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



Showing posts with label Alan Hogan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alan Hogan. Show all posts

Monday, December 11, 2017

My Finland 100 : 41- 50







Finland became an independent state on 6 December 1917. Already there have been numerous events staged throughout the country to celebrate this centenary year. The theme of the centenary year is ‘Together’. 


As I have been a resident of Finland for the past ten years I wanted to do a little something. For this I decided to post 100 images to my Instagram account on social media with the hashtag #finland100_igchallenge .




Anyone familiar with the Instagram application will be aware of the vast amount of wonderful photography posted every day online. There are so many amazing images to be found featuring Finland's stunning nature and landscapes. I imagine my photography may be lack lustre in comparison and as a result may not be noticed. So I decided to simply look closer in and around my new home for another approach. I have posted a variety of images found around my own house and neighbourhood. I didn't know much about Finland before I moved here, so I view this as an opportunity to show others a few things I discovered about or associated with Finland and it's culture. I have included everyday items, nostalgic items, locations, food and also some Finnish-themed artworks which I painted myself while living here. In other words, a bit of everything!!




The images are in no particular order of importance or preference, so I'll continue with 41-50...






41/100

The sandwich cake! .. the smörgåstårta can be found at many celebration parties throughout Finland. This savoury dish has been perfected in Finland, as shown here by a great chef from Bromarf! These two sandwich cakes were made specially for my birthday and were delicious! ..Thanks Tanja!! 😊🍰

A post shared by Alan Hogan (@alanhogano) on






42/100
'Autumn Birches' (acrylic-on-canvas) #finland100_igchallenge 42/100
..posting a series of random images (including some of my own art) from or associated with Finland to celebrate the country's 100th birthday! ...'probably should've posted this earlier, all the leaves have fallen at the stage! ☺🍁

A post shared by Alan Hogan (@alanhogano) on





43/100
..late night snack! A national dish of Finland 'The Karelian Pie'! ..yum!!
A post shared by Alan Hogan (@alanhogano) on






44/100
...in Finland you're never too far from nature. I took this photo only 2 minutes from my house today. 🌲🌲🍁🌲
A post shared by Alan Hogan (@alanhogano) on







45/100
..I was never too fond of mustard back in Ireland except for a tiny bit of Colmans on a toasted ham & cheese sandwich. But the mustard in Finland is more to my liking, especially 'Turun Sinappia' on makkara (finnish sausage).

A post shared by Alan Hogan (@alanhogano) on









46/100
...these ABC service stations are everywhere in Finland, at least everywhere I've travelled. They're a one-stop shop for petrol, grocery shopping and dining! 🚘⛽🚘🚚🚕 ... 'took this photo at my local ABC today!
A post shared by Alan Hogan (@alanhogano) on







47/100
...a painting of a house in my neighbouring town of Ekenäs in Finland. 'The Green House' (acrylic-on-canvas), ...well it was green when I painted it! 😀🎨
A post shared by Alan Hogan (@alanhogano) on








48/100
.. a crafty old Finn I once knew handcarved these butterknives from old juniper wood. Some say Santa Claus started this tradition but these ones are definately the upgrade! .🎅..
A post shared by Alan Hogan (@alanhogano) on






49/100
...as world leaders in coffee consumption Finland needs to have the best coffeemachines! That's why you will find one of these in most Finnish households, the 'Moccamaster'. I have this Ferrari red model and it makes an amazing brew! Although the machine is made in Holland I regard it as a part of my Finnish experience! 🍵
A post shared by Alan Hogan (@alanhogano) on











50/100
... throwback Thursday ..the beautiful Havis Amanda photographed last summer in Helsinki.

A post shared by Alan Hogan (@alanhogano) on





More of my Finland 100 coming soon.


















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- Alan









 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Holding for Hilda







This painting is called 'Holding for Hilda' and it depicts one of the many soapstone sculptures from the Pohjola building in Helsinki, Finland. A slight modification by myself plays on the painting's title and is purposely aimed at bringing the public's attention to the original designer of these wonderful sculptures. 
Her name was Hilda Flodin (1877-1958)

Hilda Maria Flodin (16 March 1877 in Helsinki - 9 March, 1958) was a Finnish sculptor, painter and graphic artist. She had come from financially stable background, with her parents Frithiof Flodin and Fanny Basilier working for the State Council. While not caring for school much, a young Hilda Flodin became a better student at the age of 16 on starting art studies at the Finnish Art Society drawing school (Suomen Taideyhdistyksen piirustuskoulussa) in Helsinki (1893-1898). Here she studied her first five years under teachers Helene Schjerfbeck and Albert Gebhard. In 1899 she left to pursue her studies in Paris France, where she studied at the Académie Colarossissa.

Her early period of works consisted of mainly sculptures and graphics. Flodin at an early age also became familiar with various methods of printmaking. A Paris exhibition in 1908 included subjects such as Helsinki and clouds representing her graphic works.

However, while the Pohjola building, designed by the great Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen is in itself a fine achievement, for me Hilda Flodin's wonderful soapstone sculptures are the icing on the cake. Well worthy of some light under Saarinen's shadow. The Pohjola building, built in 1901 can be found at 44 Aleksanterinkatu in the centre of Helsinki. Constructed from granite it's an excellent example of Finnish Romantic style architecture. Here's a little video clip I made that illustrates both Eliel Saarinen and Hilda Flodin's work.



If you understand Finnish here's a good link for a closer look at the life of Hilda Flodin.

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- Alan 

    

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Love/Hate List No.1 - No strings attached please!




Love/Hate No.1

HATE - Tea-bags with strings!


People often ask me what I like or dislike in Finland. And some also ask me the same about Ireland. For example food, customs, travel, weather, pubs and so on. So a while back I decided to start a list of a few things I like and dislike. Just little things, nothing too serious.  I made a new photo album on my facebook page called my Love/Hate album. I also threw in a few items or oddities from elsewhere along the way. This blog is simply an extension of the list with more explanations and the odd dose of jibber jabber. 

So I'll begin with 
Love/Hate No.1 
- HATE - Tea-bags with strings!



Tea has been a major import commodity in Britain ever since the seventeenth century and changed drinking habits of the nation forever. It was not until 1908 however that the tea-bag was invented. And it was only by accident that it was invented in America by New York tea merchant Thomas Sullivan, when he start sending out tea samples packed in small silken packages to his customers. The customers unaware that they were supposed to remove the tea leaves from the small silken-packs, simply threw the whole lot into their teapots rather than use the more common metal diffuser or tea-strainer. And thus the tea-bag was born!!! 


'Tea-time reflections' 
pencil on paper, 1988 - Alan Hogan





The humble teabag was then commercially produced with a lighter material and a string attached.
Thomas Lipton incorporated the Lipton Tea Company in 1915. Lipton Tea patented a novel four-sided tea bag in 1952 called the flo-thru tea bag. The Lipton brand is very well-known and can be easily found in most places including Finland. 






The teabag string was added primarily as an aid to draw out the flavour of the tea leaves by way of squeezing the tea-bag. A printed label with the tea brand was also attached to the other end of the string. I can't help but wonder if they ever had teaspoons back then! Nowadays the string is simply used for dipping the tea-bag into the cup as shown in the photo above. This may be suitable for those who like a light cup of tea.


It is still common to find tea-bags on sale with strings attached, especially on continental Europe. They come in an assortment of flavours also, which I personally hate. But that's just me and my loyalty to the plain cup of tea.

Teabags with no strings attached!





The plain cup of tea is a part of what Irish people are. There's always time for a cup of tea. You could say we're tea-mad! 





Indeed, it's a rare occurrence to step into a house in Ireland and not be offered a cup of tea. Unless you are from the electricity supply board or a politician you will most certainly experience this custom when visiting the country, (actually a politician would never ever get past anyone's front door in Ireland these days!)





It's a certainty that a packet of biscuits will also appear like magic out of nowhere after your first sip of tea. Just remember, the nicer you are to your host the better the biscuit!
And if you're ever offered Chocolate Kimberley biscuits in Ireland then you must be very special indeed!!!





In Ireland it is more common to see tea-bags with no strings as they only get tangled up with the spoon! And who needs a string when a spoon does the job perfect anyway! A waste of good string in my opinion.
The same stringless-type tea-bags are also sold in the UK, but they have their own brands such as Tetley, PG Tips and Typhoo. These brands are sold in Ireland, in fact my grandmother used to buy PG Tips when I was a kid. This was probably because I made her, they had some good gifts to be had if you collected enough tokens from their boxes. The guys at Lyons tea soon took up their own promotions. 
More often Irish people prefer to buy Irish brands if possible such as Bewleys, Lyons or Barrys Tea. There is without doubt a better taste and quality in these brands. And when the Irish public drink more tea per capita than the British public something must be right.

The original blend Lyons teabags now available online,
just click on the photo above!






It's a well-known fact that before going on holidays abroad most Irish people will take one of these brands with them in their suitcase. I have noticed a similar custom amongst Finnish people going on holidays with other products. In fact nowadays I always bring a tube of Finnish mustard back to Ireland with me whenever I visit, it's the best and I've already converted one or two Irish people!

Check out this video from the master brewer at Barry's Tea. These guys know their stuff!!!







Of course I don't travel back to Ireland as much as I used to due to the lack of airlines travelling direct. So I always pack a few Irish products into my suitcase before I head back to Finland. Once I get back they don't last long and I'm wanting more. There are a few shops were I can buy English foods here in Finland but they can be very expensive. And anyway I prefer to have some of the food I grew up with, partly because they taste better and partly out of nostalgia.
I have replaced some of my Irish diet with Finnish foods which has been a success. There are places online where thankfully some Irish products and other items can be bought for less than what I would pay in specialised shops in Finland or other countries. So now I can sometimes enjoy a decent cup of tea with no strings attached!

  



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- Alan 

                     


#mrsdoyle #rareauldtimes #anicecupoftea #U2 #barrystea #lyonstea #dublin #thegreatestbandever #hotpressmagazine #teaology #tea #ireland #haveacup #cork #irishabroad #irishdownunder #irishamericans #irishbiscuits #jacobsbiscuits #kimberley #irishproducts #ireland #lovehate


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Abbey Theatre revisited

'Old Abbey Theatre' 
- illustration Alan Hogan, 1998.


I recently received a request from Freya Smitha MPhil student at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. It concerned my illustration of a famous old building called the Abbey Theatre. The student has been constructing a visualisation of this theatre as a module for one of her college assessments, and chose to use my image as a small backdrop on her presentation blogsite. I gladly agreed for my illustration (above) to be used.

"The Abbey first opened its doors to the public on 27 December 1904 in the former Mechanics’ Hall, also known as the Hibernian Theatre of Varieties. Prior to opening as the Abbey, the interior was remodeled by architect Joseph Holloway. He reused the existing structure of the auditorium and balcony, but he completely remoulded the proscenium arch, created a new entrance on Marlborough Street, introduced a substantially different seating arrangement, and changed every aspect of the décor, fixtures and fittings.




Despite losing its original building to a fire in 1951, the theatre was rebuilt to a design by Michael Scott and reopened in 1966. After the demolition of the Mechanics’ Hall facades, the stonework was rescued by Dublin architect, Daithi Hanley, who intended to preserve it." 


- above text by Archiseek, Computer reconstruction imagery of the interior as it was in 1904, courtesy of Hugh Denard and Noho.



As a Dubliner born and bred, I am very familiar with the location of the Abbey Theatre. My grandfather worked for the Irish Press and my father for the Irish Independent, two newspaper companies situated only a short walk from the Abbey theatre. I myself used to meet friends quite often after work in The Flowing Tide pub which sits facing the Abbey Theatre. At the time it was no surprise to see familiar faces from the theatre occasionally dropping in for a drink. Another pub situated nearby was Sean O'Casey's Bar which was named after the famous Dublin playwright who's name and plays are synonymous with the Abbey Theatre. I used to drop in to this pub occasionally for a chat after college. An annex of the D.I.T. College of Marketing and Design which I attended is conveniently located next door. This small area of Dublin city is full of history and stories that still live on through the people, the shops and the pubs. And when you least expect, some of the best and most theatrical performances can be found right under your nose!




Above is a video by British Pathe featuring Irish President Eamonn de Valera arriving at the site where the new Abbey theatre was built - historic Abbey theatre was destroyed by the fire in 1951.
From an architectural point of view I have never been a fan of what was constructed in place of the old Abbey Theatre. While it was unfortunate that the old building was destroyed by fire, for me it was equally unfortunate to see such an ugly replacement. On the bright side however, there have been welcomed modifications in more recent years making the new building more aesthetically pleasing.



An impression I made showing how the old Abbey theatre (bottom) would have looked in comparison to it's replacement in the 1960's (top).
Click on image to enlarge.


I also created this quick videoclip with my drawings and old photos of the Abbey Theatre through the years. 









'Old Abbey Theatre, Dublin' - Alan Hogan, 1998


The illustration above is the second drawing I made of the theatre. I haven't made any ink illustrations such as these for many years now, but I think I may have another attempt having received some positive feedback. Maybe something from Finland where I now live. 
Here's a few more samples of my old ink illustrations. 




A section of the old George's Street Arcade building
owned by The Grafton Hotel.





'The Four Courts', Dublin - 1988






'John Kehoe's Pub'
- South Anne street, Dublin - 1990




My illustration of the Abbey Theatre can be seen as a background image on Freya Smith's Old Abbey Theatre BlogAlso, don't forgot to check out some of her wonderful 3D digital models.




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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 



                     




Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Day in Hong Kong, Part 2 - Kowloon 九龍






... continued from 'A Day in Hong Kong Part 1'

After that, it was back on the bus to catch the Star Ferry to Kowloon peninsula. This short boat trip which was included on our bus tour package, is normally quite cheap anyway. It's a great way to see Hong Kong's impressive skyline and the many boats that occupy the waterways.

As soon as I landed in Kowloon it was off for a stroll into it's centre. Well, to be honest I don't think there is an actual centre. As soon as I got off the boat I felt like I had just stepped into the centre, and it was suddenly moving me along! Having walked through more and more people I decided it was time to find the Big Bus again. It hard to take in the atmosphere and sights when you have to watch where you're walking all the time. Kowloon seemed more busy than Hong Kong island, with more shops and markets. The most notable thing I detected was the difference between the executive business class and the normal working class. While on one road during my bus tour I was surrounded by big brand stores, modern high rise company buildings with luxury motor cars parked outside and many jewellery stores packed with young people. Then suddenly my Big Bus then drove me only five minutes around a corner to find stacks upon stacks of run-down and shabby apartment blocks. A sad and confusing sight.




The Chung King Hotel and the Hung Sing Hotel
... and many more easy names too remember!!!




I hopped off my bus again briefly when it passed by a busy street market. It looked like I might find a bargain or two there. To my surprise it wasn't as cheap as I expected, and I became tired of seeing the 'usual suspect' brands found worldwide, Goodbye Doggy etc.!!  Luckily I was saved when I bought a small wireless speaker with Bluetooth for €10, a bargain in my book! With so many people going through this market I became a little uncomfortable and claustrophobic. 'Time to find my Big bus again. But now, with so many people and all the signage looking the same and so unfamiliar, I couldn't quite figure out from where I originally got off my bus. Only for the odd western shop-sign I would probably have missed my bus or even my flight home. Thank you Hennes and Mauritz!!!






There's so much to see in this big city, even a week would be too short I reckon. I consider myself lucky to have had a chance to see just a snippet of it. Here's a good time-lapse video I found on YouTube featuring some amazing imagery of Hong Kong. 









It was good to finally see the Big Bus again, and lucky for me it was on it's last tour of the day. It dropped me off close to the Star ferry terminal, where I had an hour or so to find a toilet and look around at more shops and sights. I also got a chance to see the lights from accross the bay over Hong Kong island. Every evening an event called the 'Symphony of Lights' takes place. I had heard about this previously and wanted to see it. So I waited. And then I waited more. Nothing spectacular was happening. I got the feeling it would begin as soon as I was gone. I couldn't wait around any longer and had to dash for my ferry and train to the airport, it was getting late. I managed to see this lighting spectacle on YouTube when I got to the airport, and to be honest I wasn't impressed. The fact that this show takes place every night and the amount of energy it must use up is sad and a little worrying. The regular city lights were impressive enough for me.





   

I must say Hong Kong was very interesting and worth the visit, even if for just one day. I would have liked to stay a little longer and perhaps if I had known some local people, I think I would have loved to go out and sample some bars with them, especially a karaoke bar! 

Both Hong Kong and Kowloon were a bit of a culture shock for this easy-going european, but that won't stop me going back again if the chance ever arises again. All the time I spent walking around this city I never once felt intimidated or uneasy. 

I want to finish this blog with a video of my own which captures a small taste of this huge city. Sadly there's no karaoke bars, Big Buddah or even Bruce Lee statues. But it does have exciting escalators and me on the Big Bus!











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- Alan








             

                                                             

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