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What’s Happening   Mary Montague Sikes   June 2018



When I work on Yupo, I get lots of questions about the process. After all, Yupo has a slick synthetic surface completely different from the usual look and feel of watercolor papers such as Arches.

I discovered Yupo in the mid-1990s while taking a workshop with Mary Alice Braukman in Williamsburg. At the time, we experimented briefly with alcohol inks dripped on the surface and moved around with alcohol sprays. The color shifted and moved as it dried, making it fun to watch. I was hooked on the paper that wasn't. I did some research and found that Yupo, used for printing, was manufactured in Chesapeake, Virginia. Since it was not far away, I went to the plant and was given a variety of samples of some very large sheets of Yupo in all the different weights they made at the time. I was thrilled. The experimentation continued.

It was not until I discovered Mary Ann Beckwith in 2004 that I uncovered the most exciting aspects of working with Yupo. She introduced me to the amazing and intense Robert Doak paints that he created in his Brooklyn, New York studio. Playing and spraying paint on heavyweight sheets of Yupo produced art pieces like nothing I had ever seen before. I loved it. Mary Ann used her background in chemistry, inspired by her chemist father, to lead her students to the discovery of exciting creative results using a variety of materials.

Thanks to the wonderful teachers I have encountered along the way and the growth of the Yupo market, my journey in experimental work has grown and expanded. The more I learn about working on Yupo, the more I enjoy the process.

"I Love Yupo" is the title of my demonstration during the Saturday, June 23, 2 to 4 p.m. "Paris Picnic” event at Prince George Art & Frame on Jamestown Road in Williamsburg. Other gallery artists will be working and demonstrating there as well.


An Artful Animal Alphabet


An Artful Animal Alphabet features my paintings of favorite animals. This is a hardcover book both children and adults will enjoy because it is a colorful children’s read and also a fun coffee table book for those with a special love of animals. Old Pompey, the last alligator that lived in the lobby of the Jefferson Hotel, is featured in the beginning of my book.


Thursday, June 21

1 to 4 p.m. Book Fair

Gazette-Journal offices

Main Street

Gloucester, VA


Friday, June 22

2 to 6 p.m. Book Signing

William & Mary Barnes & Noble

Duke of Gloucester St.

Williamsburg, VA




Evening of the dragonfly

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