Visit the links to the great museums on the right. Discover artists whose work you love. Use these links as a spring board to determine what painting or painter you would like to learn from. After you have an idea of the type of painting you would like to study visit the public library or purchase postcards from the VMFA to identify several reproductions of paintings that you could work from.
Art Monographs (usually inexpensive books which include the "top 30" works of an artists' career
(best sources: Borders, Barnes and Noble, Chop Suey Books)
Post Card Collections
Before the advent of art schools young painters would copiously study and copy each other's work, hence the replication of themes and similar paintings throughout art history. Visit this link to see Leonard's copy of a Michelangelo and this one to see the original version.
Here a student has copied a still life from a museum in his hometown. This is the original.
You may choose a painting that is contemporary or from a different culture - just make sure it is a painting - not an etching, silkscreen, watercolor or other media. Choose what you really like and would want to live with or give as a gift. I will help you determine which of the reproductions you bring in will challenge you, but not overwhelm you!