Virtual Art Academy Reviews

See below for a handful of our students review on the Virtual Art Academy Apprentice Program.


Some of the students have personal websites you can visit, the links can be found under each of the students names.

Tom Byrne


"As a professional painter with 30 years experience I'm very glad to have found the Virtual Art Academy. Despite having worked with many great teachers in great art academies all over Europe, I still find that the exercises in the Virtual Art Academy are more than useful. The information is scientific, clearly presented and often the missing link. A simple exercise which should take a few short hours can present so many potential applications that I am often still exploring it months later. It has been a real asset and there is a very nice sense of excited community among the members."

Sue Downie

United Kingdom

"I have been working through the VAA course for over a year 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."

Gayle Phipps

United States

"I found this art program very helpful in advancing my oil painting abilities. I wasn't a beginner so I went thru it faster than normal but the first few units were especially  useful. I really appreciated the value studies and the alla prima painting lessons. "

Margaret Nowak

United States

"Whether you are a beginner, an experienced painter, or a teacher, the Virtual Art Academy has much to offer. The lessons are comprehensive, well designed and will augment any professional workshop or class you attend. I have found the guidance and philosophy behind the program is sound and motivational. Each month the multifaceted program offers new videos, a profile of a master painter and their work, the opportunity to critique a painting ( comprehensive critique method introduced in the program), books, articles new apps and more. The VAA’s structure enables aspiring artists to calibrate their own development pace, while experienced painters design their preferred path. Your online campus/community access provides sharing of resources, and an opportunity to post and review assignments. It is your choice to what degree you get involved in the online campus activities. Participants are from all over the world and it is truly a global community. Finally the administrative management of the site by Jacqui Seddon, who is very accessible, is superb. Questions and issues are dealt with promptly. Even if you are technically challenged, like me, the instructions are clear, simple and easy to follow. Barry John Raybould has designed a very unique, interactive, cost effective and rich educational opportunity."

Felicity Deverell

New Zealand

"I had been looking for an online art course for some time when I came across Virtual Art Academy®. I couldn’t afford Art School and there are hardly any that teach the kind of thing I want to learn anyway. I spent a lot of time researching online painting and drawing courses, most of them were very basic and taught only on a beginner level or just didn’t teach the style of painting I love. But when I discovered Virtual Art Academy I was really excited, for it promised to teach me all the things I wanted to learn, and Barry John Raybould’s style of painting is just the style I love and wanted to learn more about. Since buying the course and joining the online campus I have not regretted it. I have discovered so many interesting insights on painting and learnt many useful painting tips, and I look forward to learning more from the wealth of material in the course. Being able to do the assignments at my own pace is another thing I love about the course. Artists, of any skill level, who really love what they do and want to learn more will really love this course which is for the most part self motivating. Also, to be able to share one’s work and progress with other students of the course on the online campus is very rewarding, and is an important source of helpful and constructive criticism. I’d recommend Virtual Art Academy to anyone with a passion for painting and drawing."

Ricky Liebenberg

South Africa

"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 and finally decided to take the plunge and joined the Course. That was roughly 6 months ago. My only regret is that I didn't join earlier. Working with fellow artists from all over the world has been very rewarding and encouraging. The notes are concise and to the point. Barry has designed a wonderful course"

Dagmara Zaręba


"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."

Manushalini Nandwani


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.

Robert Green

United States

“If you are serious about improving your art skills, and circumstances don’t allow you to drop everything in order to attend art school, then the Virtual Art Academy may be the ideal solution for you.    It is thorough and well structured with lots of support from your fellow students.  Excellent instruction which can be picked up when your schedule allows.  And at a fraction of the cost of the other top schools.  It’s been wonderful for me.. maybe it’s the right solution for you too."

Steven Jorde

United States

"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."

Thomas Ruckstuhl


"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."

Charlotte Mertz

United States

"I had been trying to learn on my own for several years before I joined the Virtual Art Academy®. Other teachers often offered helpful tips or clever tricks to improve various aspects of my work, but their teaching range was limited to a specific medium or subject. None of them provided a broad-based education in the fundamentals of art and design that I desperately wanted. I was long past college age and couldn’t imagine returning to a formal school setting to obtain a new degree in art; it would have been too disruptive to our family life. Virtual Art Academy offered exactly the kind of program I needed — a thorough, home-based, self-paced program that would lift my skill level from “hobbyist” to “professional.” I started with the basic, beginner program but within a month realized I wanted a lot more. I upgraded to the full program and haven’t regretted it for a moment. Much of our learning takes place as students evaluate and comment on both masters’ and peers’ work. It is through these evaluations that we learn to identify similar situations in our own work (sometimes problems, sometimes strengths), learn to recognize appropriately applied theory, consider alternative approaches to problems, and verbalize our artistic intentions. So our full participation in the online community helps our own work as much as it may benefit those whose work we comment on. Although Barry himself keeps a largely hands-off approach with the online campus, he is available to address major questions that occasionally arise. This means that the students do not sit back silently, awaiting Word from the Great Leader, but rely on one another for any direct, day-to-day feedback. This keeps the creative student discussions active and lively, which benefits us all. (Besides, it’s fun to interact regularly with fellow students from around the world.) Since applying myself to the Virtual Art Academy assignments, my work has noticeably improved in technical skill as well as in range and maturity. I work confidently in more than a single medium now, and have developed a good-sized body of work. One of my assignment paintings hung in a national show last spring."

Barbara Wood

United States

"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. They are lacking in good design mostly. I have been painting scenes and not good compositions. My values are okay, but the balance is off. I find myself checking, squinting, and assessing every painting. I still have much to learn and just know this program will help me to learn it! Thanks for the opportunity to do it on line in such an organized, complete way. The fact that I can do this at my own speed and in my own time is perfect. I lead a fairly busy life and find this can be worked into it with ease."

Joanne Scerri Valentino


"Thank you for sharing your knowledge and passion for painting! The course at Virtual Art Academy® has been a turning point for me to take my painting a quantum leap forward. The feedback and community spirit on the online campus has been vital in keeping me going and not giving up on my artistic aspirations. Along with the incredible course content that you have created, the international community at Virtual Art Academy is something I value highly. I've learnt so much in the past two years doing this course BUT I'm sure I wouldn't have learnt HALF AS MUCH if I didn't have the opportunity to discuss and see what the others are doing."

Dirk Rampling


"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 is has been so much more than I expected. The course has a steady learning curve that keeps keeps revealing itself as you advance."

Jon Main


"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."

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Ginny Fletcher

South Africa

"First of all, let me say, I love the course and have recommended it to all the painters I know. It's been invaluable to me. I'm progressing slowly, having taken the summer painting time to cement the notan concept into my routine before going on to another unit. My tendency is to rush through everything, but I'm making myself incorporate each lesson before moving on. So, I'm going slow. I can't think of anything I would like to see added. It's really great! I print each unit out as I go, put them in the sheet protectors and then into a binder. It's great! I hope I can get one of my friends to buy the course also. I still have visions of a bunch of us using it to make a little school."

Rick Harder

United States

"I’ve been “painting” on and off since I was a youngster and would repeatedly start to progress then get stuck for lack of knowledge, or possession of false knowledge, then quit. In December of 2010, I discovered Virtual Art Academy. After reading everything I could find about it, I committed to the program. I am able to study and do the assignments within the framework of my ever changing and often chaotic schedule. The cost of the study course, not high by any means, is worth many, many times what I paid. Truth is priceless. This is not a “paint-by-numbers” course of study where ones paintings are, or become, reasonable facsimiles of the instructor’s work. Rather one is taught the true essences of good painting, thus the development of my unique style as a painter. The lessons and course have far surpassed my expectations. My work steadily improves, as does my confidence. Barry John Raybould’s Virtual Art Academy is exactly what I was looking for."

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