The Artist

If I were a superhero….

being creative would be my superpower.

Kelly Bellinger

And my weapon of choice – a paintbrush!

I don’t know how well I’d fight crime but I’d love the opportunity to repair, refresh and renew a criminal’s “path of destruction” with some paint and creativity.

Prior to pursuing artistic endeavors in 2006, I practiced law as a corporate attorney.  Not the typical career path – from lawyer to artist – but, here we are.  While I enjoyed the work, a health issue caused me to take a pause and focus on what was most important to me.  My health and my family.  So, I removed my lawyer hat.  While I was taking this break, I rediscovered my love of art and had the time to dive back in.  So, I started my own business, KellBell designs. You can see my work at . It not only allowed me a creative outlet, but also gave me flexibility when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. During his illness, we were raising two young children. Our two children remind me of him in the way they treat other people with kindness and compassion. Just like their dad.

I took a break from painting for a while so that I could focus on our children and myself as we navigated the rough waters of grief. However, when the kids’ school was dedicating their new playground to Merlin, funded by donations made in his name….I wanted to do something. Something that reflected Merlin’s inclusiveness of others. The Merlin Buddy Bench! One for the Boys & Girls Club of St. Joseph County and
for the school.

As soon as I finished the bench, I worried that the meaning behind it could get lost after “the novelty” wore off, so I wrote and illustrated a book to accompany the bench. I know zilch when it comes to all-things-computer…so using photoshop or some other kind of program was out of the question (because I had to do it quickly before we were dedicating the bench). So, I painted some pictures, had them photographed (thanks Jim!! and dropped them into a Snapfish book and then just added text and shapes! Ta-dah!

Merlin touched many people’s lives through his acts of kindness and, thus, his legacy lives on through them, as well as his family. It brings my heart joy and smiles to our childrens’ faces to see his magic still touching lives with the Merlin Buddy Bench. Thanks for reading about our story. We hope you find the magic in your lives and share it with others.