"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, January 27, 2010

Pictures from Peru

Since moving to Finland I have had to make many digital images of my artwork. This was done through the use of a camera and some basic computer software. A simple high-quality photo needs a lot of improvement to become a satisfactory reflection of an original painting. I think I have managed to achieve what I want with the software available to me.
With so many different software packages out there it can get very confusing switching from one to another. Each program has it’s own individual interface and functionalities. And then there’s the problem of having an old laptop computer not capable of handling such software. One more crash and I reckon it’s either me or the laptop that will have to retire.
I sometimes wish I also had the skills to create digital art worthy of wall space. It’s unfamiliar ground for me and I’m afraid that I have yet to grasp the full capabilities of design software. I’m amazed to see what can be done with some of the software out now. I recently discovered a fellow artist also from Dublin who doesn’t seem to have any problems creating quality art with such methods. He now lives in Lima, Peru and I know him by his username of ‘Zooreka’ . I found his art on, a website for artists around the world to show and sell their work.

Here’s one of Zooreka’s artworks that appealed to me. It’s called ‘Toledo’ and he describes it as “a piece of old-style frame fractalling”

I asked Zooreka a few questions about his art and life in Peru.

Q 1. What inspired this image ‘Toledo’ ?
"Toledo is about revisiting my fractalling roots. Like many a fractaller I had a play with Apophysis when I first got into fractals, but it was not my first fractal application. Even now it is not one of my favourites. The piece revisits a basics tutorial by Claire Jones."

Q 2. What’s a Fractal?
"By definition it is a Geometric Pattern that is repeated at every scale and so cannot be represented by classical geometry. The fractal is very common in nature. The atmosphere and make up of clouds, trees and yes, even the human body. To me it is just an image that lies somewhere in the mathematics of a fractal application waiting to be developed and manipulated into a pleasant image for others to share."

Q3. Have you always been interested in art?
"Absolutely… I think I started drawing at around age 4 and my dad bought me my first art book at age 5. 'What shall we draw' by Adrian Keith Graham Hill."
Q4. How is life in Lima different to life in Dublin?
"For one thing the weather is so much better… Never drops much below around +6 degrees C and we probaly get around 2 inches of rainfall per annum if lucky. The food is fantastic (best in the world!). Culturally there are a few differences but Limeños enjoy a beer just as much as a Dubliner does… Aside from that it is a heck of a lot cheaper and fairer than Ireland. The Irish Tax System is (seemingly legitimate) theft!!!"
Q5. Is there anything you miss about Ireland, apart from the rain?
"Umbrellas!!!! ... I guess the only things I miss really are bangers (sausages) and bacon, Guinness, Kerrygold butter…. and 'Fianna Fail' of course!" (Fianna Fail: the largest political party in Ireland. Not a disease as some may think!) ….. "If I miss 'Fianna Fail' for the rest of my life I will die a happy man! And also the wave of smackheads (drug users) that haunt the city centre, Dun Laoghaire and surrounding areas...… Bring on the Napalm!!!"

One thing that both Zooreka and I miss about Dublin is our pint of Guinness.

I asked Zooreka to pick out more samples of his work. So here's two more pieces.

Zooreka - "This piece was chosen by Painter Magazine Online as their Image of the Week for this week. Marks my return to Cubism."

Zooreka - "This proved to be a hit both on RedBubble and on deviant Art"

Finally, I couldn't end this post without a picture of this amazing place.

Here's one by Zooreka of 'Machu Picchu'.

You can read more about Machu Picchu here
and check out this great video, it's got llamas in it! :-)

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

An early Christmas in Dublin, 2009.

My first ‘refreshed’ blog-post is all about my recent pre-Christmas 2009 trip back to Dublin, Ireland. My last visit to Dublin’s Fair City was Christmas 2008, so I was interested to see if things had changed at all.

As there are no direct flights from Finland to Ireland available during the winter months, I needed to look around for other ways to get to Dublin. I found that taking a direct flight from Sweden was a good value option, and I could avail of some well-needed duty-free Christmas shopping on the ferry back to Finland. It meant a long trip by boat and plane, but I made it all part of my little holiday.

Ferry accommodation was quite good, and the entertainment on the boat from Finland to Sweden was excellent.

I had the pleasure of watching Finnish star Markku Aro on the trip to Stockholm,(for any Irish reading this, he’s like a Finnish Joe Dolan). Markku began his set with Hyvännäköinen, the Finnish version of ‘You're Such a Good Looking Woman’. Good stuff!
Here's a little clip I made of the man in action!

On arrival at Stockholm I was now ready to find my way to the Ryanair airport. It took me over an hour to get there by bus from the city centre, but I finally boarded my flight to Ireland. Time for a little sleep.

Touchdown Dublin!
And what was that outside the airport building? There has been a few new developments happening here since my last visit. A very modern looking building stood before me, a new terminal I think. I only hope the economy picks up so they can fill it with business. Although judging from all the new layouts in the present building, which I was very happy to see, I don’t think the new building will have any problems. Now if the airlines could just run a better service from Dublin to Finland I’ll be happy.

Most of my visit involved visiting my parents and my brother. The highlight was seeing my brother's new baby girl for the first time. Most of the baggage I brought with me contained presents from Finland for her. Needless to say there was the odd Moomin item in there, as well as a ragdoll which I was told was called a ‘Molla-Maja’. So happy faces all round!

After a few days in the suburbs it was time to meet up with my brother for a few pints in Dublin city. I had planned on having a long afternoon walk around Dublin, just to see a few of the old sights and such, but the weather was a little chilly. That may sound a little strange with me travelling from Finland, but Ireland has a damp chill-factor that could freeze the head off your pint of Guinness. And if there’s a wind in the air, watch out!

Statue of
Phil Lynott

Phil Lynott - Old Town

I did manage to take a few photos of some special places in Dublin city which I put together in this short video clip here. Sorry for the shortage of famous landmarks. No Trinity College or Halfpenny Bridge, it was very cold and I was parched for a pint of Guinness, so a warm pub seemed all too tempting.

I did manage to get a shot of the GPO (General Post Office)
which is probably the most historical building in Dublin and Ireland's history.

I also got a nice photo of a family visiting the Nativity Crib on O'Connell Street and another one featuring the statue of Dublin rocker Phil Lynott, who was the lead singer/songwriter of Thin Lizzy before dying at the young age of 36 back in 1986.
I threw a few drawings of mine into this clip aswell.

Unfortunately I wasn’t around for all the snow which arrived a little later in Dublin. But I did have plenty of it waiting for me back at my new home in Finland.

I also had the pleasure of being greeted by Jack Frost on arriving back in Turku Harbour, Finland. And it was a freezing -20 Jack Frost! Brrrr….!!

I had planned on spending a few hours walking around in Turku, which is traditionally known as the Christmas town in Finland. But it was way too cold for that. I couldn't feel my fingers at this stage. So a quick walk down to Turku Cathedral was all that was on the program. It always looks well there at Christmas-time. Here’s a photo I couldn't resist taking.

Thanks for reading this blog.
Don't forget to visit my website at The Art Garage

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Friday, January 8, 2010

My Blog - The Restart.

This blog actually started a long time ago but I just lost interest. I reckon I was just unfamiliar and not aware of how a blog actually works and what it’s purpose is. This was before I had set up any website or even put my art for sale online. I reckon it was a time when the average digital camera had a picture quality of 3 megapixels. It was also around the time I was introduced to Facebook. My knowledge of anything relating to computers and internet media was limited.

My old blog was merely an extension of my CV. I never spend much time on my computer when I first started this blog, in fact some of the letters on my keyboard are stuck due to possible paint spillage, or was it orange juice, I can't remember! I would spend most of my time painting nearby, sometimes forgetting to wash the paint off my hands before using my computer.

But why restart this blog now you may ask.
Well, having spent some time in recent months working my own website and keeping my other weblinks up-to-date, and not forgetting the odd few minutes on Facebook, I thought it might be a good idea to restart my blog as a kind of topical diary. It might give an insight into the way my brain thinks and perhaps show you those little things which inspire me to paint the way I do. Or it may on the other hand confuse you completely. But either way I hope this blog will contain something of interest for you to read or look at.

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The Art Garage, Finland

The Art Garage, Finland
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