Internationally-known and respected South Surrey-based landscape painter and instructor Mike Svob is poised to become a personality of the home screen, thanks to a new online video series that launches this month.
Called Create Paintings You Love with Mike Svob, the 17-part subscription series follows a free YouTube mini-course which will be available until Feb. 11.
With a 120-minute segment length – and professionally-lit, multiple-angle coverage – the course will give subscribing artists and aspiring painters a clear, up-close view of Svob’s techniques and process that would be impossible to duplicate in a public workshop, and on larger canvases than would be practicable in that setting.
It also offers subscribers the chance to pause and review the course, which can be accessed around the clock, allowing them to paint according to their own schedule.
But – as agreed during a recent conversation with White Rock-based wife-husband production team, Sylvie Peltier and Greg Nosaty, and Svob and his wife Nancy – the ultimate core of the course’s appeal is Svob himself. An acknowledged master of colour, form and composition, he has long been in high demand for workshops from coast to coast, not only for his insights and wealth of experience, but also for his informal, story-telling style of instruction.
Recorded at the Cloverdale studio of Red Letter Films – their usual product is documentaries and children’s shows for the French language network of CBC – the series, and preliminary YouTube promos, are sharply shot and edited, placing them head and shoulders above the standard online ‘how-to’s’.
Part of that comes courtesy of Nosaty’s photographic eye and some 29 years of production expertise, but Peltier – herself a painter – also knew what she wanted.
She took Svob’s painting workshop in August 2017, and when she and Nosaty were contemplating branch-out projects using other media platforms early last year she suggested Svob as an ideal subject.
“I felt it was exportable – his work was strong enough to be appreciated by people everywhere, and he attracts not only the beginner, but also the advanced painter,” she said.
“He truly is a master painter. I’ve watched him paint a lot – as I took his live workshop, as we filmed him for eight days, and, again, as we edited the course, and I never cease to admire him and his work.”
“You were able to capture the same feeling as a workshop,” Nancy Svob said.
Knowing what she wanted to see as a student helped determine what angles were chosen, Peltier said.
“I made the course I wanted to see.”
“That’s good because that’s the course I wanted to teach,” Svob said.
But the painter admitted he was a reluctant participant at first.
“It took them a while to convince me.
“When they first asked I said no, mostly because I’ve just got too much to do, and I’ve learned to say no over the course of my career.”
But, as his wife pointed out, the suggestion to film the course came at a time when travelling to and from workshops across the country and internationally was becoming an increasing strain.
“An online course could fill some of that demand,” she said.
And Svob said he was also struck by the inconsistency of online painting demos to this point.
“They’re all little bits and bites – I haven’t seen anyone anywhere where they’ve put it all together.”
Putting the course together was way more involved than the participants suspected at first, Svob said, and it took him a while to be comfortable in front of the cameras.
“They tried to script me, gave me cue cards and teleprompters,” he said, adding that what ultimately worked was sticking to the same conversational style he uses in live workshops.
Nosaty noted that properly marketing the course meant creating a YouTube channel and providing content for that, too.
“Sylvie said, ‘we’ll be done in a week’ and here it is a year later,” Svob said. “But I think it’s well done – way, way better than what you would get attending a workshop.”
“The only thing lacking is the interaction,” Nosaty said.
A five-day painting challenge Svob offered to artists on YouTube in early January has already given a strong indication of demand for the course.
“We had over 2,000 painters participating from Prince Edward Island to Kansas and from Penticton to Reykjavik,” Peltier said.
“The response was amazing,” said Nosaty. “Seeing the paintings they were working on was really exciting – my expectations were low, but they were blown through the roof by the calibre of work.”
“Everybody is finding something in there to make them a better painter,” Peltier said.
For more information visit mikesvob.com or the Create Paintings You Love with Mike Svob channel on YouTube.