The present work is similar in composition to J.Y.M. in the Studio I, 1963 (private collection).
Auerbach's technique requires him to paint, scrape down and then repaint his subject and each time this process is repeated a thin layer of oil remains on the surface. This layer serves as a reminder of the work that Auerbach has already completed and it retains an impression of the colours used in the structure beneath. The process results in peaks of thick impasto in areas of the final painting.
Auerbach, however, rejects the importance that critical writing has sometimes attached to the sculptural thickness of the impasto created through his painting technique, commenting, 'I don't know how they can talk about thickness, really. Is blue better than red, thick better than thin? - no. But the sense of corporeal reality that's what matters. English twentieth-century painting tends to be thin, linear and illustrative. I wanted something different; I wanted to make a painting that, when you saw it, would be like touching something in the dark. But Matisse could do that with thin paint and bright colours!' (see R. Hughes, Frank Auerbach, London, 1990, p. 86).