Uchiyama works with watercolor on Arches paper. She often develops as many as eight compositions at one time, moving on to the next while the paint dries on the last. To begin each work, she waits to “see” a hue on the blank surface. Each additional hue builds off of that original vision, building towards a linear horizontal pattern. Each layer possesses unique physical and material properties: some are opaque; others are translucent; some are painterly; others are flat.
Uchiyama is frequently inspired by the light or atmosphere of a particular location, or a particular landscape, that she encounters in real life. She strives to communicate some aspect of the essence or feeling of that place—its light, shadow, mood, color, tone, texture, or atmosphere—in her work.