Our Mission and Vision
The mission of the Virtual Art Academy is to provide a flexible and affordable alternative to taking a degree course in Fine Art and Painting at a prestigious Art University or Art Academy.
The VAA is run by just two people: artist Barry John Raybould and his full-time assistant, Jacqui Seddon, together with the services of a contract programmer. We keep our overheads low and use a unique assignment-based learning model based on our custom-built Online Campus and our Visual Music & Poetry model. In this way you get four years worth of quality learning for about the same cost as traveling to a single week workshop with a professional painter. The program contains everything Barry learned along the road to becoming a professional artist.
Knowledge of how to make a good painting has been built up over many centuries. However, over the course of the 20th century a lot of important knowledge on how to paint was lost during the various modernist, abstract and conceptual art movements.
The larger mission of the VAA is to capture all of this lost knowledge on painting and combine it with the latest discoveries in painting. And finally, to put it all in one structured knowledge base for posterity — the Virtual Art Academy® Reference Library. This is an ongoing project, and we are continually growing this Reference Library with the help of our members. By becoming a member of the Virtual Art Academy, members not only get access to this Reference Library, but get to become a part of this important ongoing project.
Barry John Raybould, M.A. (Cantab) is a professional artist who now works primarily in oils, although he was originally trained in watercolors and so has extensive experience of both media. His work is a contemporary fusion of impressionistic and expressionistic styles that integrates color, design and brushwork to convey a strong sense of mood and feeling. Originally from England, Raybould lived in the United States for many years and was one of the group of Central Coast artists known as the ‘Informalists,’ and an artist member of the prestigious California Art Club, one of the oldest professional art organizations in the United States.
His work has been exhibited in several museums in the United States, including the Monterey Museum of Art and the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA), and is held in many private collections worldwide.
He currently spends his time in his studios in Beijing and Tuscany, or on plein air painting expeditions around the world.
Artwork by Barry
When selecting a course of oil painting lessons or watercolor painting lessons, it is important to look at the work of the person who created the course, as well as his awards and professional shows and exhibitions.
Jacqui Seddon takes care of the online campus, updates the lessons with Barry’s new content, does all the administration and marketing work, and helps students when they are having problems. If you have a question that is not answered by our Help page, then contact her and she will try to get back to you within 48 hours. She is our only support person, so please be patient!
About Our Students
Our students come from all over the world, and are very welcoming to new and inexperienced painters who are just starting out.
Click on the link below to see some of our students’ oil paintings and watercolor paintings. Note how the styles of the paintings are all different and that all the paintings do not look the same. This is because Barry teaches the underlying principles that make for a good oil painting or watercolor painting. Once you know these principles you can use any technique, medium, or style to create art that is unique to you. Click on a painting to see a larger version, then scroll through the slideshow.
Barry’s students run the range from absolute beginners to more experienced professional artists. Many students are retired and are painting for the very first time. All are welcome!