Relearning Drawing

A few years ago, I signed up for a course at Mass Art that I had been interested in taking for a long time. Several people told me the teacher was legendary and very difficult. A man from one of my illustration classes said he was so challenged by his class, he took it twice. Apparently, this is not unusual for this class. The teacher is a renowned painter Paul Rahilly. You can view his work here and here. Hearing the stories about this teacher, I was very intimidated to take his class which is partly why I put it off for so long. In class, I met yet another gifted and highly accomplished painter Paul Goodnight. More of his work is here. At the time, he taught a course similar to Paul Rahilly's course and co-taught a course with Paul Rahilly. I learned a great deal sitting near him and watching him draw. Everything I had learned about drawing was basically useless in the class, and the course was extremely challenging—probably the most challenging art class I've ever taken. Mr. Rahilly's teaching method is rooted in anatomy, but is more a study of visible and non-visible planes and how capturing them correctly can strengthen your understanding of the human form and make for much stronger drawings. I constantly felt embarrassed and anxious showing my work to such a talented and intense teacher, but it was a good lesson in accepting my fear and just drawing anyway. Mr. Rahilly was critical of everyone's work, but in an extremely constructive and kind way. Students wound up laughing with him over the weaker parts of their drawings, and so much was learned just by sitting with him for a few minutes during each class. Most of the poses were brief, and I tend to draw very slowly, so none of my drawings were completed images. Most of what I drew in class was barely passable in terms of decent drawing, but I thought these images were energetic. I don't apply his drawing rules to my illustration work, but there's no question I grew as an artist taking his course and could probably take it many more times and continue to gain new drawing skills. If you live in the Boston area and would like to improve your drawing skills, don't shy away from a class with Mr. Rahilly or Mr. Goodnight!

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