Charm of old shacks, nautical scenes intrigue watercolorist Ed Carlson

Ed Carlson's painting “Early Morning Angler” is on display at the Art Gallery of Viera in The Avenue Viera.

Watercolorist Ed Carlson is captivated by the sight of weathered and worn shacks on the coastal waters.

He’s done a few snow scenes, too, portraying his upbringing in upstate New York and Indiana.

"I paint what I want to do and where I want to live and spend my time," Carlson said.

Painting modern structures where everything is horizontal and perfectly vertical holds no appeal for him. He loves painting the charming old fishing shacks with their weathered wood.

"Depending on the time of day and the way the light is catching it, it has grays and silvers and purples in it when you look at it a different way. That’s the way I paint them," Carlson said.

If you can’t paint a straight line, he joked, those are the kind of things you want to paint.

"You want to paint a roof that looks like it’s about ready to collapse," the Satellite Beach resident said.

As a sailor, he loves cruising the waterways with his wife, Pat, and being on the lookout for those quiet moments of nautical scenes and tropical beauty. 

His paintings, "Trout for Breakfast" and "Early Morning Angler," reflect his passion and are among his paintings on display at the Art Gallery of Viera in The Avenue.

"Early Morning Angler" began as a theme for an art workshop he did. He gave those in his class a 1-inch hardware brush, which is very coarse and the hairs are far apart.

"I said ‘we’re going to do this entire painting with this, and we got these really wild effects. We splattered the whole painting," Carlson said.

Tom Jones, a watercolorist who has instructed Carlson, had encouraged Carlson to teach art. Jones said Carlson is a "natural talent with passion."

"What Ed tells his students is: ‘You have to remain a child when painting.’"

"When you see a child painting, in their minds, they’re playing. It’s important to learn to play again. You’ll be much freer in your work," Jones said.  

In one class, a student questioned why another student’s painting was so much better than her own. That’s a land mine no teacher wants to step into. But Carlson discovered that the answer was quite simple. 

That’s when they learned Carlson’s cardinal rule: "Buy the best stuff you can afford. But don’t cheat yourself on paper."

The quality of the paper made all the difference.