November 14, 2018

Olga's Amazing Work of Art

Olga's Amazing Work of Art

As part of our New Russian Life project, to prepare our magazine for the coming decade, we commissioned Russian artist Olga Ezova-Denisova, who lives in Yekaterinburg, to create an original work of art ("Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter"), that was sent to top-level backers of the project. 

Olga was also kind enough to document the process of the work's creation in photographs, and to send us an explanation of how she went about it. {A few of the number linocut prints remain and are being sold via our online store.}

Producing the prints took almost a month, from the first sketches on August 18 to the numbered and signed prints on September 17. The first stage involved exploratory sketching, followed by a detailed drawing the size of the future engraving. This is one of the most crucial steps, since it is vital to precisely map out the color scheme of the future work so as to correctly apply color to the linocuts and create as much interest as possible.

Sketching the art

I made three identical pieces of engraved linoleum from the final sketch, engraving the image using special cutters.

Usually, only one color is added to each linocut. After some experimenting, I decided to put two to five colors on each to achieve more color variety, resulting in eight different colors that, once overlaid, would give the print greater complexity and richness.

The color is applied using special rollers, and in this case the task required the precision of a jeweler. I even timed how long it took me to apply color onto the three linocuts to print a single picture. At first it was taking 20 minutes to apply the ink for each print, but by the end I was managing to do it in 15.


For the printing process, I precisely lined-up the linocut onto the paper and used a special press to make the impression. I was able to make, at most, three impressions per hour. It took 25 hours and five minutes to make all 50 prints, including the process of preparing and washing off the inks. The prints were made using archival quality inks and high-quality cotton paper. 


Olga sent the package from Russia by regular post, and it arrived completely intact and undamaged (thanks to about 253 layers of plastic wrap), with lots of stamps and fun decoration.

Just a few of the numbered prints remain, and interested buyers can acquire them through the Russian Life Online store.

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Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

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