|"Dream Ship" Acrylic/Yupo Copyright Mary Montague Sikes|
I love the feel of a paint brush on stretched canvas. More recently, I've enjoyed experimenting with the movement of watercolor pigments and ink on the surface of Yupo.
What is Yupo? It's not canvas and it's not paper. It's a sheet of plastic that was not designed as an artist painting surface at all. When I first heard about Yupo, it was in use as a material for printing lots of things, including labels. A few artists got hold of it and started trying out different kinds of paints to see what would happen. I experimented and loved the way the colors glowed on the surface of Yupo.
My first experience with Yupo was in the mid-1990s. I went down to the manufacturing plant in Chesapeake, Virginia, and they were kind enough to give me a few large sheets of several different weights of Yupo. I brought them home to my studio and tried out a variety of inks and Golden paints. I loved what happened with the colors. I discovered the paint and ink kept moving around on their own which was surprising and fun!
Now Yupo is found in art catalogs everywhere. Cheap Joe's Art Stuff has a variety of weights and sizes on display in the Boone, NC showroom. Workshop instructors offer demonstrations of its possibilities. I've bought more and have it all over my home studio.
Art is a distraction and a joy. It's an escape from political ads and real life turmoil and tragedy. It will continue to collide with my writing life, and I'm glad.
--Mary Montague Sikes