This piece of artwork from Marie Laurencin creates the feeling that it is inviting viewers dream world of Marie. She painted several women and girls in the forest riding grey horses or standing next to a black dog. It seems like some girls are chit chatting, one woman is posing alone, and the other person(not sure if it is boy or girl) is giving flower to another women. I am guessing that the women are posing in the forest for Marie to paint them. The dark greenish-greyish background that is painted with big and round brush strokes makes me feel like the women are in the foggy forest.
In the middle, I can see the sky and clouds shown in between the two big tree parts of the forest. Also, this cloud is depicted with big brush strokes, it effectively forms the volume of the clouds. At the bottom of the painting, on the ground, she added some dark green colored thin brush strokes made to express some grass. She didn’t elaborate much on the details of the background so it makes the painting look more dreamy and fairelike. Different from the mediums like watercolors which gives transparent and clear effect, oil paintings on the canvas expresses more thicker forms and opaque color of objects, so it might be harder to express these foggy atmosphere. But, by using greyish tones a lot, Marie portrayed dreamy mood of the painting very well. Something unique about the women in this painting is that, she painted women’s skin in white(highlighting) and grey(shadows) colors. This color choice seems peculiar to me since not much painters use grey to color the shades of human’s skin.
However, I think this color color usage of grey, green, and pastel pink or blue makes her painting have it’s own special style. The women’s dresses are in pastel pink, blue, and white tones and appears to be very thin and soft that it looks like it is made out of silk or chiffon. I liked how she featured the big folds of the dress materials only, but not in so detail because it gives a modern and simple style. And womens are wearing hats with feathers on it to decorate themselves. Two women are riding a light grey horse and dark grey horse. I like how she painted light grey horse with dynamic and energetic pose because it is very contrasting to the women’s elegant and static pose. Another dark grey horse is in static and calm pose which gives another contrast with 2 different horses. I can guess that light grey horse is more of a callow, active and young whereas dark grey horse is calm, wise and old.
I am curious about the person in the middle who is giving the little pink flower to the women in pink dress. That person is kneeling down and presenting their gift to the women. It kind of seems like a boy proposing to a young women because the person is not wearing the top but only wrapped white clothes at the bottom.
So I think I can guess that it is a boy proposing or showing love a woman. The artist depicted women’s faces very simple. She expressed eyes with dark grey oval shapes, lips with thin pink stork and barely drew their noses. Only some grey shades in their faces. This seems different from other old figure paintings where people are portrayed in exact appearance with much detail like a photo. Her painting is more like an illustration from modern days and is very simple and unique. I wonder why she titled this artwork “The Life in the Castle” because the women are not inside the castle but at the forest.
I can guess that the forest is part of the castle’s area and women are getting ready for the party since they are dressed up or just taking a walk with horses and a dog. This overall look of painting gives elegant feelings because of the poses of women in pastel dresses and the calming dark green background. The pose of the women are very feminine like how ladies were supposed to be like in the early 1900s. They are smiling slightly and mostly looking down, not showing much emotions and they posed very static and passively. This piece is informing me that this unique and modern style of art existed during the early 20th century. She used much of pastel colors and grey colors and expressed background and figures in simple style without much details. The background and overall painting also seems like an imaginary and dreamy because of unique color usage and forms of figures.
And it also noted me that human skins can be colored with only white and grey. These are not realistic portrait but it is in very expressive style. This artwork will influence me to make an oil paint with big strokes forming the backgrounds and use the color combination of pastel colors and grey to depict the women.
It also made me want to paint a women skin in greyish tone and wearing beautiful pastel dresses and decorative hats or jewelries which gives elegant mood of paintings.