Monday, 19 January 2009


Now I want no laughter at my first efforts with YUPO and watercolour paints. As I have a major project of the local river scenes to work towards for Easter, I thought I would practice with photos of the river, common, trees and boats. I tried a number of techniques and will try to describe them to you for each image below.

FULL PICTURE EARLY EFFORT - This is my first attempt of a piece of YUPO stuck on my drawing board to stop movement. In my impatience I started before I had purchased any rollers and it is basic, simply laying thinnish colour and lifting with soft tissue for sky and water, I used a brush to lift out for the boats, their reflections and boathouse shapes and layered three different tones of brown for the roofs. As you will see on the next, I have improved a technique for trees:

TREES - This shows the effect of laying down areas of reds, greens and yellow with thick paint, then while damp dabbing with a wrinkled up soft tissue, finally when it is nearly dry lifting out the colour to show whitish tree trunks against the darks.

GRASS - This is how I achieved a large expanse of grass. Laid down a wash of yellow and green watercolour quite thick, allowed to slightly dry and then ran a small 1 inch sponge roller over it all. It brings up these lovely speckled effects. Only trouble is you have to wash the roller sponge thoroughly, or that colour will contaminate anything else you roller later.

WATER - this is my attempt at laying green and blue thick paint for the water and then spraying and leaving to move on a slight incline. Then I lifted the bluey green paint out to give whitish reflections. Finally lifting out over and over again the shape of the boat to get it cleaner and back to the YUPO white.
As you will see, nothing is ever 'finished' they are just exercises. I think next time I'll just do an 'abstract' play with different thicknesses of paint, using rollers, tissue, cards to make lines and anything else I can lay my hands on!! Only trouble is you have to use quite thick paint and its expensive with my Sennelier, Winsor and Newton or Sminke watercolour tubes. I have cheaper White Knights but they are in pans and will take ages to get a pool of creamy thick colour together.


Robert A Vollrath said...

Very nice post. I'm playing with a lot of paint now, so all your text was helpful.

carol said...

Yupo experiments looking good. I am going to see Kurt Jackson's exhibition in London this week - lots of trees ( I think) a bit like your second picture. The ex is called the Forest Garden.

RHCarpenter said...

Oh, well done, Joan! I love the way you've got your trees and grass going already. It does take some playing but you seem to be picking it up so quickly.

Anita said...

YOu seem to be getting Yupo under control! That grass is wonderful! And I really like the trees. Nice that you can lift back to white like that.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Thanks visitors for yo ur comments on my YUPO efforts.
Carol - I looked up Kurt Jackson but no ref in his website to the new exhibition. Loved his work - do you think the mixed media pieces are on YUPO??
Rhonda/Anita - I think its coming along ok as I used to play very similarly with my acrylics years ago.
Robert - look forward to seeing the results of you playing with paint.

Sandy Maudlin said...

WOW Joan,
It took my two years to like YUPO and get the hang of it. You are REALLY pulling it off already. I like the deep rich colors and tectures you're painting. Keep it up. There's almost no limit to what can be discovered with this paper and watercolour.

rachelhoward said...

Hi Joan,

Thanks for popping over to my site! Yes I'm in Lincolnshire. Flat isn't it? You'll be familir with flat. :)

I love the reflections in this piece, but now I'm going to sound like an idiot - what on earth is YUPO? I suppose I could google it... OK I'll google it.

Lovely work though.

Milé Murtanovski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Milé Murtanovski said...


I'm just beginning my explorations on Yupo and it's great to see other artists working on this surface.

I simply work flat, not taping the paper down so that I can redirect the paint as needed/desired. Although I begin with a pretty tight drawing, my approach to painting on Yupo is very chaotic (compared to my watercolours on regular paper), as I try to match the unpredictability of the surface, and there's a lot of spattering of paint and clear water.

You can see a few of my Yupo watercolours here:

Experimentation is key with this surface. Keep it up!