Born in Denver, CO on Dec. 9, 1904, Rheta Akins Gillette, moved in 1911 with her family, the Akins, to Santa Paula, CA where Rheta grew up and attended high school. She then studied art at USC, UCLA, Long Beach State College and with Rex Brandt, Kero Antoyan, Thelma Paddock, Phil Dike, Hope and Peter Paul Ott.
Settling in Huntington Beach, she began teaching at the Central Elementary School (now Dwyer) in 1927 and remained there for 37 years. In 1940 she wed Homer Gillette. Working in oil, watercolor, and acrylic, the oil rigs and harbor around her home became her favorite painting subjects. Her semi-abstract style won 46 awards in local exhibitions.
In 1984 she was Grand Marshall in the July 4t
Source: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
CA&A; Invw; Huntington Beach Independent, 12-14-1989 (obit). Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here
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