"This blog is not necessarily for lovers of art, it includes a variety of topics and whatever. I'm a painter who likes to know what's really going on in the world today. So you might find anything from Shamrocks to Salmiakki mentioned here on my blog. There will of course be some boring, factual and informational posts, but I'll keep them to a minimum, I promise!

And I might get a bit nostalgic now and then.

So you have been warned!"

- Alan Hogan

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Art Scam

Greetings from Finland again!

So it's been about four months now since my last post here on this blog. Apologies for my laziness!

I haven't been painting any canvasses at all lately either.  I spent four months here and there visiting family in Ireland at the beginning of the year and since then I've had nothing but health issues myself which I'd rather see the back of soon. Any artistic efforts I've done this year have been created on my computer only. Tapping a few keys and moving a mouse about feels a little easier these days. All I can say is that it's a damn nuisance and very annoying! I suppose these things happen as one gets older. I will hopefully get around to doing requested work as soon as possible.

For the moment I have had an issue with an art scam and I wanted to write this blogpost to share my info and alert any fellow artists or those in the business of selling art online.

I recently received an email enquiring about one of my artworks 'The Orange Cow' or 'La Vache Orange' as it was called on this occasion..

I receive a number of bogus emails to my inbox which over time 
have become easier to detect.

The email I received on this occasion was written in French so I was a little curious. This is mainly because normally anyone looking to buy art online would have some knowledge of myself and my artwork, they would also have noticed most of my online presence is in English. And if someone sends me an email in another language other than english they will usually ask me politely if it is okay to continue in their language. I had noticed this person found my artwork on a website which automatically offers selected language options, so I carried on reading the email. 

First email

Le 4 septembre
To Alan Hogan

La Vache orange

Bonsoir,puis-je avoir le prix de l'oeuvre dont le titre est "La Vache orange" par


I decided to corresspond in French with a little help from Google translate and a friend. I studied some french in school also. The email I received seemed friendly and straight forward.

Next email:

Francis Garaudy 6 Sep
Alan Hogan


je vous remercie pour votre reponse, je confirme mon désir d'acheter votre création
Vu le prix raisonnable je vous rajoute 20€ pour le colissimo (frais de port) comprit ce qui fera donc 320€ TTC .

J'accepte le paiement par Paypal : c'est ce que je trouve le plus rapide aussi et sécurisé pour l'un comme pour l'autre, et de plus c'est un mode de paiement le plus utilisé en ligne dans le monde .
Veuillez me faire parvenir votre adresse mail paypal afin de
clore cette vente.

A vous relire tres vite

Anyway a price was requested and agreed on. Paypal as a method of payment was agreed on also. So far so good. Next I began to prepare my painting, packing and calculating shipping costs. I also looked into the persons name and email address, I search various websites and Googled for any fraud alerts or info on the person. No alerts appeared and I couldn't find anything relevant about the person in question. I was given an address which I looked up on Google maps and it looked legitimate, there was even a small design gallery next door. In cases of selling art online I often try to gain a friendly 'tête-à-tête' with the customer. As my French is limited there was only the basic comments this time. I shared a convenient link to my Paypal account for payment after which I received an email from Paypal saying funds into my account were pending and a tracking number for the package was requested. The Paypal email I receive looked legit with good attention to small details and logos. 

Next email:

Francis Garaudy 8 Sep at 9:47 PM

Alan Hogan

Comme convenu nous venions d'effectuer le paiement à votre adresse 'theartgarage(at)'.

Avez vous reçu l'avis de Paypal ? Puisque j'ai un soucis de connexion veuillez vérifier vos mails ( boite de réception ou courrier indésirable ou spam ) vous trouverez les notifications du service Paypal.

Pour l'envoi du colis je vous laisse mon adresse de livraison:
19 Avenue Louis Barthou,
Code postale: 33200

Merci de bien suivre les instructions du service Paypal


So next morning I went off and posted the painting and later emailed the tracking number with the shipping company's name as asked. Having done this I realised shortly afterwards that I neglected to check the secondary email I received from Paypal. I scanned the email address through Google and immediately discovered fraud alerts with other names involved. I was a little annoyed at myself as I usually spot these scammers early. Lucky for me though it was a Saturday afternoon and no post leaves my town until Monday morning. I managed to get to my local supermarket/post office and retrieve the painting and all postage costs. So nothing lost but my time!

One thing I was happy about was the fact that I found a perfectly sized box to package this painting. So as I have no plans to exhibit this painting anytime soon I shall be keeping 'The Orange Cow' wrapped up for now. If anyone reading this blog is interested in buying this artwork please drop an email to me at ... theartgarage(at) . And if you mention that you read my blog I'll add a full set of my art postcards!

'The Orange Cow' painting is also available to buy as a print and other products from various online shops such as Redbubble and Society6. All my links can be found here

Share this blog!

Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends.

You can receive my blogposts direct to your email or facebook profile by pressing the follow button at NetworkedBlogs and you are welcome to visit my art page on Facebook by clicking the 'Like' button under my signature below.

- Alan


Monday, June 12, 2017

Eyes Wide Open

Visiting Finland during the summer months offers the chance to experience long evenings and for a certain period the midnight sun. In most parts of Finland it doesn't get very dark at all. Where I live along the south-west coast the darkness is set at twilight, so it can be bright enough to play a game of football.

Having spent almost ten years now living in Finland I am still amazed every June as the Midsummer period arrives with it's seemingly endless hours of light. It's an eerie sensation which can create wonder and plenty of sleepless nights. Black-out blinds are an essential purchase if you want to sleep!

While I still haven't been to the northern part of Finland yet, I can almost imagine what it must be like to have the sun up all day. It's something I would still like to experience sometime. One reason I haven't been so far north in the summer may be the presence of Finland's not-so loveable mosquitos. While we do get quite a lot of these bloodsuckers here in the south of Finland, I have heard stories of mild discomfort caused by the amount they have up north. This may be over-exaggerated, but during my first few years of living in southern Finland my legs were constantly under attack. After several days of itching and scratching they resembled a pair of crusty old pizzas! I think I offered the mosquitos a new dining experience of Irish blood which they took to like a vintage wine!

Nowadays my blood may have altered a bit or become less tasteful as they don't bother me too much anymore. Perhaps my tolerence for them has levelled out,  I honestly don't know!

Anyway I thought I'd reactivate my blog here today having read about a short-film been shown at a Finnish film festival this week. It's certainly an apt film to show as it's relevent to the festival's location and this time of year. It's called 'How a Mosquito Operates', a silent animated film made way back in 1912 by American cartoonist and animator Winsor McCay. It's just one of many films been shown, full list here

This Wednesday June 14th 2017, the Midnight Sun Film Festival begins it's five-day event in Sodankylä, Finland. It's an unusual film festival as it shows films around the clock without any breaks, just as the sun shines around the clock! 
The festival began in 1986 in the village of Sodenkylä, located in Finnish Lapland, some 120 kilometres above the Arctic Circle where the sun doesn't set at all in the summertime. So if you suffer from insomnia, this is the place for you!!

..and don't worry about the mossies!

Share this blog!

Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends.

- Alan


Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Dead Poet's Breakfast!

This is a repost from 2011. I'm trying to restart my blog yet again. And what better day to reboot it than this special day in the Finnish calendar. Since Finland is celebrating it's 100 year birthday as an independent nation this year 2017 I hope to repost a few old stories here aswell as some photos from my time living in Finland.  

The 5th of February is known as Runeberg's Day in Finland, named after Finland's national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg who was born in the town of Jacobstad, Finland on this date 1804.

'Runeberg's most famous work is Fänrik Ståls sägner (The Tales of Ensign Stål, Vänrikki Stoolin tarinat in Finnish) written between 1848 and 1860. It is considered the greatest Finnish epic poem outside the native Kalevala tradition and contains tales of the Swedish War of 1808-09 with Russia. In the war, Sweden ignominiously lost Finland, which became a Grand Duchy in the Russian empire. The poem, which is composed episodically, emphasizes the common humanity of all sides in the conflict, while principally lauding the heroism of the Finns. The first poem "Vårt land" (Our Land, Maamme in Finnish) became the Finnish National Anthem. Runeberg is celebrated on 5 February each year.'
- taken from Wikipedia

While the National anthem of Finland is sung in the Finnish language by the majority of people over here, it is also sung in swedish with the same passion and pride by a part of the Finnish population living in the west and south of Finland. In my opinion there is something very special and respectful for the people of Finland to have their anthem in both languages.


And it is also on this day Feb 5th every year that a certain cake named 
Runeberg's torte (Finnish: Runebergintorttu; Swedish: Runebergstårta) is eaten all over in Finnish homes to celebrate this great national poet. The story goes that the poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg enjoyed a torte with some brandy punsch for his breakfast every morning.

And not wanting to be disrespectful, I am only too happy to carry on this good tradition in my own home today. A little too late for breakfast, I will be eating one of these two little beauties here with a nice cup of tea later on this evening.

Thanks for reading my blog and please share it with all your friends.


You are welcome to visit my art page on Facebook by clicking the 'Like' button here.

Original post from 2011.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Two Landscapes and a Council of Trees!

Here's two paintings I made a few years ago.

'Sophia's Landscape'

The first here is called 'Sophia's Landscape' and it shows a typical summer scene from western Finland. This particular painting was from a photograph taken near the town of Nivala in the province of Oulu. The original painting is now owned by a private art collector in Helsinki.

This original photo from Nivala/Finland
was inspiration for 'Sophia's Landscape'

'Fourteen Angry Trees'

The second painting is made up of four individual frames each sized 70cm x 50cm. I decided to call it 'Fourteen Angry Trees', but I might be willing to change the title if anyone has a better suggestion. It depicts an imaginary landscape behind fourteen distressed and bitter-looking trees with a lot on their 'mind'. To achieve the image above I photographed the four original paintings and joined them together using image-editing software on my computer. The original painting or tetraptych (size 70cm x 200cm) can be seen in the video below.


Prints of 'Sophia's Landscape' are available here!

Share this blog!

Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends.

You can receive my blogposts direct to your email or facebook profile by pressing the follow button at NetworkedBlogs  and you are welcome to visit my art page on Facebook by clicking the 'Like' button under my signature below.

- Alan 


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Mayweather in Finland!

I just wanted to throw a blogpost in quickly as it seems the winter in Finland may finally be over, well at least until after autumn. And no, this post has nothing to do with the recent boxing fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas, so apologies to any boxing fans who stumbled onto my blog here. I hope it was a good fight. I didn't see it myself unfortunately, I was fast asleep in bed!

Getting back to May-weather, last Thursday saw the arrival of Vappu, Finland's annual Mayday celebrations which actually begins on the 30th of April and can continue until May 1st or even longer for some folk depending on whether or not you have a strong head! It's traditionally a very Finnish affair with students past and present wearing their white graduation hats. I've been told that in the past students also had a blue hat which was worn during the winter months and then swapped for a white version on Vappu to celebrate the arrival of spring, summer and happy days. There are various styles of hats symbolising which area, academy or field you studied. For example if you qualified as an engineer you would normally have a long string and tassle attached to your hat. I think I prefer the normal white sailor type hat myself.

The traditional Finnish student hat

Of course as I studied in Ireland myself I don't have this white student hat. To my knowledge students in Ireland don't have student hats, maybe one or two junior schools wear them as part of a uniform but definately not used as graduation wear for Secondary School (High School). Nope, all we received was a certificate and a jolly good wave goodbye! Some third-level colleges and universities may have special graduation garments and hats similar to those found in the United States of America. These are usually rented though, so you would never see them worn annually on May day.

Anyway, with the absence of a white hat I decided to grab my old school tie instead and throw it on just for Vappu. Don't ask me why I still have my old tie, just a bit of nostalgia I suppose! I wasn't going to any Vappu parties so it didn't matter if it offended anyone or looked silly. With my striped-maroon St. David's school tie fitted on and a few drinks ready for some cocktail-experimentation I felt a bit like Harry Potter. My first trick was the exploding champagne bottle!!! Maybe I've just started a new trend for expats, wearing an old school tie on Vappu!

This years Vappu weather couldn't have been more confusing. I was planning a nice garden barbeque with friends for last Thursday, but then after a few pleasant sunny days this arrived on Wednesday morning and continued for most of the day. The final snow show!


With no option but to cancel my bbq plans I decided simply to enjoy a bottle of bubbly and some drinks indoors. This didn't stop those in the big cities from partying hard though  and to everyone's surprise the snow melted away like magic and sunshine brought joy to the land of Moomin and trolls. From what I heard there were actually a few new trolls crawling the streets of Helsinki on Thursday night! But overall throughout Finland people had a great day out. Lots of fun, balloons, good weather and of course champagne! Here's a video by a young mexican lady who went to the Vappu outdoor celebrations in the town of Lappeenranta in eastern Finland. She's explains what Vappu is all about in a more photogenic way than I could ever do!

You can read more about Vappu in Finland on my previous blogpost called 

Vappu! - May Day in Finland

Simply click on the image below!

Thank you for visiting my blog!

Thank you very much and please share this with your friends!!!


You can receive my blogposts direct to your email or facebook profile by pressing the follow button at NetworkedBlogs  and you are welcome to visit my art page on Facebook by clicking the 'Like' button under my signature below.

- Alan


There was an error in this gadget

The Art Garage, Finland

The Art Garage, Finland
Click this banner to visit my website!