About Bobbi Kilty

Bobbi Kilty is a painter in encaustic and combined media who retired after 36 years as an Interior Design Educator at two universities. She was born in Tampa, Florida and has been drawing since the age of 5, living as a child in Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin and Illinois. As an undergraduate in the Art Department at Northwestern University, she majored first in visual arts and then shifted emphasis to Interior Design to maximize potential in the work place. After completing an M.F.A. degree at UCLA, she began her teaching career at Washington State University. In 1973 she studied Sumie (contemporary Japanese brush painting) at Osaka University, Japan. Courses she has taught include architectural illustration, perspective and mixed media rendering, color theory, barrier free design and even ergonomics. While at Michigan State University, she drew and water colored her way from Ireland to Italy as she led students in the Interior Design Study Abroad program. After serving four years as the MSU Interior Design Program Director, she is now living her dream, to renew and refresh her artistic endeavors.

Early works show a progression from realism to abstraction, primarily in ink and water color. Today she is exploring combined media in acrylic, water color and encaustic painting, an ancient Egyptian painting technique using hot wax and a torch or heat gun. With a torch in one hand and often another tool in the other, her encaustic paintings are created using wax blends, oil stick, and collage elements. “As a designer, I collected natural objects fascinated by their growth, formation patterns and functions. The spiral and radial forms evident in many of my paintings are a response to these patterns.” A strong connection with nature is evident, incorporating figure drawing, portrait painting, live animal representation, and landscape views.

Bobbi’s studio is located in her home in rural Williamston, Michigan where she lives with three beloved Siamese cats in her Japanese style garden. In her free time she competes in Pro-Am ballroom dancing.


Personal History

Born in Tampa, Florida, and traveled around until…

Left Chicago on the Santa Fe Super Chief bound for L. A. to study Art

Instructor, Arts and Crafts, Sunset Canyon Recreation Center, summer UCLA

Teaching and Research Assistant, UCLA Department of Art (Color Theory & Landscape Design)

Technical Draftsperson at A. Quincy Jones, FAIA, Jones & Emmons Production Corp. Santa Monica, CA

Graphic Presentation Specialist, Property Research Corp. Westwood, CA

Interior Design Professor at Washington State University

Visual Presentation Specialist, Williamston, MI

Architectural Specialist, Michigan Department of Transportation

Interior Design Professor at Michigan State University

2011-Present: Fine Artist, Bobbi Kilty Gallery

Professional Society Membership

Interior Design Educators Council, Regional & Visual Communications Chair

Mid Michigan Art Guild

Great Lakes Pastel Society, Grand Rapids, MI

Arts Council of Greater Lansing

International Society of Experimental Artists


Bachelor of Arts Degree, Northwestern University

Master of Fine Arts Degree, UCLA

1973:  Studied Sumie painting at University of Osaka, Japan