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YUPO VS. ARCHES, A Watercolor Paper Experiment

Lately I’ve been experimenting with Yupo paper. If you haven’t heard of Yupo, it is a smooth synthetic non-absorbent paper. As you can imagine it takes a bit of getting used to after painting on regular cotton watercolor paper. However the results can be very interesting… since water sits on the surface you will be surprised by the effects flowing from your paintbrush. You can even “erase” when needed which is pretty cool.  

I decided to do a couple experiments by painting subjects on both Yupo and my usual Arches watercolor paper. Here is the first set of results (each painting is an 8” x 8” square):

 Sea Lion on Arches paper

Sea Lion on Arches paper

  Sea Lion on Yupo paper

Sea Lion on Yupo paper

As noted the second sea lion is on Yupo paper… it was hard to control the brush strokes & indicate the fur on the non-absorbent paper. However when my son said he preferred the Yupo Sea Lion, I took another look. 

I tried a second set of paintings. The Yupo paper allowed some cool shadowing and blending, but it was still hard to get the precise effect I wanted on the woman’s face… 

  Woman on Arches paper

Woman on Arches paper

  Woman on Arches paper

Woman on Arches paper

The Arches paper still felt more “user friendly” to me however I began to get accustomed to the flow of the paint on the Yupo paper.
 
In summary, I'm intrigued with Yupo paper. I like the unique, abstract effects you can create with water and color sitting on the paper's surface. I'm definitely going to continue to experiment with it.

Have you tried Yupo paper? Which paper do you prefer for watercolor painting?

~ Linda Roberts

PS: To get the yellow patterned background seen in the second painting I painted yellow onto an old placemat and then turned it over onto the paper creating a textured-looking wall!