Oil Paint, Painting

How to Paint on Yupo with Oil Paints

September 29, 2014

By Alina Bradford

painting on yupo

Spilled Soda Oil on Yupo Paper by Alina Bradford.

Yupo is a waterproof, synthetic paper that is traditionally used for packaging and advertisement printing. With many artists, though, Yupo has become a canvas for their paintings. While this is a non-traditional support, it is an interesting surface to experiment with oils because the surface is so different from any other type of support.

Getting Loose Strokes with Yupo

Though Yupo comes in various different weights and strengths, for the most part it is very slippery or silky in texture. The surface has no tooth to grab the paint which results in the paint sliding around on the surface of the paper.

This leaves you with much looser brushstrokes because you aren’t able to micromanage where the paint goes. Don’t fight it. Paint as you normally do and see the interesting effects that come with letting the paint go where it will.

Using Gravity to Manipulate Oil Paint

Since there is no tooth to Yupo, you may find that your thinner oil paint drips and oozes if you clip the synthetic paper to your easel. To counteract this phenomenon you can lay the paper flat, of course. You may want to take advantage of the dripping, though, by holding the paper upright and turning it to move the drips in different directions, simulating effects that you might get from painting in watercolors.

Pushing Paint for Texture on Yupo

painting on yupo paper

Night Snowfall on Yupo Paper by Alina Bradford.

One of the best ways to create texture with oil paint on synthetic paper is to push the paint into mounds with your brush. These mounds can stand alone as texture, or you can use the ridges to route thinner paint to the areas where you want it.

Another way to get texture is to scratch through the surface of the oil paint with an item that has an edge to it, like a toothpick or palette knife. The painting on the right is an example of this technique.

Layering Oil Paint on Yupo

Wet on wet painting is almost impossible on synthetic paper that has no tooth. This means that you will need to wait until the first layer is somewhat hardened before you go on to your next layer. You may find that layering isn’t really needed. Oil paint on a shiny synthetic surface has a luminescent quality that would be ruined by too many layers of paint.

Next time you want to get creative with your oil paints, give Yupo a try. It just may become your favorite support for oil painting.

Here are some videos about painting on this innovative paper:


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