The Winding Path of the Life of Western Artist Dyrk Godby

((Left) Caviada (right) Waiting His Turn | Art by Dyrk Godby)

There’s a host of things about Dyrk Godby that can distract your focus from the man you’re speaking with, but spend some time talking and you’ll find that the conversation always circles back on one thing. It’s something that emanates from deeply within his heart and gets favored pure and naturally above all else — the horse.

Dyrk grew up on a horse ranch in South Central Idaho, ventured into the world of the rodeo circuit, nearly lost his leg to a bronc in the arena and then spent some years as a musician who sometimes wrote and sang about stallions, fillies or mustangs.

The compelling energy and the drive to work with things seemed to fully settle into his most capable hands and fingers around 35 years ago when Dyrk became serious about a somewhat neglected lifelong talent — making visual representations of the American West as he knew it. First drawing, then painting, he focused in on that ability to express what was within and knew best.

In his early 60’s now, Dyrk’s still got horses on his ranch between Sisters and Santiam Pass and he always will. His nationally award winning artwork reflects that lifelong bond with the animal as they are the primary theme of his multidimensional artistry.

Dyrk’s art gallery is filled with an amazing variety of his top-shelf Western artwork — oil and acrylic paintings, burnt leather landscapes and pencil drawings. But don’t let the steel-eyed cowboys, dust raising cattle drives, rodeo arena action scenes, Plains Indian settings or the soaring mountain vistas in his works sway your attention too far away from the real focus of his art.

The horse comes first in Dyrk’s vast body of artwork and in the pieces that show them, the rest of the work revolves around the animal. Having been with horses all his life, he’s masterfully skilled at getting their anatomy absolutely correct. However, it’s his ability to give them life by capturing the horse’s temperament in the moment — the attitude that shows in their expressive eyes, the head’s positioning and the body’s posture — that really sets his work apart from the majority of Western artists.

To us however, he’s the guy across the street with an art gallery that compliments ours as ours does his (Cowboys and Indians) and is someone we gladly take the time to chew the fat with nearly every week. Down to earth, a tad shy at first or just old school respectful, he’s easygoing and patient with a person if you just show him some everyday common courtesy.

So if you get the chance to drop by Dyrk’s art gallery on Hood Ave. in Sisters, which also serves as his studio, and you get to talking with him, the conversation may turn to recollections more fascinating than you might expect. There could be a story about his amateur boxing career that nearly got him to the Olympic Games, or one about the time he toured with a Bob Hope USO show, or when the winding path of life led him into the company of celebrities — Johnny Cash, Brooke Shields, Waylon Jennings — for a spell.

As fascinating as all of those accounts are to hear about, they’re mostly colorful foreground and background. Perhaps they’re even intended to see if you’re really paying attention to what matters — a person who grew up a ranch-raised, God worshipping kid in south central Idaho and had a strong desire to explore his abilities, the world and what this life can offer a person. In Dyrk’s case, it turned out to be that he’s truly a horseman at heart who eventually settled down with being a much sought out artist, which is certainly true to this day.

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