Frequently Asked Questions

These are the most common questions I'm asked via both comment and private message. I have tried my best to cover everything. If you have additional questions, please leave them in the comments section below.

Last updated: June 22, 2016

How old are you? Where are you from?
I'm from Vancouver, Canada. I'm currently 29.

Where did you go to school? What kind of degree(s) do you have?
I went to school at Emily Carr University of Art + Design as well as Vancouver Island University. Both universities are located in British Columbia, Canada. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Arts.

Are you a full time artist? Do you have a day job?
Yes, and yes. I work in my studio an average of six days a week, usually from 9PM to 2AM, Tuesday to Friday, and then I pull 12-16 hour days on Sundays and Mondays. That would qualify me as a full time artist. I do supplement my income as a barista. It's flexible and allows me to dedicate extensive amounts of time to the studio. I do not have a full time desk job or non-art career. 

Where else are you online?
On Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter, I use @sarajmolcan just like Instagram. My Patreon subscription page is here. My YouTube channel is here.

How do I hear about work first? Or prints?
The first people I share new work with are my patrons on Patreon. After that, in no particular order: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I notify my mailing list of new work bi-monthly. As for prints, paintings, and other products listed in the shop, again Patreon subscribers always hear first. Next, my mailing list gets notified. Finally, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are informed. If you can't subscribe to Patreon, your next best bet is the mailing list.

What kind of paint do you use? What brands?
I use oil paint. I have brand loyalty to Holbein, Williamsburg, and KAMA. I have bought other paints in the past, but these are my favourites.

What kind of brushes do you use? What brands?
I use long handle brushes made from either synthetic material or hog hair. I buy my brushes from Opus, Deserres, and a local Vancouver shop, Rath. I don't have loyalty to brush brands at this time.

What do you mix on?
Glass palette.

You should [enter video request for Instagram here]!
I don't take requests. This is a project for my art practice. It's not a dj booth. Requesting videos is disrespectful and repeated requests will get you blocked because I assume you don't have manners. Colour related, reverse video, timelapse, I get them all. If I want to make one, I will. Please, for the love of art, stop asking.

How do you start a painting? 
There's a wonderful video in my about page that showcases the early stages of one of my paintings along with how they end up. From a basic standpoint, I start with a figure painting and then abstract it. I use my instinct to decide where those brushstrokes go and what areas still show. 

How do you know when it's done? 
It's hard to explain. I just do, on some instinctual level. I've spent years overworking paintings and going too far - essentially, wrecking it. You start to learn when to stop.

How long does a painting take?
An average of 2-4 weeks, depending on size and layer drying times. The shortest has been 1 week, and the longest was 12. 

What inspires you?
Psychology, identity, personality, and neurological findings about memory and the brain. I find it fascinating how we recall faces, and how our memories can rewrite our own personal histories. I read Psychology Today and Scientific American along with following other neurological journals to learn about some of the latest findings.

I don't know how to find inspiration, can you help me?
You need to seek out your own. Take what you love outside of painting and translate it into painting. Only you can figure out what that is.

Do you have any advice for young/aspiring/hopeful/new/just starting/beginning artists?
Plenty! I have written three major posts: surfaces, brushes, and paint that each have advice for beginners. There is also my tips for beginners post.

What do you use your palette knives for?
For both mixing paint and applying paint to my surfaces. Different knives have different uses. Size matters for mixing different quantities of paint. Shape changes the way the paint is applied on the surface.

Where do you buy your supplies?
I buy most of my paint and other supplies from Rath, here in Vancouver. I also frequent Opus and Deserres. If I purchase online, it's from Blick.

Why oil paints? 
The first paints I ever worked with were acrylic and watercolour for my portfolio submission for art school. In my first painting class, I was trained to use oils. I have dabbled in using acrylics, watercolours, and gouache since, but always gravitate back to oils. During my fourth year panel review (a private critique with three professors), I was told that my work demanded to be in oil based on the layering I was doing and the luminescence I was trying to achieve. I haven't looked back since.

Are oils easier than _______ paint?
Yes, and no. It really depends on your experience with the other paint. Also, not all paintings need to be in oil. There's a lustre about oil paint that is really enticing, but some works are much better suited to be in another medium. You can also do mixed media work. I just happen to use strictly oil, which is easiest for me. I've been painting my whole life, and definitely worked with other paints long before oils. I even briefly deviated from oils and tried out liquid acrylics for awhile. Find what works for your own work and is easy for you to master. If you're having problems blending your acrylic paint, I suggest trying to mix in retarder medium or try using open acrylics. 

What kind of easel do you have? How much?
An h-frame easel and it was a gift from my parents.

Can I see your paintings in person?
I share my upcoming shows and open studios through my mailing list. If you're interested in setting up a private studio visit to discuss a show or artwork acquisition, please contact me directly via the contact page.

Where do you sell your work? Originals or just prints?
I sell my work through the shop page here on my website. I also sell prints. I only do limited edition print runs at this time. 

You sold out of ________ print. Will/can you make more?
I could make more, but the edition is closed, so I will not. I'm truly sorry that you missed out! I recommend joining my mailing list so you can be one of the first groups notified when my prints or paintings are listed for sale. The reason I don't print extras outside of the edition is that they are numbered (i.e.: 1/50) and printing extras is not only false advertising, but lessens the value of the print for existing collectors.

Do you offer wholesale on originals or prints?
Not at this time.

What about merchandise?
I've previously done runs of shirts with my art on it. I'm currently looking into the following merchandise: canvas bags, sublimation all-over print t-shirts and tank tops, iPhone cases, and throw pillows. If you're wanting one of these products if I launch them, sign up for my mailing list.

Will you sell your work on _________?
At this time, I do not sell my work on Etsy, Society6, Threadless, RedBubble, DesignsByHumans, Casetify, SaatchiArt. Amazon, eBay, or otherwise. If you see my work there, it is a knockoff and not authorized by me.

How do you make your prints? Who is your printer?
I don't get my prints done at any big box store. For a long time, I had my prints done at a small print shop in Fresno, California (I knew one of the owners). After they closed, I found a small printer in Vancouver. I was lucky. As for the quality of the prints, aside from finding a good printer, it's essential that your digital image be flawless. You should either scan the work or take a high resolution image of the work with a DSLR. Colour correction, resizing, and cropping all need to be done prior to print. I use Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop to prepare my images for print. If you can't do this yourself, I recommend searching for a local printer who can. My prints are made with archival inks and printed on rag paper.

Do you just mix paint for fun? What do you use it for?
I find this question troubling. A quick glance at my profile makes it evident that I am a painter. 

Why do people even like your paint mixing videos?
That's up to the interpretation of the viewer. For me, I mix paint out of necessity, but the act of mixing it is calming to me. It allows me to relieve stress and feel more relaxed. 

Can you please do tutorials or start a YouTube channel?
In a surprise turn of events, I now have a YouTube channel. The link is above in the social media question. I haven't decided if I'll be doing any painting tutorials at this time, but I may do a couple demos of some of the supplies I have.

Can I repost your content?
I generally don't mind as long as you credit me via comment or tag so people can find the original artist. If you neglect to credit me, and instead take credit yourself, I will file an intellectual property claim and block you. I have yet to have a claim declined, and I'm sure you'd rather reposted content didn't get taken down.

You didn't respond to my message/comment. Why?
If you direct messaged me a heart or a smily face, I likely didn't respond. If the answer to your question is in my profile, a few comments before yours, or the image caption, I assume you're smart enough to find it. I think you'll have no issue finding that I'm fairly open and most of your questions have already been answered. There is also the possibility that I missed your question. In that case, please request a direct message with me. I will often redirect you to this very blog, as I often get repeat questions. The best way to get my attention in comments is to ask your question on the most recent three posts, as they are the ones I usually scan for questions. Even if your question is "on _____ post, you did ______ blank colour and I was wondering ________" it's more likely I will see it.

Will you promote me/give me a shout out/tell people to follow me?
No. That's not what I do or what my page is about. I am grateful for those who have found solace in my paint mixing, but I don't message people asking them to promote me and I would appreciate the same consideration. If you're looking for promotion, there are plenty of accounts that handle that. I also block people for self-promotion.