Introduction:

"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



Friday, May 28, 2010

Down By The River - Billnäs Bruk




Down by the river

- Billnäs -

I took a visit to a photo exhibition last week in a nearby village called Billnäs.






Situated on the Svartå Mustio river in the south of Finland this area is well-known for its old ironworks founded in 1641.
This small village is not just any old industrial site full of old memories and history, it's also a wonderfully picturesque place to relax or go for a stroll, full of nature! In fact, the whole collection of old stone buildings and wooden houses in Billnäs compliment the already present natural beauty of the area.





The exhibition I went to see featured a collection of old photos from various stages of the area's history. Photos of the land, it’s buildings and many of it’s inhabitants and workers over the years. All these old photographs were blown up to a large scale especially for the exhibition and were presented in one of the many old buildings on the site of the old Ironworks. So this exhibition was a great opportunity for me to get a feel for what life was like here in days gone by. Billnäs has it’s own website with more detailed information on it’s history here.

The ironworks in Billnäs was incorporated into to the well-known Fiskars group in 1920, who kept up the manufacture of tools etc.
However with modern industry evolving over the coming years the more traditional practices at the ironworks became obsolete.
Nowadays this area is a hub for small enterprise and development. It has become a tourist hotspot with events, exhibitions, cafes and restaurants.

Only a 30 minute walk from where I live in Karis, Billnäs is a place I like to visit quite frequently, especially in the summer months. It’s also a chance for me to get out and grab some well-needed exercise. It's a pleasant place to walk around on a warm summers day, especially along the river. I always start humming this favorite song of mine by the singer Neil Young everytime I go there.




While visiting the photo exhibition last week I noticed that a new outdoor entertainment area was under construction. A nice area for a band to play and a large decking area for dancing was already in place. There was even an outdoor bar almost ready. The only things missing were a few beer taps! It wasn't a perfect day after all!
Situated next to a scenic river this place is just what the area needs. I just hope they don’t have a cover charge when it’s finally up and running. A good evening out can be expensive enough when just ordering a few drinks and a taxi.

For anyone interested in seeing the wonderful photo exhibition at Billnäs, you're too late.
Sorry but it's over, it finished on May 23.


But thank you for reading my blog.
You are welcome to look at my art at The Art Garage 




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-Alan 


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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lady Mosquito Makes Me GaGa!


Forget about your bats, vampires or other blood-sucking stereotypes, when it comes to getting down to the business of sucking blood there's no finer diner than the much-loved mosquito!

While I pause to let that little bit of sarcasm melt, yet another one of the little feckers has bitten me. Little ba$*@rd!!!

And it’s the lady or female mosquito who does all the biting on us humans.
Of course, here in Finland they have been telling me that it's way too early for mosquitos.
But just last evening while enjoying a barbeque at home guess who dropped by for a bite.
Yes, they're here again!




I reckon it's because of the unusually good weather we've been having here recently. I read that Finland has been one of the warmest places in Europe for the last week or so, so it's no surprise that the mosquito eggs have hatched early.
Today I am counting 9 mosquito bites on my arms, legs and ankles. And that's not many for me. I usually get a lot more.

Before moving from Ireland to Finland my experience of mosquitos was zero.
We are not accustomed to dangers from any of nature's little creatures. The only creature I ever feared while living in Ireland was the wasp, who will only ever attack if provoked. So basically, if you get stung by a wasp, you most likely upset him in some way and deserved his sting. On occasion however, you will just meet a wasp with a bad attitude. We have a few of them back in Ireland. So if you happen to have a jam sandwich in your mouth, be alert!.

I have not forgotten my first summer visit to Finland, I still suffer from the trauma of my first Finnish mosquito encounter.
Wonderful weather gave me an excuse to throw on my shorts and enjoy a Finnish summer evening by the sea with friends. Finnish sausages, barbeque, sauna, beer and chilling-out was the order of the day. The food tasted great and the beer was going down quickly. So much so that I neglected to put on some long trousers, advice given by friends but ignored by me of course. We Irish can be a stubborn lot after a few drinks. Afraid of nothing! .....What's that?...Mosquitos?.... No problem! ....Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah!

Well, next morning just as my friends had predicted, my pale white Irish skin was looking more like a raspberry cheesecake with the constant irritation us Irish normally get from politicians just before a general election. I reckon the mosquitos decision to focus all their attention to my brightly coloured legs was not caused by accident. It was definately not an act of gaining a more comfortable environment to start drilling for blood. Unlike most Finnish people, I happen to have a lot a hair on my legs, so unless the mosquitos can grab onto those hairs as means of support I don't see why they wouldn't share their attention elsewhere. I do have a notion as to their concentration on me however. I reckon it has something to do with my Irish blood. Maybe I'm just talking rubbish, but perhaps this old celtic blood flavoured with the hint of Guinness and all things Irish over many years appeals to the Finnish mosquito. Maybe those mosquito connoisseurs judge Irish blood like a fine Beaujolais wine. A Château Margaux perhaps? And it's not like they can bottle it and keep it in a cellar. No, I reckon if they get the opportunity to wine and dine on Irish blood they'll take it. In fact they'll most likely invite the whole family over too.



Anyway, I won't linger with my 'memories', I don't want to discourage anyone from visiting Finland. It's a great place and you do get used to the mosquitos no matter how much of a nuisance they can be.
I am presently trying to concoct a low-cost recipe with household items for a mosquito-deterrant spray. The sprays they have in shops can be quite expensive and they don't last very long. If anyone has a suggestion or advice let me know.






Have you read my most recent mosquito blogpost called


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

-Alan

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......

First sale on Softpixels! Woo-hoo!!



I recently joined a new Helsinki-based company called Softpixels who sell canvas prints. They have a small selection of my artwork for sale in canvas print. These paintings are exclusively available from
Softpixels.
It's always good news for any artist when they make there first sale with an associate. And I'm no exception.
So I was very happy when I told that a customer bought a print of my painting '
Consume, Consume, Consume'.
It's one of my personal favourites, inspired by the world we live in today and painted from my own imagination.
I was especially happy that the customer ordered the largest print size available as it is best viewed on a large scale. I still have the original rolled up in a tube at my studio. It was painted with a mix of acrylic paints, wax crayons and chalk pastels and is too large for me to fit into a frame at this present moment. I would really like to frame it some day.



'Consume! Consume! Consume!'

A large hand-painted acrylic on paper artwork. This symbolic painting features the strong image of a human biting into the sun, the source of all life on earth. Using purple, the colour of power and rugged, man-made shapes to symbolise mankind, against the colours or red and green representing the earth, life and all the things we need to survive.


Thanks for reading my blog and feel free to subscribe or follow. Details can be found on the side column.


Alan.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Oldies but goldies!





I just agreed to allow a new Finnish company sell some of my artwork. Based in Espoo, the company is called Softpixels, a brand new company selling canvas art prints online.
For this project the people at Softpixels chose a selection of my work that appealed to them. Surprisingly to me, they picked out some of my older pieces, and now they have set up a cool new page for me on their website. I'm very happy that they chose some of my old work as it represents an important time for me when I was only developing an art portfolio, and it's really nice to receive some acknowledgement for this work. Yes, oldies but goldies!

Here's some of my paintings from Softpixels in this video clip here.


While the internet becomes saturated with paintings and all sorts of other artistic mediums, it is important for me to spread my work through as many channels as possible. This is the only way of been noticed on the world wide web these days. And such companies like Softpixels deserve full credit for promoting artists like myself. It is also good for my work to be seen through a Finnish site as it can be difficult for me to be found by Finnish internet users, due to the lack of the Finnish language on my own website.

Thanks for reading my blog and you are welcome to look at my art at The Art Garage and at Softpixels

Alan Hogan

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