Paint Splashes—Wild Stallions of the Onaqui

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Paint Splashes is, of course, a play on words, as this painting depicts two wild paint (so-called because of their markings) stallions of the Onaqui herd in eastern Utah. Sometimes just a small thing can excite an artist and motivate a particular piece. In this case, I was enamored with the abstract shapes of the thick, muddy water as the horses wallowed, drank, and cavorted in one of the several watering holes that the BLM provides for this particular herd. Although these horses are not true mustangs, but simply feral, years of adaptation to the wild and their sheer survival have produced an amazing strain of incredibly hardy animals. Their scruffy appearance, big bones and feet, long manes, and large rough-hewn heads may not speak to the elegance of an elite thoroughbred, but they do speak to their tough reality. I have watched a herd run for more than five miles without stopping, only to see one-day-old colts that have kept up and were ready to play the moment the herd slowed down. This is a particularly healthy and animated herd that features a lot of fights—and has the scars to prove it. I spend time with them as often and I can, and I absolutely love to paint them.

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36 x 50 in.
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oil on linen
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