Monday, 26 January 2009


Thought you might be interested in how I have been playing with backgrounds for paintings on YUPO, as I know a lot of people get scared about such matters. I have a head start as many moons ago I used to use ink acrylics in a similar way, just adding areas of chosen colour for the subject and then spraying with water and leaving at a slight angle to merge and run. Here are three different examples of my YUPO/watercolour experiments:
This first one is simply that, areas of colour with quite a few fine sprays of water left leaning to run ... and I captured the moment when the paint was still moving.

No 2 is taken a stage further so that before it stopped running I used a soft sponge roller very gently.

No 3 is more gentle in colours (ie not so much pigment), sprayed finely in some areas, rolled with sponge in others and used pieces of card to remove colour in square shapes almost back to the YUPO white but just a little staining left to show.

So here is a finished background and floral piece put together. After creating the background, I simply removed the paint with a damp brush in the shapes of the petals and stalks - no drawing at all. Then in places allowed some of the background to merge into the petals by softly spraying selected areas, and in others adding stronger tones of the magnolia pink.
All great fun.
By the way, do you like my replacement photo with my new glasses on My Profile photo???


rachelhoward said...

Gosh, that's an interesting technique. I've done my homework now and googled yupo, so I at least have a vague idea of what you're talking about. Sounds like fun, and what a lovely result! It's not often backgrounds get star treatment is it? The last time I did anything like this was when the drawing tutor on my foundation course made us all fill in the background of an A1 sheet of paper with graphite, then do the bulk of a life drawing with an eraser. Very messy. :)

Peggi Habets said...

That looks like fun! I haven't delved into Yupo yet but it's on the list of things to try. Great textures for your background. It will be interesting to see how you develop them.

Also, Thank you for the very nice comment on my blog. It was so nice to hear from you!

Anita said...

Oh wow - what a finish!! Beautiful!

Sandy Maudlin said...

AWESOME!!!!!!! What a great symphony of colors and textures, and you brought it all together in a breathtaking painting. I clicked on the final pntg and said AWE...SOME! Wonderfully amazing how successful you are with this tricky surface. Loving it. Keep it up.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Rachel - I sent you two emails describing how I have been using YUPO, as I thought the text would be too long winded for these blog comments. Got the email address from your blog. Did you not get them?? I agree with your tutor, an eraser can be a great tool with graphite/charcoal.
Peggi - nice to see you have found my blog and taken trouble to comment on my latest YUPO exercises. Wont be using those three backgrounds I photoed, as I removed them as I went along to save the YUPO paper for the final magnolia painting. !! Stingy I hear you say?
Thanks Anita and for regularly commenting on my posts.
Sandy - so glad you inspired me to use YUPO. Thanks for all your help and encouragement.

Robert A Vollrath said...

I love the second background.

I'm going to try this for backgrounds on my graphic novel.

RHCarpenter said...

Beautiful finish, Joan! I really liked that first photo when it was still running and so crazy-colored! ha ha But you toned it down each step and made it your own. Did you have a painting in mind when you began putting on the paint - or just let it tell you where it was going?
BTW, like the new photo but I think we need one of you smiling.

Claudia said...

Dear Joan,
the floral painting is fantastic!-
A n d I like your new profile photo!-To answer your questions: I always painted abstract paintings parallel to my more naturalistic (wc) paintings. - I wanted to see which style is more "me". The bad thing is, I cannot find the answer: there are days when I long to paint naturalistic and other day when I want to splash colours around to motivate my fantasy. It has to do, too, with the main question of all artwork: shall I
paint what I see inside of me or do I want to paint mainly what I see b e f o r e me. I still didn't find an aswer for me...

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Good luck Robert.
Rhonda - The reason I dont smile in a photo is all my crooked teeth and taking your own picture is serious business!!! just like when you try a self portrait looking in a mirror - you can never smile.
Claudia - I agree we all have more than one style within us - change of moods and needs dictate what we paint, so I have always created whats before me and whats in me throughout my art life.

Milé Murtanovski said...


Excellent idea for backgrounds! I simply make a drawing and paint in sections (allowing certain areas to blend as desired) and then get tighter (but not too tight) with the details...spattering all the while with paint and clear water.

I use two brushes, tissues, and occasionally my fingers.