Formerly The College Watercolor Group - 601-986-5152 - grayswatercolors@rcn.com


About the Artists

Beginning in 1968, more than a dozen artists produced original watercolor paintings under the brush surname 'Gray' - beginning at the same time Gray's Watercolors became the working company name. Prior to that time, originals were produced under a half-dozen names/brush names. Any print bearing the signature of Paul McConaughy, Paul Andrews, Peter Sawyer, David Gilbert, Jack Westridge, or Wayne Johnson can be dated between 1965 and 1968.

Following are the brief biographies of a number of the artists who produced original artwork, in the order of dates of initial association with the organization:


Paul McConaughy, (Peter Gray) 
circa 1968

Peter Gray (Paul McConaughy, 1934- ) is the initial artist of Gray's Watercolors (initially called The College Watercolor Group).

McConaughy, who grew up in West Orange and Ridgewood, New Jersey, received his B.A. degree in History of Fine Arts from Cornell University and pursued graduate studies in both the School of Printing Management and Carnegie School of Fine Arts at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon) in Pittsburgh.

His interest in watercolors began in the early 1950's when he studied, then instructed, under Adele Hepbron (American Watercolor Society) in the Lake George region of the Adirondacks, where he also exhibited and won awards for his work. Later, during a stint in the U.S. Air Force, he received significant recognition for his watercolor work in seascapes and portraiture, winning first place in exhibitions and competitions in galleries in the Ft. Walton Beach - Gulf Coast area.

In 1965, he painted the first college campus series for The College Watercolor Group, four watercolors of Cornell University, Cornell in Autumn, which established the model for the paintings to be reproduced by Gray's - detailed, highly representative watercolors of familiar landmarks in and around an area.

The Cornell series, and later a series of Rutgers University, were published under his own name, Paul McConaughy. From that time, and well into 1967, his work for The College Watercolor Group appeared under a variety of brush names: Peter Sawyer, David Gilbert, Jack Westridge, Wayne Johnson. With the changing of the company name to Gray's Watercolors, all his paintings for the organization appeared under the brush name Peter Gray.

Sal Asaro (Paul Andrews, later Foster Gray)
Paul Andrews, later Foster Gray

Foster Gray was the first artist to join Paul McConaughy in producing original artwork for The College Watercolor Group (later, Gray's Watercolors). In 1967, he began work under the brush name Paul Andrews; subsequently - between 1968 (with the company name change) and 1975 - his work appeared under the brush name Foster Gray.

Foster Gray graduated from Pratt Institute in New York City in 1955. An accomplished watercolorist, he won awards in various competitions and exhibited in the Penobscot Bay region of Maine and at the Clinton Art Center in New Jersey. During his tenure at Gray's, he was also an art instructor at Mercer County Community College, and as a commercial artist, he worked with a number of corporations in the medical, space, and pharmaceutical industries, producing highly detailed, complex drawings.

 


E. B. Walden (Davis Gray), the most prolific of the Gray's artists, pictured here in 1968

Davis Gray (E. B. Walden, 1929-1995) was born in Teaneck, New Jersey, but spent much of his early years in Palisades, New York, then in New York City before returning to New Jersey.

He graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from Dartmouth College in 1952, where he was honored with a one-man show in his senior year and where he won the Student of the Year Award and the Dartmouth College Purchase Prize for a painting which now hangs in the permanent collection. While at Dartmouth, he studied under Paul Sample, and later as a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, he painted under Franklin Watkins, Walter Steumpfig, and John McCoy. He assisted in the preparation of the major art exhibit 'Art USA' in New York City and exhibited there in the Juster Gallery, where a series of his work was chosen to appear in 'The Exhibition of American Paintings and Drawings from 1900 to the Present.' He also exhibited in the Waverly Gallery and the Wickersham Gallery, and in 1966, the galleries of the School of Visual Arts included his work in their exhibition, 'The Landscape,' as did The National Academy of Design (NYC) in their 25th anniversary commemoration of the Audubon Artists.

At various times, beginning in college, Walden produced book jackets and illustrations for J.B. Lippincott Publishers and for Dodd, Mead Publishers, and over the years won a number of other prizes for his work, including first prize for watercolor at the Springfield (MA) Museum of Fine Arts.

Walden began his work for Gray's in 1967, under the brush name 'Davis Gray,' chosen for its resemblance to 'Davy's Gray' - one of the names of the watercolor color spectrum, a similarity which amused and pleased him. His love of American history is evident in his hundreds of carefully researched and finely detailed watercolor prints of historic scenes and events, many of the American Revolution.

He was the most prolific of the Gray's artists, producing hundreds of original paintings for reproduction. He was one of the artists who worked at various times in the on-site studios of Gray's.


Allan Hunter (Allan Gray), circa 1970

Allan Gray (Allan Hunter), like his colleague and friend E.B. Walden, is a graduate of the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts, where he was the recipient of the coveted Ramborger Prize. His work has been exhibited widely - literally from coast to coast - from the Castano Gallery in Boston to the Hunter Gallery in San Francisco, winning numerous awards.

Hunter joined Gray's in 1968 and was the second artist to produce watercolor artwork under the surname 'Gray,' working from his home studio in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.

Wilson Gray (David Bareford, 1947- ) began studying art - and winning prizes - under Lawrence Von Beidel during his high school years in Warren, New Jersey. He subsequently spent two years at Wheaton College in Illinois and in 1970 graduated with a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Montana in Missoula.


David Bareford, AWS (Wilson Gray), circa 1975

After college, Bareford pursued his career as a watercolorist in New England and gained national recognition when his work was included in the American Watercolor Society's Traveling Exhibition. He continued to exhibit and to receive numerous awards exhibiting in such juried shows as the National Academy of Design Annual Exhibition in New York City and the American Watercolor Society.

His memberships include the American Watercolor Society, the New Jersey Watercolor Society, Allied Artists of America, among others, and his work is included in a number of fine private and corporate collections, including Sears Collection (Illinois), AT&T (New York), World Trade Corporation (Washington, DC).

Bareford was one of the Gray's artists between 1975 and 1979, producing series for both colleges and financial institutions. Today he works primarily in oils and has an annual one-man show at the Quester Gallery of Marine Art in Stonington, Connecticut.

James Gray (Jim McBride, 1931-1982) began painting watercolors for Gray's in 1972 and continued until the time of his death in 1982.


Jim McBride, AWS (James Gray), circa 1976

McBride was a noted Indiana artist, widely acclaimed throughout the Mid-West and beyond for his art - and widely appreciated for his personal warmth and easy-going manner.

Although a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, McBride, after three years at the Fort Wayne Art Institute, broadened his perspective by studying for three years at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; The Cape Cod School of Art, Provincetown, Mass; and the Barnes Foundation of Modern Art, Merion, PA. After his years of study, McBride returned to Fort Wayne where he maintained a spacious and airy studio in the heart of the city.

He exhibited regularly in such national shows as Watercolor U.S.A., Springfield, Missouri; National Society of Casein Painters; and The American Watercolor Society, New York City. His work was recognized with numerous awards, among them awards from The American Watercolor Society, Watercolor U.S.A, Rocky Mountain National, and National Society of Painters in Acrylic, NYC. His paintings are in such permanent collections as the Fort Wayne Art Institute, Indiana National Bank, Indiana State University, and Ball State University.

He was a gifted teacher as well as artist.

Other artists working under the Gray surname: Jacob Gray, Tavis Gray, Bennett Gray, Hart Gray, Stephen Gray, Flannery Gray, Henry Gray, and Paul Gray.


Mary Elizabeth Johnson, circa 1989

Mary Elizabeth Johnson (1915-1998), a graduate of Pratt Institute, was accomplished in all mediums, including watercolor. She was the premier stencil cutter for Gray's and holds the record for the longest association with the company, beginning in 1968 and continuing until near her death in 1998, at 83. Her extraordinary talent for color and her steady hand were significant in the fine detailing of the Gray's prints. Prior to joining Gray's, Mrs. Johnson worked for many years as an artist for Hallmark Cards.

 

 

Three women significant in the success and quality of the Gray's prints , from left to right: Veronica Chromeck , assistant Production Supervisor and color blender; Betty Rouse, Production Supervisor and print finisher; and Angela Meister, multi-talented copy artist and early Assistant General Manager

Pictured above: Members of Gray's staff (and family members) at a company picnic in 1989. Several of the Gray's originating artists, as well as those responsible for the design and development of other aspects of Gray's, from origination of programs and scene selection to preparation of pochoir stencils, color blending, and finishing, are pictured, along with a number of the copy artists. (Photo by Joseph Zuzic)

For further information concerning Gray's Watercolors, you may call (610) 867-5087- or email the company at grayswatercolors@rcn.com.