Meet our students
Looking for the best online painting classes in oils, acrylics, or watercolor? Meet our students. This is what they have to say about their experience of learning how to paint with the Virtual Art Academy.
P.S. You can click on each student’s FaceBook pages and websites so you know our online art school reviews are all genuine!
Reviews of the Virtual Art Academy® Online Painting Classes
Only online learning program I have ever discovered using a training industry best practice
Before repurposing my vocation into avocation, I spent 20 years in the corporate world as an instructional designer and performance consultant creating training curricula for diverse clientele from NASA to General Motors. I know curriculum development and how to guide a learner from beginning to certification. VAA is the only online learning program I have… ever discovered using a training industry best practice of incorporating Knowledge and Skills to support learning a new activity. Every building block (Drawing, Form, Observation, Concept, Notan, Composition, Colour, Brushwork) incorporates a “spiral learning” approach where you are introduced to the Knowledge/Skill at one level and then reintroduced to it again elsewhere in the curriculum. Sure genius. I’ve attended workshops, read books, and watched YouTube videos — and none of them provide the scaffolded approach to learning the VAA offers. If you are just starting your painting journey, start here. If you are a mid level or advanced painter, start here. There is a sense of community with artists around the globe. You are part of a peer to peer learning process bigger than yourself. As a result of the VAA, I have been juried into several shows, am represented by a local gallery and have been selling my paintings on a consistent basis. VAA curriculum’s approach will grow your ‘artist’s brush’ and aid you in finding your artistic voice. As your basics improve, your art improves. Henry Hensche said, “There is study and there is performance, and we should not confuse the two, study is done for perceptual development, our performances show us where we are in that development, and we must have both…”. VAA curriculum offers both. I went through the entire curriculum, did every every exercise, and today review my printed books/exercises on an annual basis to keep myself fresh and ready for my next painting adventure. Onwards/Sideways,
Jay “jbird” Holobach https://www.jayholobach.com/ Read more “Only online learning program I have ever discovered using a training industry best practice”
First quality education, materials, layered learning systems, feedback loop and social support and lifelong learning – amazing
In the last couple of years, I took online painting courses and in-studio classes adding to my university courses from many years ago. After researching Anders Ericsson learning systems and Ultralearning, I was struggling to design my own painting learning plan. Then I discovered the VAA and with the endorsement from Richard Robinson, I jumped… in… and it has completely exceeded my expectations. You’ve management to include first quality education, materials, layered learning systems, feedback loop and social support and lifelong learning – amazing.
Thank you again for such an amazing program and opportunity. I wish you continued and even greater success. You have contributed to many many people… thank you from all of us. Read more “First quality education, materials, layered learning systems, feedback loop and social support and lifelong learning – amazing”
The most comprehensive art instruction I could find anywhere online, and trust me, I had been looking for a long time.
I joined 2 years ago with my daughter. We have both learnt so much and have enjoyed our VAA time together. My daughter is now 13 and already produces amazing paintings.
The Virtual Art Academy is simply the most comprehensive art instruction I could find anywhere online, and trust me, I had been looking… for a long time.
Even art schools and academies I’ve been exposed to are nowhere near as thorough, VAA is just amazing!
Most paintings I see where the artist clearly has some skill still lack in either the values or notan department, or fall down on composition – it’s baffling that VAA seems to be the only program that goes into detail on this. Therefore, if you are new to painting or an experienced artist, studying with VAA will get you to that next step.
I also find that Barry is always interested in what we students do and is at hand with great advice. Worth every penny, Thank you Barry!! Read more “The most comprehensive art instruction I could find anywhere online, and trust me, I had been looking for a long time.”
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 to look at and motivating to carry through. The online campus is a wonderful place to meet other artists and receive critical feedback on my… progress – a place to make and meet friends. I started with the program in June 2012, to learn oil painting from scratch. Just one year later my paintings have start to sell. Read more “I started learning oil painting with VAA from scratch. Just one year later my paintings started to sell”
The improvement in my own work reaffirms that I’ve found the right program to develop as an artist
I have been a student of VAA since 2011. I had been searching for an online art program that could assist in helping me develop as an artist. VAA is a complete program for beginners as well as advanced students of art. The course is well structured and takes you step by step so you… gradually learn and understand the nuances that are essential to develop as an artist. The online academy is highly helpful. The feedback that is given helps a lot in encouraging one’s artistic ambitions. I would recommend the VAA program to all who are interested in the intellectual as well as practical side of art. The analysis of Old Masters and contemporary artists work helps one to evaluate one’s own work and set goals. The breakdown of topics and assignments helps one to fully understand and assimilate the principles. The improvement in my own work has helped to reaffirm that I have found the right program to develop as an artist. Read more “The improvement in my own work reaffirms that I’ve found the right program to develop as an artist”
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… down into chunks- the notan; using triangulation to check drawing points; the colours- hues, saturation, values; focal point; how to mix and handle the palette. I did not expect a masterpiece with this first session, but was pleased to get as far as I did. I look forward to continuing with the program. Thank you! Read more “The small steps are easy to do”
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… has provided me an excellent foundation on so many aspects of painting. The course is organized very logically, provides great examples, diagrams, thorough explanations and worthwhile assignments. I highly recommend this course to anyone with a desire for an in-depth education of art. Thank you again, Barry, I love this course Jeanne Read more “An excellent foundation on so many aspects of painting”
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 internet. Unlike most tutorials and color mixing recipes commonly found online, VAA’s philosophy is rather to provide the students with detailed information about all aspects… of painting – color theory, brushwork, drawing, composition, techniques, materials – in an organized manner, in a way to allow for short-term improvements while optimizing the learning curve throughout the course. And, while the VAA curriculum, by itself, is already among the most valuable literature about art one can find (both online or offline) – for its depth and comprehensiveness –, the online platform adds a lot more to the learning experience, since the exchange in information and experience with other students is of immense help. Finally, what is most unique about the VAA, in my opinion, is that its creator Barry J. Raybould not only has a successful career as an artist himself – with an economic style and distinguished understanding of color – but he was also able to distill his own knowledge and experience into an accessible and effective method (as can be proven by the works of some of his earlier students). If you are serious about learning art and (as was my case) can’t enroll formal art schools, I would say there’s zero chance you will regret joining the VAA. In fact, I truly believe that, in the centuries to come, people will still learn to paint through Barry’s method. Read more “The most comprehensive, in depth and well-organized painting course available online”
I’m Richard Robinson …. best online art training available on the internet today
Hi I’m Richard Robinson. I’ve been a professional painter since 2001. My claim to fame is only that I’m making a living as an artist and doing pretty well – something which I hear is not so easy to do, and I guess it does take a lot of work, but it’s work that I… love doing. In my opinion Barry has created the best online art training available. I found the Virtual Art Academy course of painting lessons many years ago and was so inspired by it that I contacted the author and got to know him personally. Two Critical Keys
If you are looking (like I did) for the best painting course available there are two key things you should know about the Virtual Art Academy course which make it stand out above the other online painting courses available today: 1. It’s Comprehensive.
It covers ALL the key painting concepts and then goes further, revealing more and more painting insights. Most courses miss a LOT out – this one doesn’t. 2. It’s easy to understand.
All that information could easily become confusing, but each piece is laid out clearly and concisely using Information Mapping® making it a pleasure to learn. If you can find another painting course which does these 2 things better, please let me know. As I said, I have been searching for many years and continue to do so, so you could save yourself a lot of precious time and money by joining the Virtual Art Academy today. Read more “I’m Richard Robinson …. best online art training available on the internet today”
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 that the amount of work it represents – by Barry – is incredible! The information presented alone is more than worth the price and, yes,… it is a real course that trains you in a structured way. It’s very well done! Read more “It is a real course that trains you in a structured way”
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… great: presenting wonderful tutorials – and beautiful colorful paintings as a result. You then tend to think you will be able to create something equally beautiful after completing particular tutorial. Unfortunately not the case! I discovered that these tutorials only gave me the fish, not the fishing rod. Barry gave me a fishing rod so I can catch my own fish. The course is well planned, the lessons are clear. Simple. And I can always repeat the assignment as much as I want. And that’s what I was looking for. It opens one’s mind. It opens my eyes to all aspects of art. I see now the scene I want to paint and I think of values, preparation for the notan painting, colour. I can plan how I want to paint the scene or portrait. It’s brilliant. What I really like about Virtual Art Academy is that it takes it all apart and puts it back together. Starts from scratch, comes back to basics. It gives a fantastic foundation. It does what it says on the tin. Read more “Barry gave me a fishing rod so I can catch my own fish”
The course has a steady learning curve that keeps revealing itself as you advance
The course is working great, the lessons are set out so well that every week I can see growth. In following the program it’s given me direction, and the information in the lesson plans are of a professional level. There is no way I would have tracked down the information by myself, and being in… a rural area the online campus provides enough interaction without being too much of a distraction. My hope for joining the Virtual Art Academy® was to gain proper art/painting instruction and I haven’t been disappointed. It has been so much more than I expected. The course has a steady learning curve that keeps revealing itself as you advance. Read more “The course has a steady learning curve that keeps revealing itself as you advance”
This is a far more superior school than anything I have seen being taught at colleges across the country
This is a far more superior school than anything I have seen being taught at colleges across the country and have learned much more from the Virtual Art Academy® than from any art course I have ever taken! I cannot begin to tell how the Virtual Art Academy has improved my observation of potential compositions… in my daily travels. Because of the VAA2 I find myself looking at trees/buildings/landscapes as shapes and not as structures, etc. I find myself looking at values more closely and observing strong and weak notan in a particular subject as I go out and about. Thank you so much for VAA2, just one disagreement though; the Virtual Art Academy is not just the best online course, it is the best course period. Read more “This is a far more superior school than anything I have seen being taught at colleges across the country”
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… finished VAA, I can see that I have grown over the years as well. I will always be grateful to Barry John Raybould for taking the time and sharing his knowledge with us. You don’t need to buy expensive art books to help you with your paintings. Just do the VAA four year course. I still refer to it. The course is most informative and you will never regret doing the course. I certainly am glad I did. Read more “No need to buy expensive art books…. Just do the VAA 4 year course. I still refer to it”
Since I started the programme I can see improvements in my composition and use of colour
My painting “Primitive Pots” recently won the award given by the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour at the recent selected exhibition of the Society of East Anglian watercolourists. I have been working through the VAA course for over five years and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to improve their painting. There is… a huge amount of information on the site and it is well presented and regularly updated and added to. When other members have commented on work I have posted I have found it really useful. When I review my work over the time since I started the programme I can see improvements in my composition and use of colour. Read more “Since I started the programme I can see improvements in my composition and use of colour”
‘Ladder of Learning’ adds to overall positive experience of this awesome course
The VAA course is built on four main building blocks including PROCESS, REALISM, MUSIC AND POETRY. These are further divided into topics that are continuously developed throughout the curriculum. Drawing, Form, Observation, Colour, Brushwork, Notan, Composition and Poetry are all thoroughly taught. Working on-line we meet students from all around the world, interacting with them… regularly in a process we call the ‘Ladder of Learning’. We help each other regularly as we proceed and this adds to the overall positive experience of this awesome course. Read more “‘Ladder of Learning’ adds to overall positive experience of this awesome course”
Building blocks of learning is the best I have seen
I joined 5 years ago when I didn’t know anything about oils, painting, composition, or drawing. Barry’s way of teaching is extremely well versed in many aspects of painting. His building blocks of learning is the best I have seen. The academy is designed well and the community of fellow students is engaging and friendly.… I highly recommend anyone at any level to join us. I have learned so much and have enjoyed my journey in painting. Read more “Building blocks of learning is the best I have seen”
It is impossible to fail or gain little through extensive 4 year study at VAA!
I would recommend taking VAA study to everyone who seriously strive of becoming exceptionally skilled professional artist. It gives more than you can ever imagine! The lessons structured in the best possible way that lead to understanding and skills you never acquired before which are so important in art. It is impossible to fail or… gain little through extensive 4 year study at VAA! I am glad that I have joined friendly and supportive community and am able to study at my own pace. Thank you Barry for so generously sharing your time, immense knowledge and inspiring painting skills with us! Read more “It is impossible to fail or gain little through extensive 4 year study at VAA!”
The course is for beginners, intermediate and advanced artists
I joined VAA in 2014, it seemed a perfect fit in content, ease of access and cost. It turned out to be all of this and much more. The wealth of information on all practical aspects of painting is invaluable and I think incomparable to anything else out there. The course structure is such that… you can work through everything systematically or choose to focus on your own weaknesses. Whichever you choose, you will benefit immensely. The course is for beginners, intermediate and advanced artists. It covers the basics, laying a solid foundation for drawing, color, composition and design. Building on this it takes you to advanced levels of color harmony and creating your own unique art. You meet likeminded people from all around the world, each on their own journey. Encouraged and motivated by the progress I saw in others, my own work improved. This was confirmed by people who did not know I was studying through VAA. It took me 4 years to complete and it was worth every minute and every cent. I can highly recommend this course for any artist wanting to go to the next level. Go for it, put in the time and dedication and thank me later! Thank you to Barry Raybould for sharing your knowledge and expertise and for creating this excellent platform. Read more “The course is for beginners, intermediate and advanced artists”
The sky’s the limit
This course was exactly what I’d been looking for as a recent “empty-nester.” The Virtual Art Academy coursework taught me not only HOW to paint well, but also how to SEE to observe a scene more closely to interpret it effectively in paint, and what to look for to create an interesting composition. It helped… me recognize the difference between fine, well executed artwork and so-so efforts and how to strive for a professional level of excellence in my own work. I completed the course in less than four years but decided to continue with the program because of the ongoing encouragement and support I was able to both obtain and provide in the online student community, and to take advantage of the continual addition of new enrichment material being incorporated into the program. My first time through, I worked with watercolor and acrylics; the second time through, with oils. Approaches to all three mediums are discussed, but even more importantly, the program emphasizes application of artistic principles that apply to any medium. I highly recommend the Virtual Art Academy to anyone wishing to reach beyond what they may (or may not) have learned through the public school system or on their own. It “fills in the gaps.” The course is well designed for home study, so each student learns at his or her own pace and determines how much they participate in the online forum. At a very reasonable price, it’s perfect for people with full-time jobs, family demands, travel schedules, health issues, or (like me) retirees looking for a creative outlet … without going deeply into debt and utterly disrupting their already-full lives at a brick and mortar school. Because of VAA, I have learned more and have gone farther in art than I ever expected to. With VAA, the sky’s the limit. Read more “The sky’s the limit”
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.… Before I took this course, I could copy a photo given enough time. Now I have the thrill of standing in the landscape and painting not only what I see but what I feel in the moment. Read more “The equivalent of a 4 year art education at a fraction of the cost”
I lead a fairly busy life and find this can be worked into it with ease
I have been very pleased with the Virtual Art Academy program. I feel I am both learning things about making a better painting and also reviewing things I was taught YEARS AND YEARS ago! I have looked at some of my paintings and realized that they are not the great paintings I thought they were.… Read more “I lead a fairly busy life and find this can be worked into it with ease”
My only regret is that I didn’t join earlier
I felt the need for a structured program to further my love of painting. I liked the Virtual Art Academy® examples of lessons that were in International Artist Magazine. On perusing the Virtual Art Academy website, I found that it was most informative. I spent a fair amount of time looking at the different modules… Read more “My only regret is that I didn’t join earlier”
Thank you for the gift of this incredible learning tool
Dear Barry and Jacqui,
I write this as a thank you for the gift of this incredible learning tool. Here is my little story of how you impacted me… My mother and a sister are/ were… artists… i kept well clear.. feeling as though it just wasn’t my thing.
I became a musician.… Read more “Thank you for the gift of this incredible learning tool”
A path to expressing visual music and poetry in your painting
After completing my first year of studies, VAA has exceeded my expectations. Barry Raybould’s model of visual music and poetry is a beautifully descriptive and innovative way to study painting and art as a whole. VAA is all-encompassing, from color theory and composition to studying the masters, old and new. Each lesson connects to form… Read more “A path to expressing visual music and poetry in your painting”
First quality education, materials, layered learning systems, feedback loop and social support and lifelong learning – amazing
In the last couple of years, I took online painting courses and in-studio classes adding to my university courses from many years ago. After researching Anders Ericsson learning systems and Ultralearning, I was struggling to design my own painting learning plan. Then I discovered the VAA and with the endorsement from Richard Robinson, I jumped… Read more “First quality education, materials, layered learning systems, feedback loop and social support and lifelong learning – amazing”
The content covered in the course is pure gold
The content covered in the course is pure gold – it will be hard to find such high quality material elsewhere gathered in one place. It is succinctly written to speed up your learning, yet is comprehensive. The VAA Reference Library is suited for both absolute beginners and those who have been practicing art (even professionally) for a number of years.
I have been a member of the Virtual Art Academy for a several months now, dedicatedly following each of the lessons. Even after such a short time my work has improved, a lot of it down to the extremely high-quality content that Barry teaches.
I highly recommend exploring this vast library as you will definitely learn something new and see the benefits in your work.
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 that the amount of work it represents – by Barry – is incredible! The information presented alone is more than worth the price and, yes, it is a real course that trains you in a structured way. It’s very well done!