Marvin Mattelson lays down his palette and uses his words

Marvin Mattelson's Latest Oil Portrait Commission: Fang Fenglei

August 25, 2014
Feng Fengli by Marvin Mattelson

I recently completed the above portrait painting of Fang Fenglei. It's a great honor to be chosen to paint such an exceptionally successful gentleman. Mr. Fang has been referred to as "China's ultimate dealmaker". I wanted to create a portrait he would be proud to hang in his home in Shanghi.

For me, composition is the most important part of a painting. I give great thought as to exactly what goes where so that my sitter's legacy can be best served.

Feng Fengli - detail

It was my goal to create a portrait which would showcase the strength of character behind a man so accomplished. Mr. Fang has carved out quite the impressive resume. He is the Founder and Chairman of Hopu Investment Management and is also Chairman of Goldman Sachs Gao Hua Securities.  Mr. Fang has been recognized as one of the “Top Ten Influential Leaders of China’s Capital Market” by Financial Asia and he was also awarded “Asian Financial Service Development Outstanding Achievement” by Euromoney.

Feng Fengli- detail

I try to make each portrait I paint unique in it's own right. The best way to achieve this is to utilize elements that most appropriately convey the true sense of my subject.

I felt a simple earth toned background would be the best way to symbolize Mr. Fang's humble beginnings; he was born the son of a farmer. I suggested that Mr. Fang wear traditional Chinese clothing as opposed to a Western business suit – which is the way he generally appears in photos. When he sat down I asked him to remove his glasses and I used their placement to break up the shape of the white shirt, which I felt could easily have pulled the viewer's eye downward. I wanted the emphasis on his expression. I'm very proud of how this portrait came out and happy that the Fangs were so appreciative of my efforts.

Feng Fengli - detail

One of my all time favorite painters, Ivan Kramskoy, said, "The better the composition, the less noticeable it is." I hope that my painting exemplifies this principle.

Feng Fengli - detail

Marvin Mattelson is now conducting his classes and workshops online in Full HD 1080p through his Fine Art Portrait Academy. For further information, or to register for an upcoming offering, please follow this link to his teaching page.

Until next time...

Previous Wordpress blog Comments

Richard Budig says

August 25, 2014

Great work, Marvin.

David says

August 25, 2014

That is superb! Thank you for sharing it. David

Jason Keener says

August 25, 2014

Beautiful! Thank you for taking the time to share it with us.

Salvador Young says

August 26, 2014


Marvin Mattelson says

August 25, 2014

Thanks for the great feedback.

Michelle Powell says

August 25, 2014

Lovely, Marvin. I am wrapping up a formal portrait now too. I used a red under painting, which I must admit was scary!! So far reveiws are good, which is always nice. The man himself hasn’t seen it.
Thank you for the details! I enjoy being able to more clearly see the layers and how they peek and play. I know he is very pleased. The portrait has dignity and quiet authority.

Indu Ramkumar says

August 25, 2014

Hi Marvin, This is absolutely fantastic! You can see the power of the man coming through, in his eyes and his posture. I loved reading about your thought process behind the painting. Will try and keep your tips in mind.

Marcia Gorra-Patek says

August 25, 2014

Another most auspicious portrait! Marvin, you are one of the greatest!

Kathleen Speranza says

August 26, 2014

Marvin this is fabulous! I love the simplicity of the composition and the tight color range. Only the essentials!

Marvin Mattelson says

August 26, 2014

As Carolus Duran said, “Express the maximum by means of the minimum.”

Cynthia Brewster says

August 29, 2014

Not only the beauty of your composition, including amazing flesh-tones, and drawing, but also your ability to gaze into the soul of the man is fantastically conveyed in your newest accomplishment. As always, so good to see this and hear about how you make this happen! Thank you for sharing the detail of your work. I would love to see this in person!

Marvin Mattelson says

August 29, 2014

Thanks Cindy. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts.

Julia says

January 31, 2015

The beauty and simplicity of the composition, solid drawing skills, but most of all, the play of the silvery edges of the forms against the pinks, peaches and yellow tones of his skin, such beautiful flesh tones, and all with a limited palette. Less is definitely more with you at the helm. What wouldn’t I pay to see a demo of one of your finished portraits from drawing to a complete finish. Hint, hint. You could have a world-wide following. You could reach everyone and not be limited to students who can attend your workshops or classes. Some artists, such as Scott Wadell, take total control of their product, create their own videos and anyone who is interested can download directly from their websites. No middle man

Marvin Mattelson says

February 4, 2015

Thanks for the positive feedback about the painting. I would love to do something like that. I’ve gotten many such requests over the years. However, at this point in time I’m just too busy to do it. Someday…

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