Virtual Art Academy

Online Art Community News

New Resource- Plein Air Easels

I’ve been working on a new resource for plein air painters: a new Guide to Pochade Boxes and Plein Air Easels. I don’t know if you are like me, but I buy far more art equipment than I ever use. A big reason...

Daily Tips for Painters

Alumni Showcase

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...

Bouquet, by Chantal

In “Bouquet” Chantal incorporated the principles of Workshop H for her summary painting: contrast of brushworkcontrast of shaperight anglestie togethercomplementary or balanced color harmony “I cannot...

Night at Cafe Hapina, by Motti

Another great cafe scene by Virtual Art Academy alumni student Motti Shoval. This painting “Night at Cafe Hapina”, was awarded an Honorable Mention award in the 2019 CMPS National Juried competition. The...

meng qing sheng

Village in China, by Meng, oils

Here are some closeups showing the juicy brushwork in this painting: You can see a video of Meng’s technique in the Apprentice Program lesson on brushwork: N02 Tree Masses See more of Meng’s work from his...

Thomas Ruckstuhl, oil painting city street scene

Street Composition, by Thomas

Street Composition 61, 60 cm x 60 cm, oil

Thomas’s street scenes keep getting better and better. Another great one from Thomas.

Read more about Thomas’s experience with the VAA.

Xinjiang 2019, by Meng

Some recent landscape work by one of our advanced Virtual Art Academy alumni. Meng has a great loose abstract realism/impressionist style. He has been studying with the Virtual Art Academy for four years now. Great work...

Award Winning Painting: Primitive Pots, by Sue

The Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours Award: Sue 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...

Visual Music & Poetry™ – Understanding Museum and Contemporary Works

Critiquing Art: Frank Carmichael, Autumn Hillside

Autumn Hillside, oil on canvas Franklin Carmichael (1890 – 1945) was a Canadian artist. He was the youngest original member of the Group of Seven, a group of painters I like very much. He studied at the Ontario...

Barry John Raybould and Bato Dugarzhapov

The Art of Bato Dugarzhapov

Bato Dugarzhapov is a contemporary painter from Moscow, Russia. He is arguably the foremost painter in the new contemporary style known as neo-impressionism. This approach to painting combines both realism and...

Critiquing Art: Giovanni Boldini, Pencil Sketches

What can you learn from the sketchbook of Giovanni Boldini. A surprising amount really …. Table of Contents Giovanni Boldini brief biographyGiovanni Boldini pencil sketchesKey lessons Giovanni Boldini brief...

Sunny Day by Daniil Volkov

Critiquing Art: Daniil Volkov, Sunny Day

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...

Evening Calm, by Vladimir Karnachev

Critiquing Art: Vladimir Karnachev, Evening Calm

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...

Birch Grove, Algonquin Park, Tom Thomson

Critiquing Art: Tom Thomson, Birch Grove Algonquin Park

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

plein air painting equipment

A Guide to Plein Air Painting: 16 Tips For Success

Table of Contents What is Plein Air Painting? – A DefinitionWhat Supplies Do I Need for Plein Air Painting?What Type Of Easel Is Best For Plein Air Painting?What Are The Most Important Plein Air Painting...

pochade boxes and plein air easels

A Guide To The Best Pochade Boxes: A 2020

Table of Contents OverviewWhat is a Pochade?What is the best Pochade BoxPochade box reviewsWhy I wrote this guide?About Pochade BoxesStorage spaceCamera mountTypes of pochade boxesConstructionWhat are your choices for...

oil painting colors

The Best Nine Oil Paints for Beginners

If you are a beginner just starting out, one of the first questions you have is which colors to use? Here is a brief guide to some of the things to think about if you are just starting out. It applies equally well to...

Cat. No. 1319 Arset el Mellak, Marrakesh detail

The Secret To Painting Luminous Shadows

Table of Contents The problem of dead shadowsHow to create luminous shadows The problem of dead shadows One of the common problems beginners have is to paint shadows so they look ‘dead’. If you look at these...

Snow Falls in Pianello

Using Thick Oil Paint to Enhance Light Areas

Cat. No. 1126 Snow Falls in Pianello – 23cm x 30.5cm – Oil on Board When using oils, paint your darks using thin oil paint and your lights using thick oil paint (referred to as “impasto”). This enhances the...

How To Draw Curves Accurately: The 1 Big Secret

Curved shapes are important in many paintings, not only in paintings with figures in them, but also if you are trying to capture the gesture of a particular tree, an archway on a bridge, or a vase. Many drawing books...

water soluble oils

Oil vs Acrylic Paint: A 2020 Beginner’s Guide

Table of Contents Oils vs Acrylic Paint: How to Choose? Factor #1: Ease of Clean UpFactor #2: Problems With Fast Drying TimesFactor #3: Color Shifts When DryingFactor #4: Drying Time when Traveling Common Myths About...

Basic Watercolor Techniques

Many students who are new to painting think that they should begin with watercolor paints for either ease of use, that fact that you don’t need many materials and supplies to get started, or because they...

flat wash

Basic Watercolor Technique: The Flat Wash

Table of Contents What is a flat wash?How do you create a flat wash? What is a flat wash? A flat wash is a basic watercolor technique that you will use nearly every time you start a new painting. You usually use it when...

Barry's Plein Air Painting Blog

Plein air painting in Morocco: Telouet Sunset 2

Episode 10: Atlas Mountains – Telhouet Sunset Part 1

One evening on my recent trip to Morocco, I headed out of the village in the Atlas mountains where I was staying in the direction of the Sahara Desert. I came across this incredible landscape. It was a kaleidoscope of...

Episode 12: Telouet Town Center

I was a small village in the Atlas mountains of Morocco and did a small micro sketch. I sometimes do this to give me a feel for colors when I am in a new location. I thought I would convert it to black and white and see...

Episode 8: Marrakesh, Restaurant La Terrasse

Here’s a quick video showing a few micro paintings I did in one of the streets in Marrakesh. I was sitting down below on the street when I did them. The video shows where I was painting to give you an idea of...

plein air painting Lerici Harbor

Episode 2: Lerici Harbor, Gulf of Poets

Update: Thank you to everyone who voted for my painting in the January 2020 BoldBrush Painting Competition, to make it one of the FAV15% winners. In this video, I show some of the steps and process I used to make this...

Episode 7: Marrakesh, Jemaa El-Fna

To paint loosely but still convey a feeling for your subject means you have to say a lot with just a few brushstrokes. Read this post for some tips on how to do this. Important Note: This video is raw unedited video...

Plein air painting

Episode 6: Arset el Mellak, Marrakesh

Table of Contents Reflected LightHow To Paint Light Tip No. 1 The WashesHow To Paint Light Tip No. 2: Ignore the PhotographThe Dynamic Range Camera ProblemFor more information Reflected Light The light on this street in...

Episode 5: Marrakesh Medina

Cat. No. 1318 Marrakesh Medina – 22cm x 30cm – Oil on Linen This is a somewhat larger painting in the same street as I did the micro painting, Marrakesh Alley. I went onto the opposite side of the street to...

Episode 4: Marrakesh Mosque

Here’s a video showing me painting in the street. And yes, that’s a pizza box I’m using! This is the cheapest and by far the lightest pochade box on the market! Cat. No. 1316 Marrakesh Mosque –...

Episode 3: Marrakesh Taxi Rank

One of the most important steps in the painting process is finding the big shapes and then simplifying them. See me doing this at 1:04 in this video. Cat. No. 1317 Marrakesh Taxi Rank – Oil on Linen – 2020...

Episode 2: Marrakesh Rooftops

The essence of painting is making patterns, and unequal space division is the most important principle you need to understand when you design a pattern. In this painting, note how the sizes of the buildings are all...

Episode 1: Marrakesh Alleyway

Update: Thank you to everyone who voted for my painting in the February 2020 BoldBrush Painting Competition, to make it one of the FAV15% winners. Give your work a freshness and a sense of visual abstraction. Watch...

1304

Aulella River, Lunigiana

Cat. No. 1304 Aulella River, Bibola, Italy – 9in x 11in – Oil on Board – 2019 I painted this scene as the sun was setting over the Appenine Mountains in Lunigiana, Italy. It was a spectacular winter...

Episode 3: Vanishing Sunset

In this video, I’ll share with you some footage of the landscape I was painting so that you can see how I interpreted it. Plus a few tips for working plein air. Cat. No. 1289 Vanishing Sunlight 1, Licciana Nardi Italy...

plein air painting by Barry John Raybould

Episode 1: Appenine Glow, Italy

In this video, I show some of the steps and process I used to make this plein air painting. Cat. No. 1285 Appenine Glow, Italy – 30cm x 40cm – Oil on Canvas – 2019 For more information For more...

The Fountain, Chianciano

Cat. No. 1259 The Fountain Chianciano Terme, Italy – 30cm x 23cm – Oil on Board Here are the two phases of starting this painting. I used transparent red oxide for the background wash, and raw umber and blue...