"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

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Some of you reading this who know me will also know that I have another passion apart from painting. For those of you who don't know, my other passion is soccer. As a young boy living back in Ireland I used to watch weekly football matches broadcast live from England on our television. My father was a supporter of Arsenal football club. This was mainly because of good connections between Irish players and the club during the 1960's, 70's and 80's. Names like Niall Quinn, Pat Jennings, Frank Stapleton, David O'Leary and the fantastic Liam Brady come to mind. I don't suppose he was too happy when an uncle of mine came along and converted me to a supporter of Liverpool football club. This was quickly done by my uncle as Liverpool was a liitle easier to travel to from Dublin instead of London where Arsenal FC are based. A quick trip on the ferry and before I knew it I was in Liverpool watching The Reds at Anfield Road. I didn't feel too guilty as there was quite a good connection between Liverpool and players coming from Ireland back then also. Think of names such as Ronnie Whelan, Mark Lawrenson, Ray Houghton, John Aldridge and of course the brilliant winger Steve Heighway. I was six or seven years old when I went to Anfield. Unfortunately this is the only time I have been there. I saw Liverpool play again at a friendly in Dublin and a league match against Arsenal in their home ground at Highbury, London. 
I know some will say that's hardly being passionate about your club, but I have always been more of an armchair fan. And also ticketprices were never really within my budget. I have spent a small fortune on beer at several Dublin pubs over the years however. 
And on one particular evening in May 2005 I spent a little more than usual. 
Here's a ticket I made up especially for myself and all my friends who went to watch the match at The Flowing Tide pub in Dublin city. It was the incredible night when Liverpool FC beat AC Milan in Istanbul to win the Champions League Final in what for me was the greatest ever final to date in that competition. It was an especially good night for me as all my friends and my brother were also there to share the celebrations. Nights like this don't happen that often so it's important to enjoy and remember them. 
I must have been on a wave of euphoria for days afterwards. So much so that I even agreed to buy a pet for my girlfriend. I'm not a great fan of having pets in small household spaces. But this was a dwarf rabbit, and we had the space. And as I paid for the rabbit I took the honour of naming him. I had a few ideas, but I finally decided on 'Rafa' after the Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez. Here's a short clip of Rafa out in our garden.

After our little friend settled in to his new home in Ashbourne he seemed very happy. Apart from keeping him from chewing on the television cables he was great fun. I would definately recommend having a dwarf rabbit as a pet. 
Towards the end of 2005 I started working on a new painting. I wanted to experiment with contrasting colours, in this case yellow and violet. I also wanted to paint something a little contemporary with influences from my recent trips at the time to Finland. I painted this canvas in my kitchen as it was the only area in my house which had plenty of natural light. I did however have to bear constant interruptions from the kitchens main resident, Rafa the rabbit. He was very fond of climbing up on the table to see what was going on. I reckon the colours I was using had something to do with it also, especially the flourescent yellow which he was so attracted to. It was a battle of brush and whiskers! Anyway, with the 'help' of my hoppy friend I managed to get my painting finished. The result was a simple flower-like figure on a yellow background. Now all I needed was a title. 
It was spring 2006 now and this is when something terrible happened. I got up one morning to find my rabbit very ill. After a trip to the vet we discovered he had developed diarrhea. After giving it medication all we could do was wait. Unfortunately as with many dwarf rabbits, once they get diarrhea they very rarely recover and Rafa was no exception this time. I came home one day to find him gone to the big pile of straw in the sky. It was sad. We did give him a nice send off and buryed him in a nice strong Guinness box at the back of our garden. 
After this upsetting incident I returned to look at the painting I had created and decided that it could only have one title, and that was 'Flower for Rafa'.

'Flower for Rafa' 2006 - Alan Hogan

This painting completed during 2006 in Ireland is presently on view in Helsinki, Finland. It can been seen along with some more of my work from now until June 2012 at NDN Studio, Eerikinkatu 18, 00100 Helsinki. 

Thanks for reading my blog and please share it with all your friends. And here's a reminder of that wonderful night in Istanbul back in 2005 for any Liverpool fans reading this. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Moments of Light

Pauli Luoma

Last Thursday April 5th 2012, I attended the opening of 'Valon Hetkiä', an exhibition of oil paintings by Pauli Luoma at the Jade Gallery in Helsinki, Finland. The title of this exhibition translates from Finnish to English as 'Moments of light'. The artist Pauli Luoma from Hamina, was displaying some of his most recent work including some new paintings featuring wonderful coastal scenery from western Finland. 

Pauli Luoma - Tuulinen päivä (Windy day)

It was clear to see the artist's gifted talent in his achievement to capture perfectly the balance of daylight tones reflecting on each of his images. The painting above is no exception. While the viewer is immediately drawn to the pale tones associated with grey skies and wind, one can't help but notice those warmer tones on distant trees cast from hidden sunbeams. I suppose it is these lighter tones or moments that we must appreciate and cherish, for as with life's similar moments they never last very long and often fail to return the way we remember.

Here's a photograph of myself with the artist Pauli Luoma and a gallery visitor taken during the opening of his art exhibition at Jade Gallery in Helsinki last week. Thanks to Jatta Hartikainen for this photo.

Alan Hogan (left) and  Pauli Luoma (centre) at Jade Gallery, Helsinki. - April 2012

As well as landscapes, Pauli Luoma's current exhibition also includes a selection of his figurative paintings. I found these to be a nice accompaniment to his landscapes, with calming tones and complimentary moods.

Pauli Luoma - Nainen valoisassa huoneessa (Woman in a bright room)

Here's a video featuring more of Luoma's wonderful figurative work.


Pauli Luoma's 'Valon Hetkiä' art exhibition continues at Jade Gallery in Helsinki until 30.04.2012. 
If you have any questions or wish to meet the artist, he will be present in Jade Gallery on the following date, 22.04.2012, 13.00 - 17.00

Thanks to Pauli Louma for inviting me to his opening exhibition and thank 'you' for reading my blog. Feel free to share with all your friends.


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