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)
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
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,
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
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,
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
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)