Promoting art in Whittier and surrounding communities

Yesterday, the Whittier Art Gallery held a reception for Robert Thome’s show, which will run through August. Here are some photos from the reception.

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Photos by Michael Tyler, Copyright (c) 2011, all rights reserved


Robert Thome returns to the Whittier Art Gallery for another solo exhibition featuring a selection of new works painted especially for this exhibition. Robert is an internationally acclaimed mouth painter, with a career spanning over 35 years during which his work has been exhibited around the world. He is a lifetime member of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists.

Here are some samples from the ongoing August show. Come by the gallery to have a fuller, more enjoyable look at his collection.

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Photos by Michael Tyler, Copyright (c) 2011, all rights reserved


In the March/ April Sketches, we wrote that Ruth Radlauer was having a book launching party for her memoir, Collaboration, which chronicled the years she and her husband Ed wrote and published over 200 children’s books during their marriage of 56 years.

In our May/June issue we thanked her for her great generosity in donating the proceeds from her book to the gallery for our Gallery Upkeep Fund.

It is with sorrow that with this issue, we report Ruth Radlauer’s death from pancreatic cancer, which she had been battling for almost two years. During this time, we note with awe, Ruth still managed to write two more books!

She was a tireless practitioner of the arts: a writer, editor, teacher, and as she was best known to us at the Gallery, a skilled maker of baskets and jewelry. Her perseverance, focus, and ultimately, great courage, were and will remain, an inspiration to all.

A native of Wyoming, she moved to La Habra Heights in 1950, where she and Ed, wielding hammer and saw, built their lifetime home. She leaves two sons, Dan, and Dave, a daughter, Robin, daughter in law, Karen, and niece, Jad.. She often said that the “afterlife” is being remembered. We will remember Ruth Radlauer.

Submitted by Gwen McCants

The June show is now up and running with Paintings and Mixed Media by Joo Hwan Noh.

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Born in Korea in 1961, Mr. Noh studied fine arts there before immigrating to the United States in 2003. He has been active in the Korean art scene in both countries. In 2010 he became the first president of the Orange County Korean-American Artists Association. He has exhibited in many group shows, and this is his first solo exhibition at the Whittier Art Gallery.

Setting as his theme, “Know Heaven’s Will,” Joo Hwan says, “Gong ja, one of the three saints, said when a person becomes 50 years old he will begin to see the way of heaven. As I had become 50, I began to understand the essence of the universe, life, and art.”

“Art allows me to imagine and to come up with many ideas. It also plays a role of providing and maintaining warmth in my body temperature, a vital mechanism of life.”

Joo Hwan’s canvasses are thick with texture and layers of deep and vibrant colors. His subjects seem to be taken from dreams or nightmares, mixed with a reverence for nature and allusions to mythology and to socio-political commentary. His mixed media works combine the same intensity of painting with found objects.

The exhibit is documented with a 32-page full color catalog, available for purchase, in which Mr. Noh expresses in English and Korean his thoughts and feelings concerning his work. The catalog includes congratulatory remarks from the honorable Sukhee Kang, Mayor of the City of Irvine, Mr. Jay Juen, art collector, and Ms. Jessica Jang, Exhibition Director.

Mr. Noh’s work may be viewed on his web site,

Photographer and fellow Whittier Art Gallery member, Ed Suastegui, has posted a couple of articles on his blog with tips for capturing 2D art work. Check them out and see if you find them useful.

Capturing 2D Art: perspective

Capturing 2D Art: color

Before I became more involved in the Whittier Art Gallery, I thought the building housing our gallery was, well, a house converted at some time into a place for artistic exhibitions. Not so. Last week, a letter went out to our artists and friends. It relayed some interest back-history we may want to keep in mind the next time we visit the gallery.

Our Colorful Past: The Whittier Art Association was formed in 1934 by a group of very dedicated artists who had a dream of someday having an art gallery in Whittier. On the heels of the Depression, these artists formed the Whittier Art Association and raised enough money to begin construction of a gallery located on the corner of Painter and Mooreland Avenues. Built on donated land, the Whittier Art Gallery was dedicated on Monday, April 10, 1939. By 1945, the Association received its non-profit status, and that same year, the members were pleased to have Norman Rockwell come to the Gallery to judge a show.

Norman Rockwell, self-portrait

Among the Gallery’s 500 members, were many very prominent early California landscape painters. During the 1940’s, the beautiful new Whittier Art Gallery enjoyed a prime location between the galleries of Los Angeles and the new Laguna Beach Art Association.

The Whittier Art Gallery Gallery provides monthly shows, programs, art classes, and art scholarships. Our Gallery is one of the few that is totally owned and supported by the members, and it does not receive financial support from the City of Whittier.

April 10th marks the 72nd anniversary of the dedication of our Gallery building.

The gallery, circa 1940s

The gallery today

And there you have it. While the gallery may feel homey, it was not a home in the beginning. It is always good to know and appreciate the work of those who have gone before so that we can more fully enjoy the legacy they labored to pass on to us. We are also reminded that maintaning our legacy may from time to time require that  gallery members and supporters to pitch in as we try to preserve our heritage:

The Gallery’s Board of Directors would like to give members and the people of our community the opportunity to make a donation to help repair and maintain the Gallery building and grounds.  This year, our special projects are to replace all of the old plumbing, install a tankless water heater, and complete the needed termite work.           

All donations are tax deductible and donors will receive a letter acknowledging their donation for tax purposes.  

Donations can be made by cash, check, or credit card.

You may come by the gallery during our regular business hours, Wednesday-Sunday, Noon-5 PM, and pick up your own copy of this donation letter and a donation form.

More Spring Show photos

Here are some additional photos from Saturday’s reception, courtesy of one of our Gallery artists

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Photos by George Rodriguez, Copyright (c) 2011, all rights reserved