A painter's purpose

Herby Moore, 89, stands in front of the mural he painted at First United Methodist Church.

Herbert A. Moore, 89, is the owner of an extraordinary life.

A retired businessman, Herby now makes his living creating and selling one-of-a-kind paintings. He paints scenes he remembers from his childhood and historic scenes of Cynthiana. Admirers from all across the state have snapped them up. “I believe you are the 8th wonder of the world, Herby Moore,” says Jannine Walker, one of his customers.

Four years ago, Herby lost his wife of 61 years, Mary (Mernie). He lives on in the Cynthiana home where he and his wife raised their children. He has five children, including one from his previous marriage and two from his wife’s previous marriage.  

The four living children have moved away and are entering the elderly stages of their lives. “I’ve lost everything — my oldest daughter and my wife — and I’m almost 90 but I don’t want to give up,” he says. “I want to keep going.”

Since Herby lost his wife, he lives by a strict routine of waking up at 4:30 a.m.  He makes his bed, eats breakfast and then works on art. Before the sun comes up, he will have made paintings to fill orders or coloring book pages to send off to be printed.

Herby is also active in the community. Once a month, he visits Cedar Ridge Health Campus to show residents his art works.  From the lobby display of his recent favorites, Herby picks up every picture and from memory, tells the story behind it.  He ends with a pep talk to the residents, some of whom are younger than he. 

He says he enjoys coming to spend time with residents. “I want them to know that there’s someone out there that loves them — me,” he says.

Once a week, Herby teaches an art class for children at his church, First United Methodist. He brings the pre-schoolers pages that he has created for them to color. “I want to be a good Christian and help little fellas grow up,” he says.  He also hopes to be known as pleasant by everyone he meets.

Herby considers himself a success as an artist.  “I want to be successful each day,” he says.  “I go a day at a time.”  He works to be self-sufficient through painting sales.  “If I sell a painting for $800, I want to make sure it is worth $800,” he says.  

“I don’t think I’m dramatically different from any other old man,” Herby says. “I’m just a painter.”

Old paint tubes sit in a wooden box next to Herby's easel. "Painting keeps me busy," he says. "It's a good way of keeping me occupied and making the most beautiful thing ever to sell for money."
Before sunrise on Halloween morning, Herby sketches a Halloween scene that will be printed as coloring pages. Herby teaches a 30-minute art class at First Methodist School where the 3-5 year-old-students will color the coloring pages.
Herby admires his paintings that are displayed for sale at Finders Keepers Antique Shop in Cynthiana.
Herby runs fresh sketches over to First United Methodist Church. Ginger Moore, the teacher of the school, uses a copier to make prints for the children to color.
After their art class, children show off their coloring pages to Herby."I want to be a good Christian and help little fellas grow up," he says.
Herby displays his paintings to residents at Cedar Ridge Health Campus. He visits once a month and spends time chatting with the residents.
Herby makes a sale to buyer Jannine Walker from Lexington, KY. Janinne has known Herby for two months and has purchased five of his paintings.
Herby eats breakfast by himself at his home in the early morning. "I'm so lonesome in this house alone," he says. "I would love for someone to stop by."
Herby goes to bed every night around 6:30 p.m. 'i'm at a time in my life where I really am satisfied to have nothing," he says.