I came across a great site about the weird and wonderful work of Paula Rego, a Portuguese artist who lives and works in London. This particular picture resonates with how I'm feeling trying to write up my doctorate!
She says wild things like: "To be a dog woman is not necessarily to be downtrodden; that has very little to do with it. In these pictures every woman's a dog woman, not downtrodden, but powerful. To be bestial is good. It's physical. Eating, snarling, all activities to do with sensation are positive. To picture a woman as a dog is utterly believable."