This is an example of my work on Yupo paper painted in 2012
For the last seven years I’ve been painting almost exclusively on Yupo paper. “Yupo” prounounced “you poe” with the emphasis on the “you”, is a slick, synthetic white paper that lends itself to lots of experimentation. The paint is not absorbed into the paper like most papers, instead it evaporates. That’s how it dries. And the wonderful thing is that while the paint is wet, you can move it around and manipulate it. Probably even more amazing is that the paint will do unexpected things completely on its own. Due to the slick surface, the paint tends to move and not stay where you’ve placed it.
Now, I love that part about Yupo paper. But there are some artists that really don’t like that unpredictability. As an artist painting on Yupo, I have to give up a great amount of control and just see what the paint is going to do. For that reason I never know what I’m going to paint when I start a painting. I choose some colors, turn on my CD player and start listening to worship music and begin applying the paint to the paper. Over the years I’ve learned various techniques and have come up with a few of my own. As I “play” with the paint I eventually see an image and then further define it. If the image doesn’t work out, it’s not a problem. I just wipe it off and start over.
I first learned about Yupo paper from an abstract artist named Paul Kirby who is a member at Hanover Area Art Guild in Hanover, PA. He was demonstrating how he blew acrylic ink with an atomizer onto Yupo paper.
This is an example of a painting of how I used to paint before Yupo paper.
I was fascinated. When he said he was giving a class, I immediately signed up. I took two classes from him and fell in love with this amazing paper. My brain is always looking for images. I see images in clouds and trees and random things. It’s not something I have much control over. There is no doubt in my mind that the use of Yupo paper opened up a whole new world and expression for my creativity. My style completely changed when I started painting on Yupo. Prior to Yupo, my work was comprised of realistic portraits painted from photos. I painted on canvas with acrylics and sometimes oils. Now my work is comprised of people, but mostly women. And their faces tend not to have features at all. If I don’t see the features of the face, I don’t put them in. Unintentionally, I developed a style that is unique and recognizable by most people. That was a nice benefit of painting on Yupo.
What is Yupo paper? It is the vehicle that God has used to allow my imagination to fly and be seen. What previously was only in my mind is now painted with acrylic inks, acrylic paints and gouache on hundreds of paintings. If you haven’t tried Yupo paper, I would highly recommend you try. If you live near Hanover, PA, I will be teaching two workshops on Feb 22, and March 1st at Hanover Area Art Guild. Contact HAAG to register. Their website is www.hanoverareaarts.com Their number is 717 632-2521 No previous art experience is necessary, just the ability to “see”.
- Artist and Maker: Elly MacKay (munrosheadesigns.com)
- Part 1: Direction (junerollins.wordpress.com)
In 2007 I was working at a health food store in South Central PA and loving it. I was learning about nutrition and working on a certificate in Nutritional Counseling. But in the course of a weekend the direction of my life took a dramatic turn. Some amazing things happened that weekend. I fell on my tail bone, visited a chiropractor, had an art booth at a wine tasting event, had a vivid dream and the direction of my life went from nutrition to painting for God. And I’ve been painting ever since. What started with a dream has turned into a full time career.
It was raining when I came home from work with an arm full of groceries. I slipped and fell hard on my tail bone. My daughter Sophia heard me scream in pain from our house. She came running to see if I was ok. I could get up but I was in pain. The next day I went to see a chiropractor. On a whim I had registered to display some artwork of mine at a wine tasting event in Hanover, PA where I lived. As I filled out the paperwork in her office I wrote down my concern about sitting for hours at my art booth. She was intrigued with my “being an artist”. I explained that I wasn’t a professional artist and that I was just doing it for fun. But she planted a seed that grew over that weekend. I was surprised how well received my art was at the event. Several people paid for pencil portraits I drew for them. I sold several prints and a $250 acrylic original. And then I had the dream. In my dream I was with my father and my Aunt Elisa. We were in some kind of retail place where there was a glass case with jewelry in it. Another women started talking to me. In real life this woman had given me a hair analysis to let me know what nutrients my body was needing. She said to me, “You have the ability to fly.” “Oh, I don’t think I can fly.” My father said, “Oh, you can’t fly.” My Aunt said, “Oh, you can’t fly.” But the woman said to me, “Yes you can. The way that a fish swims in the ocean, you can fly in the air.” I said, “Well, I’ll give it a try.” So I stretched my arms out like wings and jumped up. To my great surprise, I was flying above my Dad and Aunt. There was no ceiling. I looked down at them and shouted, “I can fly!” And then I woke up. I knew exactly what this dream was about. It was about my ability to fly with my art. All my life I had loved to draw and paint but lacked the confidence to pursue it seriously. The reason…. I never thought I was good enough. After this dream, which I knew came from God, I began to pray. As I prayed, I sensed God telling me that He wanted me to paint. But from now on, He wanted me to paint for Him. He didn’t want me to paint to please anyone else but Him. So, I said yes to God because I knew I could paint for Him. It wasn’t about being successful or good enough. It was about fulfilling the dream He had given me. It was about flying. And according to God, flying came naturally for me. Over the years I have pondered this dream in my heart. And I have seen God open doors for me that no one else could open up. This painting called “Dream Come True” speaks of me taking off with my art and painting and flying for God. It has been an amazing journey. And in so many ways the journey is just beginning. On December 2, 2013 I said goodbye to my part-time job as a counselor for four years and am now working full-time as an artist. Since 2007 I have painted over 230 paintings and sold about 80 original paintings, several hundred cards and prints. In this blog I will share the stories that go with my paintings. I will talk about the process I use when I paint. And yes, I do paint while listening to music.
“Dream Come True”