Virtual Art Academy

Inspirations, by Lorraine

Inspirations, 25x35cms, Watercolor

A beautiful art museum scene by Virtual Art Academy alumni student Lorraine.

“Trying a different technique with this one by laying complementary colour first and painting final colour on top while still wet. An interesting approach ending in some happy colour accidents. The paintings on the left wall were a bit heavy so I dribbled water through them to soften.”

Comment by Barry

“Absolutely great!   This time the eye movement works wonderfully – there is a primary focal area of the contemplative woman in the foreground, and two secondary focal areas in the background.

The painting not only has visual music with a great design, but also visual poetry, which relies on the expression and gesture of the main character, set off against an intimate background. The painting conveys an emotion that we are all familiar with. This is art!

In a recent discussion with Bato Dugarzhapov, he commented that what is important in painting is what you leave out – not the detail you put in. Painters who put a lot of detail in a picture are just trying to sell the painting. It is the ability to take out detail and leave what is important that is the hallmark of a great artist.

This is in accord with our philosophy here at the VAA of Visual Music and Poetry. Whilst I am happy that a few museums and private ateliers are now starting to promote a return to classical training and skills, I think that much of the contemporary work we are now seeing is too photographic and lacking in composition and creativity. Basically there is too much detail. These works often rely on trying to find a photograph that is unusual in its viewpoint or execution in order to create a impact, rather than careful design. The end result is much like a photograph. 

I was wondering why there is this trend to return to detail? and I am suspecting it is because basically it is easier. Anyone can train themselves to be able to copy a photograph very realistically, given time and a lot of patience. A few can do it so well that you cannot tell the difference between the photo and the painting. This turns painting into a highly skilled craft. Creating a good composition though is a different matter. It is far more difficult and requires more creativity. It often requires more time spend on the design than on the final painting. Another factor too I think is that composition is difficult to teach. There are a lot of principles, but no fixed procedure for coming up with a final painting (unlike the mechanical procedure for copying a photograph). So compositional skills develop more slowly, and through a kind of unconscious absorption of the rules by seeing a lot of good work.

In the end, creating visual music in a painting relies heavily on creativity and play, and the ability to recognize a good composition when you see it. If you get one good painting out of 10, I reckon you are doing quite well. (that’s about my average).

Play more and paint fewer final pictures is the lesson here.”


What Our Students Are Saying

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 the equivalent of a 4 year art education at a fraction of the cost. I can do the lessons anywhere and at my own pace.… Read more “The equivalent of a 4 year art education at a fraction of the cost”

Susan Hood

No need to buy expensive art books…. Just do the VAA 4 year course. I still refer to it

I finished the VAA course a few years ago, but always refer to the notes, rereading the course many times. This is not a course the day you are finished, you are done. No, you keep practising the assignments getting better and better over time. When I look back at my work when I had just… Read more “No need to buy expensive art books…. Just do the VAA 4 year course. I still refer to it”

Aurelia Sieberhagen

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 online I am always very careful how I spend my money. Especially when I already spent a small fortune on art books. They always seemed… Read more “Barry gave me a fishing rod so I can catch my own fish”

Dagmara Zaręba

An excellent  foundation on so many aspects of painting

“I never had formal training in painting and my style has always been very realistic, slow and not at all artistic, just a copy of a photograph. When I got word of the course available through Virtual Art Academy, I was very excited for the opportunity to learn what I never knew about painting.  VAA… Read more “An excellent  foundation on so many aspects of painting”

Jeanne Strohmann

The small steps are easy to do

I am extremely impressed with the process that Barry has developed for VAA.  Learning to paint can be intimidating, but when broken into many small projects it is very do-able.  I just did my first live model painting session- a 5 hour, one day session.  Thanks to VAA, I was able to break the painting… Read more “The small steps are easy to do”

Kim Stepney