In my experience, the two best ways to set a mood in a painting are to show warm and welcoming light inside a building when it is raining or snowing outside, or to show warm firelight on a cowboy camp. Art is all about creating an emotional reaction from the viewer to what they see in a painting or sculpture. Almost everyone can relate to the story of this painting. A cold wet night in the saddle or a warm meal inside this restaurant. I'll bet the antelope stew is hot and good.
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