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Ethel MarsIn the Garden
White-line color woodcut print made in circa 1916. The edition is unknown. Image size 10 5/8 x 10 1/8" (26.8 x 25.5 cm). Hairline margins. Signed "E-Mars" in pencil. This print is framed in 1 1/2" half round ribbed wood molding with 8 ply archival mat/back. Finished with Optium Museum Acrylic. Ethel Mars was born in Springfield, IL. She attended Cincinnati Art Academy meeting fellow artists/printmakers Edna B. Hopkins and Maud Hunt Squire (who later became her lifelong companion). In 1905 Mars and Squire moved to Paris and quickly became active members in the vibrant Parisian art community. They were known to visit Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas, and it is said that Ethel Mars and Maud Hunt Squire inspired Stein’s prose "Miss Furr and Miss Skeene." At the outset of WWI Mars and Squire left Paris and settled in Provincetown, MA., a magnet for creative minds. Other artists who arrived in Provincetown among them were Blanche Lazzell, B. J. O. Nordfeldt, Ada Gilmore and Mildred McMillen. These were the original group of artists to make White Line Woodcut prints, then called Provincetown prints. This new printmaking technique, which grew out of the traditional Japanese multi-block color woodcut, simplified some of the technical difficulties of registration and printing, allowing the Provincetown group to make blocks and print them in their home settings. At the end of the war, Mars and Squire returned to France moving south to Vence. Ethel Mars remained in France for the remainder of her life. White-line woodcut is a relief printing process where wood is cut away leaving selected areas to be painted (usually with water-based paint) and then to be printed. The ‘white line’ (usually a thin line) is cut from the block of wood separating the different color areas. The Process: First, a drawing is made on the surface of the woodblock. The lines of the drawing are then cut out with a sharp knife or v-gouge. When the design cutting is finished, the artist attaches a sheet of printing paper to the block. One section of the block is printed at a time – hand brushing the paint in the desired areas. The paper is then lowered onto the block and the back of the paper is rubbed, transferring the ink to the paper. The paper is lifted away from the surface of the block in between inkings. This process is repeated until the artist is satisfied with the desired color and density of the print. The unique variations and luminous color help to give White Line Woodcuts their strong poetic quality.
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