From 1970 to the late 1980s McComb, a painter and sculptor, painted exclusively in pencil and watercolour. These seemingly insubstantial materials enabled McComb to build up lines and touches of colour in a manner which he likened to 'adding clay to the armature'. His strikingly rich and dense images retain a sense of luminosity, while also suggesting an inherent energy. When the model was posed, McComb decided that a second focus was needed to counterbalance the intensity of the sitter's gaze. He asked her to hold a model duck, which gives an idiosyncratic quality to the portrait.