While serving with the Royal Artillery from 1940-46, Davie was more interested in poetry and jazz than art. However, during a period of leave in 1945, he saw an exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy featuring work of his former tutor, John Maxwell. Maxwell was a great admirer of artists Paul Klee and Marc Chagall and Davie was impressed with his paintings, commenting that he "was drawn towards the poetic, Romantic nature of his work". Inspired, Davie painted ‘Woman Arranging Flowers’ drawing the subject from his imagination rather than using a model as he had as a student. This intuitive way of working, alongside the heavy black lines which pull the work together became typical of his later work.