Color of the Year…Really???

January 15th, 2014

Radiant Orchid


It is with dismay that I greet the anouncement from Pantone of their color of the year, Radiant Orchid. This proclamation like others in the past, Mimosa, Honeysuckle, etc. seem to have no material affect on what we  see in the real world of paint sales. I have never once witnessed an increase, or even anecdotal use of,  the colors that are handed down from on high each year.

While I understand the mission of Pantone is to give a universal voice to color space, by encouraging the cross pollination of said, between fashion, advertising, and products of all sorts, it nevertheless leaves me bewildered when it comes to architectural paint colors.

The very title itself, “Color of the Year”, implies that somehow people are inclined to repaint their homes every year. If that is in fact not the case (which I don’t believe it is), why then would someone want to lock themselves into a color trend that has the life expectancy of last year’s hottest electronic device!

There are many reasons for the colors that we choose to live with for years and in some cases decades. These range from influences from the natural environment, all the way to personal preferences. I still remember one of my first painting jobs as a young boy was for a woman in the neighborhood that LOVED red! Her kitchen was RED, her aluminum awnings on the outside of her windows were RED, this woman loved RED. My mother on the other hand, would have never let me paint anything in our house red. Which of these women were correct? The answer is both.

There is no reason not to have the colors that you love surrounding you each day in your personal environment. In fact nothing could be more stimulating, soothing, and reassuring in a world where we have so little control over most things. Human response to color is well documented, but we each bring something special to this equation, our own personal experience and biases. I have been asked many times in my years as a colorist to choose a paint color for a particular room. It has always been a challenge to not let my own personal color preferences  interfere with choosing colors that the client would ultimately find satisfying and enduring.

As challenging as that job has been, it has never been made easier by relying on any particular color trend, or for that matter the latest “Color of the Year”. For more of my thoughts on this click on the link above to an article in The San Francisco Chronicle.



C2 LUXE Gloss

October 20th, 2013

Luxe ad

Years in the making, C2 LUXE gloss is finally available. Given the recent popularity of gloss finishes, I have been eagerly awaiting the latest member of the LUXE family. Like all other LUXE finishes, LUXE Gloss is formulated to have an elegant hand. This gives LUXE Gloss an incredibly smooth feel that is irresistable.

Use LUXE Gloss wherever you want a striking accent, such as interior trim, cabinets, or even an accent wall. You can also use LUXE Gloss on incidental exterior surfaces such as front doors or shutters. Gloss finishes are not recommended over large dimensionally unstable surfaces sush as wood siding, due to the hardness of the resins used. This can cause premature cracking.

Now you can enjoy your favorite C2 and Philip’s Perfect Colors in a brilliant new sheen. The “wet look” is back, so indulge yourself in the most beautiful full spectrum liquid color ever. C2 LUXE Gloss, redefining the art of color.

C2 LUXE…Feel It to Believe It

August 8th, 2013

C2 Luxe ad

C2 LUXE is the latest product innovation from C2 Paint. This time around we focused not only on the usual metrics of paint quality, hide, spatter resistance, ease of application,  and durability, but also on something we refer to as hand.

Hand is a term we use to describe the feel of the paint film itself. We already achieved the ultimate in full spectrum color formulation with our new MCL waterborne colorant system, creating colors with unmatched luminosity, so now it was time to develop a paint so beautiful that it makes you want to reach out and touch it. Don’t worry C2 LUXE is durable enough to withstand repeated washings, so go ahead and feel the difference. I’m confident that when you try C2 LUXE you will agree that it is in a class of its own.

Full spectrum color, state-of-the-art pigments, incredible durability, elegant smooth hand, what could possibly be next? Don’t worry we’ll think of something. At C2 we never stop obsessing about paint and color, because we know how crucial it is to creating beautiful, harmonius living environments. C2 Paint, luxurious handcrafted color.

Remodelista Rocks

May 28th, 2013

Memorial Day 2013 022

Once again I was privileged to  have been asked by my good friends at Remodelista to give some expert tips on painting. Click on the link to read Sarah Lonsdale’s interview with me that was posted on their site last Friday. While you’re at it check out all of the great design featured on their terrific site. The picture above is how I spent Memorial Day Weekend.


Simply the Best (pigments)

May 21st, 2013

pigments in Venice

It’s been a long time in the making (5 years to be exact), but at long last I am happy to announce the introduction of an entirely new and best-in-class colorant system from C2 Paint. ( Our product development team in collaboration with CPS Color, a world leader in paint color technology (, have created a colorant system unique to the architectural paint world.

At C2 Paint we pride ourselves on never standing still or resting on our laurels. As great as our colorant was previously, (the first of its kind 16 colorant European tinting system in North America), we knew instinctively that we had to keep looking. What we found is arguably the best array of pigments to ever be put into a can of paint.

Let’s talk a little bit about the difference between pigments and colorants. These two words are often confused or misused when describing paint color. the word pigment refers to the raw ingredients that bring the color to the equation as shown in the Venetian pigment shop above. These are most often broken down into two categories, organic and inorganic. Now contrary to what we commonly consider organic, in the pigment world organic refers to synthetic pigments created in the laboratory through the application of organic chemistry. These pigments tend to be the brighter ones not easily found in natural form(magenta, bright yellow, bright red, etc.) The inorganic pigments are the earth pigments that actually look more organic  (oxide yellow, red oxide, carbon black, etc.) So you can see how this gets a bit confusing.

Colorants are the combination of raw pigments with other ingredients (extenders, surfactants, vehicle, etc.) to create the liquid that is dispensed into the paint base when you purchase a gallon of paint at your local store. Here is where the rubber meets the road, or shall we say, the color hits the wall!

Many companies because of the cost and complexity of the undertaking I am describing use an off the shelf colorant system made by one of several large global manufacturers. These systems are commonly referred to as universal colorants. These colorant systems can be dispensed into either a water based paint or an oil based paint. While this sounds great,  it is actually a compromise in quality as the colorant cannot be optimized for either paint that it is being used in.

In the case of C2′s latest innovation the colorant is 100% waterborne and designed only for water-based paints. The key differentiator here is that this colorant is resin containing. The resins contained in the colorant allow it to be less of a contaminant to the base paint that it is put into. The advantages of this are many. Key among them are light-fastness (color fade), color crocking (color rubbing off the wall when scrubbed), and more stable viscosity (deeper colors are not thinner and more difficult to apply). So you see this is a monumental step forward in paint color technology.

Yet with all that said, it is the pigments themselves that are the real jewels in our crown. The use of cobalt blue, biva yellow, oxide green, and other rare artisan grade pigments, puts C2 in a class all its own. Their unparalleled quality guarantees a paint job that will bring you years of beauty and durability.

You may be wondering about the cost of such precious ingredients. Yes, that is the main reason why others have not gone to the lengths that C2 has…cost. As with anything precious there is always additional cost involved, but because of C2′s unique co-op structure we are able to bring the world this extraordinary product at a price that is comparable to other commonly known brands on the market today. This is the C2 advantage that others cannot match. Our co-op of highly skilled independent paint retailers offer service and dedication not found at mass retailers or your local corporately owned paint store. Because C2 is owned by the retailers that sell it, we are able to deliver a higher quality product at a price that represents its real value.

What all of this means for you is access to the most beautiful full spectrum colors available, (more on full spectrum in my next post) formulated with the highest quality pigments. It has always been about color with C2. Our very name  came from the phrase, Collections of Colors, and now those colors shimmer and last longer than ever





San Francisco 2013 Designer Showcase

April 23rd, 2013


The 2013 San Francisco Designer Showcase opens to the public this Saturday April 27th. Pratt and Lambert Paints has co-sponsored this event with G&R Paint. We at G&R have sponsored many individual designers throughout the past 15 years of showcases, but this marks the first year that we were able to sponsor the paint for the entire house. It has been fun working with all of the designers and I can’t wait to see the results soon. Visit for more information.

Shearer Painting C2 Cabinet & Trim Video

February 17th, 2013

Click on this link to see a video produced by Shearer Painting in Seattle. They have been using C2 Cabinet & Trim for several months now and have some interesting comments on the unique qualities of this great new product form C2.



C2 Cabinet & Trim

December 4th, 2012


I am happy to announce the arrival of the newest product in the C2 Paint portfolio, C2 Cabinet & Trim. This revolutionary water-based acrylic enamel has the look and feel of a traditional oil-based enamel with none of the negative side effects. It dries hard, smooth, and fast. It’s even durable enough to put on a floor. Earlier in the year I painted the hardwood floor in  our retail location with a prototype of this product. After more than eight months it is still looking great.

C2 Cabinet & Trim was brought to life through a unique collaboration with C2 Paint  and Vermont Natural Coatings, The breakthrough PolyWhey technology that was developed by Vermont Natural Coatings, gives their floor coatings an unbelievable finish unparalleled in the world of waterborne finishes.  This same PolyWhey technology is the “secret sauce” that gives C2 Cabinet & Trim its amazing capabilities.

Aside from being an environmentally sensitive product, this paint delivers in the durability department, making it perfect for demanding areas like trim, window frames, cabinets, and yes even floors!

I like cheese as much as the next guy and everytime I sell a can of this paint I am reminded of the trip I took to bucolic Vermont last winter. Visiting a large cheese aging cave, and  the dairy farm where the process began, gave an up close and personal perspective to this process. It is amazing that the labs at Vermont Natural Coatings and C2 Paint were able to blend these two different products into one can.

I was able to participate in much of the testing that was done in the development of this product, so I can speak first hand to its uncompromising quality and durability. Come in and see our floor for yourself , I know you will be impressed.



The Real Kaitlin

July 1st, 2012


I recently had the pleasure of a visit from my niece Kaitlin, and it reminded me of the story surrounding the color Kaitlin’s Blue. It was the first time that Kaitlin has ever been to the current location of G&R Paint. The picture above has us posing happily with a large Ultimate Paint Chip of PPC-BL1 Kaitlin’s Blue.

As the story goes I was approached by a very pregnant mother who was looking for what she termed a “gender neutral blue” since she was not certain if it was to be a boy or a girl. I asked her what names she had in mind and she replied that if a boy it would be Henry and if a girl it would

be Kaitlin. I implored her to contact me after the birth so that I could give the color its proper name.

After months of waiting without a response from her, I defaulted to Kaitlin’s Blue primarily due to my niece. And so it has been since that day back in 1998 when it was first born, PPC-BL1 Kaitlin’s Blue. I have to report that this color and others like it have been very popular of late. I’ve even seen an uptick in PPC-W3 Purity, a very faint blue tinged white. For whatever reason pale blues are a popular choice right now, I always try to stay on the warmer side of blue. PPC-BL1 Kaitlin’s Blue leans a bit yellow so it never comes of cold.

Thanks Kaitlin, it was great having you visit.


Trending Yellow

May 20th, 2012


Anyone who has followed my blog posts over the years has some idea what I think of color trends. These largely manufactured marketing efforts tell us consumers what colors are “hot’ or in fashion as it were. I guess my aversion to them stems from some sort of stubbornness on my part of not wanting to be told what to do as a child. I’m just playing here, but you get what I mean. Do we really need to be told what colors to like at any particular period of time?

Evidently the answer is yes! Whether we like it or not, these types of trends continue to come and go through the years. We have been solidly locked in a gray/grey (whichever you like) period for years now. These have not been the sterile blue grays of the 1980′s but rather highly complex grays with red or green undertones.

Lately something else has been going on quietly around me. I noticed it first when one of my most respected designers requested large paint samples of three different yellows. Colors like my PPC-Y4 Honey Butter, PPC-Y8 Laura’s Gold, and PPC-Y1 Straw Hat (featured above  in this month’s House Beautiful magazine) have been perennial favorites, but have fallen off a bit in recent years.

The deeper need for a sunnier outlook is certainly understandable given the doom and gloom of our collective recent past. I tend to think of it as more cyclical and maybe even more predictable than that. After all there are only so many color families to choose from (although there are infinite variations within those families); therefore we are going to shift from grays to greens to yellows to blues to whatever, every few years or so out of a need to shake things up.

One of the significant ways these old colors become new or fresh again is in the way we pair them with other colors. I like Melanie Coddington’s comments in the House Beautiful feature. Whether it is sparking it up with a raspberry throw pillow, or toning it down with beautifully upholstered gray furniture, yellow can be seen in a completely different light by virtue of the way we mix it up.

I’m not sure what happened here, whether it was an explosion at a rubber ducky factory, or a turned over big rig that lost it’s load of eggs, but yellow has met gray and it is all around us now for sometime to come.

One last note, remember that texture is the key to any egg dish, so use lots of it and this combination really feels current and delicious. It must be time for breakfast!