February 14, 2011

Yupo Experiment 1

For some time I have been trying to tame the beast called Yupo, a synthetic water resistant paper; an alternative for traditional art papers. With only whip and chair to protect me, Yupo still keeps snarling and will not do what I want. 

This weekend I started on a series of experiments to enable me to understand this 100% polypropylene paper, with which some people make such beautiful work. 
You either love Yupo, or hate it, and I think that this depends on how you have worked in the past. Watercolor paper absorbs water, Yupo resists it, and the pigment lies on top of the Yupo after the water has evaporated. This to most, is a new way of working.

All I did with Yupo this weekend, was experiment with backgrounds and different textures.

* I used regular table salt, and I haven't brushed it off yet.
* This is Winsor & Newton Designer's Goache in yellow and pink.
* I added a couple of drops of rubbing alcohol on the paper before letting it dry.
* Somehow I am reminded of my Sunday breakfast.
* Overall: the colors remained vibrant. I think that once I remove the salt, it may affect the colors, dulling them somewhat.

I wet the Yupo before applying any pigments, then used Dr Martin, and let them run. I might have used too much ink, and in this case I moved the paper about until I got a pleasing mix and applied plastic wrap. It took a long time to dry, and even though I had 'molded' interesting lines in the plastic wrap, I still find this a little flat.
* The most interesting part in this, is the line from top to bottom because I couldn't curb my impatience and took a peek.
* All in all, a little too dark for my taste and a bit muddy due to the inks mixing a lot or too much even.
* I see an 'eye looking back at me.

Back to the gouache. Lighter on the touch. Water first on the Yupo; mixed paint to a liquid creamy consistency, and a drop or two of rubbing alcohol.
* Some areas still too dark, to my liking, with nothing very interesting going on. Used some brown ink in this, which in some areas had a nice effect.

Monochrome, on wet Yupo using the tipping and dripping technique with gouache. This 'complex' technique brings out your inner child. I used two pieces of plastic wrap, just because I fumbled with the tearing of it, and ended up with 2 small pieces. One on the top and one on the bottom, leaving a strip uncovered, where I added a few small drops of rubbing alcohol which created a little stream of planets.

One last experiment, which I think worked well. This is a messy little painting, that I used to try out several things, but the one that worked well was using wax crayons to outline your drawing, instead of pencil. All the white on the cups was done with a white wax crayon. I liked the effect. Yevgenia Watts mentions this in her Youtube tutorial.

I looked at the work of several artists who use Yupo very successfully and produce wonderful paintings on it.

Here is a short list of some names:

Ursula Rodrigues - shown on ArtCafe.net (sorry, didn't copy the links. Too busy Yupo-ing) ursularodrigues.com.
D.D. Gadjanski at ddgadjanski.ca
Yevgenia Watts at watercoloredhands.wordpress.com
Judy (can't find a last name) at dedraad.blogspot.com
and others.

I am by no means finished with Yupo, in spite of the snarls.


  1. Yupo is indeed challenging to work with. Your idea of playing with it to start with is just the ticket! I really like the orange one with its "line of planets"! nancy

  2. Fun experiments! I had thought, "Eggs for Brekky too" Thank you for visiting & commenting on my blog!!

  3. It's just so much fun looking at you working with the colors. You've definitely created the textured colors successfully!
    Thank you so much for your comment, and I hope you have had a Happy Valentine's too

  4. WOW. I am impressed with your experiments. I love Yupo - it is there for me when I am in a wild and wooly mood. But you did much more in a weekend than I have ever tried - I have so much to look forward to! My favorites here are the blue gouache (which I think is very interesting!) and the monochrome.

  5. Very good experiments. I am trying to tame the Yupo beast, too, and I will definitely look at the artists you named. Thanks for such an informative post!

  6. Love your experiments. Thanks for the info about other artists; I'm fighting the Yupo beast, too.

  7. Those are way too beautiful to just be experiments.

  8. Wow!! So great experiments! I think you got really interesting textures there... I didn't know about yupo. Thanks for sharing!



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