Virtual Art Academy

#1 Rated Online Painting Classes: The Virtual Art Academy® Apprentice Program

Take Your Painting As Far As You Want To Go

✓ Instant Access to Structured Virtual Art Classes

✓ Learn To Paint Online

✓ Study Online Anytime, Anywhere

✓ Access to Both Beginner and Advanced Online Painting Classes

✓ Choose Your Painting Medium (Oil, Watercolor, Acrylics, Pastel, Digital)

Why Our Virtual Art Classes Are Different

Many of our students after extensive search for online painting classes give us a #1 rating for three reasons: Structure – Comprehensiveness – Professionalism.

No other online painting classes get better student reviews. Read why …

1. Structured

our online painting course has the same curriculum as a traditional art school

The Virtual Art Academy® online painting classes contains 192 painting lessons broken down into 16 workshops, and 350 focused assignments.

As a beginner, you will systematically learn to paint in oils, acrylics or watercolors, one step at a time, and see your paintings steadily improve.

You get the same structured learning experience you would get at a prestigious Art University or Art Academy, but you can learn to paint at your own pace, and in the comfort of your own home.

It is a real course that trains you in a structured way

The questions you ask yourself are,”Will it be worth the cost?” and “Will it be truly useful?”. After a couple of weeks working on/in Virtual Art Academy®, I can say

Jon Main

2. Comprehensive Curriculum

eLibrary for Online Painting Classes

The reading information for the Virtual Art Academy® Apprentice Program is the result of a fifteen-year research project by professional artist Barry John Raybould. It contains information on how to paint you will not find anywhere else.

The most comprehensive, in depth and well-organized painting course available online

After a thorough research, my personal conclusion is that the Virtual Art Academy (VAA) is, by wide margin, the most comprehensive, in depth and well-organized painting course available in the

Bruno Villela

As a result, by joining the Virtual Art Academy, you will save yourself months of wasted time searching YouTube videos, blogs, art books, and tutorials for quality information on how to paint.

3. Knowledge You Can Trust

The Virtual Art Academy® online painting classes were entirely authored by a successful professional artist, Barry John Raybould, MA Cantab with a long list of exhibitions, galleries, and top awards to his name.

Uniquely we provide advanced online painting classes and lessons for professionals as well as beginners to raise your art to the level of museum quality.

I started learning oil painting with VAA from scratch. Just one year later my paintings started to sell

The Virtual Art Academy program is really comprehensive and gave me all the information and directives to learn painting in one package. The material is very well organized, just beautiful

Thomas Ruckstuhl

When learning how to paint you need to avoid getting into bad habits that will eventually slow down your progress. In our online painting classes you will learn the best working practices right from the start.

top oil painting award
Author of online painting classes, Barry John Raybould

Learn More About Our Story

What Medium Can I Use?

In these virtual art classes you can use any medium you like to complete your online painting course. This is because at the Virtual Art Academy you will learn the important underlying principles of painting that are the foundation of all great artworks.

Other painting courses online teach you specific techniques for how to paint a tree or how paint clouds or rocks. But you will only be able to copy the style of the teacher.

oil, watercolor, or acrylic painting medium

With the painting lessons from Virtual Art Academy you will be able to paint any subject in any medium, using any style you choose. As a result, your creative possibilities will be endless!

Here are some different painting media and techniques you can use.

You can change the medium you use at any time. Or if you like, simply stay with one medium throughout the online painting course.

Oil Painting Techniques

online oil painting course

If you are looking for an online oil painting course you will find no other as comprehensive. Here are just a few examples of the oil painting techniques we cover in our online oil painting classes.

All the course content applies equally well if you want to learn how to paint in acrylics: see acrylic painting techniques.

Watercolor Painting Techniques

If you are looking for an online oil watercolor painting course you will find all the important watercolor painting techniques covered in our introductory online painting classes.

Structured Virtual Art Classes for Beginner Painters

If you are an absolute beginner who has no experience at all in painting, you will systematically build up your skills one-by-one by following our online painting course in sequence.

Virtual Art Classes for Beginner Painters

Our program is built in modules. When you have finished the beginner topics, simply move on to the more advanced parts of the program.

Barry gave me a fishing rod so I can catch my own fish

After weeks and even months of searching YouTube, “googling” and spending a fortune on art instructional books I finally came across the Virtual Art Academy®. When it comes to purchasing

Dagmara Zaręba

In our early workshops you will learn these essential skills:

  • the essentials of notan – the underlying design structure behind all master-works.
  • all about values and how to see them accurately – an important prerequisite for achieving realism in your work.
  • the essentials of color and how to break it down into the three simpler choices of value, saturation, and hue – a critical skill for getting color harmony in your work
artwork by author of the online painting classes

You will also learn:

  • how to develop an underlying concept for your painting that will make your work stand out from the rest.
  • the most important compositional skill you will ever learn, space division.
  • how to control saturation – a key skill for advanced color harmony.
  • best practices for doing color studies outdoors – the essential process used by the great colorists such as Joaquin Sorolla and the basis of Impressionism.

Advanced Online Painting Classes for Intermediate And Professional Artists: The Apprentice Pro Program

artwork by author of the online painting classes

artwork by author of the online painting classes

The Virtual Art Academy provides the best online painting classes for adults who want to build a solid foundation for their art in a structured way. You may be wanting to start a new career in art. Or you could be taking up art as a serious hobby that you intend to spend a lot of time on.

Our Apprentice Pro Program contains all the information you would get if you attended a four-year program at a prestigious Art Academy or University. But with the advantage you can work in your own home and at your own pace. It contains comprehensive information for all levels. For beginners, for more experienced painters, and for professional artists who are already selling their work in galleries.

If you don't want to waste your time, the best online painting classes are those built by professional artists.

Although more expensive, lessons created by working professional artists will help you learn faster and ultimately get more out of your hobby.

If you choose a course built by a non-professional amateur painters (even if they market themselves as professionals), you will likely pick up bad habits that will slow you down and hinder your progress.

Remember you are investing in skills and knowledge that you will enjoy for the rest of your life. Choose wisely and invest in the best knowledge you can find.

artwork by author of the online painting classes

With you membership you get all of the following:

  • online watercolor painting classes
  • online oil painting classes
  • online acrylic painting classes

read more about our online painting classes

Our comprehensive curriculum covers all genres of painting including:

  • landscape painting
  • still life painting
  • plein air painting
  • portrait painting
  • abstract painting

Our advanced lessons include:

  • the skills you need to create incredibly beautiful color harmonies in your work.
  • how to create exciting compositions.
  • how to use expressive brushwork to bring your painting alive.
  • how to build your observations skills in drawing, form, and color to make your work look realistic.
  • how to create an underlying abstract design that will make your work stand out in a gallery.
  • how give your painting meaning as well as design to take it to museum level quality, and much more.

The Online Campus

All registered members of our online art school get access to our members-only Online Campus. Here you can interact with other Virtual Art Academy students from all over the world.

Our online art school students tell us the encouragement and feedback from an enthusiastic and friendly community of like-minded artists will motivate you and help you learn faster. As a bonus, you can make wonderful friendships worldwide.

Need More Information On Our Painting Classes?

Sign up for our Prospectus and Information Guides.

What Do Our Students Say?

You can read here why our students rate the Virtual Art Academy the best online painting classes they have found on the web.

The equivalent of a 4 year art education at a fraction of the cost

This is a great course for anyone who is serious about improving their painting. I have been a student here for several years. When I am finished, I will have

Susan Hood

See all reviews of the Virtual Art Academy


How can I teach myself to paint?

The Apprentice Program Painting Classes Skill Building Blocks

Step One: Make a Plan
You need to have a clear plan for what you want to learn. Then set aside the time to achieve your plan.

Step Two: Build Your Foundation
You can't do something as complicated as paint a good painting unless you have a core set of foundational skills. There are nine Building Blocks of skills that you need to master to paint well.

Step Three: Find Your Instructor
The majority of master painters throughout history studied with the famous master artists of their time. There were very few self (amateur) taught great masters. So find a working professional artist whose work you like, and if you can't learn in person, take online painting classes from that artist.

What is the best online drawing course?

triangulation drawing technique

There are only two skills you need to learn in order to be able to draw reasonably well. These skills are important to learn because you can only paint as well as you can draw. The two drawing techniques you need to learn are the angular transfer technique and the triangulation technique. Here is a free online drawing video that covers these two skills.