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.