Born and raised in Minnesota, C. Michael Dudash settled in the Green Mountains of Vermont where he began his full-time career as an artist and oil painter in 1977. After a successful 20-year career as an illustrator, his attention switched to fine art in 2000.
In 2013, Michael published a signed and numbered, limited-edition book titled C. Michael Dudash – Western Collection. He has written and published articles for American Artist, The Artists Magazine, and Step-by-Step Graphics, and his work has been showcased in Art of the West, Southwest Art, and Western Art Collector. He has featured his work as a guest lecturer and instructor at a number of art schools, institutions, and museums including the Booth Western Art Museum, Brigham Young University, the Museum of Biblical Art, and the Scottsdale Artists’ School.
Besides his numerous gallery affiliations, Michael has shown and sold his work at the C.M. Russell Museum, the Scottsdale and Coeur d’Alene Art Auctions, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, the Booth Western Art Museum, and the Eiteljorg Museum (where in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Quest for the West Art Show and Sale he won the Artists’ Choice Award and the 2014 Patrons’ Choice Award). In 2016, he took top prize at the Buffalo Bill Art Show and Sale in Cody, Wyoming, and was invited to become a member of the prestigious CAA. In 2017, he was awarded Best of Show at the C. M. Russell Museum and the Purchase Award at The Briscoe Western Art Museum’s Night of Artists.
“I love to create paintings that illustrate the subject of the old West and the history of the American frontier,” Michael said. “This gives me the opportunity to paint figures, landscapes, action, animals, interesting costuming, and, of course, dust and atmosphere. I find that storytelling through narrative painting allows me to address both serious and lighthearted subjects.”
Michael currently works out of his home and studio in the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, area where he lives with his wife, Valerie.
Traveling across the old West in a crowded coach was a challenge for wagon drivers, passengers, and horses alike. A trip could be weeks long, and schedules were altered by bad weather, breakdowns, and other unexpected emergencies. Horses were changed at “swing stations” about every 10 miles which gave the passengers a moment of relief. By the end of a long day, everyone was hot and thirsty, tired and hungry, and just plumb worn out. Seeing a distant light at a “home” way station as dusk was turning to dark was always a welcome sight. It meant that the station was expecting the coaches arrival and offered the hope of some much needed food and water, a bit of shut eye (usually on a dirt floor) and a chance to stretch weary bones.