A seascape and landscape painter, Edward Betts studied at the Art Students League and Yale University. He acquired an M.F.A. at the University of Illinois, Champaign, where he also taught from 1949 to the 1970s. He began painting in the late 1940s on Monhegan Island, Maine.
His work was exhibited in five Corcoran Biennials, and he is the author of books on painting landscapes and seascapes in watercolor and acrylic.