Organizations* : AAA, AOA, NWR, SAA
Veryl Goodnight is one of today’s best-known bronze sculptors of Western and animal subjects. A descendent of Charles Goodnight, the legendary Texas cattle baron, Goodnight is an artist whose work reflects the American West and highlights the pioneer ideal. She began her artistic career painting and later transitioned into sculpture to better understand anatomy. In no time at all, she was hooked on the medium. Raised near Denver, Colorado, Goodnight’s formal artistic training was greatly influenced by the beauty and freedom of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain wildlife, as well as her keen interest in horses. As a child, she was only able to dream of having a horse of her own. This yearning became the impetus for her art, filling her with a passion to draw horses and even sculpt them in snow.
Today, Goodnight works exclusively from live models and has a special stage in her studio for the animals. She has raised many of her animal models, including bison, deer, elk, goats, sheep, prairie dogs, coyote and bear. Over the years, her work has evolved from solely sculpting animals to creating works portraying the relationship between animals and people. Goodnight depicts this companionship in a way consistent with her philosophy toward nature’s creatures; the scenes are gentle and caring, with the animal subjects shown as friends and equals. “I’m interested in women who are close to the animals and the land. I focus on the 1800’s because animals were so integral to daily life.” This ideal is beautifully represented in her “Women of the West” sculpture series, which Goodnight began in 1984 with Cares For Her Brothers.
Her largest work to date, The Day The Wall Came Down, a monument to freedom, portrays five horses jumping over the rubble of the collapsed Berlin Wall. There are two castings of this monument, one located at the George Bush Presidential Library and the sister casting is on display at the Allied Museum in Berlin, Germany. Each sculpture is 30 feet long, 18 feet wide and 12 feet high and weighs approximately 7 tons.
Goodnight’s work has been profiled in the books Leading The West and An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American West. She has also been featured in all major American art magazines, and exhibits in shows such as the Artists of America, Great American Artists, Masters of the American West and the Northwest Rendezvous. She maintains membership in the National Sculpture Society, the Society of Animal Artists, and the American Academy of Equine Art and is a Master of the Artists of America.
Goodnight has recently returned to painting, and has taken advantage of the workshop opportunities to study with Dan Gerhartz, Tom Browning, Andrew Peters and Howard Terpning. She lives just north of Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband Roger Brooks and their menagerie of animals. Their favorite pastime is riding their horses through the surrounding mountains and arroyos.