Ruth Fluno



Self-portrait with Daisies, oil on masonite, 1967 From the collection of Connie Kerins

“I plan my schedule so that I work in my studio four days a week. I paint very rapidly and impatiently. On a good day I start a painting in the morning and finish it by 4 in the afternoon. Then I stop for a much-needed cup of tea. On a bad day I start five or six paintings and destroy them all.”

Ruth Lilja Fluno was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on December 16, 1923, and died in 1974. She married Robert Y. Fluno on January 18, 1944. The couple moved to Walla Walla, Washington in 1952 when Robert Fluno was appointed Assistant Professor of Political Science at Whitman College.

Primarily a self-taught artist and writer, Fluno attended classes at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Walker School of Art (Washington, D.C.), the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Heatherley’s College of Art (London, England), and the Washington State University Summer Art Program (Spokane, Washington).

While residing in Walla Walla, she worked for Whitman College as a proof-reader and an art instructor. She also taught painting at the Picturehouse Gallery, the Washington State Penitentiary, and the Carnegie Art Center, all in Walla Walla, Washington.

Fluno is best known for her humorous and critical portraits of middle class Americans; she considered much of her artwork to be social commentary. She also created numerous sketches and paintings of buildings in Walla Walla, WA and southern Europe. She considered her work to be “expressionistic.” Yet, unlike other contemporary artists, she worked in the very traditional media of oil and watercolor on canvas. During her lifetime, she showed her work at over 70 exhibitions.


Carnegie Picture Lab is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that focuses on art eduction in Walla Walla valley schools. Read more about CPL here .