drawing with colors

I'd like to draw with different colors on a drawing area. I use
gdk_gc_new_with_values() to create the GC. To specify the foreground
color, is it always necessary to use gdk_colormap_alloc_color() with
system/widget colormap or will gdk_parse_color() work as well? If
former, then what is the use of gdk_parse_color() function?

* It's an emergent property of human minds to create. *

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