THIS is the last portrait of acclaimed Glasgow artist Steven Campbell, who died last week aged 53.

The unfinished painting sits in the hallway of Barry Atherton and his wife Linda's Pollokshields home. They have been working on it for 18 months.

Atherton, a former tutor of fine art at Glasgow School of Art, met Campbell when the latter was a student there. They were reunited in 2003 while judging a children's painting competition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

"We had a good chat and I managed to talk to him about my work and he talked about his," said Atherton.

"Steven was a fascinating character and it was an opportunity to do a portrait of him in a context of one of his own paintings."

The portrait shows him standing in front of his own work Battle of Myths! The Tree Man/The Green Man. It embodies many of the themes Campbell used, such as the powerful imagery of a man becoming part of a tree as he wrestles with flying demons.

"That's one way that a painter like me can get to know an artist's work, by copying it. The portrait is just less than life-size of Steven," said Barry.

Campbell, along with Peter Howson, Ken Currie and Adrian Wiszniewski, was credited with bringing figurative painting back into the mainstream in the 1980s. They were known as part of the New Glasgow Boys movement.

Atherton said: "I think he was an extremely complex character. If you can look at his paintings you can see the baroque or rococo imagination. He was in some ways a troubled artist, but used his profound thoughts and imaginations to construct the paintings. He was drawing on his own internal feelings all the time, even some of his own demons appear in his paintings.

"Sometimes it was very difficult to paint when you were actually listening to a person like Steven, because sometimes the conversations were more interesting than doing the painting. It's quite a shock for me to talk about him in the past tense."

Campbell found great commercial and international success in the US, especially through the Barbara Toll Fine Art gallery. He inspired his peers and played a crucial role in reinvigorating Scottish painting for another generation.

His last major show was The Caravan Club in 2002, at the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh.

Atherton's wife Linda, also an artist, described Campbell's first sitting.

"I didn't know what to make of him because he didn't want to chat; he was very serious. Then the second time he was fantastic. We had so much fun the three of us. He was so funny, typical Glasgow humour. He never smiled, but you could see the twinkle in his eye as he pulled you along in a story."

Linda described the setting of the portrait of Campbell as "dark and not very comfortable".

"It's him in his studio, it's like a garage. Comfort wasn't what he wanted, that wouldn't have given him the type of painting he wanted. This painting is quite a tortured image.

"Steven said he used his demons, he relied on them for his painting. You've got this troubled imagery in the background. We had actually given him a slight smile at first, but when he saw it he said, No, that's not me, and it's not how I want to be seen.' "He said he wanted to have the troubled look, so we changed it. It was his source, the source of his work was his demons."

She added: "Right to the end he was still that sharp guy I had met at his degree show in the 1980s, although he did have a sadness to him.

"He's intense in the painting. It's a moment in time where he's really giving you eye contact."

Campbell died on Wednesday after suffering complications following a ruptured appendix. He is survived by his wife Carol and three children.