More snow today and ice too. It goes with the territory but somtimes I just have to whine about the weather. The older I get, the quicker I am ready for spring. Winter seems way too long this year, more than ever. (And then there's Tracy Wandling up in the dark, deep freeze of the Canadian wilderness. I better quit whining.)

The tulips here were lifted out of the wet, dark background - done quite a few years ago after taking a Cheng Khee Chee workshop at Kanuga south of Asheville, North Carolina.

Each spring, they have a wonderful creatively charged week of top notch watermedia instruction with up to a dozen instructors, all in a wooded setting by a lake. Each artist signs up for one instructor for four days. The evenings are packed with programs, and the energy there is awesome.

I haven't been able to go for two years and have really missed it. This April, I get to go back and will be in George James' class. YES! Hurry springtime.

"LIFTING OUR HEADS HIGH" Transparent Watercolor on 140#CP Arches, 22 x 15" SOLD



This painting looks incredibly dark to me now, but it was one of the very first "I-finally-got-the-paint-to-go-almost-where-I-wanted" YUPO paintings that I did. I've mentioned before that it took me about two years of trying and failing before I figured out how to manage painting on this slick surface. Now I absolutely love painting on it.
The strong blue in the dark shape on the far right is an example of a pushy color. That pigment was not as finely ground as the others around it, and when added to finely ground wet pigments, it 'swam' underneath them and pushed them out of the way, creating either a fantastic or irritating shape. Now I've figured out when to use the pushy colors and when to steer clear of them. Most sedimentary colors are 'pushy.'
For those of you trying YUPO, I've printed a list below that I hand out in my classes regarding the colors that are pushy. The ones with an *asterisk are extra pushy, and I'm sure there are more than what I've listed. Most of what I use are Daniel Smith brand, but the same pigment in another brand should react the same way.
YELLOWS = *Bismuth Yellow, all Cadmiums, Naples Yellow, Nickel Azo Yellow, Nickel Titanate Yellow
EARTH COLORS & NEUTRALS = Indian Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Mars Yellow, Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber, *Lunar Earth, *Lunar Red Rock, Burnt Sienna, Brown Madder, Raw Umber, Graphite Gray, *Lunar Black, *Minnesota Pipestone, *Burnt Tiger's Eye, and most all the other *Prima Tek colors by Daniel Smith, (since they're made from earth pigments and not finely ground)
ORANGES = Permanent Orange, Cadmium Orange, Perinone Orange
REDS & PINKS = Indian Red, Venetian Red, all Red Cadmiums, Pyrrol Scarlet, Pyrrol Red, *Potter's Pink
VIOLETS, PURPLES, LAVENDARS = Raw Umber Violet, Côte d' Azur Violet, Mars Violet, Rose of Ultramarine, Ultramarine Red, Manganese Violet, Cobalt Violet, *Cobalt Violet Deep, Ultramarine Violet, Cobalt Blue Violet
BLUES = French Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, *Cerulean, *Manganese Blue (true Maganese,) *Cobalt Teal Blue, *Blue Ochre Vivianite, *Lunar Blue, *Genuine Lapis Lazuli
GREENS = Prussian Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Green Pale, Cobalt Green, Terre Verte, Chromium Green Oxide, Bohemian Green Earth, Undersea Green, Olive Green, Rich Green Gold, *dGreen Gold, *Malachite, *Serpentine Green
I discovered that if I used only the 'pushy' colors together in an area on YUPO, the colors behaved since they had a similar weight or size of particle. If we asked Bruce MacEvoy (see HANDPRINT on side bar) why the paints behave differently on YUPO, he would be able to give us an accurate, well documented, and scientific reason for the movement of the paints. But I just guessed what was happening according to the way they behaved and what properties I knew they had in common. The metal pigments like cobalts and cadmiums I figured were heavier, too.
It was so weird at first to watch a normally quiet color like a cobalt charge into and actually take over a normally bossy color like a phthalo. How the paints behaved was so opposite to how they acted on regular paper, and it drove me nuts at first. Once I figured out to keep similarly ground pigments together unless I wanted some action, I loved working on YUPO.
George James' videos from Creative Catalyst Productions also give wonderful info about handling YUPO. He is THE Master, and I admire him and his work immensely!
FYI - The name YUPO was derived from the names of the parent companies, formerly Mitsubishi Petrochemical (Yuka in Japanese) Co., Ltd (presently Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation) and Oji Paper Co., Ltd, thus forming a "paper bridge" between the two. 'YUPO' is always capitalized, too. Cheap Joe says it's pronounce like 'You Poor' without the 'r' on the end. Painting on YUPO is a blast!
"THE LINE UP" Transparent Watercolor on YUPO 16 x 12" SOLD



Our older son loves to fish, and he says that this is one of his favorite paintings that I've done. Created on YUPO paper, this time with a totally different approach, the painting really astounded me with how it turned out.

The bubbles "showed up" when I spritzed Murphy's Oil Soap, mixed half and half with water, onto the wet paint. By tipping the paper slightly, I was able to suggest a lot of movement in the water.

I made sure the fish area was a darker shape while all the paint was still wet. I'd miskited the white lines on the the fish before I ever added paint to the YUPO surface, and it was easy to lift off the miskit after the paint dried by using some rolled up masking tape.

Final touches were to paint in the details needed on the fish. Oil and water don't mix, but they sure helped make a believable deep blue sea!

"DEEP" Transparent Watercolor on YUPO 26 x 20"



I've sewn one quilt square in my life for a quilt we made for our Quaker preacher and his wife. I love to look at quilts and always go nuts in a fabric store with all the cool batik fabrics, but sewing is too frustrating for me. So I paint the quilts.

Artist Peggy Brown from Nashville, Indiana, actually paints right on cotton fabric, then stitches the fabric to create beautiful watercolor wall hangings. You can check out her work at http://www.peggybrownart.com/.

This painting was not done on cotton paper or fabric, but on the synthetic paper that used to be called Kimdura and is now called YUPO. I really like how the colors painted on YUPO stay lively and vibrant. They sit right on top of the paper and never soak in like they do on cotton paper.

Today in class, Kathy created a fantastic painting in just a couple of hours on YUPO. There was a lot of creative energy in Tuesday's class, with some really good work being created. I can't wait to see the results next week.

It's so invigorating to paint on this slick YUPO surface. I just love it.

"QUILTER" Transparent Watercolor on YUPO 16 x 38"


It's blustery and cold for these parts. Digging through old photos of paintings, I found this one which I'd painted on a winter day just like today's was, but on location outside of Boston.

I was visiting my sister maybe 16 years ago, and this was looking out her dining room window onto her backyard in that rural area. Later that evening after this was painted, we went out to supper, and by the time we got home and pulled into the driveway, it was lightly snowing. The headlights of Marilyn's car shined into the edge of the woods, where we both saw a very, very long thick tail on a very large blonde animal that was leaping over the low stone wall shown in this painting. We looked at each other with the BIGGEST eyes. We were actually scared to jump out of the car and hurry inside.

The next morning, we looked in the mud and snow by the old stone wall and found cat paw prints about the size of a man's fist, maybe a little bigger. Needless to say, I did not go on any long walks while I was there. It was in a beautiful area and only about 40 minutes outside Boston.

When we drove into Boston that weekend to visit the museum, I saw my first bald eagle flying right above us over the interstate --- with a fish in its talons. Amazing! I lived in rural Indiana at the time but had to go to the big city in the east to see wildlife. And over the interstate, no less!

"BIG CAT COUNTRY" Transparent Watercolor on 140# on handmade Nujabi Indian Paper (with no sizing - most difficult paper I've ever tried to paint on) 22 x 15" SOLD