TORONTO — Wayne Moore has had no trouble staying busy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The uncertainty surrounding the 2020 CFL season has allowed the B.C. Lions running back to devote more time to painting. In fact, the self-taught artist has started listing pieces online (www.waynemoore.art) for sale.
The six-foot, 220-pound Moore has always drawn and painted, but only for his own enjoyment. At the urging of Lions teammates/roommates Brandon Rutley and John White IV, Moore started doing it more seriously last year before kicking it up a notch while waiting to learn if he'll be playing football this season.
"It (art) was always something I took pride in but for myself," Moore said during a telephone interview. "You could say for a majority of my life I put my effort and focus towards being a professional football player but always in my down time I resort back to painting and drawing.
"I did a lot last season but I feel like this year I just tapped into it more. I was like, 'This is it. I think it's time I share it with everyone and embrace it.' I love doing it."
At first glance, what stands out about Moore's art is his liberal use of vibrant colours. And the former McMaster Marauder isn't limited regarding from where he draws inspiration.
"Sometimes I can look at a canvas and just simply have one colour in mind and from that ideas start to transpire," he said. "There could be times when I'm out on a walk and I see a bird flying or something on the road and an idea just starts to build.
"If I don't want to forget it, I'll jot something on my phone and then take it back to the canvas."
Moore, a native of Portland, Jamaica, grew up in Toronto and said he's always been artistically inclined.
"The best way I could explain it is it's just something I was born with," he said. "I'd hear my mom and aunt talk all the time about when I was really, really young how I'd hold a pencil like a grown person, strong and sturdy.
"I'd dabble and write and draw but over time I'd draw things I saw, draw family pictures, draw cartoon characters. It was just something I enjoyed doing but it wasn't something I was specifically taught."
Moore's art not only allows him to experiment with colours and textures but also to tell stories, relate experiences and transfer thoughts and emotions from his imagination to canvas. And for Moore, the key is letting the process evolve naturally.
"I like to take my time, enjoy the process and not rush it," Moore said. "I never really liked art class in school but one thing I did take away from it was being told art is never done.
"So, I could say I'm finished today and in two weeks look at the painting or picture and still want to add something to it."
Moore said he's become better at being able to let go of completed pieces and put them up for sale.
"It's cool now," he said. "That's because I can say that's the confidence I've gained knowing I possess the gift and creativity to consistently create.
"So why not share this with other people and let them experience it?"
And Moore derives great pleasure from just watching people react to his works.
"When people say, 'Oh I like this,' or, 'This reminds me of this point and time in my life,' or connect to it in different ways, that truly gives me joy," he said. "I enjoy the chance to put this out there and share it with people and let them connect with it in their own way."
Moore has trouble categorizing himself as an artist simply because he enjoys all forms.
"I wouldn't say I fall under one specific category," Moore said. "I like to mess with different things, which is why I say self-taught artist . . . I just freestyle with whatever comes to mind.
"You take risks. You think you didn't do something last time so you're going to try it this time."
When authors struggle, they can simply erase a paragraph or page from a computer screen and start over. A painter, though, doesn't enjoy that luxury.
"I won't throw stuff away, I'll just kind of leave it," Moore said. "Recently I was working on a piece and it started out well but then took a turn towards something else and I was like, 'Hmm, I don't know.'
"But I had another idea and so I was able to continue it."
Moore said he has painted a myriad of subjects, including portraits, abstracts and animals. He's always been fascinated with birds — particularly the Doctor Bird, a hummingbird indigenous to Jamaica — because of the challenge of painting the fine details of their feathers and wings.
Moore could see himself trying to paint a lion for much the same reason.
"I could see myself taking up the challenge of a lion because of the mane," he said. "I know if I was doing a lion, I'd emphasize that and take my time to really develop it, for sure."
The idea of a sports-related painting also intrigues Moore.
"I haven't tapped into that yet but I definitely see myself doing it," he said. "Even now, the first thing that comes to mind if I'm thinking about football . . . is a specific player and what he does best and emphasizing that throughout the picture with extra materials.
"I think I'd kind of have to bounce that around in my head for a while."
Moore is preparing for his third season with B.C. Regardless of how long he plays football, art will forever remain a part of his life.
"I'd be happy doing that for the rest of my life because it's something I truly enjoy," Moore said. "I don't feel overworked, it's just a natural passion that truly brings joy to me and those around me who appreciate the work.
"If I could do that and continue to spread the energy, that would be a blessing."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2020.