Paint Has Never Been This Mesmerizing

Master the art of color theory with paint-mixing pro Sára Molčan.

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Artist Sára Molčan is taking a centuries-old tradition to the people with her mesmerizing 100-day paint-mixing project. "I started as a way to share the behind-the-easel part of my art practice," says the Vancouver-based painter, who has already completed 38 days of her video series, which she posts on her Instagram, @sarajmolcan. "But it also allows me to showcase my love of color."

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Just taking a look at her work, it's clear that Molčan has a serious mastery of color theory. Her figurative paintings are resplendent with pastels and bright hues, which she says are inspired by sunsets and the way the sunlight glows through flower petals.

We asked Molčan to share some of the secrets behind our favorite videos. Get inspired and get painting!

What You'll Need:

  • A plastic or glass palette
  • A palette knife
  • Paint and pigments (see suggestions below!)
  • A painting project!

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Formula: Fluorescent Red Oil Paint, $9, kamapigments.com; Fluorescent Magenta Oil Paint, $9, kamapigments.com; Fluorescent Pink Oil Paint, $9, kamapigments.com

Pro Tip: "Fluorescent pigments are fugitive, meaning that they fade more quickly than other pigments. You can keep these hues vibrant by using a UV protective coating or reducing the work's exposure to light."

Formula: Burnt Sienna Oil Paint, $7, kamapigments.com; Phthalocyanine Blue Oil Paint, $8, kamapigments.com

Pro Tip: "Mixing your own blacks gives the color more depth and makes it appear more lush. This mix will dry in about five days, which is pretty standard for most mixes."

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Formula: Acryla des Gouache in Lilac by Holbein, $7, kamapigment.com; Grey Lavender Pigment by Pearl-Ex, $5, dickblick.com; Cold Press Llinseed Oil by Gamblin, $11, dickblick.com

Pro Tip: "Dry pigments need oil to keep the texture consistent with the other oil paints from the tube. The pigment also causes this mix to dry a bit quicker, in about 4 days. The consistency will also be slightly grainier. To prevent this, use a glass pestle to grind the pigment before mixing it with the oils."

Formula: Interference Red by Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors, $20, sohoartmaterials.com; Fluorescent Pink Oil Paint, $9, kamapigments.com; Zinc Buff by Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors, $26, dickblick.com; Cobalt Teal, $33, dickblick.com

Pro Tip: "This color was inspired by cotton candy, so I kept the colors light with semi-transparent zinc buff and shimmery interference red."

Formula: Fluorescent Orange Oil Paint, $9, kamapigments.com; Interference Red by Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors, $18. dickblick.com; Acryla des Gouache in Coral Red by Holbein, $7, kamapigment.com

Pro Tip: "Interference paints are semi-transparent. Because they're made with mica, they have a sheen that's more visible over dark colors. Usually interference paints are used over dark surfaces on their own. Mixing it into another pigment causes it to lose the interference quality, but it can also give the resulting color a nice opalescent quality."

Formula: Fluorescent Orange Oil Paint, $9, kamapigments.com; Fluorescent Pink Oil Paint, $9, kamapigments.com; Titanium White Oil Paint, $7, kamapigments.com; Radiant Red by Gamblin, $36, merriartist.com

Pro Tip: "This color was inspired by coral. I have to keep in mind that fluorescent pigments will fade over time. You should use these colors wisely on your canvas."

Learn more about Molčan's work at saramolcan.com and continue to follow her Instagram paint-mixing series at @sarajmolcan.

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