A student of Jock Macdonald's at the Ontario College of Art, Graham Coughtry was distinguished by his disinterest in pure abstraction. The human figure remained essential in his art production throughout the rise to prominence of the Painters Eleven in Toronto. Coughtry worked closely with a group of artists, including Michael Snow, Joyce Wieland, Gordon Rayner and Robert Markle, who absorbed the influence of Abstract Expressionism, but whose work retained references to the material world. Coughtry's admiration for the work of Willem de Kooning, Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti can be clearly seen in his ability to bring the figure to the forefront of his highly expressionistic style, giving the space between it and the viewer an almost material presence. Walking Figure is an early example of Coughtry's figure paintings. The form, with a blue-green landscape behind it, seems to emerge from a veil created by the dripping of paint across the canvas.