Art: Virtual Art Academy (online)

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  1. #1
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    Virtual Art Academy (online)

    I was wondering if any of you have experience with this:

    Virtual Art Academy

    I've been looking around for some kind of alternative education since I cannot afford any art academy (and I'd have to move, but money is the biggest prob). I found the virtual art academy website and it's much cheaper than art academies.

    I just don't know how professional this is. Maybe it's someone who just wants to make a quick buck, cause for a real course it seems very cheap. For example, the beginner program is a program for 1 year and costs 74,95: Beginner Program At the bottom you see the subjects of the courses in the program.

    Also maybe this is nothing different from buying your own books on subjects, alltho I think getting assignments would help me.

    If anyone has anything to say about this, thanks!

    Edit: Just found a site with his work http://www.bjrgallery.com/

    Last edited by Coen; October 15th, 2006 at 08:45 AM.
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  3. #2
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    hmmm... I don't have any experience with this sort of thing, but, from what i can see of the site, it seems to be a bit of a rip off. Virtually every link I clicked on brought me to some page asking me to by something for "only $250" or other such amounts. There was a page asking you to pay $5 for a quick sample.

    The first paragraph of the homepage, (in tacky, bold, blue font) says
    If you're looking to improve your oil painting techniques, watercolor painting or acrylic painting skills, then here's one painter's secret to getting 4 years of professional art academy training... distilled into simple, step-by-step self-study art instruction that you can work on in the comfort of your own home.
    Suggesting that it can distill 4 years of proffesional art academy instruction into simple step by step worksheets smells like bs to me, and I wouldn't buy into it.

    "Never have I seen a greater, or a more beautiful, or a calmer or more noble thing than you, brother" - The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
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    I think you're right foggle, I was just hoping I was being an evil sceptic

    I'll look further, thanks!

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    Lets say that you want to take a single accredited course online. I'm taking a class online from Academy of Art University, and that costs over $1800. While the class is cool, theres no way in hell we can cover a lot of ground, because that's not the way it works .
    Honestly, by far the best thing in the American Education system is the damn public library. It's the only place where you can learn a ton of things and not pay anything. Everything else will leave you in debt for a very long time. And a lots of times, the debt doesnt justify the education.

    So I'd suggest going through a multitude of books that are available at your library, and books/resources which are online.

    As far as the course, if you really want it, maybe check out the cheap sample?

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    Hey Rebelismo, the library here has way less good books (cause most come from America) so most of it I have to order from America. So yea so far I've been working with books, but the reason I'm looking for some education is cause I feel too overwhelmed and inconfident to keep working steadily. Or something like that. There's just so many aspects in art, I just need some guidance.

    Thanks, and sorry for my late reply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by foggle
    hmmm...
    Suggesting that it can distill 4 years of proffesional art academy instruction into simple step by step worksheets smells like bs to me, and I wouldn't buy into it.
    Hi, this is the author here. Thank you for your feedback on the homepage text. I agree with your comments. I also totally agree with you that fine art cannot be put into simple step-by-step worksheets. A professional copyrighter I hired wrote these paragraphs, and I was not too sure about them myself.

    However I wanted to respond to correct any misunderstanding. The courses are definitely not a rip off. In fact I and my partner put a tremendous amount of work into them and we really tried to create something valuable for those who are really serious about learning fine art. They are particularly aimed at those who do not want to pay high academy prices, but who want a very structured program and who are prepared to put in a lot of work on their own (you need to put in at least 2 to 3 years do do all the assignments in the program).

    I am confident about the quality of the program (based on what past students have told me) and will happily personally give anyone a full refund if they don't agree after buying them. By the way you can read the testimonials on the website - I know this may be difficult to believe, (coming from the author), but 100% of those emails are genuine, so that should give you some idea of what others really think of the materials.

    From time to time people have told me that the courses are underpriced for the serious artist, but I also have a lot of hobbyists taking the courses as well, so they are priced to that market.

    I'd be happy to answer any specific questions for you.

    Once again, thanks for the feedback on the site. I think we will take your comments into account in the next redesign.

    Barry John Raybould
    Virtual Art Academy

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    haha, well there you go. You've got information from the horses mouth there Coen. I'm still somewhat sceptical, not really of the motives behind it, but whether theres that much to be gained from such an institutuion. Having said that, Ive seen some truly awful online art courses, but yours certainly ranks amongst the most genuine/proffesional ive seen.

    "Never have I seen a greater, or a more beautiful, or a calmer or more noble thing than you, brother" - The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
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    Thanks for the reply. I understand the difficulty of searching for good information on how to draw and paint well -- I've searched the internet a lot myself to try and learn something new. I have found some good information on free sites, but unfortunately I've also found a lot of information that could easily send someone down the wrong path. This is likely to make you develop bad habits that take a long time to forget (I have suffered from this myself, particularly in the area of figure drawing - there is more misinformation in this area than in any other area of painting). The issue seems to be one of editing.

    One approach is to look at the work of the author. This might help you figure out who knows what they are talking about and who does not. However this only works if you are already an experienced artist. Paintings and drawings I used to admire 10 years ago, now do not look so good now because I have more experience. Probably I'll say the same in 10 years time! No artist ever stops learning. Artists should be humble because you can never know it all -- its just too complex. It's a catch-22 situation.

    Another approach is to look at resumes, awards, and galleries where the author exhibits their work. However even this can be misleading. I've seen not very good artwork win top prizes, and just about any level of art can get into some gallery somewhere. So although this gives you some idea, it is not foolproof.

    The bottom line I think is to educate yourself about art by spending a lof of time looking at the old masters who have stood the quality of time (up to the middle of the 20th century). Eventually you get to recognize good work. Only then can you judge the quality of the artwork you are looking at. Also I have found my best source of information was books written before the second half of the 20th century, particularly those written about 100 years ago. They can be very difficult to read, but the quality of the information is much better than most contemporary art books, which are often "shallow" and written for the casual hobbyist.

    Another source of good information and an example of quality work is to look at work by the Russian impressionists from the late 19th to the mid 20th century. These artists had a combination of great academic training in the fundamentals (which contrary to, what some modernists say, I think is absolutely critical for someone who wants to be a professional), together with exposure to the more modernist ideas. Amongs these modernist ideas I would include the color theories of the French Impressionists (who learned how to observe color much more accurately than the previous academic approach), and ideas from the modernists on how to break up the space in the picture plane and use the abstract quality of brushwork to create a second level of abstraction in a painting. (You get the first level of abstraction by looking at a painting from the other end of the room, and a second level of abstraction by looking at a painting close up - that's why photo realism loses at least one level of abstraction). Some of the figure drawings done by these artists are superb.

    One last thought, I would recommend to any young artist to go through at least three years of basic academic training - drawing from plaster casts for a year, drawing live models for a year, and then painting models. It is a foundation that will stand any young artist good for the rest of their career. You cannot get this from the regular art schools though, its best to try and find some private academy who runs this kind of program (unfortunatly I do not know enough about these schools to recommend any particular one, but I know there have been quite a few starting up in recent years in response to the lack of proper education at the larger art schools).

    I hope some of these ideas are useful.

    Last edited by barryjacq; October 28th, 2006 at 05:24 PM.
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    Hey Coen,

    I see they have a 30 page sample course for $4.95. That might be a good way to see what they have to offer. I just went a little further and saw they have the Beginner Unit for Value for the same price. That would probably be the best thing to go for (link)

    *EDIT: I just bought the Alla Prima/Plein Air lecture as it's something I'm interested in. I'm pretty impressed. I haven't read the whole document yet but the quality is top notch, very well laid out and there is a wealth of info in it.

    roger

    Last edited by rogfa; October 28th, 2006 at 07:34 PM.
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  11. #10
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    Thanks for all the input everybody! It seems like a good and fair education program (thanks for the tip Rogfa! Best to hear it from a costumer), so I think I'll try some of it. Not going for a full program at first but I got more curious to try it, for the sake of structure.

    Barryjacq, you seem to know alot about art history (well at least more than I do), and I planned to study old master drawings at first, like Michelangelo, Rubens etc. but I find it hard to know how to do that. Got some books from Hale now but it's still kinda hard, and now I'm only talking about figure drawing, there's so much more than that. Anyway, thanks for you explanations, things got clearer and you seem like a fair person with a passion.

    I'll ask it if I got anymore questions (which I probably will), but for now this is my reply I guess.

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