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This is the view of the same creek as here only it is looking west instead of east.

Have you ever tried using watercolor on Yupo paper?  I am not very accomplished but do return to enjoy painting on this surface from time to time.  I can only tell you that I jump right in and explore when I paint on yupo. I do not draw, first, but enjoy shaping the form in. I usually don’t get very far with the initial laying in of color. That comes, later as I introduce more and more color and begin to allow the water and pigments to mix.  Because this paper is plastic, I use very little water.  I enjoy lifting out mistakes with a damp brush and reshaping.  I never quite know when I am finished but thoroughly enjoy time spent trying to work on this slippery surface. 

Sandrine Pelissier has shared some of her techniques here.  And has a tutorial here.


  1. Ohhh, love the blue dog! So much nicer than the ones we have in Congress :lol:!

    Thank you for posting the techniques and tutorial. I want to try Yupo one day.

    • Thank-you, Alex. 🙂 That little dog was so much fun to paint. You will be chuckling when you try it the first time. I often wonder what pulls me back to playing around in it. I think it may be the challenge it offers up.

  2. I do like that creek painting.
    You seem to have taken on some very vibrant colours and tones in the last two posts

    • Thank-you, Richard. The creek painting felt like making a fantasy land. Oh, I know….carried away with color. 🙂

  3. I am amazed at the spontaneity of the flow and mix of colors here. I think it is challenging and fun to work on yupo!

    • I think I allow for the color to play with the water more when I work on Yupo. Everytime I try to control, too soon, I botch my image. I agree with you that this paper is challenging and fun. Thank-you, Padmaja!

  4. O your creek is so inviting–it’s as if we can walk right there under the trees! Heavy satisfied sigh, Leslie.

  5. the creek feels like a dream i’d like to enter. i like wandering around in it – the painting i mean. beautiful.

    no, i havnt tried yupo yet. it’s on my list, altho i think approaching it will have to be something like letting everything i think i know, go. now that i think about it… i have painted on plastics and glass – still… i like the idea of letting what i think i know go to work on that surface. your time with this paper is showing up in how well you handle it. beautiful.

    btw. when i clicked the “here” link to look at the other direction of the creek, i got a “could not find” message. it may be my machine or net server… or something other than your end of it. however, just so you know…

    • Hi Wrick. Thank-you for that about the link. It is fixed.They changed how they do this linking thing.
      Yep. Working on Yupo is like letting go of what you know…I think what I like most about it is that the paint still looks wet when it is dry. Thanks for the comment, Wrick!

      • yw. yeah, there is always new stuff to figure out – links and other worldly evolutions… it’s like that in the world of life, yes.

        yeah, too – i like when watercolor looks wet, has the feel of wet-water-paint. it doesnt always have to of course, but when it does or when it keeps at least an element – a trace of it in a work,i think it adds in a significant way to the quality of the work. a watercolor is a watercolor, because it IS Water-color.

  6. Genius! The blue dog matches the expression on it’s sweet little face. Adorable painting, Leslie. 😎

    • Oh, you are right! His expression does look blue. Thanks for the insight as well as the positive feedback!

  7. The little critter is a cutie and your landscape on Yupo is a WOW! You have done a great job of managing this tricky paper. I love to work on Yupo and I love the fact that I can just wash it off if I don’t like my painting.

  8. Leslie, I’d never heard of Yupo paper until this post and I love the idea about the wet paint look. I bet it’s difficult to control, but I really like what you’ve done. Will it take oils? Did you stretch it first?

    • Hi Keith,
      It is difficult to control but not impossible. I have found, if I get the basic colors down on the paper, near where they belong and allow that to dry, I can work other small areas one at a time. The drying process is by evaporation. I don’t know about oils. I do know artists use acrylics on it. There is no stretching. There is no ripple. The only reason I tape it down is because I like a border to my paintings. It is very slippery. Before using it, I always wash it down with rubbing alcohol. This removes any greasy fingerprints. Otherwise the fingerprints will resist the pigment and leave blotches on the paper. It actually looks like a piece of paper, Keith. Thank-you for the comment!

  9. I like the creek and the dog, i think the yupo paper methods really is unique. I never try it before but both the the painting just look amazing. Nice work there Leslie.

  10. I like your Yupo painting. The colors have all swirled and blended so interestingly. I have to try this some time. Love the creek and the blue doggie.

    • Can you believe, it takes me as long to do one of these (small) as it does to just paint a regular painting about twice this size? Thanks, Carol!

      • Sorry to jump into your conversation, Carol and Leslie… I would like to ask why it takes longer to paint on Yupo as compared to painting on regular watercolor paper.

      • Oh. That is just my take on it and what I do. I am never quite satisfied. Everytime I introduce water and a new color, it changes that whole area. The water on the paper dries by evaporation and the pigment lays on the top. If you enlarge the paintings above, twice, you can sort of visualize that. It is like painting in watercolor on a tupperware lid. Yes…That is what it is like. I could never achieve, especially the landscape, without time. Good question.I have painted quick ones, but they don’t have the richness of color that these two have. Good question, Alex. You don’t really have to wait to try it. Get yourself a pad of it and just play around on a piece of it. You can keep washing off the surface like a chalkboard, just by wetting it.

  11. This Yupo paper, I get the idea it is a very forgiving paper since one is able to wash it off.

    • With watercolor it is, but I can’t erase on it if I use graphite. I can dull the pencil line by wiping the paper down with alcohol, but it does not remove the graphite, totally. I think the joy of it is the idea that a painting still appears somewhat wet when it dries.

  12. Wow, Leslie. Nice vivid colors!

  13. Yes, Yes thats me too. I just jump right in and no drawing and that is so fun, but then I used a marker on it one day and added color after and thats fun too. Reminds me of coloring when I was little, but now I go out of the lines like crazy and LOVE it (sorry Mom). Yupo is sooo much fun and I love this little doggy.
    peace n abundance,

    • Thank-you, Cheyanne! I know about the out of the lines. Why bother with lines, right? 🙂

  14. I’m not familiar with yupo paper Leslie – these look fabulous though! The leaves in the foliage of the first one seems to float before the eyes and there is a lovely dreamy quality to this vista 🙂 the doggie is just so incredibly cute and I love the colours you have used! I can only imagine how hard it is to paint on this paper – so well done Leslie!

    • Thank-you, Lynda! That effect of floating might be enhanced because the pigment is laying on top of this bright white paper. The water evaporates out and the pigment does not sink into the fiber of paper like other watercolor surfaces. This is interesting as I have never noticed that before, but the images do float on the surface. Thank-you for that observation!

  15. These are great, Leslie! Yupo is so much fun! I have a bunch of it and keep forgetting to play with it! It does bring out the inner child, doesn’t it?

    • Totally like painting when I was a child. It even reinforces the feeling of being “as a child” in the approach to it. Thank-you, Beth!

  16. An amazing work there Leslie, very well done 🙂

  17. I always enjoy your landscape paintings. They make me think there is a mysterious story just out of sight of what the eye can see.

    Always a pleasure to visit,


    • Thank-you for this comment, D.R.! After your recent post of the “newscast”, I feel really good about having created something a little mysterious.

  18. Leslie,
    The creek looks like a magical place.No, I have never ever tried Yupo. I have read the discussion on watercolor painting on Yupo but somehow, the surface isnt appealing to me. Maybe because I am yet to find a good way on how to seal the finished painting.

    • Hi Raji. It is a great surface for me to practice on to get me out of that trying to define every little thing. I know what you mean about sealing it. I have had good luck with lightly spraying the dry work with Krylon workable fixative and following with one layer of Krylon matte fixative. I have several yupo paintings from a few years back and they have survived. Thank-you! I like “magical”!

  19. I’ve never heard of Yupo paper, what is it? Anything that allows watercolour to dry and lift off easily and to ‘slide’ sounds great to me as that is my style of painting with watercolour. I used to use a semi-gloss card, but the trouble with card is it tends not to be very permanent. Is this stuff eco-friendly, though?

    Love the creek. The dog’s cute but I’d love to see it a bit lighter in shade.

  20. Yupo is actually plastic paper and very shiny and slick. It is called “YUPO” if you search for it at art supply stores. It is sold in pads or large sheets. It is not at all like painting on regular papers, not even hotpressed, because the pigment lays on the surface. Yes, I think you would like it because you have a unique way of working, digitally, that you may be able to use on YUPO. It lends itself to a very wet look because the pigment continues to slide around on the surface until the water evaporates out. It is not a paper for artists who enjoy control. I am but a beginner at using YUPO. There are incredible artists using this paper.
    I don’t know the answer to eco-friendly. The paper is re-usable because you can keep washing it off with only light stains left behind and create another painting. Good question, though!

  21. Thanks for the explanation of YUPO, Leslie. I’ll see if there is any here in the UK and, if it’s not too expensive, will try some. By the way, when I refer to my watercolour technique on semi-gloss card, I’m talking about real watercolour not digital! I must, must, must find a bit of that artwork and post it to my blog so that you can see what I’m talking about. Come to think of it, I think I can… keep an eye open for it…

  22. the greens in your creek view and these two pieces in particular just grab me. i love this!

    • I have had trouble with greens, JRuth. They need mixing with other colors and I am beginning to learn more about them. Thank-you!

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] Leslie was talking here about a new sort of paper for artists (well, new to me, anyway) called YUPO that I find interesting and, as I mentioned to her in a comment, I want to show a type of painting that I do/used to do with real watercolour (not digital) on real paper… only the paper in this case was semi-gloss card. I’ve described my technique a bit way down in this post. […]

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