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, in 2000 he switched his attention to fine art.
Michael has written and published articles for American Artist, The Artists Magazine, and Step-by-Step Graphics; 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 large number of art schools, art institutions, and museums including the Booth Western Art Museum, Brigham Young University, Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas, and Scottsdale Artists School.
Besides his numerous gallery affiliations, he 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 Museum of Western Art, and the Eiteljorg Museum (where in the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Quest for the West Show, he won the Artists’ Choice Award and the 2014 Patron’s Choice Award). In 2016, he took top prize at the Buffalo Bill Show in Cody, Wyoming. 2017 brought him two more awards: Best of Show at the C.M. Russell Museum, and the Purchase Prize Award at the Briscoe Museum of Western Art. In the fall of 2016, he was invited to become a member of the prestigious Cowboy Artists of America.
In 2013 Michael published a signed and numbered, limited-edition book entitled C. Michael Dudash — Western Collection.
“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.
When I have stood on this very spot, south of Lewiston, Idaho, and to give this painting a very dramatic feel, these three Native Americans and I used the “infinite” background.
There is a pull-off on Hwy 95 in Idaho, just south of Lewiston that gives you a view that feels like infinity. It is truly breathtaking. This spot spawned the idea for Sign of Things to Come as I imagined what it must have felt like for Native Americans to look down upon intruders – in this case an encamped covered wagon train – invading their land. In a very short period of time, the world that these three braves knew and took for granted would be changed forever.
This painting could have been titled A Father’s Heritage. The father has the assurance that his spirit will live on, his legacy intact, proudly carried on by his son who sits patiently upon his white horse. The cliff outcropping adds a colorful and interesting backdrop as it supports this iconic portrait of two imposing and noble Indian men.
The Silent Scout is a painting that I would like to think invokes a feeling of suspense and mystery, as we see a lone Indian moving through a break in the rocks. Whether he is scouting for an enemy or searching for an elusive prey, his skill in moving with utter silence through the wilderness may determine whether he, his family, and his companions can survive for another day.
Here we see a lone miner and his mule as they travel into the high country, surrounded by blue mountains and blue sky. The title Into the Blue somehow seemed appropriate as I added cool rocks and indications of a mountain meadow stream. The warm sunlight on their backs and on a strip of grassy meadow brings back memories of my own when I have hiked into country that feels like heaven. I especially like the gentle curve of the miner’s horse.
The cross currents of culture that occurred in the settlement of the American West has always interested me. As the 19th century came to a close, occasionally Indian men would take on a job working as a cowboy. Beyond the normal outfit of a cowpuncher, his clothing might have remnants of his tribal past, like an Eagle feather in a hatband, or a beaded leather sheath for his knife. This is the second time I have used this subject in a painting or drawing.
I own a buffalo coat and mittens that are about 125 years old. I thought it would be a fun challenge to attempt a mostly black and white drawing of a Native American hunter who is sheltered in its warm refuge. Oh if this coat could talk.