There is a wonderful balance to this design, with three main areas of colour - there is the bright blue bow, which sits upon the lighter blue hat, and then a flash of white around the model's neckline. She herself has an oval face, with brown hair, perhaps with just a touch of auburn. Her eyes are also blue which perfectly complements the palette used elsewhere. Below the neckline Cassatt chooses to leave the rest of the drawing pretty much blank and this is how she worked with this medium most of the time. There are several very clear lines which would have been added first in order to create form, but then her work inside these lines is looser and softer. The clearest outlines can be seen around her shoulders and also in the edge of the main part of the hat. You will also notice as to how the woman's facial features are delivered in a far more precise manner, as she considered this the key part of the work, just as would most portrait artists.

Cassatt was trained from a young age in the techniques of painting and drawing, despite her family initially being against the idea of her going down this path. They were concerned about some of the behaviour of the men in the art industry and so wanted to protected their daughter, rather than actually being against her working as a painter. She initially expected to follow this more as a hobby but eventually decided to work professionally and over time eventually achieved academic respect. She faced the same barriers as did the male members of the Impressionist movement, who were bringing about a new approach that some critics were heavily opposed to, but she also had the additional challenges of being American and also a female, which made success within the French art world even harder to achieve. Thankfully, she managed it, as did her French counterpart, Berthe Morisot, and they would ultimately add an important strand of work to the movement which differed in content and perspective.

This famous American artist would produce a large number of pastel portraits within her career and found that this soft medium was really suited to the content of her work, which most frequently was female portraiture, often capturing mother and child together. She had a number of favoured models that she would use several times over and also liked to make use of families in slightly lower parts of society who she figured would benefit more from the small money that she paid for their services. She cared about other women and the domestic lives that most of them lived, whilst she herself had been very fortunate in the upbringing that she herself had been given.

Head of a Woman in a Large Hat in Detail Mary Cassatt