Virginia Opossum

The Virginia opossum or common opossum is the only marsupial found in Canada and the United States. They are little scavengers and what is most interesting to me is that they can cleverly play dead by prompting unpleasant smells, foaming from the mouth and baring teeth.

This is known as ‘play possum’, and it is comforting as when I was looking out for a new beast to paint I came across a lot of dramatically dead possums — very convincing!

This painted opossum is on Yupo paper and was created using a variety of inks and watercolours.

Primary Colours in Inky Avians

Sticky, rich inks on Yupo paper merge together to help me illustrate the bold European goldfinch and American blue jay. Since moving from South London and into Kent I’ve been treated to an abundance of small, cheeky birds. Goldfinches are partial to dandelions, which we have plenty!

I thought I’d illustrate a goldfinch just because I’m thrilled that I get to see them regularly due to my neglectful attitude to gardening. I accompanied my goldfinch with the blue jay just for the lovely contrast in colouration.

Blue Horse Comparisons

I’m going to embarrass myself again with another paper contrast, the drawing may not be as high quality and as proportionally accurate on the cold pressed paper, but ignoring that, the way I use the watercolour and ink is wildly different.

I really enjoy Yupo paper as you can see all mistakes can me amended with virtually no penalty to the paper. The colour sits on the surface swirling and merging into interesting things and doesn’t permanently absorb and stain the paper unlike the cold pressed paper, so you have all the time in the world to make something worth posting about!

Yupo Horse

Cold Pressed Horse

Yupo Hare Comparisons

More hare’s I know but I just had to paint one on my new Yupo paper! He’s quite the stark contrast to my cold pressed watercolour paintings. My hare on the Yupo paper is much simpler, less erratic and more considered.

But my cold pressed watercolour painting sketches I feel I have completely ruined. They were decent ink drawings but when I added watercolours and inks I found it difficult to visualise how I wanted the pieces to go which resulted in a confused mess — not a complete waste though as I feel like it makes excellent contrast to how confident I feel on Yupo paper, and how I was really struggling with traditional paper before.

Yupo Watercolour Hare

Yupo Watercolour Hare

Cold Pressed Watercolour Hare

Cold Pressed Watercolour Hare

Ink Experiments with Yupo

Another interesting quality of Yupo paper — you can carve out images in a relief manner, which reminds me of the process of my drypoint prints. To make my angry wild cat, I drew my image onto the paper, and covered the entire surface of the paper with Indian ink. After the ink was dry, I used the guide drawing underneath to strip off the dry ink layers using wet cotton buds and paper towels to gradually reveal my feline.

I took a different approach with my rat piece, I added Indian ink where I wanted dark areas, and manipulated ink around the original drawing.

Yupo Watercolour Goat

Here I showcase the lovely glassy quality of applying watercolours to Yupo paper! I used just watercolour and ink on this piece, even without alcohol inks you can achieve stunningly vibrant results.

I painted the same goaty face on my regular cold pressed watercolour paper to compare how I get on with both papers, as embarrassing as it is to show — but I feel I redeem myself with my Yupo painting.

Yupo watercolour goat

Cold pressed watercolour goat

As you may have noticed, on my cold pressed watercolour painting I panic and start throwing colour around hoping for a recovery … whilst in my Yupo paper I can strip back colour easily with just a squirt of water, giving me greater confidence and allowing me the time to experiment, go wild and make mistakes without incurring paper ruining consequences!