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Watercolor Tutorial of Big Ben on YUPO synthetic paper

December 20th, 2013

Watercolor Tutorial of Big Ben on YUPO synthetic paper

Months ago I began a series of watercolor paintings on YUPO synthetic paper. "Synthetic" meaning plastic.

Painting on a plastic surface with watercolor is tough. The surface takes a long time to dry. You can layer but with difficulty. Oil from finger prints creates a resist for paint (run a cloth with a light application of rubbing alcohol over the surface to remove the oil). However, you can remove the surface paint at any time and get back to the original white of the "paper".

I began the watercolor painting of Big Ben (Clock Tower) on a "rainbow" surface I prepared months ago.

When I create my YUPO abstract surfaces, I put 3-5 pieces on my kitchen floor, wet the tops of the suface, and proceed to walk around the kitchen throwing paint onto the paper randomly. Spattering colors into the puddles encourages color mixing.

I mop up puddles that collect too much water with a squirrel mop watercolor brush. Additionally, I throw salt onto the surface when it has partially dried to develop texture, as well as rubbing alcohol spritzed with a sprayer. Rubbing alcohol repels the watercolor.

This was the abstract image I began with:

Photography Prints

My next step and the most difficult part of painting in this manner is finding the "right" image for the paper. Once dried, I view the paper from different angles until something comes to mind.

In this case, after many months, I finally saw a silhouette of Big Ben in London.

I drew the image onto the paper and began painting.

The finished result:

Art Prints

Layering YUPO is difficult because you cannot run your brush over a dried layer more than once. If you do, you will watch the underlying layer lift off the surface and blend with the colors being painted.

I painted the silhouettes of the background buildings & bridge quickly- lots of water and dark colors.

Big Ben, however, I spent several hours painting. I tried to introduce the colors of the sky into the iconic tower.

I had to photograph the final painting again because of the light reflections in the shadows. Below is the final signed piece:

Sell Art Online

Happy holidays and email if you have any questions/comments/donations.


Ryan Fox

R. Fox Photo/Arts