In both paintings, light is important in focusing the attention on central and peripheral matter, bringing them to prominence. The subjects are both well-rounded women with dark hair and eyes, and their positions show the artist intended the viewer to focus on them. They both seem to be of similar age and both compositions are triangular. Their eyes are downcast and mouths are slightly pursed, representing different moods. Differences in technique and intent, with light coming from outside the paintings, bring motion to the pictures, creating light and dark. The complementary light and dark colours show the moods. Both wear white and again light and shadow add texture to the clothing. Both seem to be thinking of making a decision, with Gabrielle's being about what jewel to wear, and how she looks in the mirror, while the Brooding Woman has something more serious on her mind. From the way they are both sitting, the feeling comes across that they both trusted the artists who were painting them.
The contrasts are more in the style of painting than the main subjects. Looking first at the women, their expressions of thoughtfulness create the mood, but the differences lie in the intention of the painter. Gabrielle is comfortable, almost cosy, with a less important decision to bother her, while the Brooding Woman has something heavy on her mind. She is more sad and lost, her shoulders sag, and their position can also be seen on the dog in the background. She is fully clothed, while Gabrielle is happy to be half-undressed. The Brooding Woman seems to be looking into herself for answers and Gabrielle looks outward towards her mirror. Symbolism is another contrast, because the background in Gaugin's picture seems to have something to do with the woman's state of mind, and her dejected body