before Edward Carson developed his love of fine art. Working as a landscape architect, Carson won a contest for designing the winning city seal for Virginia Beach and one of the contest judges said she?d like to see some more of his artwork. “I told her I didn?t have much, but she insisted that I enter it in the Boardwalk Art Show,” says Carson. “I?d never given much thought to showing art, but I submitted two pieces and won two awards, so that excited me and made me feel that there?s something more to my art than I?d realized.”

Carson continued to work as a landscape architect in Norfolk, Virginia, but he started entering more and more art shows, winning awards and even becoming president of the Contemporary Arts Center of Virginia. And he credits his architectural background and his love of drawing for his success. “I think a good artist has to be a good draftsman. I probably draw more than I paint,” says Carson, who?s now retired but continues to do design work for local architects in addition to his fine art.

But whether he?s drawing or painting, it?s Carson?s love of detail that comes through in his work. Using photographs as a guide, he likes to create photorealistic pieces that pull the viewer into the subject. For example, in Island Fish House (above) Carson was intrigued by the darkness of the open door and how it leads you in and makes you wonder what?s happening inside. “I also did a rowboat recently and I zoomed in so it looked as if you could step right into it,” he says.

His tools usually consist of a No. 2 pencil and a piece of drawing paper. He relies on the smooth surface of hot-pressed Strathmore paper to give him the blended finish his realistic images require. Painting and drawing everything from landscapes and still lifes to animals and portraits, he enjoys exploring any subject that catches his eye.

“I?ve never worked on a piece of art that?s bored me or made me ask ?Why am I doing this??” Carson says, “I thoroughly enjoy it and the end result makes me feel as if I?ve really created something.” To see more of Edward Carson?s work, visit

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