Experimenting with a new paper called Yupo

Painting 17 is actually an experiment induced by Pink Floyd. Hello? Is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me, is there anyone home? Ha ha… Let me explain.

My new friend Sandy Sandy, a talented artist I met through this 30 in 30 challenge, was so kind as to send me a packet full of Yupo samples! What’s Yupo, you say? It’s a synthetic paper that has been used in the printing industry for brochures, hand outs, folders and the like for years and someone discovered it makes a great substrate for painting any kind of water media.

So she sent this to me last week and today I was ready to play. I wasn’t planning on a masterpiece or even a finished painting, I just wanted to get a feel for this new to me paper and see what it’s all about and hopefully create something decent. Sandy creates beautiful paintings with it and after dabbling with it I now have a new respect for anyone using this as their canvas.

It’s not that it’s hard or difficult, it is just different and I’m thinking there is a big learning curve that goes with it. I haven’t painted much watercolor so I’m not exactly versed in the way watercolor should behave but this was fun. I started out by just plopping down some yellow color on to my sheet of Yupo that I had spritzed with a quick shot of water and then took my small brush that came with little set of water colors and began to move it around. The first thing I noticed was that it left my brush trail everywhere. At first I didn’t like that but I kept going and added more colors.

The second thing I noticed were my finger prints on the edge of the paper. Your skin oil acts as a resist which might come in handy for future paintings or might hinder you depending on your take. It easily rubbed away and then took the paint.

So, I had the sheet mostly covered with yellow, orange, red, blue green and purple and I’m thinking yeah well I don’t get what is so special about it and thought about getting a bigger brush but I kept going with my dinky one anyway, cause I’m lazy like that. I wasn’t that thrilled with what I was coming up with and of course it couldn’t look further away from what Sandy was creating. So I thought well I’ll just use this as an experiment… code for me to go crazy!

I began painting swirls and circles over the top of my wash and discovered that it actually picks up the color underneath and kind of erases it. If you can layer with this, I didn’t discover it today. It is a pleasure though to drag your brush over and I was happy with the way the colors stayed pretty bright. After it dried, it looked like a velvety smooth finish which I like very much.

I read where one of the great things about Yupo is the ability to subtract color with Q-tips and tissue which I didn’t have handy and I was limited on time so I didn’t go fetch them. But I can see how a tool like that would be useful, Sandy’s work shows she has obviously perfected that technique. I did take a clean damp brush and remove some color like that. Pretty cool, but I did notice that if the paint was very wet, the paint would just close back on itself, so timing must be important, not too wet and not too dry kinda thing.

Circles led to stars which led to flowery spikes and leaves and oh look there’s a snail! And a man in the moon face! I was just slapping on color left and right. Oh… oh dear that’s kind of a mess. So much for subtlety. Hmmm. And I really wanted to use my alcohol inks, but didn’t because they cost too much to waste. Can you imagine how bright it would be then? Ha! But you know my favorite thing about the Yupo was that you can paint over and over and it never tears or over saturates the paper like normal watercolor paper does. You know how sometimes you can just over do it and the paper looks haggard and ripped at and you’ve got that Oh no I’ve gone too far sinking feeling and there is no going back? Not with Yupo! It happily takes the abuse. Great for going back over places and even wiping them clean to start over.

Oh well 🙂 You know as I look at my mess almost 8 hours later I see that I might be able to salvage it and I just might go back in for another round. There is always cutting it up to use in a collage if I don’t like it, or even making several interesting ACEO’s out of it. It was a great learning experience and I sure appreciate being able to try it out before purchasing, so a big shout out to my friend. Thanks Sandy!!

When you’re finished with your painting, Sandy recommends lightly spraying with a clear sealant like Krylon. (actually 3 light coats I think) So if you get a chance to try Yupo, do it! It’s so fun to experiment… who knows you may get as good as Sandy 😉

Find Sandy at her website www.sandysandyart.com

p.s. I’m feeling better today. I got my taste and smell back a little today and got to enjoy food, but it seems it’s left again now that night time has settled in, how crazy is that?! I always feel worse at night and mornings when I have a cold. But yesterday, I had to take poor Asher to the doctor. The night before, he woke up out of a dead sleep crying in pain… his jaw and face and ear all hurt. I hadn’t seen him in that much pain ever really, it’s heartbreaking. Turns out he has a really bad ear infection. Even the doctor was surprised at how well he was acting considering how bad it looked. My little trooper. He is feeling much better today, thankfully. I hope you all are well.

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