"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, June 15, 2011

Going to California!

Thanks for dropping by my blog! Nice to have you here again.

There's not much happening around here these days. It's all family occasions and football matches, all happy days of course! ..... even if the mosquitoes are annoying the hell out of me!

I'm also happy about a recent art sale I made. This painting here below called 'Two Black Cats' is leaving home! A sale is a sale as they say, money in the pocket, so one must be happy! YaaBaaDabaDoo indeed!!

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I was a little sad today however as I had to post this little painting off to an art collector in the U.S.A.
It's a painting that I have liked having in my studio and I have always enjoyed watching and listening to reactions from people who come to see it. The Finnish people seem to appreciate it's simplistic and positive message, and more importantly, it appeals to the young and old. It has also been one of my most popular paintings for prints both here in Finland and abroad. Especially so in the United States with print sales in Manhattan Kansas, Austin Texas, and Maspeth New York amongst others. And now the original painting is finally on it's way to San Diego California. I want to thank all of those who purchased prints and a special thanks to the nice lady in California who will receive 'Two Black Cats' in the post shortly. I hope they serve you well! This song is for you and my black cats....

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- Alan 


Friday, June 3, 2011

'FIRST BLOOD' - No man, no law, no war can stop him!

Finnish Mosquitos take no prisoners!

It's summertime again here in Finland, whoa hoo!!! 
Warm sunshine, colourful gardens, the smell of barbeques, cold beers ......and yes, I almost forgot, the baby mosquitos have hatched......Yes, it's time to go to mosquito war again!!

Well, as long as you're indoors in the evening it's actually not too bad here. Earlier this week I had my first uninvited guests to sample my blood. I'm kind of use to it by now, but there are still certain places I try to prevent the little buggers from biting. They have their favorite places, like the back of the legs, the ankles and much to my annoyance, the back of my hands! I know that I shouldn't moan about such little things and that people have bigger problems, but this is one creature I don't feel guilty about killing. In fact I get a lot of pleasure when I do manage to kill one. Unfortunately however, I face a losing battle every year as I am constantly out-numbered. 

I'd like to have an endless supply of mosquito repellant, but it's quite expensive here. I sometimes wish there were more repellant products to choose from, forcing a bit of brand competition. Perhaps that could lower the prices. If anyone knows of something that can be easily be made on the cheap at home please leave a comment. I've tried a few things already, but the mosquitos just keep on biting!

One new item I recently discovered in the shops that may help keep mosquitos and other nasty biters away is the 'Bug Zapper'. It looks like a miniture tennis racket with electrified wires as threads. This battery-powered device is new to me, but it may have been out for a while. If anyone has used it let me know your opinion. I bought mine at Clas Ohlsen in Helsinki, but I noticed that they're available in other countries such as Sweden and the UK. I shall be testing it myself after my next barbeque, so watch this space!

Bug Zapper

There is one flying insect I hate even more than any mosquito or wasp and it's a creature I have only ever encountered here in Finland. I don't know the english or finnish name for it, only the swedish. It may be a type of horse-fly, but I need to do a little more research. All I can say is that it looks half-fly, half-moth. This 'fly' cannot be heard as it comes to bite you, and when I say bite, I mean 'bite'. I've heard that they actually remove a small piece of flesh in the process. And the bites can vary as this fly comes in different sizes. I have seen small ones resembling normal flies, and I have also seen big ones, some as big as golfballs! I will have to keep awake and alert if I am to get one of these beauties with my new Bug Zapper. Yep, this fly is one lean mean stealth munchin' machine! 

This is my second blogpost on the pests I love to hate. You can read my first one by clicking here.   

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summertime Blues?.....No thanks!!!

This blogpost is written especially for anyone living here in Finland.

Living in Finland for a few years now, I have witnessed the harsh winters and learned to deal with cold temperatures. I have shovelled my fair share of snow and lost the feeling in my fingers several times.
It's been a long cold winter and now summer is finally here!

Time to get the Kabanossi and Karhu out, put the sandals and shorts on, set up the trampoline or pool if you're lucky enough to have one. 

Going a little crazy just because of a bit of sun is something I can relate to, being an Irishman. One could easily replace the Finnish cold for Irish rain in this equation. And believe me, a cocktail of Irish rain and atlantic winds can really get you down sometimes. Show an Irishman a window full of summer sunshine and he'll be straight out for a game of golf before getting ready for an evening of barbeque and beer! I've noticed that Finns are very similar in their appreciation of all things sunny and nice too. While the Finnish winter can be beautiful and unique in it's own way, one window of summer sunshine and the Finnish public are straight down to the beach, park or their summer cottage for some quality time!!

So before you go out and disappear under the big glow of the summer sun, let me wish all my blog visitors in the northern half of the world a very happy summer!

And if any readers living here in Finland have doubts about letting your hair down this summer, or if you are having second thoughts about jumping in that lake with nothing but your birthday suit on, why not watch this video. Remember, while the winters here are wonderful and picturesque, they are also very long. The summer is short, and I think this will encourage you to enjoy it even more. It's a long video, but worth watching at least for the guy's commentary. I thought he was funny and....and I must go visit that well-known "Baltic country Viagra", I heard it's economy has been growing rapidly since joining the Eurozone. He seemed to enjoy his visit anyway. I watched this on full screen as he used a top of the line Sony camera.

Thanks for reading my blog and feel free to share with all your friends. My next blog will return to a subject I love to hate!


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

Please leave your reaction to this blogpost by ticking one of the little boxes below. Thanks!

The Art Garage website 
Click here !

The Art Garage, Finland

The Art Garage, Finland
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