Trying Something New


Donna Zagotta, Walk With You

I started 2016 with a goal of experimenting with different painting surfaces and different painting techniques because I wanted to shake things up, try something new, and break away from habitual painting methods for awhile. I wanted to just play with watercolor and see what showed up. 

Yupo paper turned out to be the perfect surface for experimenting and playing with the watercolor pigments on my palette because it requires a totally opposite painting approach than my regular Cresecnt #115 Hot Press surface, where I use watercolor and gouache in a heavily painted, multi-layered technique. Yupo is a synthetic paper with a glossy, slick surface. Because it has no tooth, I decided to use traditional transparent watercolor techniques. In my opaque watercolors I use lots of wiping off and repainting in order to create a rich picture surface. On Yupo, paint is much more easily removed and can be wiped down to reveal the original white paper. Very cool!

Because Yupo has no tooth, I couldn’t really control much of what was happening as I moved paint and water around with brushes, spray bottle, and roller. It was an experience of being totally present and engaged in the moment. I watched what was happening and responded quickly and improvisationally. It was both fun and scary and I found that moving paint and water around on Yupo in a variety of ways created beautiful textures that would be impossible to get on my regular painting surface. I added additional texture and mark making with brushes, stamps, Kleenex, paper towels, fabrics, sticks, crayons and anything else I could find in my studio that would alter the surface.  

It was fun to experiment with new ideas and new techniques and I definitely see more Yupo paintings for me in the future.

My painting above, Walk With You, is one of my Yupo paintings, which I’m happy to say was juried into this year’s Rocky Mountain National Watermedia exhibition in Colorado. 

Happy Painting!  


12 thoughts on “Trying Something New

  1. Susan kiedio

    Delighted you are trying Yupo. You are one of my favorite artist and I love following what you are up to. What paints are you trying out on Yupo? I love what happens, the intermingling of the pigments. What delightful surprises

    1. Donna Post author

      Hi Susan – thanks for commenting and for your kind words! For the Yupo paintings I’m using the same working palette of watercolors (mainly Holbein watercolors) that I use for my opaque watercolors, but in transparent rather than opaque techniques and limited color schemes.

  2. Eileen Sudzina

    You will learn to love YUPO more than any other surface for all the reasons you said.
    What else is cool no one, not even you, can exactly copy your work. It is definitely one of a kind.
    Great piece, love the twirls. It’s hard not to be a pattern and texturalist painter on YUPO.

    1. Donna Post author

      Hi Eileen! Great to hear from you – you are one of my favorite artists working on Yupo! I love what you said about falling in love with Yupo precisely because of all it’s unpredictable and uncontrollable qualities. And one of the things I do love about it is working more with pattern and texture.

      I hope your painting is going well. I loved meeting and working with you in Pittsburg!

  3. Ruth Armitage

    Hi Donna, Congratulations on the RMNW show – I can see why this painting was chosen! I admire your adventurous spirit in trying new things! I always look forward to your posts too.

    1. Donna Post author

      Hi Ruth – great to hear from you! And congratulations to you for being juried into the RMNW exhibition!!! I feel it’s such a great honor to have a painting in a show chosen by juror Katherine Chang Liu.

    1. Donna Post author

      Thanks for commenting Darleen. Ah yes – that old “RUT” problem – fueled by fear and apathy. I see a post on this topic in the future!

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