I’ve always wanted to paint a red barn. One day, as we were heading to the beach last summer, this beautiful barn outside of Castroville California appeared on the side of the road. I took a photo from the moving car and tucked it away in my stash of reference photos thinking I would paint it some day.
There is something iconic about a red barn. I’ve watched countless painters painting a red barn on PBS. Some people will say PBS painters are kind of boring with their landscapes and maybe they are, but I have learned so many techniques and how to move paint around a canvas by watching people like Bob Ross work. For a mostly self-taught painter, these painting shows have been a wonderful resource for me. So, I think in a way, this red barn painting is in homage to all of the painters on PBS kind enough to share their talents and abilities with the world. Thank you, PBS, for having shows like this so regular people like me can become better at their craft! I appreciate you more than you know.
I decided to try painting with a pallete knife and with some paint scrapers I got at the hardware store. I didn’t want this painting to be too fussy and I also really wanted to see if I could create something recognizable using a pallette knife.
I thought it was a really fun way to paint. I am definitely going to try it again.
I don’t think this painting is finished. It needs something. I am just not sure what yet so I am going to leave it alone for a while and see what I think the next time I look at it with fresh eyes. It definitely feels like a technique painting. It’s more about the paint and the pallete knife than about the red barn. I think that happens sometimes when you are learning a new skill.
Have a happy Monday…I hope you are surviving Day Lights Savings time.
I’ve had a lot of people asking me, “What is Yupo paper?” I decided to collect some of my favorite posts and videos of other artists using Yupo paper in their artistic creations and share them with you. Yupo paper is plastic, specifically, it is polypropylene. If you want to know how it is made and its many uses you can check out the manufacturer’s website here.
So, its plastic paper. Sounds weird right? It’s tear free, it’s waterproof, and it’s recyclable. As a watercolorist, I was drawn to it immediately, mostly because the colors were so bright (if you read this blog you know how fond I am of color!) in the alcohol ink paintings I first saw painted on Yupo paper. The reason they were so bright is that the ink wasn’t absorbing into the Yupo paper. It was sitting on the top of it. It looks like stained glass. I later discovered that artists were also painting on Yupo paper with watercolor. The textures created with watercolor can be pretty amazing. I haven’t tried using watercolors on Yupo paper yet, but I plan to try it out soon. Because the paper is waterproof and doesn’t absorb the pigment in the paint (some colors will stain the paper lightly), the paint can be wiped off with water. It can be lifted with a watery paintbrush. It can be completely washed away in a sink if you want to start over. Kind of cool, right? It’s a great foundation to practice on. Here are some amazing videos of people painting on Yupo paper with watercolors so you can see how it works.
This video really highlights the way the paint and water sort of swirl and bead up on the paper:
This video highlights how the paint can be lifted. While waiting for the water to evaporate there is plenty of time to experiment with different textures using felt, stencils and stamps:
This video highlights how splashes of water moves the paint around creating surprises: She sprays water, drops water, wipes ink away. It’s fast and exciting to watch this painting emerge. In the beginning there is a strange overlay of a woman (the artist?), but it goes away quickly and then it is just painting.
The alcohol inks work a little differently. I am going to make some videos to show you how I use alcohol inks on Yupo paper to create my paintings at a later date. For now, take a look at these experts in this media. I can tell you from experience that both of these women are very approachable and love to share tips and teach people how to use alcohol inks. If you want to learn more techniques sign up for their newsletters or take one of their classes.
Karen Walker’s art peacock alcohol ink painting caught my eye in my Facebook feed one day. I tracked her down to ask her what her paintings were made of. I’d never seen such beautiful color before. She was incredibly gracious. She actually emailed me to answer my questions! I am really hoping to take one of her classes soon. She’s incredibly skilled in this medium. If you go to her website and visit her blog you can sign up for her free monthly newsletter. Each newsletter always include a how-to video. I’ve learned so much about how this medium works through her tutorials. I like painting birds and animals so her videos really inspire me.
June Rollins teaches classes and has written several books on using alcohol inks. She paints dreamscapes and they are very striking! This video shows how directly applying rubbing alcohol affects the ink and how painting with alcohol inks on Yupo paper is done quickly and with a lot of movement. The alcohol in the inks evaporates faster than the water in watercolor paint.
These two wonderful women also have a Facebook group. I joined recently. The group is so supportive and produces incredible work. People can join the group if they are committed to the technique. They can be beginners or experts. Here is some of the work from that group in a video put together by June Rollins. This little video shows the diversity of the medium well:
If you still have some questions about how to use Yupo paper or alcohol inks please send me an email. I’d be happy to answer any questions you have or direct you to additional resources. I buy my Yupo paper at Blicks art supplies online. I buy my alcohol inks at Joannes Fabric when they have a 50% off coupon.
If you’d like to hang an original alcohol ink painting on your wall or add a little color to your life please visit my Etsy Shop where you will find my artwork for sale. Art makes an excellent Christmas gift! Tell someone how much you care about them by giving them something hand made and meaningful this year.