Faces of Milan

Kim Rhoney

Kim Rhoney
Regionally Acclaimed Artist

Raised on a small farm in rural Milan, Kim is forever a farmer and an artist. Growing things to paint and painting things that grow is she does.

It’s what I know,” says Kim. “I used to think that I had to live somewhere urban and hip to find my artist voice only to find that my truest expression was waiting to paint what I knew.”

Kim doesn't paint with brushes—she uses knives. Although she will occasionally use brushes for an entire piece, painting with a knife is something that she has done for more than a decade. There are other artists who paint with knives, but she mixes wax into oil paints. It is something that, to her knowledge, is done by very few other artists who paint with knives. 

Kim first began to paint with a knife when she was pregnant her first daughter, Jillian. At the age of 39, although healthy, her pregnancy was considered high risk. When her doctor found out she was an artist there was an expressed concern about her exposure to toxins. Kim consulted with a friend who was a polymer chemist. He told her, “No whites with lead, only use titanium, don’t eat your paint, keep your hands clean, and get rid of the turpentine and the Liquin.” 

Kim had to figure out how to paint with such restrictions. While struggling to paint with a new set of rules, it was during a fit of frustration that she made a discovery. She grabbed a pallet knife to scrape something off the painting that she didn’t like.

“In doing so, I created a beautiful variegated segment of color,” she explained.

From that moment, she began to primarily use a knife.

Adding cold wax and knives to her oil painting process has allowed her to use texture as another tool.

“I like the way it has changed my work,” she explained

Kim has been a professional studio artist full time for several years after leaving a 20 year career in hospitality sales and marketing. She earned a BFA from Eastern Michigan University in her thirties with the intent that art would become her “work” someday.

So it has!

Photo Credit: Mary kerkes

Sponsored by: Milan Chamber of Commerce

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