(Fall Harmonies | Robert Moore)
I have known Robert since the 1990’s, and he has always impressed me with his gentle being, quiet patience and his giving nature. I first represented Robert during the years that I owned and operated the Mockingbird Gallery in downtown Bend.
Many fond memories circle around that time. Once, I took all the artists to the Steens wilderness to stay at the Hotel Diamond and McCoy Creek Ranch to paint for a week for a show. The artists worked hard during the day, and then showed up at Hotel Diamond for the delicious dinners which our hosts, the Thompsons, prepared for us. Normally dinner is served at 6pm, but when David Thompson announced the dinner time, one of the artists piped up and said, “We can’t come in at that time… that is the droning hour!” meaning that it was the perfect dusk lighting for paintings, so David kindly moved the dinner hour to 7:30pm. After dinner we were wonderfully entertained by those artists who also were musical — one of them being Robert.
After a couple artists sang and played their ballads and rock music, I turned to Robert and said, “Robert, did you bring your harmonica?” He said, “Yep.” When I asked if he would play for us, he said, “Okay,” got up and went out to his truck, and brought in a small suitcase which he laid on the table. When he opened it up, there was TEN harmonicas!
When Robert started to play, silence fell among the group and mouths dropped open. “Where did you learn to play like that?” asked the artists. He replied, “On the tractor seat.”
During one of those days, I drove up to find Robert painting at the Buena Vista Wildlife Refuge. It was raining. He had on a jumpsuit and was standing in front of his easel, which he had set up on his pickup bed. His paint palette was tilted slightly so the rain would run off. He had a palette knife in each hand and was quickly laying in a beautiful composition of water and reeds with the Steens Mountain in the background. I said, “Robert, how can you paint with both hands?” astonished. He replied that once, he was preparing a large number of works for a prominent show in Jackson, and when he went out to do the morning chores he slipped and fell on the ice and broke his wrist. It was his right hand — his painting hand! He still had touch-ups and signatures to do on all the paintings, so he picked up his brushes with his left hand and proceeded to teach himself to paint left-handed — very quickly — and finished up the works, signatures included. Since then he has benefitted from being a two-handed painter many times, like when the gloaming light is fading quickly and he wants to capture it, or a herd of elk are moving through the aspens and he needs to paint fast, or when he is teaching a workshop to students and wants to teach them all the intricate facets of techniques, but wants to give them ample time to paint so they will be ready for his afternoon critiques.
During one of the many Plein Air Shows which I hosted, I walked among the artists painting in Drake Park to find Robert sitting on a bench and receiving a haircut. Life moves quickly for Robert and one has to get things done in between all the flutter. When the young lady finished, Robert took the small painting he had been working on off the easel and handed it to her. A $1,000 painting is not a bad payment for an afternoon haircut in a beautiful park by a national artist!
Robert recently had a show in the Dana Gallery in Missoula, Montana, which featured himself and four of his six children, who are also enjoying the creative world of art. Anna, Robbie, Rachel and Caleb had multiple works to hang and display with their father’s art.
Here in Central Oregon, Robert’s works are featured in the Rimrock Gallery Prineville, which represents 26 nationally showing artists, including two artists from Zimbabwe and Canada. Robert’s paintings are also represented by galleries in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Missoula, Montana; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Fredericksburg, Texas; Ketchum, Idaho; Park City, Utah; Jackson, Wyoming and Vail and Breckenridge, Colorado.
About Robert Moore:
Tall and soft spoken, Robert possesses a sincerity and courtesy reflective of his Idaho farm upbringing. Robert was born in 1957 in Burley, Idaho, and raised near the Snake River, which sparked his appreciation for nature. Always a contemplative, quiet individual, at a young age Robert discovered art as a way to freely express his feelings. His practical background and belief in discipline led him to earn a bachelor of science degree with teaching credentials in art from Eastern Oregon State College. He then received a full scholarship to attend The Art Center College of Design in California. He majored in illustration, earning a bachelor of fine arts degree, and graduating with honors.
Robert prefers painting on location to best express the immediate impression of each subject. His use of vivid colors and frequent high-keyed values reveal a spiritually inspired joy. His travels have taken him to China, Europe, Canada and extensively throughout the United States.
Robert has been profiled in numerous magazine articles including: Western Art Collector, Southwest Art, Wildlife Art, Big Sky Journal, Western Art & Architecture and Art of The West. Early on, Moore was selected in 2012 to receive the Governor’s Award for the State of Idaho for Excellence in the Arts.
In a town sporting a population of around 400, in an old bean warehouse, next to the train tracks that cut through Declo, Idaho, is an artist’s paradise. It is here that natural light floods a huge room, illuminating paintings of all sizes hanging on the high ceiling walls. In just about every room and corner of the 10,000 square-foot building, you will find paintings, a giant easel, a teaching film screen set up with chairs, frames, art supplies and a small sleeping study for overnight guests. Moore also took in apprentices for a few years at a time while building a reputation as an oil artist, a teacher and a mentor. “I knew what it was like to have a passion for art, but not have direction,” Robert said. “God gifted me with being a teacher.” Robert has been an exhibiting artist since 1980, and still continues to hone his craft. One room is filled with numerous paintings that never adorned the gallery walls, but he keeps them anyway. “These are my education. They are not for sale.”