This self-portrait of the painter Grace Cossington Smith, was made in 1948, with oil on cardboard, and measures 57cm high and 48cm wide. The prominent frame is dark wood, and between it and the painting is a second, narrow, inner frame of bone coloured canvas.

The dynamism in this portrait comes from the way it has been painted - with small, squarish, paint-laden brush strokes in warm yellows and browns, that seem to flicker and move – dancing across the surface of the canvas. In contrast, Grace appears rather quiet and unremarkable, looking out, through round rimmed glasses, and dressed in a collared shirt.

Grace’s head and upper torso dominate the portrait. Behind her, the top half of the painting shows a light filled, green and yellow dappled background, while the bottom half is mostly darker tones, and includes a warm, deep-brown coloured object – possibly the back of a chair.

Grace has cropped hair, parted at the centre, and tucked behind her ears. Though it is neat, there is the impression of a wavy texture - created through layered brush strokes in mottled copper-browns, yellow-greens and deep-blues. Grace’s oval face is tilted slightly up, and the right side is angled to the viewer, with light falling on it. Her forehead is high, rounded and smooth. Grace’s eyebrows are obscured by her slender, brown-framed, round-rimmed glasses.

Through the lenses, Grace’s gaze is striking – her eyes are brown and almond shaped, and their look is direct; unfaltering. Perhaps the intense stare is aimed at the viewer, or perhaps at herself, as she works on her portrait, scrutinising her reflection in a mirror.

Grace has a straight nose. Her natural-pink lips are pursed, and set in a serious expression.

A pink brush stroke defines the curve of Grace’s small, round chin. Three brown flecks give shape to the right side of her jaw, and vertical, smudged dabs in yellow-brown and pink, allude to the slackening skin of the neck of a woman in her mid-fifties.

The collar of Grace’s shirt fits close to her neck, and comes together in a ‘v’. On Grace’s right side, where the light touches it, the front of her shirt is painted in whites, pale pinks and browns, while on her left side, deep reds and patches of dark blue-green indicate shadows.

The bottom edge of the portrait crops Grace off mid-chest. In the left corner, beneath the short sleeve of her shirt, is her bare right arm.

In front of Grace’s left shoulder, in the lower right corner of the painting there are three flat, rectangular shaped objects layered against each other. The objects’ shapes and positions suggest they are the yellow backs of two cardboard canvasses leaning against a brown, timber easel.

Audio description written by Lucie Shawcross and voiced by Emma Bedford