Kelly Eddington

Artist Statement: 
Ever since I was a child messing around with a terrible paint set from K-mart, I have been obsessed with controlling pigments suspended in water. Now I paint with hand-made watercolors from Holland along with brushes ranging from high-end to dirt cheap, but the obsession remains. I create time-consuming, highly realistic portraits, still life, and occasional landscapes using this most unpredictable, unstable, and unforgiving medium. 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. I begin my portraits with my subjects’ faces and enjoy watching their features emerge from the white paper as though they were slowly rising up from a vat of milk. Then I add their collections, such as books, toys, tools, and everyday clutter. More and more, the world has become a place where people identify themselves with the things they collect. These items give my portraits a contemporary edge and a rich complexity. Viewers of my paintings don’t just glance at them and move on. They tend to stare at them for a long time, often tilting their heads to the side to read book titles. Sometimes I’ll hear a gasp of recognition—“I have that book, too!”—that evolves into a discussion and a sort of kinship with my mute subjects. I also enjoy painting anything that is shiny and complicated. I find beauty in so many things, from a handful of beads to aluminum foil to a vintage guitar. Paintings such as Glass Gems 3 and Planets and Foil are loaded with reflections and slick textures. One of my newer paintings features a carefully-composed-but-random-seeming jumble of jewelry, and I loved the challenges it presented. Film critic Roger Ebert struck up a friendship with me a couple of years ago after spotting one of his books in my portrait of a girl named Mabel, and we 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 use it as a reference photo, so I did. The painting, which is composed of mostly straight lines and man-made items, was extraordinarily difficult to execute with watercolor, so the three of us were pleased when our little project won an honorable mention at a national watercolor exhibition a year later. Over the past two years of intensive, daily painting with watercolor, I’ve been able to watch my skills improve dramatically, and I hope to continue to do so for the rest of my life.
Bio / Description: 

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. She is a signature member of the Illinois Watercolor Society. Her painting "Glass Gems 3" was selected by the Urbana Public Art Program to be reproduced as a mural in downtown Urbana. This painting also won an online art competition sponsored by Imagekind/CafePress. Eddington's 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 works as an illustrator and writer for @U2, which was named “Best Music Fan Site” by Entertainment Weekly.

She maintains a blog called Alizarine (, an art website (, and sells prints of her paintings online (

Kelly Eddington received a B.A. in studio art from WIU and an M.A. in art education from the University of Illinois. Nike

(217) 377-1210
401 W Grand Ave St Joseph, IL 61873