When is a Portrait Painting Finished?

Walking around the Scottish National Portrait in Edinburgh with a friend recently, it was interesting seeing which portraits caught our attention, which we both liked and disliked. We do enjoy similar things in art — expressive over tight realism, bright colour over gloom — and it’s fun to share and compare without getting too serious.

This self portrait by Scottish Colourist Cadell caught my eye for how much of it is “unfinished”. Notice how he’s painted his features and his painting behind him, leaving the rest as unimportant but still a hint of colour still on his palette. His pipe melds inextricably into the still life. The shadow from the ornate frame is annoying, and you can see a better photo on the gallery’s website (here) that you can zoom in on .

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