Veryl Goodnight

(1947 - present)


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Veryl Goodnight

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I was born loving animals and the American West, this has been the focus of my art for over three decades. Working from life was initially an excuse to be outdoors and near the horses, birds, and many other animals that shared my life. The reality, however, is that having a living, breathing model nearby not only provides information that a thousand photos couldn't convey, it keeps me excited. Working from life also keeps me from becoming repetitious. The subtle differences of each living being have become my passion, whether I am sculpting or painting.

Veryl Goodnight and her husband, Roger Brooks, live in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado. The dramatic landscape, abundant wildlife, ranching community and the history of working animals of the San Juans, such as the burros and guardian dogs for the domestic sheep, provide endless inspiration for both sculpture and painting.

The essence of Veryl’s work is a result of working from life. Her sculpture studio is at the end of the barn and includes a “model run” to the west and an overhead door between the studio and the barn aisle. Veryl is spending more and more time painting outdoors. Her painting studio, which is in the house, provides uninterrupted views and frequent wildlife out of every window.

Veryl has monuments across the United States and in Europe. The most notable is “The Day The Wall Came Down”, a seven-ton sculpture of five horses jumping over the fallen Berlin Wall. The United States Air Force flew this monument to Berlin, Germany in 1998. A sister casting is permanently located at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A & M University.

Veryl’s work has been profiled in many books and her work has been featured in all major American art magazines. She exhibits in prestigious shows, such as Masters of the American West, Los Angeles, CA; and Quest for the West, Indianapolis, Indiana. Veryl is a Fellow of the National Sculpture Society.

The Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma honored Veryl with a 40-year retrospective exhibit in 2011. A book titled “No Turning Back – the Art of Veryl Goodnight” was released to coincide with the show. Two castings of her life-sized sculpture depicting a Victorian woman, “A New Beginning,” were recently installed – one at the Union Pacific Museum in Cheyenne, Wyoming and the second at the Colorado History Museum in Denver, Colorado. “Back From the Brink,” an over life-sized sculpture chronicling Mary Anne Goodnight bottle raising orphaned bison calves, was unveiled during the opening of the Goodnight Historical Center near Claude, Texas in October, 2012.