Tag: ‘painting’

Can a fire at #Bham’s Powell School result in a #FOODREVOLUTION Phoenix? (watercolor)

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Another iconic structure in Birmingham is about to be torn down – Powell School.  And a last ditch effort is underway to restore it for a new use.  I hope you saw this article in the Birmingham News on May 31st, 2011  “Historic preservationists deserve a chance to see if they can restore Powell School, which was damaged by fire in January”  Ironically, Bob had recently completed the watercolor (below) that was to be used to attract attention and perhaps funding and redevelopment for the school before it burned.

So what now?  Here’s the remaining shell below.  We drove by again this morning and the damage is extensive and heartbreaking.  Obviously the roof is gone, and the upper floor has collapsed.  The $500,000 in insurance mentioned in the article above is just a drop in the bucket for restoration.  In order to save Powell School, this project will need a purpose and benevolent committed patrons who believe in that purpose with deep pockets.


So we’ve been thinking…   What’s a long-term issue supported nationally that will benefit Birmingham?  Well, we’ve decided that it could be the Food Revolution spearheaded by Jamie Oliver.  In Jamie Oliver’s words


“We’re losing the war against obesity in the US. It’s sad, but true. Our kids are growing up overweight and malnourished from a diet of processed foods, and today’s children will be the first generation ever to live shorter lives than their parents. It’s time for change. It’s time for a Food Revolution.

“Since I’ve been working in America, I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people who have come out to support the Food Revolution. More than 630,000 people have signed the petition, over 300,000 of you subscribe to our newsletter and thousands of you have written to me. The only message I keep hearing is that you believe your kids need better food, and that you want help to keep cooking skills alive. That’s why this Food Revolution matters.”  ~ Jamie Oliver

“The problem stems from the loss of cooking skills at home and the availability of processed foods at every turn, from the school cafeteria to church function halls, factories and offices. This Food Revolution is about saving lives by inspiring everyone: moms, dads, kids, teens and cafeteria workers to get back to basics and start cooking good food from scratch.”


If you haven’t seen the popular show, here’s the link.  Thanks to dedicated volunteers, Birmingham already has an edible garden for kids close by with Jones Valley Urban Farm.


So, Birmingham has Sam Frazier, a local historian who’s spearheading the movement to save the school.  It has Mayor Bell’s encouragement.  It has Frank Stitt, and Chris Hastings – both award-winning chefs who support the movement.  It has Whole Foods.  It has the new FoodBlogSouth and lots of food editors spawned by Southern Living.  Birmingham is really a food town and we should be leaders in this movement.  But sadly, Alabama ranks #2 of the fattest states 2011, and Birmingham ranks #10 among the fattest cities 2011 in America.   Our legacy can be better!


And back to Powell School…It’s got classrooms, a cafeteria, meeting areas, and history.  It’s near Jones Valley Urban Farm, and hundreds in our city know and love it.  The Food Revolution has the support of the nation, and the backing of First Lady Michelle Obama, along with lots of stars including Paul McCartney, Justin Bieber, P Diddy, Jennifer Anniston – well, read the names for yourself here.

There are nearly a million people (and the numbers are growing every day) who’ve signed a petition in support of the Food Revolution.

It could be SUCH A POSITIVE THING FOR BIRMINGHAM!  Is it possible to hope that THE FOOD REVOLUTION could save Powell School, too?



Maps of Birmingham’s Steelworks and Connecting Railroads

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Map of Birmingham's Steelworks hanging in Bessemer's Hall of History Museum



Watercolor by Bob Moody of Bessemer's Hall of History Museum (in former train station)

Early in the 20th century, railroads crisscrossed through Birmingham to connect steel mills and transport natural resources mined in our area throughout the country.  I found this old map (above) in Bessemer’s Hall of History Museum, housed in a refurbished and very interesting old train station (seen in watercolor on left), which put it in better perspective for me.  Many of these tracks and industrial sites have been abandoned and incredible images of the decay are posted HERE.  Bob wants to paint a map of the railroads currently in use through Birmingham, but it’s been difficult for us to find information and connect all the dots.  We’ll keep looking but suggestions are WELCOMED!



Segment of a 1935 Birmingham Railroad Map from www.bhamrails.info

Birmingham Rails is a GREAT site for Birmingham railroad information.  We found this 1935 rail map here This is just one small piece of a very extensive map scanned by Birmingham Rails in 8 1/2 x 11 inch segments and shows the downtown area.


Country music lyrics are the Shakespeare sonnets of the South

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

I’m a little bit country, he’s a little bit…well, classical. Or at least that’s our preferred taste in music! I’ve been to many a symphony with him, and he’s actually been dragged by me to a Crystal Gayle concert.  Country music makes me laugh and cry, while classical music makes me pensive and usually (I admit sheepishly)  sleepy. Ironically, he grew up in the country not far from Moody, Alabama which his ancestors founded, and I grew up in Denver – not exactly the epicenter of country music!

But I respond to the lyrics of country music viscerally!  So when I first heard the song, “Paint me a Birmingham“, it struck a deep chord. (Click here to hear the Tracey Lawrence version)

We’d been searching for another project, and that song captured the essence of something we thought we could do.  After all, he’s been painting Birmingham for years – but this goes beyond that…  It challenges us to create an image of Birmingham that exists in the mind of everyone who’s ever lived here.  And it’s more than just images – we want to capture the emotion expressed by the lyrics.  “Make it look just the way I planned” and make me feel happy when I look at this painting, remembering times and people and places that I’ve loved and continue to love.

It’s a daunting task, and maybe impossible, but now when I hear that song – for the hundredth time – I laugh or cry, raise my arms in the air and sway them back and forth, or grab my husband and kiss him.  Classical music never did that for me, but country music?  Absolutely!  Irreverent, current, poetic, satirical, lyrical, emotional, compassionate, and at times healing, country music captures our humanity.  I think Shakespeare would approve!


Painting in Siena, Italy – Moody’s technique

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Painting in Siena, Italy!  Here’s Bob’s version as published in American Artist Magazine…

Download PDF by clicking on image cover here>

Or view online by clicking on images below: