Online Art, Painting and Watercolor Classes Overview

Online classes can be an introduction to the world of art for individuals wishing to discover or develop their creative skills. Many schools offer online classes in art history, art appreciation and even various art techniques, such as painting and watercolor.

Online Classes in Art, Painting and Watercolor

Below is a sample of some commonly offered online classes in fine arts.

  • Introduction to Art Class: Fundamental styles and visual perceptions of art are examined as they relate to artistic function and personal interpretation. Students read online lectures, participate in group discussions and visit local museums to view paintings, architecture and sculptures, thus gaining a better understanding of basic art principles as demonstrated by various artists. This class is offered in the early part of a fine arts program or as an elective in several liberal arts programs.
  • Art Appreciation Class: This course examines various artistic styles and helps students develop their understanding of technical terms and creative elements. Classes include discussion of major Western art icons. Students learn how to analyze popular art pieces with correct identification of the artist, historical period and style. Art appreciation can be taken either as a core course or as an elective.
  • Art History Class: This class focuses on historically significant sculpture, painting and architectural icons, dating from ancient times to the beginning of the Renaissance era. Students also explore Western architecture, sculpture and paintings, with an emphasis on art dating from the early Renaissance period to the present century. This fundamental class for art history majors is also offered as an elective for many liberal arts degrees.
  • Oil Painting Class: This traditional art methodology course focuses on the use of color, proportion, lighting and perspective. Students are systematically guided through the foundational areas of preliminary sketches, paint mixing, underpainting and still life.
  • Portrait Painting Class: This advanced class offers artists an opportunity to further develop their drawing and portraiture skills as they work with ink, charcoal and other mediums to capture facial features and expressions. Students develop an artistic eye for correct anatomical structure, fundamental color, line and shading.
  • Watercolor Painting Class: Theories of traditional watercolor painting are the focus of this class. Highlights include subject choice, suitable materials and the use of various washes and glazes. Students investigate the works of well-known watercolor artists and draw from historical experiences as they develop their own creative styles. Students should have a basic knowledge of art and drawing prior to taking this course.
  • Still Life Painting Class: In this introductory course, students learn and practice the fundamentals of still life painting. The course will begin with exercises teaching students how to paint very simple shapes and objects with a single light source. Throughout the course, students will then learn to add complexity through form, light and shadowing.
  • Introduction to Drawing Class: In this course, students will explore various drawing techniques. Topics include perspective, contour and form.
  • Abstract Painting Class: This course will introduce students to abstract painting compositions, which come from objectivity and subjectivity. Special emphasis is placed on topics like the application of paint, texture, color and originality.

Program Information

Both novice and established artists can develop their creative skills and hone their techniques through online art classes. Many colleges offer online art classes in conjunction with associates, bachelor's or master's degree programs in art history or fine arts. A few schools also offer online painting and watercolor courses for students who are interested in self-enrichment but don't wish to pursue a degree. Field trips to art galleries or museums in a student's vicinity might be required. In addition to a computer and Internet connection, students might need to use a digital camera or scanner to photograph and submit their artwork assignments. To complete assignments, students may also need to acquire basic art supplies, such as paper, pens and pencils, paint, brushes and other physical art materials. Free classes are also offered.

Students can study online art, painting and watercolor classes as standalone courses or via certificate, associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs. Some topics include still life painting, abstract painting and art history.


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