British portrait painter Andrew Festing yesterday presented President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) with a painting of Ma during their meeting at the Presidential Office.
Festing, former president of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and his wife are visiting Taiwan at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to experience Taiwanese culture and boost bilateral arts exchanges.
Speaking to reporters before his meeting with Ma yesterday afternoon, Festing said the painting of Ma “was not very satisfactory” because the photograph of Ma provided by the Taipei Representative Office in the UK was poor in terms of image quality.
“What I got today is not good. It’s just a doodle from a bad photograph,” Festing said, adding that he would like to paint a portrait of Ma after he returns to the UK if the president would allow him to take a “proper photograph” of him at their meeting.
Festing said that he initially planned to paint a small picture of London as a present to Ma when the trip to Taiwan was organized, but he was persuaded by Representative to the UK Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡) to paint a portrait of Ma instead.
Earlier yesterday, Festing shared his 32 years of experience with about 100 students majoring in Western painting, giving practical tips and advice on how to paint a portrait at a forum organized by National Taiwan Normal University.
Festing and his wife will visit cultural landmarks and traditional craft centers in Lugang Township (鹿港), Changhua County, and meet with National Palace Museum director Fung Ming-chu (馮明珠) and Vice Minister of Culture George Hsu (許秋煌) to get a better understanding of Taiwanese culture before leaving on Friday, the ministry said.