By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News
GARDENDALE — It took a lifetime for a Gardendale artist to finally begin to seriously pursue his passion.
Fred Mobley used to draw as a boy, starting when he was 6 years old. He took art classes in high school and some correspondence classes in art later on, but when it came time to make a career choice, he decided on a career that seemed more financially sound — he worked in engineering drafting and put the arts to the side.
But he did not completely ignore his artistic abilities: Mobley took up photography in the 1980s and 1990s, for which he won numerous awards.
After he retired from his job, Mobley and his sister were watching a “TV artist” — he thinks it was Bob Ross — and his sister said, “You could do that.”
Mobley blew it off, but said his sister was persistent. So he bought some paint and brushes, and surprised even himself with the result.
“It turned out a lot better than I expected it would,” he said with a smile.
Even so, Mobley started out painting just for the pleasure of it, and not to please anyone else.
“I didn’t think anybody would like it,” he said.
That was about four years ago, and Mobley has not looked back.
He has again taken up his studies of the arts by reading books and watching DVDs.
Mobley said he is still surprised when his paintings turn out well. “I look at them and think, ‘I did that!’” he said.
He does not subscribe to a certain style of painting. Rather, he picks and chooses his favorite elements from a variety of painters. Some of his favorite artists are Andrew White, Edward Hopper and Grant Wood.
“I paint things that please my eye,” he said.
Mobley’s paintings can be found through April in the lobby of IberiaBank in Fultondale, with whom the Fultondale Arts Council is partnering to showcase local artists’ work. A new artist will be featured every quarter.
“The (arts council) board feels that we can increase appreciation of our artists and people can get to know our organization better by displaying various works of art and genres of art,” said Kara Kennedy, chair of the Fultondale Arts Council.
More local artists’ work will be on display at the third annual Black Creek Arts Festival at Black Creek Park on June 8 and at an Art After Dark event hosted by IberiaBank on Aug. 15.