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Old 02-11-2018, 04:25 PM
Rocco Malgiero Rocco Malgiero is offline
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I could really use help choosing an online Art Instruction Program?

Iím stuck in a rut: Iíve made time, bought supplies, and secured a space to begin my training to be an oil painter. However, Iím idling while I decide on an online training course. I was going to use Mark Carderís Draw, Mix, Paint course (and havenít ruled it out, yet), but Iíve since discovered other venues that I worry might be yield faster results, more versatile skills, more fundamentals, more comprehensive study, etc. Though I could always stop one and start another, I worry that I might learn bad habits or a poor method that will be hard to shake if I start a different course. Too, thereís always the concern of wasting time and money, neither of which I have in abundance.

My short-term goal is to be a good painter in 12 months with the possibility of earning commission work (unrealistic, perhaps, but I need to set goals to achieve success). I have some untrained skill and am a quick study. I seek well-rounded skills on a solid foundation of fundamentals from which I can adapt as I grow and meet challenges. Iím not looking for a paint-by-number course, or Bob Ross-style method, I want something rooted in the classical tradition, but (and I know this is asking a lot and will seem contradictory to most) Iím looking for the fastest route possible and the most affordable route possible.

Iím aware of the mantra: ďGood, Fast, or Cheap. Pick two.Ē I do expect this to be a lifelong endeavor of learning, but I also want to get as many good results as possible as soon as possible. Mark Carderís primary video course is $100 and Iíve seen the results in his studentís work; itís impressive. I worry, however, that it is not comprehensive enough. I plan to devote at least 4 hours per day to practice and studies, etc., so, I donít believe Iím asking too much by an online course--Iím putting in the time. I am simply looking for something that offers quality substantive instruction on solid techniques as a basis for a well-rounded vocation as an artist oil painting realism (with my own voice, of course).


These are the courses Iím considering:

ē Draw Mix Paint Videos Ė Realism, Landscape, Portrait, $100 each. Iíve been watching his YouTube videos for years now and I really like Markís manner, personality, and encouragement, but is this a good system, well- grounded in classical fundamentals? Or is it a quick-learn method that will leave me handicapped if I try to develop. http://www.drawmixpaint.com/
ē Art Camp - 1, 2, & Landscapes. At $250, $250, and $500, respectively, this is pretty affordable. But is it Comprehensive and of a quality of instruction that will give the results Iím after?https://artcamp.com/
ē Virtual Art Academy - $39.00/month for as much as four years can quickly get expensive. Obviously, this is still less than a four-year college, but not by much and without the degree (for whatever thatís worth). https://www.virtualartacademy.com/
ē Virtual Instructor Ė Secrets to Drawing, Portrait Drawing, Oil Painting. At about $30 per class, on a level with Draw, Mix Paint video 1, but perhaps more rounded with the attention given to drawing fundamentals. Perhaps less quality than Art Camp or (definitely) VAA? http://thevirtualinstructor.com/artvideocourses.html
ē Watts Atelier Ė Online Drawing, $99 per month, Online Painting, $99 per month. These are on par with Draw Mix Paint as well, price-wise and in the self-directed, -paced nature of the video format. That one of these focuses strictly on drawing, perhaps this is the better path? https://www.wattsatelier.com/
ē Master Oil Painting Ė Bill Inmanís 6-week online course starting at $267. Again, no focus on the drawing fundamentals, and perhaps not much focus on color, tone, light, and value, etc. https://masteroilpainting.com/6-week-course-landing/

If anyone, since the previous threads on the topic were engaged, has any experience with any of these courses, could you please comment on your experience, good or bad. Or if you can recommend a different one I havenít mentioned (that is equal to or superior without requiring a second mortgage to attend), that would be much appreciated. Iíd like to begin soon and am chomping at the bit to get painting. I just want to be sure I pick valuable instruction and begin properly.

Note: Iím posting this on several forums I belong to, to get the most help I can. If you see it elsewhere, please donít feel compelled to comment twice, Iíll check all of them.
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Old 02-11-2018, 06:35 PM
~JMW~'s Avatar
~JMW~ ~JMW~ is online now
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Re: I could really use help choosing an online Art Instruction Program?

Are you starting this with some art knowledge already?
Have you gotten library books and started learning for your self?
Watched any advanced or known artists videos on you tube??
It might be good to have some sort of basic art education before jumping into payments & classes..

No reason you can't pick a class and learn other ways on the side. as you learn & want to explore..
I would check on refund policy just in case the class is not working out for you , how easy to drop it and get refund..

For classes, I would look for ones by artists that paint in a style & subjects that appeal to you.. Some are more generic that covers all types of subject & styles..
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Old 02-12-2018, 11:12 AM
Rocco Malgiero Rocco Malgiero is offline
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Re: I could really use help choosing an online Art Instruction Program?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~JMW~
Are you starting this with some art knowledge already?
Have you gotten library books and started learning for your self?
Watched any advanced or known artists videos on you tube??
It might be good to have some sort of basic art education before jumping into payments & classes..

No reason you can't pick a class and learn other ways on the side. as you learn & want to explore..
I would check on refund policy just in case the class is not working out for you , how easy to drop it and get refund..

For classes, I would look for ones by artists that paint in a style & subjects that appeal to you.. Some are more generic that covers all types of subject & styles..

Thanks for your reply, JMW. Yes, I have a few years of art instruction from high school: photography, painting, and drawing, and, though it doesn't really correlate to fine art, I'v 6 years of training in graphic arts. But, all of that was over 25 years ago.

I have checked out some library books currently and have bought books over the years to study from. I'm only just now freed up for time to devote fully to learning and my age (43) has prompted me to get moving.

I've checked out and have followed quite a few artists on YouTube, though I haven't yet followed along with brush in hand; I've just now gotten re-started having not painted in 20 years. I was about to just use the YouTube videos, but fear that I'd be missing some important information that could only be learned from taking the paid courses so many of those YouTube artists offer.

You're right, though. I should just pick one and start, with supplemental classes on the side. I just worry about picking up bad habits or technique.

I will look for a refund policy. Good advice, there.

I gravitate toward realism (the Wyeths, Pyle, Homer, Sargent, the Dutch Golden Age, etc.). Are there any schools, videos, websites, books that you've found helpful?

Thanks again for taking the time to respond.
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Old 02-15-2018, 12:29 PM
b123 b123 is offline
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Re: I could really use help choosing an online Art Instruction Program?

Hi Rocco,

My names Barry, Iím the author of Virtual Art Academy. I just wanted to thank you for considering us in your search for an online painting course. You have obviously done a lot of research on many different websites, including ours, and we are grateful we have been considered. I noticed you had a few hesitations about your learning path, and while I canít speak for other companies, I can shed some light on what you can achieve with Virtual Art Academy and how it works.

We developed the curriculum to contain the same amount of content or more than you would get in a four-year program in fine art painting at a prestigious art academy or university. Whilst some students might take four years to complete the program, the timing is actually completely flexible.

The key point is that the full curriculum is available to you as soon as you join up. This means that:
(a) you can easily review the whole four-year content as soon as you join, and
(b) you do not have to spend four years doing the program, but can do the course at your own speed and without any timetables or deadlines.

Having said that, unfortunately, there are no quick tricks or fast tracks to help you to become a master artist. It is one thing to read books and watch videos. That is the easy bit. It just gets a lot harder when you try to put it into practice! To try to solve that problem, the major thing we focus on in the Virtual Art Academy is our community and system of peer feedback in which you work with the other students on a series of 375 structured assignments. These assignments are designed to systematically build your skills one by one. Youíre quite right in being concerned about forming bad habits, and that is why we focus on teaching best practice techniques right from the very beginning to help our students avoid these pitfalls.

There are some tricks to getting quicker results. However, these techniques rely on doing still lifes indoors under north light at relatively low light levels. The problem is that although you get quick results this way, you will have major problems when you try to paint outdoors in sunlight. This is because the methodology breaks down with the vastly increased dynamic range of natural sunlight compared to indoor lighting. Paints just do not have the same dynamic range as natural light, so you need to learn a different approach. In a nutshell, you have to learn how to compare the relative values of different objects in the light and shade under natural sunlight, and then translate these into the much narrow value range of your paints. You cannot do this by holding up a sample of paint against a part of the scene. The trick works indoors, but not outdoors. In our experience, the students who have the most problems are those that have to unlearn bad habits.

The course of study is broken down into sixteen workshops. Each workshop builds upon the skills you learned in the previous workshop. Once you have finished all the assignments in one workshop, you are ready to move on to the next workshop. You take each of these sixteen workshops sequentially. In this way, you gradually and systematically build your foundation.

I hope this information is useful to you. If you have any more questions please do not hesitate to ask and we will do our best to answer them for you.
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Old 02-16-2018, 08:22 AM
Rocco Malgiero Rocco Malgiero is offline
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Re: I could really use help choosing an online Art Instruction Program?

I appreciate your response. I am strongly considering VAA to begin or possibly supplement a starter course. I understand what you mean about using Mark Carder's color-check method, though several times that I've read he addresses this and how to use his method outdoors and his explanation seems reasonable.

I appreciate that I can do the course at my own speed and will consider doing the VAA 4-year curriculum in a shorter span.

Thanks, again for replying, Barry.
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:52 AM
b123 b123 is offline
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Re: I could really use help choosing an online Art Instruction Program?

You are very welcome Rocco. If you have any more questions please don't hesitate to ask. If you need more information on how to check values outside I'd be happy to explain in more detail.

Finding values outdoors
The basic procedure is:
  1. Find the lightest light, and darkest dark in your scene, then decide which of your colors you are going to use to represent those colors in nature.
  2. Look for a shape somewhere in the mid value range. This will give you a third reference point - the middle value (5). Now you have those 3 values, let us say values 1, 5 and 9 on a 9 value scale, you can work out the values of all the other shapes in your scene by pairwise comparison.
  3. This is quite simple. You just look through an old credit card with two holes in it at the two shapes. You are looking at each shape through a different hole. All you have to do is ask yourself which shape is lighter and which is darker? So if the shape is darker then the middle value, you know it lies somewhere between values 1 and 5 (I am using the munsell nomenclature for values here, so 1 is black). This means that the shape is either value 2,3 or 4.
  4. Look at all the shapes that are darker than the middle value, and compare every pair of shapes just asking yourself which shape is lighter and which is darker? You will soon be able to figure out which shapes are values 2, 3 and 4.
  5. Now do the same for the shapes that are lighter than the middle value, and you will find which shapes fit into the values 6,7, and 8.

So with the above simple procedure, you have found shapes that fit into the values of 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9. If you do this right, whatever you are painting will look very realistic since it is values more than color that give realism to a scene. The more comparisons between pairs of shapes you do, the more accurate your values will be and the more realistic your painting or drawing.

Making a value finder


You can buy devices to find values, but you can save money by drilling 3 holes in an old credit card, and painting the card a middle value gray. I use 3 holes instead of just two simple so you can arrange to have two holes close together, for comparing shapes that are close together, and two holes that are further apart for comparing shapes that are further apart. The simple method I described above for finding values works great using this home made device.

Commercial value cards
This is the card I bought based on some advice I got when I started painting before I learned about the issues that I described above.

Why these cards with value scales painted on them do not work
  • If you put the card is in the sun, the darkest area on the card will be lighter than anything in the shadows in your scene, so you will not be able to match shapes in the shadows.
  • If you put your card in the shade, the lightest area on the card will be darker than all of the areas of your scene in the sun, so you will not be able to match values in the sun.

So you can never match all the values in your scene in both the light and shade at the same time using one of these devices. Having said that, the cards are useful when you are first learning about values to help you understand what a value scale looks like. Just don't try to use it to find values outdoors or you will get very frustrated! I now have a store of old credit cards in my workshop to give out to any of my students who arrive at a workshop with one of those cards, telling me they cannot figure out how to use it!


The painters rule regarding lights and darks

You will hear this rule often. It takes a bit of time to get your head around it. This is how I generally phrase it:

"You will perceive a black object that has light falling on it to be lighter in value than you perceive a white object in the shadow".

(Some artists phrase this rule as: "the darkest dark in the lights is always lighter than the lightest light in the darks")

In other words black can be lighter than white!

Conversely:

"You will perceive a white object that is in the shadow to be darker in value than a black object that has light falling it".

(Some artists phrase this rule as: "the lightest light in the darks is always darker than the darkest dark in the lights")


Values are covered in more detail in Workshop A of the Virtual Art Academy Apprentice Program, but what I have described above is the key and probably the single most important thing you will ever learn about values.
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Old 02-23-2018, 09:16 AM
Rocco Malgiero Rocco Malgiero is offline
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Re: I could really use help choosing an online Art Instruction Program?

That is very useful information.
I've been doing value study sketches of masters' paintings and I'm often taken aback by how off my perception was. I used a flat washer to isolate areas of a painting and they were vastly darker or lighter than I originally thought.
Thank you, Barry.
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