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#30×30 Day 24 : Be Like Water

June 24, 2021

Hey all! Back for another day with the material YUPO.

It really is amazing how much flow you get from this synthetic surface. Once you grasp that in fact the water will continue to flow down to the lowest wet edge it can find – you can begin to harness this effect.

These silhouettes of Japanese traditional costume are some examples of thinking primarily about the outside shape, and letting things go crazy inside.

There’s a second aspect about YUPO, which is that you can wipe away any amount of paint, and get completely back to a white surface.

This sketch had a blotchy black background which I partially removed by wiping with a wet paper towel. It’s a bit like wiping our an oil glaze with turpentine.

I wanted to leave the streaks here, but if I’d kept going, it could be completely clean. I have other sketches that were in fact the third or fourth painting on the same page – just wiping completely down and re-using the sheet immediately.

If you look at the figure, in the center, on the chest, there’s a horizontal white mark. That’s another wiped-out shape. Just a small reminder to myself, you can draw-by-erasing.

As you get used to the combination of making wet-on-dry shapes and lifting out after it dries, or just redrawing with wet paint, you can begin to adjust silhouette edges and reposition shapes as you go.

There is never a point where you can’t wipe out – even the next day, or I expect, even months later you could just start painting on top and erase what went before. You end up with a final shape that looks as spontaneous as the first pass no matter how many times you repaint it.

You can probably tell, after all the serious thinking about watercolor this month, I’m having fun with the rest of my marathon!

Next time I will dispense with these ghostly faces, and try some little portraits.

See you then!


“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” ~Bruce Lee

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Donna Thibodeau permalink
    June 24, 2021 7:57 AM

    I have used Yupo for abstract and landscape with more form but find these figures fascinating! You really take advantage of the fluidity of the medium.

  2. Judy Sopher permalink
    June 24, 2021 9:44 AM

    These are fabulous. Did you use white gouache or is the white the paper itself?

  3. Grimbot permalink
    June 24, 2021 3:29 PM

    These are so beautiful. Will you be selling them?

    • June 24, 2021 3:48 PM

      I’d certainly sell them, I feel like that’s always part of the goal. Got to keep painting somehow :) If you’re interested let’s talk by email : Marc(dot)Taro(at)gmail(dot)com.

  4. Toffolo permalink
    June 24, 2021 7:35 PM

    Such wonderful work.

  5. Tina Koyama permalink
    June 25, 2021 12:20 AM

    Very cool experiments on Yupo! I like to use it with really soft graphite (like 8B or 10B) at life drawing. You can smudge it like charcoal.

    • June 25, 2021 12:06 PM

      ooohh – what about that liquid graphite that comes in a pan? hahah! that might be very cool. :)

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