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Painting with oils on yupo paper, a step by step tutorial

Painting with oils on yupo paper by Sandrine Pelissier on ARTiful, painting demos
Painting technique / Step by step demonstrations / Yupo paper demonstrations

Painting with oils on yupo paper, a step by step tutorial

I am relatively new to oil painting, so this is more like an experiment to see how the surface will react.

picture to painting

I took some pictures of poppies outside that were looking like this :

This is the starting point of my painting, because this is a test I will try a simple design and see what happens.

Painting with oils on yupo paper, a step by step tutorial

I am  drawing some poppies on my yupo paper, I always like the crisp look of pencil on the yupo paper :

Pencil drawing on yupo paper

I start painting with my oil paintings diluted in turpentine for the outlines of my poppies, with purple paint, I add a bit of red in some places for variety. I then stat working on the flowers with a mix of red and yellow. The paint is adhering very well to the paper and it’s a very pleasant to work with oils on such a slick surface.

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Yupo Watercolor Paper

Yupo is a compelling and unique alternative to traditional art papers. It’s a synthetic paper, machine-made in the USA of 100% polypropylene. It is waterproof, stain resistant, and extremely strong and durable. PH neutral.

Painting with oils on yupo paper, a step by step tutorial

I keep on working on the flowers, trying to blend colors and define shapes. Because oil paint takes so long to dry, some of the outline is merging with the orange of the flowers but I like that effect. I mix my paint with a medium I made (half turpentine, half linseed oil) to make it more workable.

oil painting on yupo paper

I keep on working on the flowers and starts with the background. I could wait for the paint to dry before working on the background to make it easier, but I think that might be a too long wait. On the background I work with a mix of white, blue and green paint. Painting the background causes the outlines to blur, which I found a nice effect as well. Sgraffito  works well on yupo so  I am taking advantage of this to scratch some paint on the petals.

oil on yupo paper

The finished painting :

oil painting on yupo paper

I like the painting but I have a few concerns, it is still in the process of drying after 3 days :

– Will the paint adhere to the surface or will it peel ?

-Is this archival or will the oil of the painting react with the surface of the yupo paper?

-Won’t the paint crack because yupo paper is so flexible?

I will post my conclusions once the painting has dried. My technique here was very basic, and I didn’t try any glazing which I would like to try in the future, or mixing media: having an acrylic under-painting and then use oils. If anybody has some experience painting with oils on yupo paper, I would be very glad to hear from you.

Update: After a couple of years, the painting is still looking good and the oil paint adheres very well to the paper

4.7/5 - (4 votes)

Comments (25)

  1. Caryn Baumgartner

    Legion papers gave me the link to this post as I was asking about oil on yupo. I’ve been working with it for just two years now…LOVE the lush results but have had all the same concerns I read here. Initially I was just experimenting…these were studies for some larger pieces but I was so happy with the results I framed them, floating behind glass. I also ended up shredding some of the studies and then reassembled the pieces on board. It seems like you’ve had a longer time working with the paper and I wanted to inquire if you are still working with it and if so, have you noticed anything past the 8-ish years mark now? I’m considering investing in the rolls so I can work large-scale.

  2. So wonderful to find your postings… just what I needed. Whilst on a trip, and having no other surface available, I did some oil paintings on Yupo paper which up to now I had used only with watercolours. I totally loved working with oils on it, and was very happy to read your information on how you mount some of your Yupo works on board, without having to put it under glass.
    My questions are:
    – on your oil paintings (such as the lovely poppy painting), when dry, what do you put on the surface as a final layer? I usually put a coat of Liquin on an oil painting on canvas… to varnish at a later date
    – and if there is no glass to protect it, would there not be a danger of accidentally scratching off the painting from from the Yupo surface.?
    Thank you, I look forward to your advice.

    1. Thanks Myriam, I am very happy to hear you like the blog.
      Here are my answers:
      I did not finish the poppy painting with varnish because I liked the look as is. It is still looking good after 6 years now.
      I did not display the painting and kept it in my drawers but if I wanted it displayed I would most likely mount it on board, or frame it.
      I mounted yupo paper paintings on board before, they were done with acrylics and mixed media. There is always a risk of the paint peeling of you were scratching the surface but you would have to be really aggressive with the scratching. I guess a painting on canvas is not immune to scratching as well. I think as long as you store or carry the paintings always with the painted side protected or facing another painted side, so it does not get scratched by the wiring at the back, you should be good.

  3. Sadie

    When the water colors will not stick is that it has something on paper it’s self? And I painters a flower and the nest day it was gone all except for a few splashes left???

    1. Hello Sadie, oil paint or watercolor can be used on yupo paper, they will somewhat stick but can be removed by scratching or a wet tissue paper for watercolor.

  4. Mihaela

    Hello! I just came accross your website and I love it! Your poppies painting is very expressive, the colours look buttery, the storkes are confident, all this creating a beautiful piece.

    I enjoy working on yupo as well, so far I’ve used inks and pen to create mixed media pieces and I really like the effect. It’s great to see the techniques you used. Yupo is not exactly the most affordable support, so we can all learn from you :). I know that yupo is acid-free, so I’m thinking the artwork should last for a long time. I have one question, though: I’ve read that it’s recyclable, is it in the sense that we can wash away whatever was painted on and reuse it, or it’s recyclable in the sense that we can drop it in the plastic recycling bin? Sorry for the silly question and thank you in advance!

    1. Thanks Mihaela,
      Yes yupo paper is recyclable. You can retrieve most if the white of the paper and reuse it if you are painting with watercolors although some colors will be stainning and leave a faint color, I didn’t try with oils.
      As for recycling, I checked the yupo paper website and this is what I found, and yes the plastic bin will be the place 🙂 :

      Is YUPO® recyclable?

      A Yes. YUPO® is made from polypropylene (PP), a “grade-A student” among recyclables, and can be recycled in a variety of ways. Because it is made from the same polyolefin resin used for shampoo bottles and the like, YUPO® labels can be recycled without having to be peeled off the bottle. And once melted down and molded, these materials can be reused in recycled products such as plastic flower pots and pegs.

  5. […] poppies, oil on yupo paper […]

  6. […] Pingback: Painting with oils on yupo paper | ARTiful: painting demosARTiful: painting demos […]

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  8. […] Poppies […]

  9. The paintings are very lovely and vibrant. Beautiful work.

  10. Siggi

    A friend of mind, painted with water based oils on YUPO a while back…
    he can’t remember when but he said the paint and YUPO werelike “one”…and “sturdy”..
    like a board…
    he doesn’t like the slippery surface, but wanted me to see the positive adhesiveness the paint had…
    Siggi in Maine

  11. Tina

    I tried oil painting on Yupo this past weekend and LOVED it. Went to the art supply store in NYC and they told me they couldn’t guarantee what happens long term, my impression was they were covering their bases because the paper is new so no one knows how long it will last. My technique was similar to yours:-)

    1. Yes I was wondering about that too, if there could be a reaction between the paper and the oils in the long term? I loved the feeling of painting with oils on such a sleek surface too.
      Did you post the painting on yupo on your website? I really like your abstract landscapes by the way 🙂

  12. Diehl Art Gallery

    Great technique. I need to look into oil painting on paper.

    1. Thanks Diehl ! Let me know how it works for you.

  13. It is a nice trial, hope the paint sticks and doesnt peal off after all that effort.. look fwd to the final result!

    1. Thanks Padma !
      So far so good, the paint is dried and is sticking to the paper.
      For me the fun is in experimenting, so I don’t mind if once in a while one of the experiment ends up in the recycling bin 🙂

  14. Your dedication to yupo and your experimental nature go so well together. This is a lovely painting and I will be anxious to know the outcome of your questions.

    1. Thanks Leslie 🙂
      So far so good… the paint is drying well and is adhering to the paper .

  15. Sigrid Saradunn

    I really like how the poppies came out.

    For the first time I tried “H2O oils” yesterday, on YUPO, but not as thick, to paint a portrait. It was sunny, so I let the sun dry the paint. The paint has adhered well to the paper. My experience with oils of any kind is the reds, yellows, oranges, take longer to dry. Will be interested in what you determine with your poppies…
    In the mean time, will be trying H2O oils plein aire.

    1. Interesting… ,I never tried h2o oils yet.
      It seems that the oils I used are also adhering well to the paper . The paint finally seems to start drying after 5 days!

      1. We have several people in our group that have difficulty with the odor of the reg. oils or the turp. odor. I was the first one to try the H2o oils when I had a large number of paintings drying on my porch and the odor made me ill.
        Another reason the group prefers the H2O oils is the convenience of clean up.
        I have used water colors and acrylics as mixed media on YUPO with success. My next challenge is acryllics on YUPO.
        Enjoy your posts.
        Siggi in Downeast Maine

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