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    The voting was close at USITT, but Raw Umber won. I didn’t realize the argument between Raw Umber and Burnt Umber was so passionate. I will concede that Burnt Umber is a prettier color, but Raw Umber is more useful in my opinion.

    My love affair with Raw Umber began in grad school, back in 1989 in Mankato, Minnesota. It was early in my scenic artist life. I was the set designer and painter for I’m Not Rappaport. I had been very close to the work and hadn’t walked back for perspective at all. Tunnel visioned. The bridge I had designed was red granite with limestone and concrete accents.

    I thought I was done, and I finally walked back into the house to get perspective, when I opened my eyes, thinking the paint job would be brilliant, my heart sank and the children’s song “The primary colors are one, two, three. Red, Yellow and Blue” ran through my head. I’d been so close to the work that the red granite was red, as expected. The limestone was very yellow and the concrete was reading blue. I had been trying to make this great dramatic work and suddenly it was the Sunday Funnies. I learned about walking back early and often to look at my work from the audience point of view. I call it my “thirty foot glasses.”

    I didn’t know what to do about it. It looked horrible. Tom Bliese made a recommendation for how to fix it, and I followed his instructions. I made a Raw Umber wash and put it in a 3 gallon Hudson. It was a modified Hudson that had a Binks head on it. I cranked the pressure up to about 120 PSI and bathed the set.

    Suddenly, the set for I’m Not Rappaport looked great. Raw Umber made all my primaries blend and work together. Raw Umber saved the design. As a result, I was nominated for and received a $1000 award, was juried in to the first USITT Design Expo, and was published in TD&T Magazine. None of that would have happened without Raw Umber.

    Do any of you have a Raw Umber (or any other color) story?

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