Broadway Gallery

5641 B General Washington Drive - Alexandria, Virginia 22312 | 703.354.2905
1025-J Seneca Road- Great Falls, Virginia 22066 | 703.450.8005

Anastasia Carson

We proudly show work from dozens of talented artists in our Alexandria Gallery and on our website. All of our artists are listed on the left side of the page simply click on the artist's name to see their work and learn more about them.

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As soon as I could hold a brush, I was churning out paintings. But real success didn’t come until I was ten years old. I entered a school-wide art contest and won “Best in Show”. From that point on, I was the “artist” in the class. This momentous victory reinforced my desire to be an artist. I competed in many local and regional competitions while in high school in Virginia Beach, VA and was selected for a gifted program. This convinced me to pursue higher learning in studio art. I chose the liberal arts education from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, VA rather than narrowly focusing on art at an art institute because I wanted a well-rounded education. I got married right out of college and began painting on my own.

An aspiring artist must have patience and endurance, but the most necessary element is energy. It takes a lot of work to become good at art, and even more to excel. In 1992, my husband, Paul and I moved to Thibodaux, Louisiana. This is when I dedicated myself to watercolor painting. I currently live near Charlotte, NC and we have two young daughters. Currently, my husband, Paul Carson is the Superintendent of a National Park in North Carolina. We often travel to historical sites together-he loves the history and I am inspired by the native gardens.

Primarily working in watercolor, my paintings create a crystal-clear, highly conscious moment in time by using compositions that are close-up with intimate detail. I love the mental strategy involved in making a watercolor, the risk and the excitement of the process, the need to be bold and subtle. To paint a full strength watercolor requires editing nature, composing with definite values and translating these decisions into exciting color. I scout interesting paintings with an old Minolta 35mm camera, setting up still lifes or going to nurseries and gardens, shooting in early morning or late afternoon since the light is more dramatic then.

My predisposition for control has dictated my choice of subjects. I gravitate strongly toward still lifes and florals over which I can exert complete control: I choose the subjects, lighting, space, background and color and find this control liberating. In this way, I freely and widely explore a vast number of pictorial, representational and expressive possibilities. People tend to remember my works as oils, perhaps because they don’t have the “wet look” associated with watercolor. I also attribute it to the intense color and how carefully I plan the mood and compositions.

About the process:

For the strictly floral paintings, I take dozens of photos to try to capture the flower in the most interesting light. When working with still lifes, I spend a lot of time looking at the arrangement, examining the intricacies of light and shadow on different surfaces. I incorporate patterned fabrics, lace and objects with reflective surfaces such as glass and metal to intensify the play of light. Once I have a photo I am pleased with, I work the drawing in three steps: I worry about the composition first, then value, then color.

I usually work on my drawing in sections, often beginning with the background and working toward the foreground. One of my secrets to creating depth and richness is that I begin painting the quilts in the backdrop with a cool monotone under-painting. This sets up depth and contrast. Over that, I glaze the colors to recreate the pristine beauty and clarity of the objects. This building process gives the objects and flower petals more dimension and creates a greater sense of real colors—like those we see in nature.

I generally work on 300lb d’Arches watercolor paper or blocks using a 2H pencil. I lightly sketch the large shapes and then the details with clean contour lines. Too much erasing can unevenly mar the surface of the paper. I would never use a slide projector to map out my drawings because I seek to go beyond copying an image. Also, I enjoy the process of drawing every little idiosyncrasy myself, and I try to leave the plant form as natural as possible. This method of finishing paintings by working a little area at a time has worked out great for me since I have two young girls and never know when I’ll have to stop at a moment’s notice.

I use sable round brushes with good points and have narrowed it down to four favorites. I’d rather skimp on quantity than quality. I also never use a white or a black paint color. I prefer the light of the pure white paper and rarely use liquid friskit. I’m working with small areas, but I keep an eye on the whole. Details add richness, but they sometimes get overwhelming. In that case, I glaze them back with an overall wash. When I’m finished with a painting, I set it aside for a short while. I rarely give up on a painting, and I always finish one before starting another even if its not going well because each painting is an experience I can use later.