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What's Happening ... 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 and Frame on Jamestown Road in Williamsburg. Other gallery artists will be working and demonstrating there as well.

Artful alphabet icon 140pxAn Artful Animal Alphabet Book Signing ... My latest book, 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 the book. We have a book signing coming up Thursday, June 21 (1:00 to 4:00 pm) at the Book Fair in the Gazette-Journal offices located on Main Street in Gloucester, Virginia. Also, on Friday, June 22 (2:00 to 6:00 pm) we will be signing books at the William and Mary Barnes and Noble Book Store on Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Amazon describes An Artful Animal Alphabet as ... "A children's alphabet book illustrated with colorful and whimsical drawings of animals by the author. Each drawing also includes a paragraph of interesting facts about the animals such as where they live, what they eat and unusual behaviors or characteristics." (Visit the Amazon Website Now)
Please contact me if you have questions or need directions for this event. It will be fun, and I look forward to seeing you there!

Home page main photoThe artwork of Mary Montague Sikes has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her paintings are in the collections of the College of William and Mary Law Library, Media General, Philip Morris, Marriott Hotels, SuperClubs Jamaica, One Capitol Square (Richmond VA), and many more. Her work is also part of numerous private collections in the United States and abroad.

Throughout the years, this artist has explored many different series of work including portraiture early in her career. For her MFA thesis in painting at Virginia Commonwealth University, she created a series of pastel working drawings and large acrylic and oil paintings on canvas of scenes from the Rocky Mountains. A series of joyful tropical foliage paintings followed.

Always enamored with color, Sikes currently is exploring a new series of paintings on stretched canvas that use color and texture to highlight design in her work. To share the joy she finds in this experimental art, she is teaching workshops, "Creating with Texture and Color," at various locations.

Gallery imageFascinated by trips she has taken in recent years to National Parks, Sikes has begun a series of work in pastels of park scenes. These are documented periodically in posts on her blog: Notes Along the Way.

Her latest texture and design paintings are now on view at Crossroads Art Center in Richmond. A major exhibition of her large acrylic canvasses, "Passenger to Paradise", is currently at the Ward Center for Contemporary Art. The Grand Opening of the new facility at 132 North Sycamore Street in Petersburg took place in June 2015....
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