"Shootout at Big Muddy" by artist Carl Hantman.

Essay by vhumannCollege, UndergraduateA+, August 2005

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While visiting the Cook Center I chose the painting Shootout at Big Muddy by Carl Hantman because I saw so much going on in the simple painting. It invoked a lot of thought as well as visual stimulation.

The medium of this piece is oil paint while the support is board. It's dimensions are 39" by 28". The values are mostly dark with fewer exceptions of light. The artist mixed warm hues of rich reddish earth tones as well as using hues of blue. I believe this piece to be representational but definitely not naturalistic. I also think this piece to be alla prima. The horizon line seems to be directly above the centered portrait view.

The focal point seems to be centered in the painting. The subject matter or figure's shape suggest that it is divided into four closely painted positive shapes. The four positive shapes imply a content of two cowboys above two horses. It appears that the cowboys are riding the horses; one closely behind the first.

The figure painted behind the full scaled figure has curving and diagonal lines suggesting movement but they aren't as abundant as the full scaled figure suggesting more movement and or less stability. The rear figure has darker values than the first suggesting distance.

The lines of the subject matter imply a forward direction. The curvature of the horses legs imply movement while their heads seem to remain at a fixed position, facing forward. It looks as if the horses have an objective point in the distance, far from the viewer's range.

Above the figure are mainly dark values overtaking lighter ones, suggesting a blue sky covered by storm or night. The upper ground has obvious circular lines with diagonal lines implying movement. Below the figure, the ground is...