Downtown Living KC

Meghan Dohogne

September 4th 2015


A question Olga Hotujac often has to answer about her heavily layered oil paintings is, “How long will that take to dry?!” Eyes widen as she explains that the outer most layer of oil paint will dry in about a month, but it will take up to an entire year for the canvas to harden. Oil paint is sometimes preferred for its slow-drying nature and viscosity that allows the artist to rework the canvas several times before it begins to set. Often this is to blend the paint on the canvas and eliminate distinct brushstrokes. However, Olga Hotujac does not use her oil paint this way.
Rather than blending her paint to create realistic images of her subject matter, Hotujac builds the paint an inch thick resulting in a choppy Impressionistic image. In order to get the paint that thick she must use a variety of techniques to apply it on the canvas. Hotujac begins by using a pallete knife to set a base layer on the canvas. In this layer, as seen in “Large Blue Vase with Flowers” (Day 1), the subject matter receives equal paint application as the rest of the composition. In the second layer Hotujac applies with both a paint brush and pallete knife, the vase of sunflowers begins to emerge (“Large Blue Vase with Flowers” Day 2). Hotujac applies subsequent layers to sharpen the image until she feels she has achieved the desired application.
Hotujac’s technique not only allows her to stun viewers with her use of material but also with the moods she is able to convey in each composition. As a plein air painter, Hotujac paints a variety of outdoor scenes. She consciously works with nature to capture the feeling of the scene she sets out to paint. During her visit to Moscow, she painted an iconic fountain, “Friendship of Nations Fountain: Moscow, Russia”, in the middle of a bustling summer day. Her utilization of bright colors and lightness of the shadowing on the buildings let the viewer experience the energy of the moment. Echoed with her fast brush strokes viewers are transported to VDNKh park where they are shoulder to shoulder with the lively Moscow residents. In order to complete the authentic experience of the moment, all of her Russian paintings were painted on Russian canvas with Russian oil paint she acquired upon her arrival. Hotujac maintained this authenticity in France purchasing her materials as she traveled from location to location.
Olga Hotujac’s paintings from France and Russia in Home and [Away]: Her Russian Impressionism give insight to experiences from her travels. This collection of work [Away] will be on show at the Todd Weiner Gallery; while the first month [Home] will be on display at Mildred’s Coffeehouse through the month of September.