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I just got back from a lec­ture on color by Gray­don Par­rish. He’s one of the great mod­ern Amer­i­can real­ists (here are a cou­ple of links, plus a bad, and unwar­ranted, review of his lat­est paint­ing by the New York Times).

I’m still digest­ing what Gray­don had to say; more about it later. Gray­don is a great pro­po­nent of the Mun­sell color sys­tem. If I didn’t already have a decent under­stand­ing of Mun­sell color ter­mi­nol­ogy, I would have got­ten much less out of the lec­ture. He lives and breathes it, even to the point of using color chips from the Mun­sell set to directly deter­mine col­ors on a model or object as the start­ing point for his color mixes. Of the 1600 color chips in the Mun­sell set, Gray­don says that he’s mixed and tubed about 800. Yes, he’s that hard core.

I also got to meet a num­ber of peo­ple whom I had pre­vi­ously inter­acted with only online, includ­ing Jeff Freed­ner (who some­times com­ments here as Pain­ter­dog) and Rob Howard, the mod­er­a­tor of the Cen­nini Forum and the pub­lic face of Stu­dio Products.

I had a great time. Much to think about.

Posted in color, personal.

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7 Responses

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  1. jeff freedner says

    Wow is the right word David. Gray­don has an amaz­ing mind and is extremly well versed. From read­ing his com­ments on the Cen­nini Forum and today’s demo I have come to the con­clu­sion that this guy is in class of his own. He mixed and tubed 800 col­ors based on Mun­sell! Hard core indeed, I think Mr. Mun­sell would have been very pleased indeed.

    It was great meet­ing you today. The lec­ture was an eye opener for me to. It became more appar­ent as I was dri­ving home.
    Yes much to think about. I did have short con­ver­sa­tion with Gray­don about trans­parency and shad­ows and how the sys­tem could be worked with that as ooposed to 19 cen­tury paint­ing.
    It’s pretty simple(in theory)you have a toned can­vas or panel, and you work up the edge of the shadow, the trick is to find the right gray value to turn into the trans­par­ent shadow.

  2. Erik says

    The NY Times arti­cle was spot on. Mr. Par­rish has fig­ured out how to make a 19th cen­tury paint­ing. Con­grat­u­la­tions.
    Of course this is 2007……

  3. David says


    You’re enti­tled to your opin­ion, of course. I dis­agree. I have not seen the paint­ing itself, but from the pho­tos I’ve seen it is very impres­sive. While it uses some ele­ments of paint­ings from the 19th cen­tury (as all artists ref­er­ence pre­vi­ous work), no rea­son­able per­son could con­fuse Mr. Parrish’s paint­ing with one from a pre­vi­ous cen­tury, sub­ject mat­ter aside.

  4. Rodrigo says

    Take any notes you could share with us?? I’d love to know what stood out to you really great web­site! keep it up!

  5. David says


    Gray­don requests that work­shop par­tic­i­pants not post their notes for pub­lic access. So, other than to say that the focus is on using Mun­sell color chips as a stan­dard against which color mix­ing can be accom­plished, I am not at lib­erty to post exten­sive infor­ma­tion on the lec­ture. Sorry.

  6. Rodrigo says

    Com­pletely under­stand­able, I’m sorry to have sounded naïve I just get so excited. = ) I guess my real ques­tion then is, does any­one know if/when Gray­don is sched­ul­ing another lecture?

  7. David says


    I’m sorry, but I don’t know whether or when Gray­don Par­rish might be giv­ing another color lecture.

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