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The Best Painting Lessons

Where Can You Find the Best Painting Lessons?

Not only is painting a great skill to have in your artistic tool belt, but it is also a therapeutic activity. Many of us grew up watching Bob Ross and the extent of our painting training included creating "happy little trees" and basic scenery.

Unfortunately, taking painting lessons in person from an artist can be costly as well as time consuming. Carving out specific times and making the drive to your painting lessons is not sustainable for most people. In addition, everyone has a different style, and it can also be hard to have someone watching over your shoulder as you try to express creativity in your own, unique way.

Saturday, October 1st

2022 Painting Lesson Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award The Virtual Instructor Review 5 Star Rating

The Virtual Instructor

5 Star Rating
  • Cost: $19/month or $97/year
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

The Virtual Instructor was started in 2010 as a way for hobby artists to improve their skills through comprehensive videos and/or illustrated workbooks in a clear and concise way. None of the lesson content in the videos assumes any past experience and is great for beginner, intermediate, and advanced painters alike. The vast amount of lessons available allows users to choose the style, medium, and skill level that is right for them.

Lessons are taught in a variety of mediums including graphite, colored pencils, pen and ink, acrylics, pastels, watercolor, oils, mixed media, and more. Course subjects range just as wide by featuring classes like portrait drawings, pastel landscape mastery, basic Photoshop for artists, and many more. There really is something for everybody in The Virtual Instructor classes!

Prospective customers can try The Virtual Instructor for seven days by paying just $1. At the end of this trial period, you can either cancel or continue on with the monthly subscription of $19/month or $97/year.

Best Painting Lessons

With the subscription, you receive:

  • Access to over 1,000 logically sequenced, downloadable videos in HD.
  • Illustrated ebooks (available for print) with over 1,000 pages to reference while watching the video courses.
  • Weekly live streamed lessons where members can ask live questions. These videos can be saved and referred to later.
  • The ability to submit your art for critique and learn from the critiques of others.
  • Lesson plans including presentation materials, handouts, videos, and more.

If you start going through the course and decide it is not what you were hoping for, a 30-day money back guarantee is in place. You can contact The Virtual Instructor by either calling the number provided on their website or filling out a contact form.

We are impressed by the affordable price for so much top-notch content through The Virtual Instructor. We highly recommend this course to anyone looking to improve their drawing, painting, or sketching abilities. With the money-back guarantee, it is a risk-free option. The design of the website, as well as the course content, is modern and comprehensive enough to help anyone become a better artist. If you're a hobby painter who wants to learn or improve your skills, The Virtual Instructor is an excellent choice. They share our highest rating.

Virtual Art Academy Review 5 Star Rating

Virtual Art Academy

5 Star Rating
  • Cost: $49/month for beginners basics package
  • $79/month for beginners, intermediates, and professionals
  • $599 for 3 months, then $39/month thereafter (for advanced artists)

The Virtual Art Academy provides a wealth of information and lesson plans that would satisfy any aspiring artist who takes their painting seriously. By providing a comparable level of art instruction to that of a traditional college or art school, and at much less cost, they are an excellent value for the dedicated student.

The Virtual Art Academy Apprentice Program is divided into four separate years worth of course materials. In all, there are 192 painting lessons divided among these four years. A breakdown of the curriculum structure for each year is provided on the website.

Their lesson plans include a vast library of knowledge. With the full program you'll receive all of the following:

  • Background reading material covering the painting materials and techniques you need
  • Short painting video segments (200 in total) to break down difficult concepts
  • Focused learning assignments (350 in total) to assist you in mastering and internalizing each painting technique
  • A comprehensive and integrated downloadable library of 48 professional eBooks that cover all 9 building blocks of the course. Each book is Information Mapped for ease of reading and understanding. This library covers everything you need to know to paint well, saving you the cost of purchasing a lot of art books.
  • A tip of the day to help you solve common painting problems

The website provides a free online preview of eBooks in each of the 9 building blocks in the program, so you can see the quality of the reading materials before you purchase. Plus you can request a prospectus with a detailed description of all the lessons in the 4-year program to help you decide.

Best Painting Lessons

Virtual Art Academy offers 3 membership options for their online painting classes:

  • Foundation Program, the beginner membership, is the least expensive at $49/month for a 2-month program ($98 for the total course). This covers all the basic fundamentals of painting. If you want to continue past the beginner program to the more advanced material, you just switch to the Apprentice Program membership at $79/month.
  • Apprentice Program costs $79/month ($948 for each one year program). This program is designed for beginners, intermediates, and professionals, and will give you an art education equivalent to attending a 1-4 year program at a prestigious art academy or university for a fraction of the cost. You'll get access to the full one-year program immediately upon joining, and you will receive a new workshop out of the 16 workshop series every 2 months after joining.
  • Apprentice Platinum gives you the same lessons as Apprentice Program, but you can pay in 3 installment payments of $599 ($1,797) then just $39 per month thereafter ($2,616 for a two-year program). The advantage is that with this option, you get access to the complete four-year program immediately upon purchase of your membership.

There are some free guides and painting techniques available on the website. These can help you with things like choosing an oil painting palette, critiquing master paintings, working on contrast of color, block studies, and a few other topics.

One important feature to note - unlike a traditional university program, you do not have to commit to the four-year program in advance. If you're not satisfied with the level of instruction, or become too busy to continue the lessons, you can cancel the program (and your monthly payments) at any time.

The Virtual Art Academy is a professionally designed and exceptionally thorough program that provides a structured learning experience available on an affordable monthly subscription basis. For hobbyists looking to just start with the basics and paint some fun artwork, this course probably offers too much depth, and there are cheaper alternatives. But if you are a dedicated beginner, or a more advanced artist who wants to take their work to a high level in a structured and systematic way that builds your skills one step at a time, then Virtual Art Academy is your best choice.

Udemy Review 4.5 Star Rating


4.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: From $0 to $199.99 (most classes cost $19.99)

Udemy is the epitome of virtual learning in the modern age. They have thousands of courses available on nearly every topic you can think of. These courses are available for individual purchase and are stored on your personal account through the Udemy website. The paint lesson options alone include over 3,000 results. Whether you're a beginner or expert, there are many great choices for anyone wanting to improve their painting skills on Udemy's website.

When scrolling through what seems like a never-ending amount of painting course options on Udemy, several features are in place to help you narrow down what you're looking for. You can filter by topic, level, language, price, features, ratings, and lesson duration. If you want to quickly find something by keyword like "painting a sky", you can simply type this in Udemy's course search bar and get instant results.

Best Painting Lessons

Each course comes with a detailed description to give you all the information you need before deciding to pay for the course. On the main display page, you can see how many lectures are included in each course, the duration of the content, and the skill level for the course. Once you click on a specific course, further information is given including requirements for the course, an overall description, course topics, durations of each lesson, a bio about the artist, and student feedback ratings. We really like Udemy's transparency: letting students leave honest, unfiltered reviews about any of the instructors or courses they've taken.

Most courses cost $19.99. There are some free courses, as well as extended courses that cost more money. Every once in a while, a spontaneous offer will be highlighted on the website offering courses at discounted prices. Udemy offers a 30-day money back for all purchases in the event you are unhappy with the course. You can easily request a refund from your course player portal or by contacting the Udemy support team.

Overall, Udemy is a great resource for painters who want seemingly endless options for new lesson content. Since courses are purchased individually, it's a bit more expensive than getting open access to a full database like our highest-rated painting course option. However, the wide range of professional lesson content makes Udemy a highly recommended option for painters wanting to take on new projects and get specific with the techniques they are trying to improve.

My Painting Club Review 4 Star Rating

My Painting Club

4 Star Rating
  • Cost: Free 7-day trial, then $20/month

My Painting Club has over 100 online painting lessons and is continually adding more. You can browse their database of lessons by keywords such as abstract, acrylics, figure, landscape, oils, still life, and many more. My Painting Club gives artists the ability to find a lesson that intrigues them, rather than sticking with rigid teaching material that teaches step-by-step techniques pre-determined by the instructor.

With a free 7-day trial, you can test out a few of the different lessons available in the My Painting Club database. We liked that you don't have to provide a credit card number in order to sign up for this trial. It's absolutely risk-free and will give painters a good taste of what they would receive by subscribing to the premium membership for $20/month.

With the premium membership, painters also receive:

  • Over 100 online painting lessons
  • Regularly added new lessons
  • All ebooks and lesson notes
  • Monthly group workshops
  • All student critiques
  • All online tools
  • All DVD's at cost
Best Painting Lessons

A generous unlimited money back guarantee is in place in case you subscribe and end up not using the lessons or find them disappointing. My Painting Club is more concerned with having happy customers than locking them into a subscription and making as much money as possible. By filling out the contact form on their website, you can ask for a product swap or refund from any portion of your subscription without question.

If you choose not to subscribe monthly, you can still get access to the painting lessons in the My Painting Club collection by purchasing them individually. You can purchase either DVD's or online lessons. They do not currently have an app for downloading the lessons, but everything available online is compatible with all major devices. Another way to receive information and material without subscribing is by adding your email address to their newsletter subscription to receive 52 painting tips weekly for a year, along with 2 free ebooks and access to upcoming offers.

For painters who want to explore painting topics and subjects at their own pace, My Painting Club is a good option. It is not necessarily geared for beginners, but rather for painters with some experience who want to dabble in new paint projects. Not only is the collection priced fairly, but the generous money-back guarantee makes these painting lessons low-risk.

Learn & Master Review 3.5 Star Rating

Learn & Master

3.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: $249 one-time fee

The Learn and Master painting course is one of the most thorough we have found. The lessons apply to oils, acrylics, and water-mixable oils. There is one painting instructor throughout the series named Gayle Levee. She has been teaching art classes since 1995 as an expert in theory, brushwork techniques, and impressionism. Gayle takes novice students and teaches them everything they need to know to become an accomplished artist.

The Learn and Master painting courses are comprehensive in that they start out slow but gradually get more technical as each lesson builds on itself. Advanced students can get a refresher on the basics of painting or skip ahead to the more technical parts of the training.

Some of the topics covered in the 20-lesson DVD course include:

  • Setting up a studio/workspace
  • Brushwork technique
  • Color theory
  • Understanding composition
  • Understanding perspective
  • Using photographic reference
  • Varnishing your paints
  • Color temperature
  • How to plan an original painting
  • And more!
Best Painting Lessons

The painting styles and techniques taught within these topics are alla prima, impressionism, chiaroscuro, realism, impasto painting, scumbling, and wet into wet. If you are unsure of what any of these words mean, then you're headed to the right place! Everything in the lessons is gone over in great detail with plenty of practice time. At the end of each lesson there is an assignment where you incorporate all of the day's concepts into a piece of art.

By providing your email address and name through the website, you will receive the free "Tip of the Brush" email series. Instructor Gayle will send painting tips straight to your inbox to boost your artistic knowledge. To purchase the entire course, you pay $249. The cost can be divided into three or four installments through a payment plan, with a surcharge of $4 with each payment. A generous 60-day money back guarantee is in place if you are not satisfied with the product you receive. If you run into questions about the Learn and Master painting course during your shopping experience, you can chat online with a customer service representative or call their toll-free number.

Learn and Master is a great option for beginner, intermediate, or advanced painting students. The video quality of each course is not as sharp as the HD lessons in our highest rated painting course, but they aren't so outdated that it's painful to watch or learn from them. We like that sample painting videos are displayed on the website to give you a feel for the overall course content, so you know what you're getting before choosing to buy the Learn and Master painting course.

Lela Harty Oil Painting Review 1.5 Star Rating

Lela Harty Oil Painting

1.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: $119.95 + $4.99 shipping

The web designers of the Lela Harty Oil Painting course could not have made a more basic, vague user interface. There is a short "About the Course", "Reviews", and "Order the Course" page and nothing else. On the "About the Course" page, we learn that the course is taught by Lela Harty herself who has been teaching oil painting since 1972.

Lela's goal through the lessons is to get beginner painters on the right path and make practiced painters better. The page also states that all the information, instructions, and techniques you would need are contained in the video course, but gives no specifics about the style of painting, length of lessons, or amount of content.

Best Painting Lessons

To purchase the Lela Harty Oil Painting DVD's, the "Order the Course" page automatically links you to a third-party site, which is the only place the painting lessons are sold. There you finally learn there are 8 lessons and 4 DVD's in total for the purchase price of $119.95 + $4.99 in shipping. Customer feedback from only one person can be found through this ordering page, in addition to four short reviews that are posted directly on the website. All of these reviews give positive feedback, but they aren't the most reliable gauge of the course since most are hand-selected and there are so few of them in total.

There is nothing mentioned about a money-back guarantee for this course. There is also no way to contact the company with questions or issues with your purchase. If a DVD comes scratched or missing, you would have to work it out with the third-party site you ordered from, rather than the creators of the Lela Harty Oil Painting DVD's.

There is not a lot to go off of when purchasing the Lela Harty Oil Painting course. From what we can tell, it is quite a few years old and will likely have an outdated feel as you watch the DVD's. We suggest going with a higher-rated course that provides customers with more information and a clear idea of what the painting lessons are like.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

But, what if, like watching TV, you could learn to paint at your own pace from the comfort of your own home? With painting programs available through the internet, you can do just that! When you learn with at-home paint courses, you can follow the instructor's style closely or loosely as you create your own masterpieces.

The ability to become a painter from home will likely turn into a lifelong hobby. The chance to learn a skill and continually develop your talent at your own pace and in your own way is priceless! Through virtual painting courses, you can comfortably enjoy making paintings of places and people you love that will become artwork you treasure forever.

When searching for the best at-home painting lessons, also consider the following things to ensure a pleasant experience:

  • Cost. How does the cost of a particular painting course compare to the competition? Be sure you're saving money by doing these courses from home by comparing the prices to in-person lessons as well as other online content.
  • Course material. How long are the painting courses? Do they cover the style of painting you're wanting to learn? What additional resources do they provide to help you sharpen your skills?
  • Return policy. If you purchase the painting course and are let down by the content, check to see if there is a return policy that allows you to receive a full refund.

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best online painting lessons available today. We hope these reviews help you find the best painting courses for your learning style and artistic goals!

The Best Painting Lessons Compare Painting Lessons Compare Painting Lesson Reviews What are the best Painting Lessons Best Painting Lesson Reviews

Painting Lesson FAQ

When you sign up for an online painting class, you'll usually receive downloadable videos that have a series of lessons to watch. You'll get step-by-step guidance from a master painter. Depending on the type of painting you're interested in learning, you'll be instructed in all the techniques that you'll need to know to improve your painting skills. Some classes also offer an eBook with helpful tips you can always refer to, as well as the option to submit your artwork for critique.
Taking painting lessons online is just like being in-person, except you can pause, play, and rewatch anything you're learning. You'll have your own papers, brushes, and paints at home to work with and you'll follow along with what you see in the class to create your own artwork. The idea is that you can create your own masterpieces from home on your own time and not have to find a local studio to go to.
Most classes have downloadable videos that can be viewed from nearly any electronic device. If you're using a smartphone, iPad, tablet, or computer, you should have no problem viewing your painting lessons. Some older courses have you buy DVDs that ship to your home, so you might watch those on your laptop or TV. In short, you can plan on being able to access your painting class from anywhere at any time since they are more accessible than ever now!
Any and all! You could select a paint class that specifically teaches a paint medium you're interested in like acrylics or watercolor. The other option would be to find a class that touches on a little bit of everything so you can dip your toes in the water and decide what you like best. Online learning is so popular now that you can find painting lessons that cover all mediums, topics, and techniques with just a few clicks.
Compared to the cost of doing in-person painting classes, online courses are fairly inexpensive. Not only are you avoiding driving to an art studio at scheduled times during the week, you also can spend as long as you want learning from your online class without worrying about the cost. Some companies offer online courses on a subscription basis and you pay month-to-month, or you can purchase the class outright and have it forever.
If you have a question about the class itself, you should always be able to reach out to customer service and get answers that way. If you're wanting help with your painting, we suggest choosing a course that offers live Q&A sessions, the chance to submit your artwork for critique, or video chatting with an instructor. Although online painting courses are done remotely, there are still many ways you can connect with other students and teachers as you learn.
The beauty of an online painting class is that you can start, stop, and rewatch any parts of the lesson. You don't have to "keep up" like you would in a face-to-face class. You can master techniques by watching them over and over again and take as long as you want to finish the whole lesson. Online paint classes are 100% flexible and can be done around your schedule.
Not all online painting platforms allow you to get your money back if you're unsatisfied. If you're unsure if a painting course is right for you, it would be wise to choose one that offers a trial period or money-back guarantee if the class isn't as you'd hoped. Companies want customers to be happy with what they're offering, so if you don't want to use your painting class anymore, you'll likely be able to cancel your subscription or get a refund within the first few weeks.
The Best Reviews of Painting Lessons