When I left the American Academy of Art in 1983 my favorite medium, by far, was that of watercolors. Not that I had mastered any medium at the time, but I was one of the very fortunate students to have Irving Shapiro for a watercolor instructor.
Mr. Shapiro was the president of The American Academy of Art at that time. He was also a very fine watercolorist. If there was one thing he excelled at even more then his watercolor ability, it was his ability to teach it, something he did with class and professionalism that was unsurpassed.
To have one of your efforts praised by Mr. Shapiro and hung in the halls for all art students to see was a rare and therefore highly valued thing. It rarely ever happened to me. One day I decided to try and set aside all of my painterly inhibitions. In the classroom, with other students looking over my shoulder, (another inhibition overcome) I took about 90 minutes to paint this splashy depiction of a Detroit Tiger baseball player. When it came up in front of Mr. Shapiro for critique a few days later, he just smiled very broadly and shook his head as he said "Nathan, You really got it this time!"
The painting was published later that year in Mr. Shapiro's watercolor instruction book for Watson Guptill Publishing and it hung on the walls of the American Academy for the next 25 years until I asked if I could have it back, which they very kindly agreed to do.