Tag: ‘paintings’

Capturing “Light” in Watercolor

Friday, July 1st, 2011

This is a series of paintings Bob completed recently in which he made an attempt to paint light in transparent watercolor.  It’s one of the most challenging and elusive parts of watercolor painting and the reason he loves it!  It’s the very essence of watercolor!  “Cathedral interiors are the most fun to paint because they were designed to capture light through clerestory windows and stained glass – both  intended to create an ethereal illusion suggesting the light coming from heaven.”   Please also refer to:  Capturing Light in Watercolor by Marilyn Simande

St. Bartholomew's London

St. Bartholomew the Great, London


St. Paul's Cathedral, London

St. Paul's Cathedral, London

St. Mary's Entry, Oxford

St. Mary's Entry, Oxford, England


York Minster

York Minster, England



Wells Cathedral

Wells Cathedral, England




Small watercolors of #Bham by Bob Moody to be exhibited Saturday

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Lots of 10″ x 10″ watercolors of Birmingham will be among those exhibited by Bob Moody at the Mountain Brook Art Association’s Annual Spring Sale in Crestline on Saturday.  He also has some recently completed watercolors of Auburn, Normandy, Tuscany, England, and images from his book, The Church Triumphant.  Small 10″ x 10″ unframed original watercolor images are $100, larger images range from $200 to $400.

The tent sale on the Crestline Elementary athletic fields is from 9AM to 5PM and includes over 100 artists living within a 25 mile radius of Mountain Brook.   Rain date is the following day.  Please click on the MBA logo at right for map and additional details.

Here’s a look (video) from this year’s show:

Mountain Brook Art Association Show 2011

Interested in exhibiting next year?  Details are HERE.

To view examples of Bob’s watercolors, please click HERE.    HOPE TO SEE YOU SATURDAY! Mountain Brook Art Association Show 2011


Birmingham is RICH in railroads!

Friday, March 4th, 2011

With the recent focus on Railroad Park,  we’ve developed a deeper appreciation for the unique and expansive railroad history of Birmingham.   It inspired us to explore a few tracks in our area including


those downtown near Morris Avenue, but also those in Bessemer, Irondale, Ensley, Fairfield, and the coal loading rail-to-barge stations in Port Birmingham (also known as Bimingport) on the Warrior River.  We discovered that Birmingham Southern Railroad is one of the busiest railroads in the country.  And through sites called American Rails.com, and American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, Wikipedia, Birmingham Historical Society, and an excellent local hobbyist site called Birmingham Rails, we found a list of all the railroads that continue to serve Alabama as well as the history of our railroads. There are even some interesting maps of the railroad lines.  It’s amazing what we have right here in Birmingham!  Even today, over 20 trains a day come right through Birmingham.  We can be extremely proud of our railroad heritage!

So here’s a preview of Bob’s watercolor tribute to the railroads and industry of Birmingham. I think he makes our railroads look beautiful!  And if you get interested in the railroads like we did, take a tour of the area.   There’s lots to see just within Jefferson County!

Finally, railroads are still a leisurely way to travel and if you have the time, we can personally recommend taking the AmTrak sleeper car from Morris Avenue to Washington D.C.’s Union Station.  You board at Morris Avenue in the afternoon, and arrive the next morning in the heart of Washington D.C. in the completely renovated Union Station.  It’s a great trip for kids AND adults!


Prize 2 the Future – Here we come!

Monday, January 31st, 2011

It’s almost the end of the month, and we’ve been wildly distracted by the “Prize 2 The Future” contest which is soliciting proposals for a key piece of property in our downtown district. Nothing excites us more than an opportunity to facilitate progress in the city that we love! So for the time being, Bob’s paintbrush and our incredible and talented teammates have been devoted to creating a concept that will make something happen, or as it’s being promoted – “The Next Big Thing”! We’ve taken dozens of photographs, brainstormed lots of ideas, and toured not just this area, but the entire downtown, and we’re seeing everything once again through new eyes!  UPDATE:  HERE’S OUR COMPLETED PROJECT!

But it’s not the first time we’ve gotten excited about Birmingham! Bob decided many years ago that Morris Avenue had promise.  So on his own time, he proceeded to create a concept, painted renderings (including those below), created enthusiasm among the merchants and landlords, convinced the city to contribute funds for lighting and paving, and sold the landowners on varied tenants and cooperation. He even created a newspaper to market the area.  And with the help of legislation written by State Legislator Richard Dominick, it became the first historic district in the State of Alabama.  An artist CAN create a lot of buzz!  And although it hasn’t remained the entertainment district that Bob envisioned, the warehouse district complementing the railroad tracks has been preserved to live again!
Morris Avenue Branding   Morris Avenue Conceptual Design   Morris Avenue Interior Concept

Five Points South featured the “Little Bomber” bar on the circle when we moved our offices there in the mid-70’s. But with the help of some conceptual renderings by Bob,  Mayor Richard Arrington along with ONB and the neighborhood association began to once again take an interest in the area. With private investment, we were able to transform the area into an exciting destination, signing a lease with a very young aspiring restauranteur named Frank Stitt.  And we appreciated the support of a talented newly elected councilor named William Bell!

For many years, we’ve thought that Birmingham was making steps toward a progressive future. But we’ve never been as optimistic as we are now. We’re seeing the downtown area make demands for amenities to serve the new loft residents. We’re seeing throngs of people with families and dogs enjoy the new Railroad Park. And we’ve seen entire communities rally via social media to protect their neighborhoods. Birmingham is changing, and changing fast! We believe this time Birmingham really is on the verge of something big! And we want to be a part of it!

We can’t wait to see the concepts that are entered. Every single one will have validity and will contribute to the winning proposal. And all that energy that is being focused on our downtown HAS to be positive. So Bob is painting, and we are so pumped! Because win or lose, we believe in Birmingham, and we believe that this project will bust things WIDE OPEN!


This painting was exhibited at American Watercolor Society, NYC

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

This watercolor is one of my favorites, and was selected to be included in the annual juried American Watercolor Society show, 2003, at Salmagundi Club Galleries.

Honfleurs, Normandy


Will Watercolors Fade?

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Watercolor is a wonderful medium because of its freshness, transparency, spontaneity, movement, and vibrancy. Those characteristics depend upon the movement of water which quickly evaporates and leaves behind permanent pigment on the paper. The best watercolorists anticipate the movement of the water both while painting, as well as after drying when brush stokes and color will slightly change.  It is a very quick and frustrating medium, as one unintended stroke can ruin a painting.  There is no ‘do-over’ or ‘paint-over’ in watercolor which creates both the freshness and the frustration!

We often hear that watercolor paintings fade, but the oldest paintings in the world, cave paintings, are actually watercolors made with the most primitive of materials.  Now watercolors (and beginning in the 19th century) are primarily on paper so the quality of the paper is critical as to the permanence of the painting.

There are basically four factors which determine the permanence of a  watercolor:  Paper, Pigment, Framing, and Light Exposure.

If a watercolor painted today is to be preserved for decades, it’s imperative that the paper and pigment used are of the best archival quality.  These materials have greatly improved over the years due to an increased understanding of technology and chemistry.  (What does Bob Moody use?  Click HERE)


Acid-free paper made from 100% rag fiber (cotton, linen, etc.) can last forever if properly cared for and generally 140 lb cold-pressed paper has enough texture and weight to prevent buckling when stretched. The most expensive paper is 300-400# rough texture 100% acid-free rag paper however, it may be too stiff or textured for some watercolors.

For more information on paper, click HERE.

Permanence (via Wikipedia)

…the best art papers are designated archival, meaning they will last without significant deterioration for a century or more. Archival means that the papers are made entirely of high alpha cellulose or 100% cotton or linen fiber (that is, they are lignin free, as lignin causes darkening and embrittlement under light exposure), pH neutral (meaning there is no residual acidity left from the chemical processing of the pulp), buffered (a small quantity of an alkaline compound, usually calcium carbonate, is added to the furnish to neutralize the effect of atmospheric acids), and free of any artificial paper brighteners or whiteners (e.g., ultraviolet dyes). The content designations “100% cotton” or “100% cotton rag” have little significance to the actual quality or handling attributes of the paper. (A wide range of papers using alternative plant fibers, some of them not archival, are available from Asian manufacturers; some watercolor painters even employ sheets of printable plastic, sold under brand names such as Yupo.) Yupo is a synthetic paper that has that has a high ph value and works well with all watermedia paint


The pigments used are as important as the acid-free paper.  Lower-quality  or student-grade watercolors are sold in sets without replacement cakes or tubes, and will generally not have lightfastness ratings. Student grade watercolors are usually made of dyes rather than permanent pigments and are somewhat less soluble; professional grade pans or tubes are very permanent and dissolve instantly at the touch of a wet brush.  Some manufacturers grade their watercolors based on lightfastness ratings.  Obviously, the better the materials, the more permanent the painting.

HERE is a resource on pigments


“The lead-bearing pigments that are approved for use in oils–flake white and Naples yellow–are not used in watercolor because of their susceptibility to turning dark on exposure to impure air when not protected by oil or varnish, their likelihood of reacting with other pigments when used in the gum-water mediums, and their poor brushing qualities in water mixtures”

[Mayer, Ralph. The Painter’s Craft. An Introduction to Artist’s Methods and Materials. Revised and updated by Steven Sheehan, Director of the Ralph Mayer Center, Yale University School of Art. New York: Penquin Group. 1948. 1991.]

In transparent watercolor [aquarelle], qouache, and unvarnished egg yolk tempera techniques, the pigments are bound in comparatively thin films to paper, cardboard, or a prepared wood panel by solutions of gum arabic, animal glues, or egg yolk. The paints are thinned with water. Because these binders do not encase the pigments so completely in a glassy film as is the case in the oil technique, the pigments used in the water techniques are more vulnerable to the effects of sunlight and the atmosphere.Thus pigments used in water techniques should be as resistant as possible to the chemical effects of acid- and sulfur-carrying gases, which are present in city atmosphere, and to the bleaching effect of light. [p. 5]

[Kay, Reed. The Painters Guide to Studio Methods and Materials. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1983.]

Exposure to Light and Appropriate Framing:
Finally, exposure to direct sunlight can be the most damaging environmental factor for watercolors.  Framing must use acid-free mats.   Additional information regarding appropriate framing for watercolors along with other helpful information can be found HERE