Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hollyhocks on Yupo

As a challenge for myself in February I wanted to work on two materials I have tried in the past, but haven't touched in a while...yupo and masa papers. I posted the steps and the painting of the sunflower on masa paper the other day. Today I am going to show you some of the steps in my yupo painting. For those of you who don't know what yupo paper is this is what the Dick Blick website says about it.

Yupo is a compelling and unique alternative to traditional art papers. It's a synthetic paper, machine-made in the USA of 100% polypropylene. It is waterproof, stain-resistant, and extremely strong and durable.
This extraordinary, non-absorbent surface resists tearing and buckling and remains perfectly flat, eliminating the need for soaking, stretching, or taping.
Watercolor professionals have found Yupo to be receptive to a variety of aqueous techniques, but it is also ideal for offset printing, silkscreen, debossing, drawing, acrylic painting, and more.
Yupo isn't easy to work with because it is so slick. Paint has a hard time adhering to it, but the good thing is you can wash off all or part of anything you do...unfortunately that sometimes happens to the painting you are working on even though you are not aiming to do that. LOL
I taped down my yupo paper by putting a small rolled piece of masking paper under each corner and then attaching it to my board. You have to be careful about getting fingerprints on the yupo because the oils from your fingers can keep the paint from staying in those spots. I read that the best thing is to wipe down the paper with rubbing alcohol, so I did that to the paper after it was taped down. Then I drew my design lightly in pencil and started with light washes of pink for the hollyhocks. You can see that the paint puddles and sort of sits on the paper. It causes a very loose look.

My design is hollyhocks in front of a window. I used a reference photo I took at Wesbury Gardens last year. Here I have painted a bit more of the flowers and the leaves, and have started painting in the windows. I'm sorry the painting is on a slant in the photo but the paper was too wet at this point to move it around without disturbing the paint.

I took a closeup of one section. Look how the paint puddles. Sometimes that is a good thing because you can turn the paper to make the colors mingle as you move it back and forth. You just have to be careful.

Here is the status of the painting at the end of day 1. If you look closely at the top left section of the window you can see that the wet paint shifted when I moved it and created drippy marks. Not to worry...I can just wipe them off with a clean, damp brush.  I put the painting aside to let all the paint dry. Hopefully I will not disturb what I already have when I work on it again.

Day 2 - I continued working on the hollyhocks and the window. I added a bit more definition and shading to the flowers especially the one that I turned into the focal area. When the paint dried yesterday it looked like some of the windows needed to have darker color in them. However, once you disturb the paint that is already there you have little or no control over what happens. As soon as you touch a wet brush to the paint that is already there it lifts some of the color. I repainted some sections of the windows with a very dark mixture of paint. I think I am finished...or finished for the time being. lol What do you think?


  1. Oh Joan, this is lovely! Looks like you are mastering the Yupo.

  2. This is lovely Joan, thanks for explaining and showing the process. I like the look of it not adhering to the yupo, gives a very loose look to it.

  3. Fantastic, Joan -- I love this piece! I've used Yupo briefly, and it's wildly hard to control! You did an awesome job on it!

  4. P.S. I appreciate seeing your process steps -- it really helps to understand how you got to the finished painting.

  5. Fantastic result Joan, it certainly is fabulous that you can get back to white but as you say tricky when this is not your intention. What we put ourselves through just to be creative!

  6. I love the watery effect. A Lovely painting.
    I agree Yupo is tricky, but worthwhile. I posted a Yupo today also but mine is not as ambitious as this .I will look forward to seeing your month on Yupo and
    Masa paper.

  7. I love your hollyhocks Joan! I used Yupo for painting with alcohol inks and they run wild on the Yupo, which makes it part of the fun ;-). I once tried watercolors on Yupo, but I thought it dulled the colors too much (especially in comparision with the bright alcohol inks). But you seem to have mastered it well!

  8. I love the looseness and effects you've created, a beautiful work! It does sound tricky to use.

    The sunflowers below are also gorgeous! I can't wait to see more of your experiments!!

  9. I too love the effects you've managed on Yupo, Joan. It is fabulous!! My work on Yupo never looks like most peoples' work on Yupo. Yikes!

  10. Dear Joan - I love what you accomplished here with this paper. Yupo is a real challenge but I do love working on it because one can start over. Thank you for the tip about the rubbing alcohol. I have often had my fingerprints mess up the page. This is certainly a beautiful painting friend. Have a great day. Hugs

  11. Wow! It seems there are a lot of yupo fans. Thanks so much for all your comments! I have seen yupo work that some of you have done and enjoy examining it (and thinking how did she get that effect). It is so freeing and so frustrating at the same time. I will try to do another one soon. Maybe with practice I will get more comfortable doing these.LOL When I take such a long break between doing them it is like starting all over again.

  12. Such an exciting painting. What a process, I am not patient enough. Beautiful.