WILHELM JOSEPH GOEBEL
After only a few minutes of conversation
with Wilhelm Goebel it becomes quite apparent that he is a
very intense and methodical individual. His speech is deliberate
and his quiet exterior seems to befit a scientist rather than
In fact, Wil had every intention
of becoming a scientist. in 1982 he graduated from Ithaca
College, Ithaca, New York, with a bachelors degree in biology.
Although he always had an interest in the arts and had painted
birds since his early childhood, it was during his college
years that he began to paint in earnest for relaxation and
to clear his mind of all the demands of chemistry, physics,
calculus, and other complex subjects necessary for a scientific
Wil was born on July 1, 1960,
in New Brunswick, New Jersey. His father, Wilhelm F. Goebel,
was born in Essen, Germany and emigrated to the United States
during the 1950's. Eva, Wil's mother, is a native Austrian
and was a beautician until Wil was born. At that point, she
became a full-time mother.
Wil's early childhood was somewhat
uneventful, and by the time he reached high school, his days
were occupied by either studying biology, wandering through
the woods and fields, or casting a fly line on a local trout
stream. Fly-fishing was then, and still is, his favorite retreat
from the pressures of the business world.
Near the end of his junior year
in college he realized that he had grown further away from
science and closer to the world of wildlife art. Through a
professor at Ithaca College Wil met Don Ekelberry, one of
the most respected of the pioneers of bird painting. Wil persuaded
Don to critique his work on a regular basis, and with Don's
coaching, his work improved dramatically. By the time Wil
received his degree from Ithaca College, he knew that biology
would have to take a back seat, and that wildlife art would
become his life's work.
For the first three years after
graduation he abandoned his hobbies and social life and concentrated
only on painting. Although his parents weren't exactly overjoyed
at his decision, they supported him in every way. As his work
matured, he began exhibiting at regional art shows, and in
1986 he was invited to exhibit a painting in the BIRDS IN
ART show at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. It was at
that exhibition that the major publishing firm, Mill Pond
Press, signed Wil up as one of their artists for limited edition
prints. He remained with Mill Pond Press for seven reasonably
successful years during which he received a concentrated dose
of much-needed exposure.
In 1988 Wil was doing some charity
work for a local JC club. Christine Wahalla, a very attractive
young lady also doing volunteer work, caught his eye. After
dating for a year, they tied the knot. The result of that
union, so far, is two daughters, Kimberly and Pamela.
During the years between college
and marriage, Wil went on many field trips to gather material
for his paintings. He visited Trinidad with several other
artists where they caught tropical birds in mist nets, painted
them from life, and then released them back into the wild.
Other field trips have taken him to the Yukon, much of the
American west, and as far south as the Everglades.