Step inside Jim Carson’s Studio and Gallery

Published 12:56 pm Monday, November 7, 2022

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Saluda artist shares his journey to the world of art


SALUDA – When you step into Jim Carson’s Studio and Gallery at 202-2 Main St. next to the Visitor’s Center, it’s like you are visiting many places at once when viewing the crisp, colorful landscapes and cityscapes that fill the walls. The paintings and the studio both belong to award-winning artist Jim Carson of Saluda. Anyone visiting will be lucky enough to see beautiful artwork, meet Jim and, on occasion, meet his rescue pup, Sadie. 

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Jim and his wife, Beth, came to Saluda nearly two decades ago by way of Macon, Ga. After graduating from Emory University and Mercer Law School, he spent 31 years practicing business law before the Christmas gift of an art class from Beth would set them on a new path. After truly enjoying the art class, and after many years of practice and hard work, Jim retired from the law firm and they moved to Saluda to allow him to paint fulltime. He often finds himself teaching aspiring artists now. 


“My wife discovered Saluda from a bulletin board ad for a vacation home when our children were young, and we fell in love with the little town,” Carson remembers. “Over the years, we just kept coming back, and when I began to concentrate more fully on my painting, we decided to move here. I’ve got to give all the credit to my wife, not just for the present of the art class, but it was her idea to move to Saluda because she felt I’d better be able to concentrate on my art. And as usual, she was right.”


While the jump from lawyer to artist might seem to be a big leap for some, Jim has made it quite nimbly. His work has hung in well-renowned galleries, both private and public, including several in the local area. He’s garnered the attention of national organizations and events, receiving the Neil Patterson Award of Excellence in the 2019 Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition for Traditional Oils and the Associate Member Award of Distinction at the American Impressionist Society Exhibition. He’s also a member of the American Impressionist Society, the Plein-Air Painters of the Southeast, and the Oil Painters of America. 


Jim’s artwork has a crisp vibrancy and downhome familiarity, whether it be his mountainscapes or simply his painting of the shops on Main St. in Saluda. His skill with the brush shows in the value of each piece, with the light and shadow deftly highlighting the subject. 


“When I’m painting, I’m trying to look for the light and shadow patterns as they fall through a scene. It’s all about the light, whether a landscape, still life, or seascape.”


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