Dewing's portrayal of an elegant young woman playing the cello typifies his work in pastel, a medium he first explored in the early 1890s. His presentation and style of drawing were inspired in part by the ethereal pastels of the American artist James McNeill Whistler, who like Dewing, also chose sheets of dark brown paper for his portraits of women at leisure. In fact, this type of paper was commonly known as "Whistler paper." And like Whistler, Dewing used the paper's deep tone as a ground for building his diaphanous images that seem to emerge from the shadow into light. With careful attention paid to color harmonies, the completed effect is one of a romantic dream world, where time and logic are suspended in favor of a subjective and intimate vision of beauty.