Smith was trained as a painter and stated that his 'sculpture grew from painting'. Many of his sculptures have painted surfaces. In the last two years of his life he painted a series of female figures, using friends as models. He also executed many drawings on this theme. Most of the figures in this series are strictly linear, in black. Very few are modelled in broad areas of colour such as this one. Smith remained interested in the figure throughout his career. The emphasis on verticality in this painting, stressed by the narrowness of the canvas, recalls his upright, abstract 'sentinel' sculptures of the late 50s.