The works of Arnold Mosley immortalize the nobility and ruggedness of a timeworn tradition. Capturing the cowboy way of life, his straightforward portrayals tell their own stories. No highbrow interpretations or experience in art criticism necessary.
Born in Beaverlodge, Alberta, in 1941, Mosley grew up on a mixed farm. His father and grandfather before him homesteaded on the Wapiti River south of the remote community. The family grew wheat, oats and barley, raised horses and cattle, and turned to trapping during the long winter months.
Having painted since childhood, Mosley is completely self-taught. In the early years, he supported his wife, Sonia, and four children by working first as a geological draftsman for Craigmont Mines, then as a draftsman for the B.C. Ministry of Forests in Merritt, B.C., where he still resides. In 1988, Arnold left his job to paint full time.
“Cowboying,” as Mosley calls it, is simply one of life’s pleasures. Not a dream, fascination or part of an artistic mission on life, but just what he likes to do. From riding with cowboys over vast ranchlands to lending a hand in their daily routines, Mosley literally lives what he paints. “You have to be able to get out there and absorb yourself in what the cowboys are doing. Experience for yourself those days when it is so cold the only warm spot is your saddle seat. And deal with those ornery cows or horses that would rather put you on the ground.”
Mosley doesn’t aim for photographic realism in his work. “A painting should have a quality that a photograph does not.” This attitude is very evident in his work; a very successful combination of accuracy of line, an eye for composition and a feel for creating a mood - misty backgrounds; a variety of light, shadows and colour, energy and action or quiet reflection.
Character studies also find their way onto Mosley’s canvasses: faces of the rodeo circuit – clowns, bronco riders – and weathered ranch hands after many years in the saddle. Most recently he has turned his brush toward his next great love, landscapes. His passion for the land and his direct approach have gained him an international reputation among collectors of western art.
Mosley has been juried numerous times into the Calgary Stampede Western Art Auction in Calgary, Alberta, as well as into the San Dimas Festival of Arts in San Dimas, California; Phippen Museum Fine Art Show in Prescott, Arizona; Spokane Western Art Show in Spokane, Washington; and Peppertree Art Show in Santa Ynez, California. He has been named Best in Show at the Kamloops Cowboy Festival twice (2007 and 2012, and runner-up in the latter). Arnold was also the official poster artist for the Kamloops Cowboy Festival 2013 and 2002, and the Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo 2009 and 2008.
Most recently Arnold was featured as 'An Artist to Collect' in the 2015 summer edition of the Canadian art magazine 'ARABELLA'. www.arabelladesign.com