Then and Now: Watercolors 1973 – 1980 and 2017 – 2020
November 1 – 30 • RCC Hunters Woods


Then and Now: Watercolors 1973 – 1980 and 2017 – 2020 Exhibit

In 1972 Geoffrey Lipsey was teaching high school math and physics in Atlanta, GA, when he saw his first watercolor painting demonstration. The artist was Robert E. Wood, nationally known as one of the finest contemporary painters working in the California Watercolor Style. Wood demonstrated broad gestural brushwork, large format, and bold use of full pigment color contrasting with bright areas of unpainted white paper. It was exciting both to watch the process and to see the results.

Geoff previously had no formal art training, but he was fortunate to find excellent teachers – first Jack Shields in Atlanta, then Carolyn Grosse Gawarecki in Northern Virginia. They taught fundamental techniques for working with watercolor medium. Several paintings exhibited here are from Geoffrey’s initial learning period (1973-1980).

As those who work with water media know, watercolor is time intensive. The artist must plan carefully before touching brush to paper, because it is hard to get the white paper effects back. And the paper often must be allowed to dry before adding paint in adjacent areas. As career and family responsibilities became more time-consuming, Geoff set his paints aside.

In 2017, he decided to start painting again. He found classes at RCC given by Lubna Zahid and Diane Ellor that provided the technical training he was looking for. He wanted to focus on composition and design to assess why he was attracted to a particular subject and how to capture that response.

This exhibition combines Geoff’s recent work in design and composition with the more loose and gestural approach to painting from earlier years.

Geoff works across most of the traditional subject areas including landscape, still-life, figure/portrait, and abstract. Some are realistic, some more abstracted. In general, his work features undiluted pigments, rich darks, and the full range of values – a testament to the enduring influence of his initial exposure to California Watercolor Style.

Geoff commented: “For those of you whose artwork has lapsed, I hope this exhibition will encourage you to give it a try again. For those who have never painted but always thought you might like to try, just do it.”