Even thought this is a work in progress, I think that the vision of the piece is pretty profound. The boldness of the background, the gradient solid fill, is going to make whatever it is that's going around this piece really pop. I think that solid fill can definitely be used to enhance a piece. This one is very bold. I really hope that it does the job when all is said in done!
The snowflakes are really well done. From far away (or rather, zoomed out I should say) they have a soft glow to them. They look like they're glowing through the darkness that surrounds them, the flame gradient color swatch used on them is particularly bold. I think that it's very well done, although if I could suggest anything it might have been to hit a little bit of white on some of the angle edges to define it just a teeny bit more. (This is personal preference, however!)
I'm very excited to see this finished. I like the warmth of the piece and the boldness of it. Your linework is very solid and it shows a lot of talent and ability to keep your lines that serious when dealing with the contours of skin. Overall, it's a very good example of the variety of the typical sleeve tattoo. (Or rather, there is no "typical" sleeve!)