William Arnold was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1907. After a brief minor league baseball career, he came to Louisiana in 1939 to work in the oil and gas industry. When time permitted, Arnold nurtured his interest in art by traveling to New Orleans and visiting artists such as Clarence Millet and Knute Heldner. Upon retirement, he devoted himself entirely to painting. During 1966 and 1967, Arnold attended the prestigious John McCrady School of Art in New Orleans.