question…who is god? what is art?

Those are questions asked by the artist in the illustrated poem – PALIA HORA – which is Greek for Old Capital City (or town). Palia Hora of Aegina island once was the home of the entire island. It was in the centre of the island and afforded (and still affords) magnificent views over the entire Saronic Gulf – which was it’s downfall, as the inhabitants turned to piracy – and the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire ordered his General (Barrabus) to destroy the town and kill all its people – as a matter of a lesson to all – The Greek people built the town over a thousand years – and each important family had their own Chapel to worship God (Greek Orthodox) . Barrabus – (who mother was Greek) however left 32 chapels standing in remembrance of his brother (who died at the early age of 32) and out of respect for his mother. Today the Chapels have been restored (respectfully) by the Greek Church and visitors can now see murals in the chapels from the 12th to the 15th century by master Greek painters whose names have faded with time.

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painters TUBES magazine -Denis Taylor
an illustrated poem by Denis Taylor Artist and editor of painters TUBES magazine

Behind the Green Door

free to read stories on line - Spike' -behind the Green Door

below is a  fictional story by painters TUBES contributor and art critic ‘Spike’ First published in 2017 Tubes thought it was worth another run out. ‘Spike’ is currently writing his new book – ‘passage to another existence’ to be serialised by painters Tubes new website in the summer – free to read and download (perhaps something to read on the beach?) information and publishing dates to follow….but for now here is…

“…behind the Green Door.”

written by ‘Spike’ © 2017-2019

I strolled through the car park sucking on my empty pipe and coming to terms with an altered perception of my existence. A figure approached me. “Hey mate have you got any skins.” He asked me. I took a step back as I cautiously looked him over. He was a youngish man with a wild haircut and friendly eyes. “No.” I said a little startled by him having spotting me in the shadows. “You see mate, we’re doing our first set of new tunes tonight, it will be an all night rehearsal thing for a gig this weekend. The drummer remembered to bring the weed but forgot to bring the skins, the dick head.” He said with a grin. “Oh I see, what is it you want from me again?” I was still unsure what he was talking about. “You know mate, papers…’skins’ to make a spliff.” I stared open eyed back at him. “It’s just for a smoke mate whilst we are playing.” He said. Still a little confused, as I didn’t know what he was referring to in the first place, I replied. “You can borrow my pipe, if you want.” Then I pushed my arm and hand forward, holding the pipe up with some reverence. “Nice one man.” The young man said. “You can come up to the rehearsal room if you want and have a poke, that’s if you like to try the weed.” I thought about the word ‘Poke’.  I presumed he meant a smoke of his ‘wacky baccy’. I agreed to the offer of the poke and followed him through the yard to the old buildings urine smelling elevator, which we had to take as the rehearsal rooms, which was on the third floor of the old cotton mill building. It’s odd, I thought, why these young people never take the stairs?
He looked to the corners of the lift.“Bands today man, what are they like? They piss everywhere, they think they’re all fucking Oasis or something.” The boy showed disgust at his fellow musicians lack of respect and I was more empathic about their bladder control. We arrived on the third floor and was greeted by the mural I had painted many years ago of the Beatles. I looked at the mural casually, but made no comment about it. The paint was slowly fading away, but somehow that gave it more authenticity. “Sort of ironic reminder of Pop music.” Said the young musician and he pointed to the mural. “Why ironic?” I asked him. “You know, it’s fading away, like all pop bands fade away, when their fans fade away. or grow old and die” Then he laughed.
These old rehearsal studios were very old, but loved by the local musicians, because they are cheap to rent space in. The building carried a renown musical history going back several decades. I first came here as a young ambitious artist, wanting to be around the new music that was exploding onto the scene at that time. They called the place ‘Green Door,’ due to the large metal doors of the entrance that were painted green for as long as anyone can remember – I knew why they were that colour of course, because it was the one that painted them, when I first created the wall mural of the Beatles on either side of the doors.
The young man and I walked through the Green Door and there seated on two old leather sofas was the rest of the band. He introduced to each of them in turn. “Ok, this is Monny our Singer and this is Spider our lead genius guitar and this is Woody our mad drummer and I’m Smiffy the quite one on base. And this guys is the provider of the pipe, sorry man but didn’t catch your name?” The he said. I shook each of their hands and introduced myself as Spike, my own nickname back in the day. “And I’m the bands public relations expert.” A young blonde girl came out from one of the side recording rooms, she held out her hand. She resembled an updated version of Marilyn Monroe with heavy red lipstick, matching finger nails and the possessor of an curvy figure. She shook my hand gently, but firmly. “Pleased to meet you, my name is Anthea.” She said, “But the band call me Andy.”
Are you an artist? She asked me. “Of sorts.” I replied. Before Anthea could develop the conversation Smithy had loaded the pipe, fired it up and handed it to me. Blue smoke already filled the air accompanied by the sweet aroma of marijuana. I decided to be polite and not refuse to partake and sucked on the pipe before blowing out a cloud of smoke. It caught my throat and I coughed. “Good Mary Jane.” I said. The band looked at me confused. “You know, – MJ.” I said. They laughed at the dated references to the drug, as each of them took turns to suck and blow in between refilling the pipe with the weed. “Did you say you’re an Artist?” The singer said. “I was a painter, many moons ago.” I answered. “You didn’t you do that old mural at the entrance did you?” The lead guitarist asked. “Guilty as charged”. I said smiling. “And I was actually paid for doing it.” I replied. “That’s sick man” ‘Woody’ said and after a silent pause in the group conversation.
“I thought it was Ok when I did it, but it may look sick now I guess.” I replied. Smiffy explained that ‘sick’ was good and not ‘sick’ as in meaning bad. “Nice one, I always wondered who painted it, now I’ve met him.” Said Spider laughing.
My company is called Sync-In” The blonde bombshell interjected. “That’s with a ‘Y’ and a ‘C’. She clarified her companies name by handing me her business card. I looked at it impassively. ‘Sync-In’…keeping you in touch with todays sounds. The card said. “That’s Cool” I replied to her card, trying to appear as ‘cool’ as any old man could be, given the present company who’s average age I guessed to be no more than twenty one years old. “Are you a well known artist?” She asked. I stuttered a little before answering her. “Yes, but only to myself.” I said and the band laughed. The pipe finally arrived at me again and I took one huge drag and then passed it on to the blonde bombshell. “Oh, thanks, don’t mind if I do.” She said politely. “Hey mate” Smiffy shouted. “Wanna hear a tune or two in a bit?” “Sure.” I answered enthusiastically. After all I had nowhere else to go, also the blonde bombshell intrigued me. We walked into one of the smaller rehearsal rooms and the band began to warm up their respective instruments.
Andy Sandy sat next to me. “They are really good” She said. “I’m organising a video for the BBC New Sounds show. “We decided to record a live gig.” She purred. After numerous twangs of electric wire strings and drum rolls, the band launched themselves into their first new song. ‘Smiffy’ created a base line that led the lead guitarist into a hook line whilst ‘Woody’ became one with his set and clicked his sticks together to ascertain the beat, his bobby hat being the only thing in view behind the large drum set. The band spun-off from each other as the rhythm and lyrics began to slowly gel together into a melodic beginning.
It went well until Andy decided she wanted the band to rehearse how they would appear on stage, (for the video). She began positioning them, explaining from which best direction they would be videoed. The band went along with her for a while. Then Woody got up from his drums and went back to the sofa, quickly followed by Smiffy leaving only the lead guitarist and Monny.
I excused myself and joined Smiffy on the sofa. He sat smoking my pipe and looking glum. “She does my head man.” I looked at him with sympathy. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, she’s good at what she does, but I don’t see why she has to be at rehearsals every fucking week. I mean she maybe shagging Monny, but for fucks sake…we gotta get some real rehearsing time in..seriously man…we a’int anywhere near tight enough yet for this BBC gig.”
He took a suck on my pipe and then handed it to me. “You know she is probably wasting her time anyway.” I said to Smiffy. “What d’you mean?” He sensed I was on his side. “Well, of all the best bands I’ve ever seen in here, and thats like hundreds and hundreds in my time.”  I stopped for a puff on my pipe. “How old are you man.” Smiffy said. “As old as pop music my boy”. I said with a wry smile. “Now as I was saying, of them all, the very best didn’t so much play music as feel it.” “Well yea, we all do feel the sounds man, what’s that gotta do with Andy and her fucking about with our rehearsing time?”  “Perhaps you should mention to Monny that if the video is to be of any substance, musically speaking, then Andy should video you exactly how you feel when you are performing the tunes. No rehearsals are needed for that. You should be creating the togetherness at rehearsals and only performing the sounds at the gig. If anyone has to be in rehearsals at all, they should be like me, invisible. That way it will be a great video and not a cheesy one, like so many of these video artists seem to be these days.”
“If he’ll listen, I think he goes deaf when he sees her big knockers, he can’t concentrate on the words of the tune.” He was right, as in so many cases, personal or physical relationships and creating music cannot be mixed and if they are, generally it’s for the worse, at least that’s according to my observations of the years. #” The mad thing is Andy’s got a brilliant voice – I want her to be in the band – and be a sort of co-singer – that would have solved everything- but I was out-voted.
I persuaded, with a promise of support for many of Smithy’s viewpoints, and persuaded him and Woody to go back into the rehearsal room and try again to play at least one song from top to bottom without Monny’s girlfriend’s involvement.
Andy was still positioning Spider and Monny for camera angles as we walked in. When the band set up again she sat down next to me. “So, Andy, tell me, are you planning to be on stage with the boys at the gig?” She looked at me as if I had insulted her. “Of course not, this is about the Band and not me.” I sucked on the pipe, which was, by now empty. “Oh, I see, I thought you would be.” I said. “Why? She asked turning towards me. “It would be natural for you to do it wouldn’t it? or have you employed a camera person for the job? “Not exactly, the BBC said they would have to use their own camera people.” “I see, so you have no real input with them do you” “None at all.” She said. “Yet I hear you have a good voice? – Couldn’t you persuade Monny to be a back up for him.”   I asked. ” Well you know what bands are like…they are very funny about letting in new members.” She with a frown on her forehead. “I see so now, you are trying to get the band to put themselves in a position on stage as if you would be filming them, so you are involved, is that it?” “Well, I hadn’t thought of it like that but I suppose so.” I looked at the pipe and looked at Andy. “Could you do me a favour.” I asked. “Depends on what it is.” She said with a cheeky smile on her face. “Can you find something to put into this.” I held up the pipe. “I believe you will some ‘weed’ in Woody’s jacket on the sofa. Andy obliged and being a bright girl, I think she was thinking about our conversation, and seriously thinking about making music for herself.
The band began their first tune of the night. And repeated the introduction as they had before. This time Monny was concentrated.
Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain” ‘Monny’ sang and faded out the last of words as ‘Spider’ caressed his electric tool and produced an addictive repetition of notes. Smiffy played a pulsating captivating hook base line throughout. Monny looked up from the staring at the floor and began to sing with emotional power. “A million thoughts are spinning round my head, a sinking feeling like I’m in a dream.” He continued. “Remembering all the things I could have said…to you.” He turned to face the drummer and turned back grabbing the microphone in one movement while simultaneously upping the volume of his voice. “When you’re gone there’ll be no second chance, you made your bed now lie in it.” The rest of the bands volume increased three fold and Monny roared. “Rain on me and wash away my tears, shine on me and brighten up my years.” Spider played a haunting solo on lead as Woody rammed the drums with powerful expression. The instruments then fell silent except for the faint base rhythm played by Smiffy. Monny looked down at the floor and shook his head from side to side as if he was crying. He looked up at the ceiling and quietly sang with a sad delivery. “We all come to a bridge of life.” Monny then looked to his side and then looked directly at me. “Has it ever occurred no-one crosses it?” The guitar kicked in much louder and the drummer became a blur of flashing sticks. “Rain on me” ‘Monny’ cried out and then repeated the same lyric as he expanded the line. “I’m taking one day at a time, one day at a time” He followed it swiftly with an emotional tone. “Rain on me and wash away my tears”. He pleaded “Shine on me and brighten up my years.” He asked with passion. He repeated the line “Brighten up my years.” Building up to a crescendo. As the band slowly played in unison to the fore with an immense addictive sound. It was, I thought, the best song I had ever heard for many a year behind the Green Door.
I found myself standing up accompanied by Andy, who had come back into the room smoking and hot. At the end of the song I collapsed exhausted into the chair. “I have to leave.” I said. “Wanna a poke before you go?” ‘Monny’ asked me. I looked at the pipe and looked at Andy. “No thanks Monny, but you can keep the pipe, because that was what I call a great tune.”
I walked to the Green Doors, as I opened them I turned my head to the band. “What do you call yourselves?” ‘Monny’ rose to his feet and proudly said “Teaser.” “That’s with a very big ‘Z’ in the middle” Andy added. “ I looked at Andy –  “Let the band do the video exactly as they have, it will be a smash hit. I said and walked out of the room making my way towards the urine perfumed elevator, but detoured towards stairs, preferring the smell of mould and dirt to that of urine.
Rain on me and wash away my tears, Shine on me and brighten up my years.” A tear fell as I sang the tune as I slowly walked down the stairs and through the yard and back into my non-existence, that is until the next time I cross the bridge of space and time to once again go behind the Green Door.
 
end

This story is dedicated to the memory of John Monaghan and the band Teaser, Manchester UK.

All lyrics in quotes are the copyright of Teaser©1996-1998

 

Mike Knowles landscape paintings

painters Tubes magazine were delighted to receive an email from Dave Gunning of Todmorden Fine Art (UK)  about a highly regarded painter – Mike Knowles.  Dave Gunning  is a legendary gallery owner in the North of England and he is regarded as a  good friend of painters Tubes magazine.
In the email were five super paintings by Mike Knowles which we decided to post on our website.  For those of you who know Mike Knowles work you will understand why he is a very highly regarded painter in the UK. Dave Gunning also posted TUBES a brief summary of Knowles life and work which is published below the following slide show of the paintings. And which are available to acquire for collectors of some of his work.

Please Contact Dave Gunning on +46 1706 814723 for more information or to acquire this artists work

 


“…Mike Knowles was born in 1941 and trained first of all in Liverpool in the fifties, under such distinguished painters as Arthur Ballard, Charles Burton and Nicholas Horsfield (whose work I used to sell prior to his death at the age of 87). In 1984, he was appointed Head of the Department of Fine Art at Liverpool. In the sixties, Mike trained at the Slade School in London, under the leadership of Sir William Coldstream, and he trained there under such major British Contemporary painters as Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff, Michael Andrews and Euan Uglow.
Together these artists set the highest standards, and exemplified the continuity of the great art of the past and contemporary practice. The influence of Frank Auerbach is particularly evident in Mike’s work, and like Auerbach, Mike generally, though not always, works in heavy impasto oil, and his work is sensitive and carefully planned.

There is no subject that has not at some time or in some place, attracted his interest. His is not a casual eye, as he penetrates beneath the surface of things, in search of their essential character. In these visually and emotionally powerful works of art, it is clear that Mike revels in the raw energy, the transience and unpredictability of Nature in all its moods. He sums up his work in the following way…

” It seems to me that Nature should be our teacher, yet artists rarely use the word these days — cutting edge scientists use it all the time to describe their engagement with the incredible complexity of the world around us. To some, my landscapes might be seen as less than representational, but I am trying to paint and engage with my observations and experience of my everyday surroundings. Primarily, I am fascinated by the rhythms, space and structures of the landscapes I walk through each day, the interrelationship of land and sky, the shifting weather, light, tone and colour. I want each painting to be complete in itself, its own little universe, as near to a microcosm as I can make it of the forces and structures of the world out there — as far as I can figure them out, each day bringing its surprises, little discoveries and realisations. I want the paint to have a life of its own. Drawing is the first step and the underpinning discipline, what Ingres called ” the probity of art”. “

In 1991, Mike was appointed Professor Emeritus of Fine Art, Visiting Lecturer and Examiner to various Art Schools, including the Royal Academy and the Slade School, University College, London. He has recently completed an important commission for The Hong Kong Advanced Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Studies.

written by Dave Gunning, Todmorden Fine Art Gallery. 27 Water Street, Todmorden. OL 14 5AB. telephone: +44 1706 814723
03#3FC
 
Dave Gunning was featured in issue #3 You can read all about him and Todmorden Fine Art. Link below:
painters TUBES magazine issue #3
all paintings ©Mike Knowles.
painters Tubes magazine ©2016 all rights reserved.

surpassing reality…with contemporary classical realism

painters Tubes magazine
Gabriel Grun – a classical contemporary painter
“everything in painting has been done already, so why bother to paint at all.”

It is probably the ‘realist’ paintings of today that is easy to critic.  After all they’d say, what is the point of copying something in front of you, when we now have the digital camera? – To a large extent I can and do agree with that statement. What I think they missed is the point of the process of painting, one that changes the reality and why that entails a complex relationship that a painter has to develop along with the work. And not only from spending a great deal of time working on it per sé- but creating something that didn’t exist before. To understand that process fully one has to actually paint, not talk about, not write about, and certainly not curate, to gain a total understanding of why painters still paint, by hand and not by computer or instruct other people to do it for them. These  new artists of the late 20th century were impatient and young, they had no time to hone a skill or tap into a natural talent, let alone develop one or need a natural talent whatsoever, what was the point when the new Art Marketing machine would triumph over Art, they said, and they were right.

 “talent is not enough..” …was another banner held high by the supporting tribe of over valued culture writers at the time. The new young artists all succeeded, they all became rich beyond their dreams. They had titles and honours poured over them. They have since then, been elected into positions that were once held by Artists who, perhaps unlike them, actually deserved the accolades bestowed upon them. This was the art world environment that appalled me as a 47-year-old painter of over 20 years [in 1998] when I was given the task of seeking out other real-artists to participate in a special exhibition called Heart 2 Art – It was a project commission from the International Support Group in Sweden and the Swedish Government Estonian Trust Fund. The show was in benefit for the survivors and the families of them that perished in the Estonia Ferry disaster of 1994. It was the most important and difficult exhibition that I had ever agreed to be the lead Artist, designer and curator of. I was given the lead by the Anglo-Swedish Art Group W.O.R.K (Waxholm Organisation [for the] Reformerandet av Konst). It was a massive task and fortunately I was joined, by way of my invitation, by the late professor of Art and the Author of several renown modern art books, Nigel Whiteley (1953-2010).  A person who I had long admired and read avidly in the UK Art Review magazine for several years. Together, through many meetings and discussions, we managed to formulate a philosophical criteria to help find the artists who had the right ‘artistic ethics and morals’ for the job in hand. The philosophy was realised in over 5000 words by Nigel and published exclusively for the exhibition catalogue with the title: “Affirmative Art in a Disaffirmative Climate”
It was at this time and in this frame of mind that I discovered a painter in far away [from Sweden] Argentina called Gabriel Grun. He became one of 27 Artists selected from nine countries that was finally exhibited in the Heart 2 Art exhibition in 2002 in Stockholm. The show was an eclectic mix of mediums of visual art that was to demonstrate the altered realities of humankind. And Gabriel’s work was a part of the show that visualised the link with the past and a new-vision how that link can be interpreted for the future.  As the years have passed since 2002,  Gabriel has been recognised in Argentina as one of their finest ‘fine artists.’ His dedication to filling the gaps that he feels have been left by the renaissance artists has, to my mind, been an impressive voyage. Yet, beyond that he has also ‘tuned’ himself from the stubborn art student who walked away from a modern art establishments curriculum in Buenos Aires, to a husband and father and a more mature artist who has perfected his craft.

“the idea behind my work is to pick the thread of the long line of visual narrative I love and cherish and give body to certain paintings I perceive somehow to be missing, to constitute gaps that are to be filled, that Rafael or Van Der Weyden just did not have time to do.”

He is not alone in his pursuit of a classical perfection in a contemporary idiom. Many artists have gone before him. Dali is perhaps a reasonable example, as is Odd Nedrum (Norway) and there are more. Grun is however unique in the way he not only portrays realism, but also in the manner in which he does it. He has described this way of working as an alphabet, one that he has had to learn and continues to learn, but he then transcribes his own visions by reforming and inventing [visual] words using that alphabet and creating new narratives. He attempts (and succeeds in my opinion) of making an image that ‘sticks’ to your eye and your mind.  There is always the danger of making subjective judgements, especially where realistic paintings are concerned. As Gabriel says himself, some sort of anachronistic story telling is not his target to dynamic art creation. His art has a more direct desire, one of landing a punch packed with power. Some of his earlier works have a definite erotic tone, which could be the exuberance of youth and which, as he said recently to me, that in his current life he is not in sympathy with, nor feels that he needs to call upon, to give his work the emotional power or punch that he sought, when he was still a very young artist painting in Buenos Aires. I still keep in touch with Gabriel, and recently he told me that after a year or two or working on illustrating a book he is about to embark on a new series of paintings…I have to say I am excited to see what they will be…

©article written by Denis Taylor. Editor for painters TUBES magazine

©2015 – 2019 painters Tubes magazine all rights reserved

 

painters TUBES magazine
one of Gabriel Grun’s early paintings that featured in the Heart 2 Art exhibition in Stockholm 2002 -collection of Denis Taylor/painters Tubes magazine

 

UK's leading Art Magazine – Now has an excellent Artists Gallery

 

TUBES ARTISTS GALLERY
CLICK HERE TO READ FREE ON LINE

issue number 11 is now on line to read free – this issue has two fantastic articles – Colin Taylor Part two of his wonderful 3-part essay on contemporary landscape and how to translate that popular genre into a vital and important work of art…part two discusses “what is seeing.” – The second article is about why the Transavantgarde, movement that started in 1979,  is still a relevant way to think about Art today and the choices a painter makes during the creative process. SPIKE & Friends – our old critically minded journalists, returns from their travels and talks to TUBES about space for painting exhibitions, or rather, the lack of it. And of course not forgetting about the brilliant 11 artists taking part in the first new Tubes Artists Gallery – A space thats just for painters.

don’t miss this great issue… click here

TUBES Artists Gallery – Click here to view