Oil Painting on Yupo paper

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I have for a while been wanting to try Yupo paper, and got the opportunity after picking up some recently during a weekend away in Portland. The ‘paper’ is synthetic with a non-porous surface that repels water. It has a very lovely smooth texture and my favorite part is that you can paint on it with oils immediately after taking a sheet out of the paper pad—no need for any gessoing. It is perfect for travelling with or using for plein air painting due to its ease of use. I really enjoyed painting on it as it is such a different experience from working with linen. The paint goes onto the surface like butter—it is very smooth and you can easily see the brushwork. When scraping paint from the surface it wipes off quite quickly and easily. As the surface is non porous it does not absorb any paint and therefore you will not find any lighter areas on your painting as the paint dries. The colors don’t sink in but rather float on top of it. On Yupo a color’s unfiltered brightness and truest essence emerges.

Oil paint is not quite advertised to use on Yupo paper – the Yupo pad itself states that the surface is great for watercolor, alcohol inks, and acrylics but does not mention oil paint. It works like a dream with oils and do hope that you enjoy it as much as I do!


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    8 thoughts on “Oil Painting on Yupo paper”

    1. Evelyn Edinburg

      Any suggestions for how to frame an oil done on Yupo? From what I’ve read elsewhere, you don’t want to adhere it to a board as there is a problem with adhesion. So I’m assuming under glass is best, yes. Is a mat necessary to provide some space?

      1. That is a really good question! I personally have not yet framed artwork done on Yupo yet. However, I have heard from other people’s accounts of trying to mount Yupo to a board and it does seem like it can be hard to mount. I hope to do some experimentation with it myself in the future so I can provide some information on that here 🙂 But from what I see so far under glass might be the best. You would not necessarily need a mat however. Whether you use a mat or not there will be a fraction of an inch hidden underneath around the border of the piece. I hope that helps!

          1. Hi Jeanne, That is an interesting idea! My one concern about sewing Yupo paper to a mounting structure is that it could tear at some point as sewing would require puncturing holes. Since the material is plastic it could at some point tear at the seam at some point. I have not tried it myself yet – but archival acid free glue might work for mounting Yupo paper.

      1. Elisabeth Larson Koehler

        It shouldn’t! In fact it is quite archival as plastic does not deteriorate like other painting surfaces.

      2. I love Yupo. I’m a watercolorist at heart but I dabble in oils. I got this paper at blicks for watercolor not knowing a single thing about it. Admittedly with watercolor it wasn’t an enjoyable experience. That is unless someone doesn’t mind having little to no control over the medium. I like to paint with a lot of control. So I had this Yupo paper (plastic?) sitting in the studio for awhile and was curious if any of my solvents (Gamsol, Galkyd, Liquin) would ruin the plastic? Also I’m gonna experiment applying gesso to see how it comes along.

        1. Oh yes I could see that painting with watercolor on Yupo would be rather difficult! Yes you could experiment with applying gesso – it should definitely work! Though the great thing about Yupo is that you don’t need to apply any primer to it for painting on it with oils. You can just paint on it directly. It is plastic so it should be able to handle those other things you mentioned – have fun with it! It is a great painting surface.

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