Ed Kelly Biography

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Charles Edward Kelly (1925-2006) Ed Kelly was born in Orange, California. At an early age he moved to El Monte, California, where he began painting while still a child.

Kelly enlisted in the Navy during WWII, and was sent to Marine boot camp at Camp Pendleton, CA. He was to become a Navy Corpsman, a “medic”, landing on beaches with Marine forces and providing aid to fallen soldiers. Stationed on the U.S.S. Rutland, he would send comical sketches home to his family to ease their worries and concern. Kelly landed on Iwo Jima with the first wave of Marine forces, and later illustrated a book entitled “Military Medicine”, which became part of the Government’s “Veterans History Project.”

Upon mustering out of the service he was asked by the officer in charge what type of a career he wanted to pursue. Kelly replied with, “I plan to be an artist”. The officer comically suggested he choose a profession that might actually make him a living. Kelly retired from Michelin Tire as the western states manager. 35 years after the war he illustrated several books written by a fellow Navy Corpsman he served with.

Throughout his life Kelly spent his spare time painting. The majority of his works were painted outdoors on location. He studied with well-known artists such as Rex Brandt, Milford Zornes, Timothy Clark, Millard Sheets, Dong Kingman and Gerald Brommer.

After retirement he traveled to Italy, Spain, and the Caribbean on painting workshops, and visited Hawaii several times to paint plein air. He was also known to drive his RV across country to paint various locations along the way.

Source: Interview with wife Grayce Kelly, 2011.

California Watercolor