How a calendar changed this Delaware artist’s life

Like many of us, Jeffrey Todd Moore would come home from work and mindlessly watch TV but a calendar changed all that.

“I started doing art because I was coming home from work and watching television from seven o’clock on,”  Jeffrey Todd Moore explained.

Moore needed to make a change, so he bought an origami-a-day calendar. It changed his life.

Every night, instead of watching TV, he would sit down and do a piece of origami from the calendar. A year later he switched to a watercolor a day calendar, but quickly realized, “You can’t keep up with it. It’s impossible.” 

But the watercolor calendar did help Moore realize he could paint, so he sought to improve his skills. He took a watercolor painting workshop, and began painting every night.

The nightly painting lead to quite a collection. He was sticking finished pieces in the closet, giving them to friends, but was running out of space. “I started looking into seeing if I could get into shows and doing shows. From that the art just continued,” Moore said.

Getting into various art shows and fairs gave Moore a sense of legitimacy. It also encouraged him to keep going.

Moore isn’t an artist by trade, he is a self-taught computer draftsman working for a soil scientist. The scientist collects soil samples which indicate where people can put a septic tank on a lot, while Moore drafts the drawings submitted to the county and state for approval.

That computer work helped Moore by informing his watercolor painting. “I wanted not to just paint what I saw. I wanted to press them into other places and I was doing that digitally,” he said.

Using his photography, Moore discovered the effects he was able to create on the computer were just as beautiful as anything he was painting. “Eventually I said, ‘Why am I painting these?’ That’s when I started printing and selling my photography.”

Moore didn’t stop with painting and photography; he also tried his hand at stained glass. “I don’t know why I started doing glass. My photography and my painting started to do a lot of geometric shapes and I don’t know if I thought that would lend itself to glass,” he explained.

Moore walked into a local glass shop and realized that was the direction he wanted to go in his work. Again, he took a class to get the basic skills and off he went. “I do stained glass, I do mosaics, glass on glass mosaics. I’m starting to get into wire wrapping pendants.”

Moore doesn’t stay with one form for long. He likes change and says he gets bored easily, “I just keep looking for ways to change this or do this differently, I keep changing.”

Whichever method Moore thinks he can use to accomplish the vision for the piece he is working on is the method he uses – he isn’t married to one form over another.

There is a saying: The only constant in life is change. Moore has embraced that, he feeds off of it, “I like the challenge of it. I think that’s why I keep changing. I keep trying to challenge myself.”

“As soon as I started painting, it was all about the painting. It was no longer about the day,” Moore mused. He likes creating things, making something out of nothing. “It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something on a daily basis.”

Not that his drafting job doesn’t, but the art is different, especially when he sells a piece, “Hopefully someone will like it and buy it and appreciate it, I think that’s what keeps me going.”

For Moore selling his work is an exciting experience, “I’m always sort of shocked that someone wants to buy something that I created, to be perfectly honest with you”.

Moore takes pride knowing his work is out in the world. Whether its one of his paintings or a piece of his stained glass he wants the owner to get joy out of it, “I hope they look at it and it makes them happy.”

When light is coming through a stained glass piece he wants it to brighten someone’s day. “I want it to bring color into their world.”


You can get more information on Jeffrey Todd Moore and his work on the web.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal