Photo of Kelly O'Neill

I’d like to share my story with you…

I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love to create things. As a very young child, it was mud-pies and finger paintings. At age four, I sculpted a tiny rose with individual petals and presented it to my parents on a road trip. That day, my Mom wrote in the diary she kept for me that she thought I would grow up to be an artist someday.

My fascination with turning raw, ordinary materials into something beautiful never faded. For a time in high school, my attention was directed towards food, and I began making plans to go to culinary school to become a bread and pastry chef. Then, a series of what I consider to be divinely appointed “closed doors” and “open windows”, directed me towards a liberal arts college (Union University in Jackson, TN) where I pursued a fine arts degree. It turned out that my passion was for creating, not necessarily creating food.

It was during my early years in art school that I realized my love for art could become a life-long career. It honestly hadn’t occurred to me that something so satisfying and thrilling could also provide an income. At age 18, I decided to start a portrait career, not realizing what a life-changing and fulfilling decision it would be for me.

This road was paved with some pretty hefty discouragement from some of my peers and authority figures. In art school, ironically enough, numerous people told me that I needed to be practical and just create art on the side like everyone else and get a “real job.” I was frequently ridiculed for my naiveté of thinking I could live my dream. Thankfully, my parents and a very dear art professor, Lee Benson, had voices that drowned out the naysayers. I completed my degree and set out to do what I loved.

Over the past 13 years, my business has become multi-faceted. My love for creating extends to painting in oil, drawing with charcoal, graphite and pastel, and even graphic design. I’ve found that my fine arts background lends itself very well to the creative process that is necessary to design beautiful graphics. The variety that it all brings to my work week is very stimulating.

My strongest desire is to create paintings that I feel compelled to do by my Creator. These may or may not appeal to the broad public, but they are inside of me and must come out. Many times, these paintings reflect something that I’ve learned about God.  They can be seen in my Paintings With Purpose gallery.

My hope is that you will connect with some part of my story or my work. Perhaps if you are not already, you will be encouraged to pursue that which you were truly created to do.

Kelly O'Neill signature

© Copyright Kelly O'Neill – The Artist of Life - Designed by Pexeto