Our Story

Virtual Art Academy started from humble beginnings and has been laboured over to give you what you see today.


Below is our story of how the VAA went from a simple idea and a few eBooks into a fully formed internet emporium for Artists across the globe.

My Introduction to the Arts

My parents wanted my brother and I to have a solid education, but they also wanted us to experience as many non-academic things as possible, such as water sports, hiking, and especially the arts.


In Devon we watched the local artists painting the boats in Brixham harbour.  At Christmas we were given Paint-by-Numbers sets, with little pots of oil paints, and canvases with numbers filled in that corresponded to the appropriate colors  -  the smell of the turpentine and oil paints still brings back memories of completing those little paintings.


In later years my parents took us on trips to Florence, Venice, and Rome, where I first saw Michelangelo’s paintings. They  just took my breath away.


Unfortunately, in those days we were not encouraged to take art as a career, so I went to university to learn engineering. As it turns out, some of the skills I learned during my first career gave me the tools I needed that were key to the the development of the Virtual Art Academy Program (such as EPSS and Information Mapping).



Read more about how I combined an engineering career with my lifelong love of painting.

Becoming a Professional Artist

In the 1990's, when I was still in my early 40's,  I decided my engineering career wasn’t satisfying my artistic side, so I gave up my job to become a professional artist. I still had the urge to paint like Michaelangelo and Da Vinci, but how do you learn how to paint like a master?


Instead of delaying my art for another four years by going to an art university, where there was too much conceptual stuff and not enough classical instruction, I decided to seek out those artists who had learned their skills from other masters, and take their workshops. The journey took me all over the United States, to Italy, and finally to China.


It worked. In 1996 I won my first prize for a painting - 3rd place in the Carmel Art Festival.



Read more about about my art education, and successes as a professional artist.

Virtual Art Academy is Born

I wanted to share everything I had learned - to fill the world with great art, based on the traditional principles that were used by the old masters. In the early 2000's I started teaching workshops in California and in Tuscany, Italy.  My frustration was that I couldn't get across all the important knowledge I had to share in a week-long workshop. It was just impossible. Especially since it had cost some students more than $2000 to travel and attend my workshop.


Students wanted a booklet of what they learned in the workshop to take away with them. Many of the ideas I taught them, such as Notan and Visual Music & Poetry, were totally new at the time. So I started writing, and I never stopped! For fifteen years!



Read more about how I combined what I learned in both careers to create the VAA.

Virtual Art Academy Today

We have developed special tools in order to facilitate our program. It's a system totally unique to the VAA.  And it's only possible because we used the EPSS concept to design our community software, and Information Mapping to knit it all together.


Compared with other Academic and University Institutions, we keep our overheads low so that we can fulfil our mission of offering a top quality art education at n cost that anyone can afford.


Painting is my passion. The quality of the knowledge you get here is my top priority. As my student, I want your art education here to be the absolutely very best you can get anywhere. That's my goal.


Thank you for reading our story!


Barry John Raybould, 2017

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Copyright © 2004-2017 Barry John Raybould, Virtual Art Academy, Inc., Panama City, Rep.de Panama