Frances Gearhart
American, 1869-1958

A founding member of the California Printmakers Society, Frances Gearhart captured the beauty of the Western landscape through her watercolors and block prints that favored the state of California. Gearhart was born in Illinois and moved to California in 1888, where she remained for the rest of her life. Though she practiced watercolor throughout her career as a schoolteacher, it was not until Gearhart's retirement at age 53 when she began to create her best known work: color-block prints. In a largely self-taught process, Gearhart employed Japanese printmaking techniques to carve reliefs from wood and linoleum, which she then coated with oil paint using a dry brush. Gearhart used a key block to define her borders and separate blocks for each individual color, resulting in handcrafted depictions of the mountains, coastlines, and deserts of the Western landscape.

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