Virtual Art Academy

Online Art Community News

Tips for Advanced Painters on the Online Campus 3

Tips for Advanced Painters on the Online Campus

The Virtual Art Academy has been designed to help both beginner and more experienced painters. If you are a more experienced painter, or a professional artist, we have a system in which you can create your own custom...

En Plein Air Pro palette

New Guide

I have just done complete re-write of an article I wrote about ten years ago comparing pochade boxes. It includes all the latest plein air equipment, including both pochade boxes and other lightweight easels and palette...

Daily Tips for Painters

How to keep your oil paints from drying out 4

How to keep your oil paints from drying out

Want some valuable tips on how to save money on paint? and how to cut down on all that weight you have to carry when painting plein air? Then read this article … When I go out plein air painting, I don’t...

A Guide to Painting Competitions 5

A Guide to Painting Competitions

This is a guide to the best competitions to give you a kick start in your painting career. Why Enter A Painting Competition? One of the best ways of getting you, and your work, noticed is to enter a painting competition...

Student Showcase

Congratulations Susan! 7

Congratulations Susan!

I want to share that I sold one of my plein air paintings in the Oregon Lavender Festival Paint out show.  This felt so affirming of all the hard work of studying others work, color harmony, composition, itness of...

Exhibition Selected Paintings, by Oksana Melenevska 9

Exhibition Selected Paintings, by Oksana Melenevska

Congratulations to Okasana for having four paintings accepted into 67th Open Annual Exhibition of Hertford Art Society, UK. She also sold one a watercolor “Old Port, Liverpool”, so we can say she is now a...

Award Winning Paintings, by Jane Haskins 11

Award Winning Paintings, by Jane Haskins

It is always nice to see so many VAA students winning prizes for their work and getting recognition. Congratulations to Jane this month for not only one, but two prizes! Both are very nice pieces of work. The first has...

Margate Harbour Arm by Rachel Jane Boxall

Margate Harbour Arm by Rachel Jane Boxall

I painted this from a photo as I did not have the weather or inclination to stand outside. I used most of the aspects of the workshop F section: the warm/cool palette (which is my favorite).base linesI simplified the...

Panicale, by Georgie Rey 18

Panicale, by Georgie Rey

In Tuscany with Barry

Georgina really captured the lively spirit of the Tuscan Lunigiana hills here. I love the bold design and breakdown of spaces in the painting.


Woodland Scene, by Susan Hood 20

Woodland Scene, by Susan Hood

This is a delightful woodland scene by Susan Hood. It is full of light and air – you can just feel the atmosphere in this painting.


Alumni Showcase

oil painting of Venice

Sun Rises over St Marks in Venice

I got up before dawn to carry my pochade box setup to St Mark’s Square in Venice and then waited for the first light of the day. When the sun rose it hit the spires of St Marks turning it into a beautiful display...

street scene painting of Venice

Painting of Venice – Via Garibaldi, Castello

Cat. No. 923 Via Garibaldi Venice – 9in x 12in – Oil on Linen Several years ago I lived in Venice. I will always have fond memories of the street where I painted this sketch. It is one of the few remaining...

painting of Pontremoli in Tuscany

Washing Day, Pontremoli, Tuscany

It was nearly 40 degrees C so I found a nice shady place to paint. These washing lines in a local village caught my eye. I used a fair amount of impasto paint on this small piece. Here are a couple of detailed images. I...

Plein air painting in Italy

Plein Air Painting in Italy: San Terenzo Carnevale

This small sketch was done during the last half hour of sunset at San Terenzo, in the Gulf of Poets, Liguria, Italy. This is when the colors in Italy are the most beautiful. This shows my process for quickly capturing...

Street Scene - Songzhuang China 29

Street Scene – Songzhuang China

Cat. No. 1245 Songzhuang Street – 50cm x 40cm – Oil on Linen I did this street scene painting in Songzhuang this week. Songzhuang is Beijing’s largest art district. Almost every building in this small...

Notre Dame 31

Notre Dame

Cat. No. 1248 Notre Dame Fire “Tribute to Compassion” – Oil on Linen – 60cm x 60cm – 2019 I painted this today because I have a very personal connection to Paris. It was the French painters...

Award Winning Painting: Primitive Pots, by Sue Downie 35

Award Winning Painting: Primitive Pots, by Sue Downie

The Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours Award: Sue Downie from Virtual Art Academy Sue has been studying with the Virtual Art Academy now for five years. This painting recently won the award given by the Royal...

A Tibetan Festival In Qinghai 37

A Tibetan Festival In Qinghai

I have been working on this painting for a while. It is quite large, 100cm x 100cm, and I wanted to capture the same color feeling and looseness as the small plein air sketch I did on site. This turned out not to be so...

Roses In Tuscany 38

Roses In Tuscany

Cat. No. 1231 Pianello Roses, Lunigiana,Italy – 16in x 12in – Oil on Board – 2018 The setting sun intensified the glowing red roses outside my studio in northern Italy. The background of the forests...

An Italian Garden 40

An Italian Garden

This park is on the Ligurian coast just south of Genoa, Italy. It has lovely gardens overlooking the Mediterranean sea, and with the hills and beautiful villas of Genoa rising behind it. The light late in the evening...

Painting in an ancient Chinese village 41

Painting in an ancient Chinese village

Cat. No. 1216 Xinchang Flags, Old Town Shanghai – 40cm x 30cm – Oil on Linen – 2018 Here are some paintings I did recently in Xinchang, an ancient Chinese village on the outskirts of Shanghai. I was...

Visual Music & Poetry™ – Understanding Museum and Contemporary Works

Madonna with Child and Two Angels, by Fra Filippo Lippi 43

Madonna with Child and Two Angels, by Fra Filippo Lippi

Visual Poetry In this painting Lippi took a traditional holy image and gave it a strong sense of humanity, both through the emotion in the expression of affection between the family members, and in the choice of clothes...

Sunny Day by Daniil Volkov

Sunny Day by Daniil Volkov

There are some great critiques of this beautiful work of Daniil Volkov by the Virtual Art Academy students Michal, Susan, and Rocio this month. Michal said it all when he said: “Study of this painting is amazing...

Brushwork That Captures a Time & Place 52

Brushwork That Captures a Time & Place

Creating Poetry Armin C. Hansen (1886-1957), one of the founders of the Carmel Art Association in Carmel, California, was renowned for his ability to use brushwork to capture the vitality of life by extracting the...

Evening Calm, by Vladimir Karnachev

Evening Calm by Vladimir Karnachev

The interesting thing about this painting is the clever way Karnachev created a very simple four-value notan structure, then added detail and interest to that design using color spots of a different temperature, but...

Birch Grove, Algonquin Park, Tom Thomson

Birch Grove Algonquin Park, painting by Tom Thomson

This painting by Tom Thomson shows the principle of unequal space division. If you look at the spacing of the trees, they are all different distances apart. This variety adds more interest to the painting. You can also...

Painting Techniques

creating form with a two-value statement

Two-Value Statement: The Secret To Quick Form

What Is A Two-Value Statement? It is really quite easy to give the impression of form by using just two values. This is called the two-value statement. In fact, that is all that is needed to create a convincing illusion...

Notan design 68

Notan design

The impact a painting has on the viewer often does not depend on how much detail you put in, but on how much you simplify the scene in front of you. This painting is a good example of that principle. In this article I...

painting lesson on saturation

Avoid Over Saturating Colors In Nature

Saturation is a property of color that measures how intense or pure that color is. Grays are low saturation colors, and vivid colors are high saturated colors. Another name for saturation is ‘chroma’. For...

Avoid Over-Blending 71

Avoid Over-Blending

What is Over Blending? Over blending is what occurs when you mix your paint too much on your canvas. When you over blend you create problems within your work. Why should I avoid over blending? I usually avoid too much...

water soluble oils

Water Soluble Oils

What Are Water Soluble Oil Paints? Water soluble oils are the same as real oil paints with the difference that they can be mixed and cleaned with water. They are also known as water miscible or solvent-free oils. Note...

painting lesson on space division and composition

Unequal Space Division

There is one principle of composition that will help your paintings look more interesting to your viewers more than any other technique. The secret lies in how you divide your painting into shapes. The key design...