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Millie Gift Smith Art Blog

Painting with Yupo Paper.

by MILLIEGIFTSMITH , April 8, 2008—12:00 AM

Topics: All Posts

Is this a failure or not?? I ordered a lot of Yupo paper and decided to try it. Well, its not that easy to do. It is like painting on glass. You can completely wipe off any thing you paint, which has some advantages and I did a lot of that. My first try was a winter scene, it was ok but needed something. I ordered some videos of George James, "The Artistic Process", and it facinated me. So I tried other paintings and found that my work just didnt compare with his. I set up this stillife and tried another painting.---This is it! I thought maybe if I put it on artid it would tempt someone to comment. Anyway, I tried some other paintings and got frustrated--so I have put it aside for now and may consider going back to it. I do love to experiment, but when it becomes a little too much--I wait and try again. Have any of the artist here on artid worked on this paper. Do you have any suggestions for me?? Please give me your advice. Millie





07/14/2013 * 15:08:52

I am really interested in yupo,havent tried it but have the paper, I'm concerned
with sealing the hard work. I see the comments and wonder if I should get frustrated with yupo or not.
Hope to see some more opinions. Becky


  Christina Lovisa ( homepage )

04/14/2008 * 09:44:12

I have never tried YUPO but have been keenly interested in seeing what it can do! Thanks for your bravery. I love your painting.. a success for sure!
Chris from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


  Caroline Henry ( homepage )

04/10/2008 * 14:27:23

With Yupo you will have that watery, on-the-edge-of-control quality; but I find it attractive. It is hard to work. I find I have to hold back on the amount of water on my brush, wait for drying, and have a light touch when applying multiple washes.I go a little wetter with clouds or water where I want the surface to drift around a little, followed by patient drying before adding to the painting.

Deb, I did not know about the problem with heat, and I will warn people.

I like your painting, Millie. I don't do a lot of Yupo work, but I find it an interesting challenge. When the paintings do work, they are very engaging.


  Mary Lawler ( homepage )

04/09/2008 * 14:08:39

I have no idea what Yupo "paper" is but it doesn't sound like anything I would tackle. However I do use Tyvek as a substrate for Paste Paper where dyes are mixed with paste and applied to the "paper" with a variety of tools including your hands. The Tyvek really grabs onto the color and sucks it down through the core. I would imagine that Tyvek might be unforgiving with watercolors but I'll bet it's better than that Yupo stuff. Try it out on some scrap Tyvek like FedEx envelopes and see how it behaves.Keep us posted.


  Deb Ward ( homepage )

04/09/2008 * 11:54:28

Millie, I really admire how you are so open to new adventures in painting!
I've used Yupo and have framed Yupo - and I HATE YUPO! But I know people who love it.
Well, Millie, you asked for advice and - boy! - you are about to get some from me, so here goes:
Everyone has trouble painting on Yupo at firs, so don't feel bad that your work does not measure up to his (yet) - George James "invented" the art of painting on Yupo and calls himself a "Yupo Master" - and there's a reason. If you want to master that "paper" you will have to really work at it and practice with it, it does not come easy. But my question is - why would you want to?
Here are my objections to painting on Yupo:
(1) It is plastic and the paint sits on top of it which is why it can be wiped off. While that is good during the painting process (you can lose your mistakes) it is not good after the painting is completed. The painting can be wiped off! You need to seal it under several layers of a sealant such as Krylon (I recommend matte finish). And even then, if you get it wet enough, it can be wiped off - you cannot hang it anywhere moisture can be allowed to build up on it (humid climate, a bathroom, etc.).
(2) It is plastic! Have you ever seen a plastic lampshade that bulged when the bulb got too hot? That will happen to a Yupo painting and when it does, it cannot be fixed. Yupo should not be hung above a lamp or close to a lamp, and, while no painting should be hung in full sun, especially not Yupo since if it gets too warm, it will begin the "bulging process".
(3) It is plastic! That means it is heavier than most papers and when you frame it be sure to really secure it inside the mat or it will slip.
If you sell a Yupo painting, I believe that you should tell your buyer of these possibilities.
And while I'm on my soap box (sorry, Millie, for taking up space in your comments) there is another current favorite thing to paint on now - Tyvek. Yep, that stuff they wrap houses in before the siding goes on. Obviously it's meant to last a long time, as is Yupo, but is it really meant to be a watercolor painting support?
However, if you want to master the Yupo, go for it - this is just one person's opnion. Just don't be hard on yourself and keep trying. James has all kind of techniques, which I'm sure he discusses on his videos, of how to apply the paint.
Good luck (and please don't hate me!).



04/09/2008 * 00:39:40

Mother, I really like this painting. It has so many interesting things going on in it. The longer you look at it, the more you see. And I love the colors too. I think this is a definite success! Try some more! You are amazing!
Love you lots!

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