Volume 1, Issue 8, November 2010
Volume 1, Issue 8, November 2010
(Queen Elizabeth meets Rebecca, Luke and Bob Moody)
By Lauren Nix
After singing “God Save the Queen” in Saint Bartholomew’s the Great, the oldest church in London, Mountain Brook residents Bob and Rebecca Moody, along with their son Luke, walked across the street to the reception where they would present Bob’s second book of paintings to Queen Elizabeth. In the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Prince Philip and Her Majesty the Queen, Rebecca and Bob were “blown away,” Rebecca said.
Then the moment came for the family to remember the rules they were told before the ceremony – how to curtsy, do not speak until spoken to, how to address Her Majesty – because the Queen was making her way to them. “She was so gracious, just as sweet as she could be,” Bob said.
Most Mountain Brook residents know Bob as the talented architect who has served on the City Council from 2006 until recently. What many people may not realize, however, is that Moody is an exceptional, accomplished artist recognized not only by the Queen of England, but by many, many others.
Seven years after their encounter with the Queen, Bob and Rebecca are working on new projects. They hope to complete more books, the first being a book of Bob’s watercolors of Birmingham. For this, they would like to take suggestions about what buildings and sites are special to Birmingham residents. “We’re working with a web design company to make it interactive so that people can suggest things that Bob can paint, and maybe include some stories about why it’s important to them,” Rebecca said. “We want to make it not just our Birmingham, but everyone’s Birmingham.”
Rebecca says she also hopes to send out a monthly newsletter with a free watercolor included to keep people updated on their plans. A book with paintings of the livery halls in London and a book of New York Churches are also possibilities.
She is a writer and he a painter, and with their combined talents, the couple has self-published their two books. The first, “Gifts of Grace – Alabama Churches in Watercolor,” was published in 2001 and, as the title suggests, is a collection of Bob’s watercolor paintings of various churches in Alabama along with a description and history of the churches and Bob’s personal experiences there. “It really was fun,” Bob said. “I had traveled the state so much, and I had sketched and painted a lot of churches in Alabama, and I thought we’re going to do a book. And that was just a natural with Rebecca being a writer.”
The second book, “The Church Triumphant – English Churches in Watercolor,” is the one presented to the Queen. It is comprised of Bob’s paintings of English churches. James Blott, director of the Historic Churches Preservation Trust, approached the couple and asked them to create this book after seeing their work in “Gifts of Grace.”
“[Gifts of Grace] had been out for about two years, and we got a call from an Englishman, and he said that we needed to get involved with the Historic Preservation Trust in England because they were having their 50th anniversary,” Rebecca said.
“A lot of their churches had been bombed in World War II, and so they were restoring them and wondered if we would come over and work on that, so we did.” The Historic Churches Preservation Trust is an organization whose goal is to preserve and restore churches in England, and her majesty the Queen is the patron. Bob and Rebecca expected the book to take a few years to complete, but were told if they could have it done by the Trust’s 50th anniversary ceremony, they could present the first copy to the Queen.
“We started in October, and he said if you can have it finished by next June and published, you can present the first copy to the Queen at this 50th anniversary ceremony,” Bob said. “So we worked like fiends and got it produced.” Rebecca said. “A lot of their churches had been bombed in World War II, and so they were restoring them and wondered if we would come over and work on that, so we did.”
Before the Books
After graduating from Auburn University where he earned a degree in architecture with a focus in interior design, Bob began working as a graphic designer for R.G. LeTourneau in Dallas, Texas.
Next, he worked for NASA in Huntsville when it was first formed as the Art Director in their future projects department. His department was responsible for illustrating the Apollo I project, and his illustrations were presented to Congress. Each slide was a hand-painted watercolor.
“Our future projects department did 56 slides of the Apollo program,” Bob said. After working at NASA for seven years, Bob said he felt it was time to return to architecture, and moved to Birmingham to work for Charles H. McCauley, which was the largest architectural firm in the southeast at the time. After heading their interior design department for seven years, Bob decided to open his own firm, Moody and Associates, which specialized in historic restoration and renovation. “Our office did about 50 buildings in downtown Birmingham, plus all over the South,” Bob said.
Bob and Rebecca have been married for 31 years and working together for 30 of those. After meeting at Redmont Gardens, Rebecca left her job at Southern Living magazine to work with Bob at Moody and Associates. “She, for not being trained in design, is the best designer who ever worked in the office,” Bob said. “We’ve been a pretty good team.” After 30 years in business, Bob and Rebecca closed the office to write a book. After the completion of the two books, Bob began serving on the City Council in 2006. He says his only regret is not being able to get Mountain Brook Village designated as a historic place on the national register. “I had worked so long in historic preservation and restoration, and Mountain Brook Village, to us, is the most special place in America,” Bob said. Bob was also the only council member to vote against the Lane Park development, a vote he is still confident in today. “I worked in that [industry] for 30 years or 40, and I just feel like my vision for Mountain Brook is what it ought to be, and when you feel that strongly that’s the way you vote, whatever the consequences.” Overall, Bob feels serving for the council was a positive experience and allowed him to learn about the city. “I got to know all of the city and realized we have the very best,” Bob said. “I was amazed at the number of volunteers.”
Bob’s work will be featured at the Mountain Brook Art Association’s Holiday Art Show on Nov. 4. For more information on Bob and Rebecca, and to see some of Bob’s watercolors, visit their website at www.moodywatercolors.com or find them on Twitter at moodypaints.