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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Last of the Yupo #22

A black bear and her cub wander through an aspen grove in Yellowstone. If you look carefully at the nearest aspen you’ll see little claw marks made at some earlier date by a cub climbing the aspen. The lower parts of both aspen are scarred and nearly black because elk have chewed the bark off during the hard months of winter. This little painting was inspired by one of my many trips to Yellowstone. Painted with water soluble graphite pencil and watercolor on Yupo.

Now for a confession. When I purchased the Yupo ‘paper’ a few days ago my normal caution was sleeping. It was sold on the same rack with Arches watercolor paper. I assumed this stuff was also a quality surface. I’m always checking the acid content of paper and making sure I’m do serious work on good paper. The Yupo didn’t have any information with it.

Laure Ferlita gently asked whether I knew much about Yupo. She also sent a link so I could start discovering. Yupo isn’t paper. It is plastic! No wonder paint washes off and ink takes forever to dry. It is a very different surface and offers some intriguing possibilities, but I think the archival qualities need to be addressed. If you go to the Yupo website (http://www.yupousa.com/paper/index.php you find out how tough it is, but not how archival it is.

According to another web site plastics are degrading and at an alarming rate: As artists I think we should all be aware of the probable limited life expectancy of art created with plastic. I don’t plan to spend any more of my time working on this surface. Thank you, Laure, for alerting me.


MEliz said...

It looks like you have gone out wth a bang on the yupo. Beautiful texture on the trees and sublte tone and color works beautifully.

Camille said...

Thanks for the information, Elva. the "paper". Love the painting. Your trees are so nice

Lorrie Klosterman said...

Charming bear action shot. Based on a photo? So Elva, what is Yupo for, then? As for archive quality materials, I found out that not all papers are equally durable when I did the toilet paper series ... no, just kidding. I have a few times used posterboard, though, with its slippery sheen. The pigments don't go in very far and can be escorted around in very different ways than on "official" watercolor paper. And lamp black (I was doing black-and-white pics) sedimented out so interestingly, eventually. I could get most of it off later if necessary. I think some watercolor artists use posterboard intentionally for that quality. Have not looked into its long-term merits, though.

Elva Paulson said...

The bears came out of my head .... but I have sketched them in the wild and from photos many times. I purposefully was keeping this sketch loose so out of my head was good enough.

I think the Yupo has many uses for commercial purposes, where it is painted for advertising or illustration, and having it be archival is not a factor. I even found some paper sculptures cut out of it. ... and for fun, it don't see a problem using it. It'll probably last just fine as long as I am alive, but I'd feel uncomfortable selling anything done on it.

Kelly said...

...those little paw scratches in the wood are so cute. Nothing I've ever seen around here, although Black Bears are around in Ohio. Thanks for testing out and giving us the heads up on Yupo!