Veryl Goodnight
Sculpting and Painting the American West

Sculpting From Life
It Makes a Difference

People often tell me that my work looks so “life-like.” When I am successful in capturing reality, it is simply because I had a good model backed up with a good foundation in anatomy. In recent years digital video has become very helpful in capturing the ultimate moment of action. Still photos have always been a great aide. Neither, however, can begin to replace the information nor the excitement that I get from the actual model.

I go to great lengths to have as much time as possible with each model. I have had wildlife rehabilitation licenses in the past and have raised many animals that inspired sculptures. We now own three distinctively different horses of different breeds. This helps keep me from working “generically.” My passion lies in trying to capture the individual differences of both people and animals.


THE 1970's

When living in Englewood, Colorado, we had a large pond. As a gosling, Andy had his leg bitten off by a snapping turtle. He was rescued and given to me to raise. Andy was terribly handicapped without his leg and I straddled him for two years, protecting him from the other geese on our pond at feeding time. He felt safest in my studio modeling.

Veryl hand-feeds the goose


THE 1980's

I moved to Castle Rock, Colorado. A tame coyote used for movie work gave birth to a litter of puppies. Calamity was given to me at six weeks of age to imprint so that she too could be a star. She inspired one of my favorite sculptures to this day, and she provided a valuable lesson as well.

The Coyote is released    

A moment of contemplation...

The dramatic return

The Lesson

The Lesson
Calamity taught me well
Taught me the essence of a Coyote
Keen yellow eyes told me
That neither leash nor love
Could make her what she wasn’t
With a sympathetic heart
I thanked her for the lesson
I took her where she yearned to be
Gave her back her birthright
Set her free

THE 1990’s

In 1987 I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico with my husband, Roger Brooks. We built our barn before we built our home and my great love for horses really took flight. My studio has a stage that allows me to bring horses in to model year round. Matt Dillon is half Quarter Horse and half Arabian. He is tall, handsome, well muscled and has inspired four sculptures (Reflections – shown here in clay and sold out – Second Thoughts –sold out in the smaller size – Running the Chaparral and Horseplay) as well as one monument (Second Thoughts)

Veryl with Matt Dillon
Veryl with Matt Dillon

Second Thoughts
Second Thoughts - Small
Second Thoughts


Running the Chaparral


THE 2000's

We began the new century with an incredible journey that allowed Roger and I to share three years and two months with an extraordinary individual. I borrowed Charlie to model in "Back From The Brink." We flew him home in our plane when he was seven days old. Charlie suffered a neck injury during weaning that prevented him from returning to a normal bison life. He never missed life on the prairie, however, for he and Roger formed an inseparable bond. Charlie grew into a gentle giant that liked nothing better than hiking with Roger and greeting the hundreds of people that came to meet him. Tragically, we lost Charlie to pneumonia in August of 2003. His memory lives on in "Back From The Brink," "Survivor," "Tomorrow’s Leader", and "Prairie Contender".

Click on "Back From The Brink" for a more complete story of Charlie and the history that inspired this sculpture.


Veryl & Charlie
Charlie models for Very
Roger Hiking with Charlie
Roger and Charlie


Back From The Brink

Prairie Contender
Tomorrow's Leader
Tomorrow's Leader



44255 Road L
Mancos, Colorado  81328

(970) 533-1172
Veryl's Cell (970) 570-7768