Gerald Ray Mobley was born on
February 16, 1938, in Rector, Arkansas. His father, Donald,
was a shoe salesman until he moved his family to Oklahoma
and accepted a position with a firm which manufactured oil
well equipment. His mother, Kathleen, remained a housewife
except for a short time during their first years in Oklahoma
when she worked as a seamstress for a store in Tulsa.
His boyhood days in Arkansas
were like those of most farm boys; hard work and plenty of
responsibility early in life, and a good, healthy outdoor
environment. Those days were not without risks, however, and
he had a near-fatal mishap in a swimming hole when his cousin,
who could not swim, stepped off a ledge into deeper water
and grabbed Gerald by the head, forcing him under. All turned
out well as Gerald kept his wits about him and worked his
way to shore with his cousin still clinging to his head.
Art courses were part of his
high school curriculum, but the focus was on abstract art
and design rather than realism. However, his instructor, Hortense
Bateholts, recognized that he had talent and encouraged him
to develop his skills. He credits much of his confidence to
the special attention she gave him.
After graduating from high school,
he signed up for the Army reserves and spent his active duty
time in El Paso, Texas, and Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, as a construction
draftsman. Shortly after fulfilling his active duty obligation
and returning to Tulsa, he married his high school sweetheart,
Laura Sue McGuire.
At the time he and Sue were married,
Gerald was creating technical training aids for aircraft systems
to assist in the training of pilots. From there he went back
to the firm of his previous employment where he designed billboards.
Two years later he accepted an offer from Oral Roberts, the
well-known Tulsa evangelist, to work in his art department.
Although he is not a follower of Oral Roberts, he stayed there
nearly seven years, ultimately working his way to director
of the art department.
The desire for more advancement
prompted a partnership in a commercial design studio, but
the drive for self-employment was too strong, and he finally
left the partnership and opened the doors of Mobley Art and
Design, a now very successful commercial art studio in Tulsa.
Although not compulsively drawn
to painting wildlife, he attempted several paintings of hunting
and fishing early in his career. He discarded those thoughts,
however, until 1968 when a friend of his read an article on
the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. He toyed with the idea and
in 1981 he submitted a painting for the Oklahoma Duck Stamp
Contest and came in second. He placed second again in 1982.
The third year he won with a rendering of wood ducks.
The win in Oklahoma encouraged
him to seriously paint for the Federal contest. The idea of
portraying a cinnamon teal came to him while photographing
captive waterfowl in a local aviary. He wanted to keep his
design simple, so he decided to use only the drake as opposed
to a pair which is so common in duck stamp art. The decision
proved to be a wise one.
Gerald has a quiet personality
and enjoys being home. He separates his wildlife painting
from his commercial creations by only painting wildlife in
the studio he maintains in his house.
Although Gerald plans to spend
more time painting wildlife, he has no intention of abandoning
his commercial design studio. Perhaps a judicious mixture
of commercial and wildlife will be the perfect balance for