Friday, September 20, 2013

Challenge Day 20: Colors on the Fly

YUPO and watercolor negative painting exercise
Am continuing to prepare for my upcoming bird themed November workshop. Here’s how I painted this easy and fun “negative” YUPO painting in less than 10 easy steps:

Materials: YUPO pad (9x12), transparent watercolors, large and small acrylic flat brush printer paper (Legion Paper has a YUPO sample pack for just $3.00.)

  1. I tape the back of my YUPO sheet to a foam core board so I can easily move it around without touching it. YUPO doesn't buckle so you don't need to stretch it.
  2. To start, I applied a variety of transparent watercolors (blues, reds, golds) with a big flat (over 1 inch). A sponge brush also works.  Remember, colors don’t fade much on the YUPO so don't be shy!
  3. For more dynamic color blends tilt your board diagonally at a 45 degree angle.
  4. Paint rolls off the YUPO quickly so it helps to have an old beach towel, etc. handy to catch the drips or go outside.
  5. When the I get the colors the way I want them I let the painting dry flat overnight (I prefer this to hairdryer).
  6. Then I printed out a simple bird, branch, leaves shape on plain printer paper and cut around image to make quick stencil.  (You could also use heavier printer paper or transfer your design/drawing to stencil paper.)
  7. Using  an 8x10 window white mat, I decide where I want the stencil over the painting.
  8. When I’m happy with the placement, I gently tack on the stencil over the painting with a small piece of tape.
  9. Then carefully use a damp (not too much water) small  acrylic brush and a tissue to “erase” around the stencil.You could certainly add more detail to the painting at this point as well.
Also, you can seal your YUPO on watercolor with an archival acrylic spray so it's protected from water. This exercise will also help to fine tune your negative painting skills which come in handy no matter what medium and subject you prefer. Thanks for stopping by, have fun, and keep painting!


  1. Beautiful painting--love the colors and great info. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks Judy--I'm glad you enjoyed the YUPO tips!