Watercolor Painting on Yupo Paper With Wax Resist

Yupo, a synthetic paper made from polypropylene, offers an amazing surface to work on for watercolor painting. Because it’s waterproof, when watercolor painting on yupo paper, the paint dries only by evaporation, creating really nice watercolor textures in the process. Another nice advantage painting on yupo is that if you make a mistake, you can wipe it off as long as the colors are not staining, which is really nice because watercolor is not always the most forgiving medium to work with.

Watercolor of Flower, on Yupo Paper

Oil pastels are usually made from a mixture of oil and wax, and act as a resist the same way you can use wax crayons as a watercolor resist. Oil pastels come in very handy when trying to get more defined edges and a bit more control on the paint when working on yupo paper.

Want to try out this technique? Follow this tutorial on how to use oil pastels as a resist when watercolor painting on yupo paper!

What you’ll need:

  • yupo paper
  • watercolor paint (I recommend using no more that 10 colors, and try to mix all your colors from them)
  • oil pastels or wax crayons
  • alcohol
  • a soft cloth
  • a few brushes
  • watercolor palette

Spray and Cloth Wipe for Watercolor Painting on Yupo

Step 1:

Clean the yupo paper. (Any fingerprint will show and repel the paint.)

Wiping Yupo Paper

For this, you can use a soft cloth and alcohol.

Oil Pastels

Note: I selected a few colors of oil pastels. If you don’t want your outline to show, you can use a white oil pastel instead.

Drawing with Oil Pastels

Step 2:

Draw the outline of your subject with oil pastels. If you make a mistake, you can take off some of the pastel with alcohol sprayed on the soft cloth.

Outline of Flower in Oil Pastels

This technique works better with simple designs, such as these flowers.

selecting your palette - paints

Step 3:

Select your paints. (I selected a palette of seven colors: Phtalo Blue, Payne’s Gray, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Lemon Yellow, Permanent Red Violet, Madder Lake Light and Permanent Red.)

Placing Paints in Palette

Tip: A watercolor palette allows you to mix the colors you need in the bigger wells from the colors you selected.

Painting with Watercolors on Yupo

Step 4:

Start painting! The lines you traced with oil pastels will keep the paint from spreading all over the paper and give you a bit more control on the paint. I am not trying to stay totally inside the lines in this example –I think a bit of the flower color mixing with the background is also nice.

Blending Paints

To paint lighter areas, you can take off a bit of paint with a thirsty brush.

Here you can see I am letting a bit of orange mix with pink on the paper.

Mixing Paints and Colors on Paper

When the flowers are painted they look like this. I worked on the flowers before working on the background, but you could paint the elements of your painting in whatever order you feel comfortable with.

Using a Tissue Paper to Remove Paint

If you find you added too much paint in an area, like the background in this case, which I find too dark, you can take off the wet paint with a piece tissue paper.

Rewetting an Area to Rework

You can also re-wet any area you want to rework, as I am doing here with the background.

Finished Painting - Watercolor Painting on Yupo

Here is the finished painting. As the watercolor pigments are just sitting on the surface of this very smooth paper, they could be lifted off by scratching or by contact with water, so the painting will need to be framed.

[box type=”shadow”]Master techniques for painting watercolor flowers with interactive help from award-winning artist Mary Murphy in her class Watercolor Flower Bouquet.[/box]

Have you tried painting with watercolors on yupo paper? What was your biggest challenge?

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