Exploring Yupo: A Unique Surface for Artists

At Brenda McMahon Gallery, we are proud to showcase a diverse group of talented artists who work with unique mediums. Among them is Amanda Fullerton, an award-winning Signature Artist for the Florida Watercolor Society, Florida Suncoast Watercolor Society, and the North Carolina Watercolor Society. Her collection of watercolor paintings is particularly unique because of the surface she paints on - Yupo paper.

Yupo paper is a unique surface that is different from the traditional painting surfaces that most artists use. Its glossy texture makes it easier to paint on and provides greater control as it does not absorb the paint. This allows artists to easily correct and adjust their artwork by wiping it with a damp cloth or paper towel.

Why Artists Choose Yupo Paper

Yupo was originally developed for the printing industry, but artists soon discovered its many benefits. Unlike conventional paper made from wood pulp, Yupo paper is made from oil-based synthetic resins. This gives it plastic film-like characteristics that are noticeable to both the artist and viewers. The paper is also moisture-resistant and durable, outperforming regular paper surfaces. When used with watercolor paint, the paint only dries by evaporation. This leaves no absorption by the paper, unlike regular watercolor paper. This allows for interesting textures to form while the paint dries.

Paws for Thought by Amanda Fullerton (Watercolor on Yupo)

Many artists have started preferring Yupo paper due to its bright whiteness, providing an ideal contrast for bold artistic creations. Painters like Amanda who work with deep colors often prefer this brightness. Its unique stain-resistant surface also allows artists to build up layers of paint and water, resulting in patterns and techniques that are not achievable on traditional paper

Yupo paper offers a "lifting" quality for artists, meaning that they can redo specific areas of their painting multiple times, just like an oil painter working on a canvas. The paper also has excellent color clarity. Colors remain true to what is on the palette even after multiple layers of paint have been added. Also, its absorbency doesn't make the watercolor paint dull, and you can easily remove layers of paint to reveal the white of the sheet.

And, It’s Environmentally Friendly!

The paper itself is recyclable and considered an environmentally friendly product as well as reusable, which is a win for the art community! As an especially durable synthetic paper, Yupo enters the waste stream at a far slower rate than conventional papers. A polypropylene plastic film, it is fully recyclable and will remain inert in any approved landfill. Safely incinerated in a modern incinerator with an atmosphere of excess oxygen, it will yield only water, carbon dioxide, and ash.

Since Amanda focuses heavily on marine life and seascapes, this is an environmental advantage that is very important to her. A typical painting by Fullerton depicts turtles swimming through the ocean alongside schools of fish, showcasing her love for the environment. Stop by Brenda McMahon Gallery to see for yourself the difference this unique surface makes to a painting!

Stingray Swimming Through A Coral Reef Ray of Light by Amanda Fullerton (Watercolor on Yupo) 


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