It’s not hyperbole to say Robert Moore is one of a kind.

Not only is the longtime landscape artist colorblind, but he’s also a simultaneous ambidextrous painter — meaning he paints with both hands at the same time.

Broadmoor Galleries director Jamie Oberloh was initially skeptical, but after watching Moore sign his name by making the R with his left hand and the O with his right, he was sold.

“I thought, oh sure, he’s probably just inefficiently switching between one task and the other and never to perfection,” Oberloh said about Moore’s process. “But he’s the exception. He’s doing both proficiently.”

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“Moore Art: A Family Affair” at Broadmoor Galleries at The Broadmoor will feature landscapes by Robbie Moore. Courtesy

“Moore Art: A Family Affair,” featuring works by Moore and two of his six children, painters Anna Moore and Robbie Moore, runs through June 8.

Robert’s unusual talents don’t seem all that noteworthy to the artist. You can almost feel a shrug in his voice as his abilities are extolled.

“It feels natural after this many years,” said Robert, who lives in southern Idaho.

He didn’t begin life this way, though. He grew up on his family’s farm, a left-handed little 4-year-old who nobody realized was color blind until a game of Go Fish with his cousin. He lay down two greens and two browns and declared himself the winner, thinking the four cards were all the same color. His perplexed cousin went to his aunt, who deduced Robert didn’t see like most people.

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Robert Moore discovered he was colorblind when he was 4 and playing cards with his cousin. He began using both hands to paint after breaking a wrist while playing basketball.

The youngest of five kids, Robert drew to get attention from his family, he says, but didn’t necessarily dream about becoming an artist. That came later, when, perched on a tractor doing farmwork and bored to heck, he wondered what else he could do that allowed him to be outdoors, in the mountains and working for himself. He could be an artist, he thought.

But what about the colorblindness? Not too many would forge ahead with that sort of obstacle.

“I just knew I could do it, that I could figure it out,” Robert said.

At that point he was still only left-handed.

After studying art in college he embarked on a high school teaching gig, only for a year, but during those 12 months he broke his left wrist while playing basketball. It was bad timing, as he was also working on paintings for a show. Instead of waiting for the wrist to heal, he decided to indoctrinate his right hand into the working world.

“I realized my right hand was better at certain things than my left hand. My handwriting was much better right-handed,” Robert said. “And there are natural arcs that are opposing with each hand — my left hand’s better when I’m making arcs on the right side of the form. It also allows me to mix color much faster working with both hands and apply the color much faster.”

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“Moore Art: A Family Affair” will feature landscapes by Robbie Moore.

A world-class colorist in college taught him about natural color. When a rainbow appears, Robert can only see the yellow and blue. He’s learned the relationships and progression of color in his landscapes are more beautiful than a specific hue or intensity. He compares it to playing a piano key and deeming it a bad note.

“It’s not a bad note, it’s just a bad note if you play it out of order or out of relationship to the key you’re in,” Robert said.

“If that note is then part of the scale of a different key, then suddenly that wrong note becomes beautiful. It’s the same with color. When I establish an order, then my color will be beautiful even though I don’t know what it is.”

He relies on an apprentice to place his colors in the correct position on his palette: “Just like a Monopoly board, so I know where each of those colors are. If he throws a dark pile down and throws it toward green, I know it’s green.”

Contact the writer: 636-0270

Contact the writer: 636-0270

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