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 Finnish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Finnish. Show all posts

Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy Independence Day Finland




Happy 
Independence Day 
Finland!









- Alan 



   

Friday, November 29, 2013

Pikkujoulu! Party time!




Pikkujoulu begins this weekend here in Finland. This date on the calendar always confuses me. Correctly translated from Finnish to English, Pikku joulu means Little Christmas. For swedish-speaking Finns it translates as Lilla Jul. But when the word Pikkujoulu is mentioned in Finland it usually refers to Christmas Party-time, and more so by Finnish speakers. It's time for groups, companies, friends and colleagues to hold their Christmas parties! 
The reason I get confused is because back in my old country Ireland, we also have Little Christmas or 'Nollaig Bheag' as it's called in Irish. But it is celebrated after Christmas on January 6th. I always remember it occurring just before the end of the Christmas school holidays. My parents used to meet up with friends at the local bar and invite them back to our house afterwards for some food, a few drinks and sometimes a sing-song! 

The fact that there's no term for the Irish equivalent of Pikkujoulu does not mean to say that Irish people don't have their own version of it before Christmas. Indeed, the festivities are very similiar to Finland with non-stop company parties and all other gatherings throughout the whole month of December. Because of their popularity and the difficulty in finding or booking a venue, some Christmas parties can often begin as early as the first week in November!

One of my favourite days while living back in Ireland was the last day of work before breaking up for Christmas holidays. It was a day of very little work and more about drinking coffee and eating as many of the boss' chocolates as possible! And all this while been presented with bottles of whiskey from customer reps and suppliers, and not to mention the Christmas bonus!! 
After all that it was straight to the pub at 12.00 for a free bar and finger-food (I imagine these pleasures have been trimmed back a little since the bank crisis a few years ago)
Having left work-colleagues at the pub in the afternoon during the usual half-drunken rendition of either 'You've lost that lovin' feelin'!' by The Righteous Brothers or 'Fairytale of New York' by The Pogues, I usually headed into Dublin city centre to meet up with my own friends. This is the best time to be in Dublin or any other city in Ireland, as the atmosphere is really warm and friendly. As an Irish person I would go so far to say it's better than St.Patrick's Day (unless it happens on Christmas Eve Dec 24th when most city pubs close at 9pm! ...that's a bummer!!)


Happy 10th Birthday Fake Argos Christmas Tree!!


Anyway I'm all set for Pikkujoulu here in Finland. I've dragged my old fake Christmas tree out from storage and the lights are up. I can't believe that the same lights which came with this tree are still working! I must admit I hate untangling any sort of Christmas lights. I think I'm gonna add it on to my Love/Hate list on facebook (you can follow it on my Facebook page here)

Christmas Lights!!! :)

It's a momentous year as my tree celebrates it's 10th birthday! I bought my tree from the Argos store in Dublin while living in Ireland and it has served me well every year since. I like to look at it as been ten real trees I have kept alive. Although I confess, I have cut one down for someone else as a favour while in Finland.


Guilty!



"Happy Pikkujoulu!!!"


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- Alan 



                     
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Monday, October 7, 2013

Art and the Autumn fair.

Autumn in Finland

The autumn market is popular here in Finland and I will be going to my local one here in Karjaa/Karis this coming weekend. The market takes place on Saturday (12.10.2013, 9am-4pm).
I recently went to another autumn market in the nearby town of Ekenäs/Tammisaari, which is a much larger event with more stalls, a beer-tent and a fairground (video below). 






I managed to pick up a few items including some berries and liquorice. I also got the chance to catch up with a few friends for a chat in the beer-tent. I'm always curious to see if there's anything new when the market begins, but I usually end up seeing the same products and features every year. I suppose it's good to know what to expect sometimes!



Autumn market advert in local newspaper (Finnish and swedish text)

This year's autumn market in Karjaa/Karis will I imagine be somewhat the same as last year, with all the old favourites such as long string liquorice/candy, Dutch cheese, makkara (Finnish sausage) and of course a selection of thermal clothing for the coming winter, brrrr!!! As well as taking a look around the stalls at the market this Saturday I will also attend an art exhibition I am currently taking part in at Galleri Fokus which is situated near the market stalls in the centre of Karis/Karjaa. I have five paintings on display alongside work by several other local artists.  

Paintings at Galleri Fokus, Karis/Karjaa, 2013


On Saturday I will have a few more samples of my art in a small book that visitors can look at and also a few postcards and Christmas cards for sale. The gallery is open at 10.00-14.00.



I was very pleased to notice a few newspaper articles on this exhibition which mentioned my name and my paintings in a good light. 
In the Etelä-Uusimaa newspaper the text read "Irlantilaissyntyisen Alan Hoganin pointilistiset maalaukset ovat jännittäviä varsin suurikokoisine pilkkuineen. Ne ovat myös jollain tavalla iloisia maalauksia. Aiheina on perinteistäkin perinteisempiä suomalaisaiheita, kuten maalausten nimistä voi päätellä. Kannattaa käydä katsomassa, miltä näyttävät Raaseporin linna, ”Piilopirtti” ja Ahvenanmaalainen maisema pilkutettuina.", which basically means that my paintings reflect traditional Finnish image subjects in a positive and happy manner. Iso kiitos Etelä-Uusimaa sanomalehdelle!!

clipping from Etelä-Uusimaa newspaper 6.10.2013
(click image to enlarge)



Here in the Länsi-Uusimaa newspaper I also got a few lines!

clipping from Länsi-Uusimaa newspaper
(click image to enlarge)


And lastly in the Västra Nyland newspaper for Swedish speakers here in Finland, I got a special mention for which I am most grateful. The full article can be found on the Västra Nyland newspaper website.

clipping from Västra Nyland newspaper
(click image to enlarge)


So if any of you are planning on going to the Karjaa/Karis autumn market this Saturday, you are welcome to drop in to the exhibition at Galleri Fokus (under the town library). It's open 10.00-14.00, 12.10.2013.

Instrument of reflection I-IV
2013, acrylic on canvas


I am also involved in a group art exhibition in Helsinki at the moment. It's entitled 'Reflections' and it ends this coming Sunday, 13.10.2013. I have four paintings on show here called 'Instrument of reflection I-IV', which I made especially for this exhibition. More on these paintings can be read on my last post called 'Eyes without a face'. Myself and the other artists all had a great opening night at the Stoa cultural centre, with many visitors enjoying and commenting on the artworks. Here's a short video featuring my own work and the venue. 






Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends. Have a nice Autumn! ....(or Spring if you're in the southern hemisphere!!)






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- Alan 



                     
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Sunshine, the Snow and the Sandwich!

Here I am, back again in wonderful Blog-land. It's been a while, after yet another one of my untimely blog-gaps. My last post was a quick Christmas greeting to my exciting worldwide readership. I won't mention or list names, you know who you both are!  

So I suppose I should firstly wish everyone a Happy New Year 2013 (better late than never!)
I had hoped to have a nice New Year photograph to post here today. Just a simple photo of a snowy landscape with a few trees or an old house thrown in. I can't stand any of those photo-shopped images which are floating around the internet. It's like God or whatever didn't do a good enough job creating the world, so someone has to go and change things around a little. I know it's called being creative and alternate visions, but I build up great images and expectations of my old country Ireland just to get washed away every time I go back. I suppose I should know better, but after a few shots of whiskey the visions become more real and the leprechans always tell me it's true!   

Anyway, the sun came out today for the first time since I don't know when, and it looked like Finland had become paradise on earth. Well at least until I opened my front door! - HELLO AGAIN MR.FREEZE!!!
Actually, after I ran back in to throw a pair of long-johns on under my jeans and walked about outside for a while it wasn't too bad. I do like the Finnish winter generally, especially the snow (when I don't have to shovel it of course). It's really nice to see everything all white and sparkly when the sun comes out. However I don't like it when temperatures go below -10C. That's under my comfort-zone radar. I know I've passed over the edge of my comfortzone when I can no longer feel my smaller fingers and icicles start forming from under my nose. 

Anyway, I took myself out of hibernation today and went for 'a nice walk' as the Irish say. Then, after a half-hour I eventually reached a good spot to take some photos when I discovered my camera battery was dead. Yet another Homer Simpson moment added to my collection...Dooahh!!!
With nothing to show for my efforts today I will just have to give you a few old images. Here's a few shots taken in Karis from last year. 

Wonderful place Finland!







Now we haven't had as much snow as last year, but there still another few months of winter left to go here. My snow shovel is nervously waiting nearby.
I just hope I don't have the same trouble as one of my neighbours had last year. His unfortunate car received, as I like to call it, the ultimate Finnish Snow-sandwich! 
I kept this clip here to remind me of how bad things can get!!

video

Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends. Big Hello to any readers living in NYC, thanks for all your greetings and support! 




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 





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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Season's Greetings


Tomorrow is Christmas Eve here in Finland and it is the day for Christmas dinner and celebrations all over the country. It's gonna be a particularly cold Christmas here this year with plenty of snow. So lots of shovelling should work up a good appetite for Christmas dinner. I will of course miss my family back in Ireland and all the great craic that comes with an Irish Christmas. But circumstances allow me to once again enjoy a more peaceful and picturesque Christmastime here in the land of the reindeers, and I'm looking forward to some fine Finnish cuisine being served up by my brother-in-law and his culinary wife. A selection of smoked and marinated fish, a large oven-baked ham, meatloaf, carrot and potato casserole with side-dishes of cognac-mustard and gingerbread should be all present at the Finnish Christmas table. Add to that a few bottles of wine and a crate of beer and we'll all be smiling! 
And if I have any energy left after all that I might just do it all again on Christmas Day, the day of celebration back in Ireland.

But for now, to whoever is reading this blog I wish you a special Happy Christmas wherever in the world you are, and a very Happy New Year 2013!!!

Alan

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Double Vision


Last week I got to attend two opening events on the Finnish art calendar. I had also hoped to attend a third exhibition only to be stopped by bad weather. But nevermind!

The first exhibition I attended was at the Fokus Gallery on Monday, 8th October in Karis, Finland.  The artist exhibiting was Catarina Honkaharju  and the show was titled 'Kohtaamisia' meaning 'encounters' or 'meetings' in english. Among the many paintings on display was 'Valon Taika' or the Magic of Light in english, a wonderful oil-on-canvas depicting a collection of trees in front of golden yellow sunlight. This painting appealed to me for it's bright colours and the feeling of positivity and hope for which it radiated. A sample of this painting can been seen in this advert below for Catarina Honkaharju's exhibition. Those of you lucky enough to be able to attend the gallery will find out what I mean.



As the artist illustrates, Catarina Honkaharju's images of nature can describe or suggest a person's state of mind, often opening and displaying features of strength or weakness. Expect to see a variety of colours and subjects as this is achieved.
There are also other paintings to see at this exhibition which do not involve nature. The artist's states that she has examined the interaction between the environment and people, and how such encounters affect the private and public life of individuals. Here is another sample of the art you can find at this exhibition. This is called  'Vihdoinkin vapaa' which means 'Free at last'. 

Catarina Honkaharju's exhibition continues at the Fokus Gallery, Karis until 27 October, 2012.

Catarina Honkaharju - 'Vihdoinkin vapaa'

______________________________________________
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The second exhibition I want to mention is 'Off the Skin' which opened last Tuesday October 9th. This was a special exhibition which began it's planning two years ago as a collaboration between two individual artists, each working with different forms of art. The first, Petri Horttana, works with various aspects in painting and sculpture, while the second, Jesse Laitinen, is a fashion photographer working with some of Finland and Sweden's top models. After meeting at an exhibition back in 2010 they discussed with each other and talked about both their individual skills and the possibilty of combining their talents. And so it was that the 'Off the Skin' project was born.




Two years later and their creation has matured to greet the public as a three-week show at the Ant Gallery in Helsinki.  The result has not been a disappointment and the positive reaction from guests at the opening night was evidence of a promising and successful exhibition.  Considering how miserable the weather was on the night this event attracted a sizeable audience. With barely enough room to move at the entrance to the main room, I had to shuffle my way through to the second area of the gallery, stopping off for some much appreciated wine and cheese snacks. Having spent twenty minutes looking at some of the art I finally got to speak with one of the artists Petri Horttana. It was interesting to hear from him about the various processes used to attain the creations I saw before me. I must admit though, the first thing I noticed was the source of the material they had used as a base for their images. Having worked in a printing house for many years before coming to live in Finland I immediately recognised old aluminium printing plates. This added another dimension to the art for me, almost nostalgic!  I'm all for using recycled products in art wherever possible and this was a good example.

Moving on to the images themselves, most were flat-surfaced works in a variety of natural and luminous colours. Several had the added treatment of a hard glaze and a three-dimensional element created by Petri Horttana. The photographic images taken by Jesse Laitinen were both beautiful and striking to the viewer. It is clear that the combination of both areas of art complemented each other to create a common visual language. For me personally, I found this exhibition to be very fresh and quite an inspiration. If you happen to be in Helsinki any time soon, pop in and take a look yourself. The exhibition 'Off the Skin' continues at the Ant Gallery until November 2nd 2012. 
I suppose it would be only fair to add this as a recommendation for World Design Capital Helsinki in 2012. Here's a few photos of Jesse and Petri relaxing with their series of paintings called 'Neoflage' in the background.


Jesse Laitinen and Petri Horttana finally get time 
to chill out after a busy opening at the Ant Gallery in Helsinki. 
Photos;Alan Hogan 09/10/2012




Finally I want to play a video here before I end this blog. 
It's a little song by one of my favorite bands the Fountains of Wayne. The song is called 'Strapped for Cash'. It's a great tune!  As most of my online media comes through free websites it helps when visitors visit the ad links on my pages. It may only mean a few pennies or cents, but it could help towards building a better website aswell as paying for a little sugar in my coffee. ........ I like sugar! ...So, give a little, helps a lot!!!











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Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends.

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 



                     



Saturday, October 6, 2012

When Saturday Comes




It's been quite a while since my last proper blogpost here. This is partly because of my own pure laziness, and also because I have been preoccupied with other things. One of those things has been my interest in my local sports club - Football team BK-46 from the town of Karis here in southern Finland. 



Pallohonka v BK-46, Esbo 2012


It's been a long summer and today brings the last game of this year's Finnish football season for most clubs. It's the second division or as it's called here Kakkonen. You can see the league table and results here. Unfortunately the fate of BK-46 was decided last month when they were beaten by division leaders ÅIFK from Turku. 




After fighting hard all season with a lot of great performances, only a series of player injuries and a few missed chances could keep BK-46 from going forward to qualification for promotion. 
Now with the consolation of second place in their division, BK-46 travel to Helsinki to play Klubi04 this afternoon. By all accounts Klubi04 should be well above BK-46 in status as they have a larger selection of players as well as the backing, facilities and funding of big brother club HJK. In fact they have beaten BK-46 twice already this season, 2-0 at Helsinki in June and 3-4 at Karis in August.

Klubi04 v BK-46, Helsinki 2011

So with the season practically over for the Karis team, there may be still some pride to fight for in this last match of the season. While BK-46 have sealed their second-placed position in this division, it would be somewhat gratifying to end with a victory in the capital. And it's definately not impossible if last season is anything to go by. Last year I travelled with the rest of the club's supporters to witness one of BK-46's sweetest victories as they beat Klubi04 in the Sonera Stadium. Here's a reminder of that match last year, just go to 7:55 in this video.



A performance like this would be great to see again today. A famous bird resident in Helsinki came to support the good Karis folk last year, let's hope Bubi the owl can come out and support us again today! The match kicks-off at 14.00 at the Sonera stadium in Helsinki today. So come out and support the best team in Finland, BK-46!




For anyone interested I used the title 'When Saturday Comes' for several reasons. It is traditionally the day when most football games are played in most footballing nations. Also, today is Saturday. And mainly because it is the title of a good movie starring Sean Bean about a footballer who plays for another team wearing red and white stripes, Sheffield United. The full movie is here below if anyone wants to watch it. It's worth it just to hear BBC commentator David Coleman say the words  "Manchester United were cruising, they're not cruising now!".


Finally, one of my favorite songs from a band who's home team Derry City FC also known as 'The Candystripes' as they play in red and white stripes. This is The Undertones with their song 'My Perfect Cousin'.






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


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 





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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.


-Alan

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