Girl with grape vine revisited - watercolor and some gesso

Remember the girl with grape-vine? Well, I did not finish that painting. At some point, I just decided I disliked it enough to start over. My main issue was the fact that most of the shadows in the reference photo were not really there - thanks to the flash. So, after having it on hold for several weeks (or was it months? ;), I picked a different photo as main reference and started all over. This time I completed it!

I wanted to try gesso in a watercolor painting ever since discovering Jean Pederson's "Expressive Portraits: Creative Methods for Painting People". This was a perfect case for it. I tried a dark background and didn't like it. So I went into my parents' backyard, picked some grape leaves in several sizes, put gesso on the leaves and pressed them to my background with a brayer. When it all dried out, I applied a little color, and voila! (the background is still my favorite part in this painting...)

Here are some in-progress photos: