has been sculpting since 1973. She is one of todays best-known
sculptors of Western and animal subjects in bronze. Descended from
Charles Goodnight, the legendary Texas cattle baron, Veryls
work reflects the American West and highlights the pioneer ideal.
Denver, Veryls formal artistic training was greatly influenced
by the beauty and freedom of Colorados Rocky Mountain wildlife
and 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.
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 dog, coyote and bear. Her
work evolved over the years from sculpting only animals to sculpting
people and animals. Veryl depicts this companionship in a way consistent
with her philosophy toward natures creatures. The scenes are
gentle and caring with the animal subjects shown as friends and
This ideal is
beautifully represented in her Women of the West sculpture
series, which Veryl began in 1984 with Cares For Her Brothers. This
life-size bronze is located at the Denver Zoo and Brookgreen Gardens
in South Carolina. There are now eighteen sculptures in the Women
of the West series. Im interested in women who
are close to the animals and the land. I focus on the 1800s
because animals were so integral to daily life.
Veryl is one
of the foremost equine sculptors in the United States. She is a
sought after instructor, and teaches once a year at the Scottsdale
Artists School and the Fechin Institute in Taos, New Mexico.
Her equine bronzes range from miniature to monumental.
Many of Veryls
monuments are in museums and public collections throughout the United
States, Europe and Japan. Paint Mare and Filly, commissioned by
the American Paint Horse Association, was dedicated at the Cowboy
Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City in 1988. The Lely Resort in Naples,
Florida commissioned The Freedom Horses in 1989, which depicts five
over life size running horses. Spring and Sprite, a mare and running
foal, was purchased for the Old West Museum in Cheyenne in 1999.
Veryl is proud to also have No Turning Back at the Old West Museum.
This life-size bronze is of a pioneer woman standing by a wagon
wheel, looking over her shoulder. She seems to know that once she
had started the journey west, there is No Turning Back.
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. The collapse of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 was a
moment of joy shared around the world, captured by the artist in
this tremendous sculpture. 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.
The German casting
was delivered by the U.S. Air Force on the 50th anniversary of the
Berlin Airlift, installed by the German army, and unveiled by former
U.S. President George Bush in July of 1998. The sculpture is a gift
of friendship from the American people to the people of Germany.
In October 2000 Veryl was the recipient of the Central Intelligence
Agencys Agency Seal Medallion in recognition for
her vision of freedom for The Day The Wall Came Down.
work has been profiled in the books Leading The West (Northland
Press 1997) and An Encyclopedia of Women Artists of the American
West (University of Texas Press, 1998). She has also been featured
in all major American art magazines, and exhibits in prestigious
shows, such as Artists of America, Denver, CO; Great American Artists,
Cincinnati, OH; Masters of the American West, Los Angeles, CA; Cheyenne
Governors Invitational, Cheyenne, WY and the Northwest Rendezvous,
Helena, MT. She maintains membership in the National Sculpture Society,
Society of Animal Artists, Northwest Rendezvous, American Academy
of Equine Art and is a Master of the Artists of America.
Goodnight was awarded the Peoples Choice Award for her sculpture
Back From the Brink at the 2001 Northwest Rendezvous
show in Helena, Montana, where her quick draw painting captured
the second highest bid at $1,700. In addition, September/October
issue of Art of the West featured her work in an article focusing
on recent works, including paintings.
her career painting and later transitioned into sculpture to better
understand anatomy. In no time at all, she was hooked on the medium.
Veryl 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.