Rachael Rossman's Studio Blog

I'm a mom. I'm an artist. I clean up a lot of messes.

How do you do that? December 22, 2009

Filed under: Art,Painting on Yupo,Step-by-step,Watercolor — rachaelrossman @ 4:53 pm

The first thing people ask me when they see my paintings is, “How do you do that?” Followed by, “How do you get that splotchy effect?” and “How long does it take you to finish a painting?”

Well, today, all will be revealed.

“How do you do that?”

The real star of the show is the paper I use, Yupo, which is not really paper at all. It’s a synthetic polypropylene product that is probably more like plastic than paper. You can read all about it here on the the Yupo website.

Since Yupo is not paper, it doesn’t absorb water. Or pigment. So the watercolor pools and puddles – and eventually dries – on the surface of the paper. 

Cool things about Yupo:

“How do you get that splotchy effect?”

A spritz or two of rubbing alcohol at different stages of the drying process yields a splotchy effect, depending on when you do it and which pigment(s) you’re using.

Before, and...


“How long does it take you to finish a painting?”

With my technique, it sometimes seems like there is more waiting than there is painting. Waiting for the masque to dry. Waiting for the paint to dry. Waiting to figure out if I like the painting or not.

Since the paint does not absorb into the Yupo paper, I have to wait for one area to air-dry before painting in adjacent areas. Sometimes I have a couple paintings going at one time so I can alternate between them and keep busy. I usually complete the main image of a painting in a few hours, followed by drying time and then another few hours of detail work. If I have time, I like to prop a finished or nearly-finished painting up on an easel for a couple of days and just live with it for awhile. I might notice something when I’m walking by that I want to change or enhance.

Or rinse off and start over.


2 Responses to “How do you do that?”

  1. Miriam Says:

    I love Yupo – just used it for the first time in a class taught by Pat Weaver at Cheap Joe’s in Boone. Awesome material especially since I normally do watercolors and pastels. Can’t wait to see more of your work!

  2. As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

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