10 FEBRUARY 2007, Page 27

Unfinished Painting

The artist Fothergill; the scene an Essex landscape. Tall trees framing the fields, a church beyond. And riding towards the painter on a sturdy cob A country figure followed by vestigial shapes.

The foreground grass growing from half-brushed strokes. The trees massing to summer leaf, as yet part-formed. Those nearly people following the rider and his horse, These ghostly labourers on the land, ephemeral folks.

How often do unfinished works compel our gaze. Perhaps because we can complete them in our minds Michaelangelo still emerging from the marble, Semi-suggestion, a sentence hinted from a phrase.