“I have never seen watercolors with the technical mastery Kelly Eddington commands. There is also so much heart and such an embrace of color,” said film critic Roger Ebert, who spotted one of his books in the background of Eddington’s portrait of a little girl named Mabel several years ago.
Kelly Eddington’s watercolors are surprisingly realistic. “I have always tried to take watercolor as far as it can go, and as a result my work resembles oil paintings in terms of color richness and detail. Hearing my viewers say, ‘THAT’S a watercolor?’ always makes me smile,” she says.
Eddington’s portraits teem with her subjects’ books and other collections, and she delights in creating a variety of textures and reflective surfaces in her still life paintings. “I find beauty in so many things, from a handful of glass beads to an apple blossom to a vintage guitar,” Eddington says. “As I paint, I always fall further in love with whatever it is that makes my subjects unique.”
Kelly Eddington’s passion for watercolor began when she was a teenager in La Harpe, a small town in west-central Illinois. Currently living in St. Joseph, Eddington is a former art teacher with seventeen years of experience in Illinois’ public high schools. She has spent the past three years pursuing a career as a full-time artist. “As fulfilling as teaching was for me, August was always nerve-wracking and a little heartbreaking. Having the opportunity to stress out over an art show instead of lesson plans is truly a luxury.”
Roger Ebert struck up a Twitter friendship with Eddington over the past several years, and the two even managed to collaborate on a painting called Abandoned Knowledge. “He pointed my eyes in the direction of a photograph taken by one of his colleagues at the Chicago Sun-Times and told me I should paint it, so I did,” says Eddington. “It ended up winning an honorable mention at a national watercolor competition.”
Kelly Eddington’s paintings have been exhibited in solo and group venues throughout the Midwest, such as the David Strawn Art Gallery in Jacksonville, IL, Culver-Stockton College's Mabee Art Gallery in Canton, MO, and Champaign’s Indi.Go Art Gallery. Her painting Glass Gems 3 was selected by the Urbana Public Art Program to be reproduced as a mural in downtown Urbana, and earlier this year prints of her portrait The Graduates were placed on every bus in Champaign-Urbana as part of the Champaign County Arts Council’s MTD ART program. She is a signature member of the Illinois Watercolor Society. Last year her painting Mushrooms received third place in "Small Waters 2012," a national juried exhibition of small-scale watercolors. Her work is in private and public collections throughout the world, including Western Illinois University’s permanent library collection. She also works as an illustrator and writer for @U2, which was named “Best Music Fan Site” by Entertainment Weekly.
Kelly Eddington received a B.A. in studio art from Western Illinois University and an M.A. in art education from the University of Illinois.