BADAS Meetng July 17th 2018
                                     The Weatherley Centre, Biggleswade

                                   Geoff Thorpe ‘Constable Country’ in Watercolour

Geoff is a well known tutor and demonstrator who last visited our Society in July last year. Please
see the write up from then for more of a biography.

On this occasion he chose to paint Dedham Vale with a church tower and water meadows in
watercolour. This he compares to playing chess in so far as it requires a lot of thinking ahead!

Geoff advises using good quality paper, paints and brushes with plenty of water. He prefers
Fabriano  Artistico 300lb rough with White Knight paints. He is a firm believer in mixing his own
colours for instance greens…he never uses a manufacturer’s straight colour. For early summer he
would use cool blue and warm yellow to make cool greens changing to ultra marine blue and lemon
yellow for late summer greens. He keeps all his used colours on a palette and revives them again
and again rather than wasting them. He usually limits his palette and on this occasion chose cobalt
and ultra marine blue, lemon and cadmium yellow, cadmium red, burnt and raw sienna. White acrylic
ink makes his highlights, from Daler Rowney or Ken Bromley (fantastic service). He puts it on an
enamel plate, as it dries out quickly, or sometimes uses a pipette to avoid putting too much on. One
of his favourites for dark details and shadows is neutral tint. His brushes are mainly large No 18’s, a
No 6 Rigger for detail and a squirrel brush for water, he favours ‘Rosemary’s Brushes’ from
Yorkshire  for quality.

Geoff emphasised using a gentle technique allowing the brush, paint and water to do their work and
aims to build layers, layers, layers for his paintings, adding detail later with dry brush , feathering,
dragging with thumbs/fingers etc. He likes to stand at an easel to paint which makes watercolour a
bit of a challenge!

To begin with he put plenty of water on his paper (taped, not wetted or stretched, on a board)
added cobalt blue and raw sienna and then took the board off the easel in order to move it around
slowly to encourage the paints to mingle and move. He often dries with a hairdryer to speed things
up. He preserves areas where the paint is transparent and these become highlights. He also always
lifts out clouds and never tries to paint them in, for the best effect.

Ultramarine blue, lemon yellow and burnt sienna were mixed as a warm tone for the trees first layer,
feathering and leaving gaps. Ultra marine blue with a tiny amount of lemon yellow was used next to
add the trunks with ultra marine blue and burnt sienna giving darker details. He used lemon yellow to
add highlights with plenty of water creating sun and shade. Geoff likes to camouflage the base of
trees with more foliage so they are not too bare and aims to create light and dark areas for good
contrast. He advocates repeating colours throughout the piece for harmony.

He was very chatty during the demonstration giving lots of good tips and a thorough running
commentary. One tip on composition was to add detail at the bottom of a painting inside the
mount/frame and not indicate it dropping out of the bottom of the work because this doesn’t hold
your eye within the painting.

Geoff  finished by saying that he  aims to give tips on technique, colours, methods, boost
confidence and inspire a ‘have a go!’ attitude.