Virtual Art Academy

Congratulations VAA Alumni Student Thomas Ruckstuhl: 2nd Place in the BoldBrush Painting Competition, for “Back Home

Back Home by Thomas Ruckstuhl
Back Home by Thomas Ruckstuhl

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The April 2021 FASO competition was judged by Dan Gerhartz, and Thomas’s painting was chosen from over 3,000 entries.

It’s always nice when a graduate of the Virtual Art Academy has a major success. So our heartfelt congratulations to Thomas Ruckstuhl for getting a well-deserved 2nd Place in the BoldBrush Painting Competition, for “Back Home”. Read on to get the story of how he got to this stage from being a complete beginner in oil painting just a few years before, to becoming a professional award-winning painter.

The Background

Thomas’s career was originally as a Professor of Optical Physics at a University in Germany, and a few years ago started oil painting from scratch with the Virtual Art Academy. He never had a live teacher, but instead learned completely online by going systematically through the Virtual Art Academy four-year Apprentice Program curriculum. After just a few years he turned professional painter with his first exhibition, and is now doing going from strength to strength in his paintings.

How he did it

The secret to Thomas’s success is quite simple. He worked hard at acquiring key skills that are critical to great paintings. I remember him doing study after study to master color pair relationships, eventually becoming quite a master at it. He worked systematically through the extensive learning assignments in the Apprentice Program to master the key principles of painting and built up his skills one-by-one.

One of of the problems with a lot of painting instruction is that it relies too much on watching videos, or reading. Those are useful, it is true, but you don’t actually learn much that way. Read this article I wrote on the fundamental problems with art video instruction to learn the underlying reasons why.

The secret to learning is in directed, and focussed, skill based assignments.

It’s not a quick path to success and it will take quite a bit of work―at least a couple of years. You will steadily improve bit by bit. But it will ultimately lead to success.

Other approaches might be fun, but your paintings won’t get much better and you will start to get frustrated with your progress―and you can waste a lot of money in the process by not having a structured approach to your learning.

There is no silver bullet to becoming a good painter, I’m sorry. But there is a way you can achieve success. Thomas has proved that.

Well done Thomas!


P.S. Here is Thomas Ruckstuhl’s website and story

… and some of his wonderful art work

Invest in his work now before he gets too famous!

P.P.S. Read about another Virtual Art Academy student, Meng Qing Sheng, who has had recent major success with a national exhibition in China.

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

Thank You

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you are interested in a structured approach for learning how to paint, and want to learn more about my Visual Music & Poetry® model, take a look at my online painting classes.

Happy painting!

Barry John Raybould
Virtual Art Academy

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