Daddy's Christmas Angel

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Learning More About Yupo - A Different Painting Process

"Tangled on Xanadu" (right) ©Mary Montague Sikes
When I work on Yupo, I get lots of questions about the process. After all, Yupo has a slick synthetic surface completely different from the usual look and feel of watercolor papers such as Arches.

The painting on the right in the photo, taken of one of my gallery walls in Crossroads Art Center in Richmond, Virginia, features Yupo attached with matte acrylic medium to a gallery-wrapped canvas. It is an experimental painting in many ways because of my methods of applying intense Robert Doak watercolors to the Yupo and because it is on canvas and not under glass.

I discovered Yupo in the mid-1990s while taking a workshop with Mary Alice Braukman in Williamsburg. At the time, we experimented briefly with alcohol inks dripped on the surface and moved around with alcohol sprays. The color shifted and moved as it dried, making it fun to watch. I was hooked on the paper that wasn't. I did some research and found that Yupo, used for printing, was manufactured in Chesapeake, Virginia. Since it was not far away, I went to the plant and was given a variety of samples of some very large sheets of Yupo in all the different weights they made at the time. I was thrilled. The experimentation continued.

It was not until I discovered Mary Ann Beckwith in 2004 that I uncovered the most exciting aspects of working with Yupo. She introduced me to the amazing and intense Robert Doak paints that he created in his Brooklyn, New York studio. Playing and spraying paint on heavyweight sheets of Yupo produced art pieces like nothing I had ever seen before. I loved it. Mary Ann used her background in chemistry, inspired by her chemist father, to lead her students to the discovery of exciting creative results using a variety of materials.

Thanks to the wonderful teachers I have encountered along the way and the growth of the Yupo market, my journey in experimental work has grown and expanded. The more I learn about working on Yupo, the more my joy increases.

"I Love Yupo" is the title of the demonstration I plan to give at Crossroads Art Center in Richmond during the Open House on May 18.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Science and art meet!
Cool the plant gave you a tour and free samples.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

No tour, but they gave me a lot of big sheets as samples. Since then I have paid them back well with all the huge purchases I've made. My studio is full of Yupo!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've never even heard of Yupo.

I hope your class is well-attended on May 18.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Diane, I wish you could come to the Gallery on Friday!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Good luck Mary ... I hope you have fun with the class, and will tell us about it - I know I've taken cognisance of your Yupo style before ... and particularly the DOAK paints- enjoy yourself - cheers Hilary

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thank you, Hilary!