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 Helsinki. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Helsinki. Show all posts

Thursday, November 16, 2017

My Finland 100 Countdown (2 - 6)






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 lacklustre 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, here is number 2 to number 6 ...




2/100 



Finnish power breakfast! Muesli with forest blueberries and seabuckthorn berries. Plenty of anti-oxidants and vitamin C eqivalent to 500 oranges!











3/100


Happy Runeberg's Day!..these are Runeberg tarts, very tasty treats from Finland. 
Find out more about this tradition on my blog at www.alanhogan-artgarage.blogspot.fi/2017/02/the-dead-poets-breakfast.html




4/100

#finland100_igchallenge 4/100 - the Finnish pantti or moneyback system helps keep plastics out of nature's way. It makes cents to recycle your plastics in Finland!!! ♻ 


A post shared by Alan Hogan (@alanhogano) on



5/100


#finland100_igchallenge 5/100 - Back in Karis with a bucket full of sunshine!!! Happy Days!! ☀😎☀



6/100


#finland100_igchallenge 6/100 - Captured this 'Aglais io' on camera last Monday while out for a hike in Västerby, Finland. More commonly known as the 'European Peacock' butterfly, I've modified it with selective colouring.


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- Alan










 


Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Dead Poet's Breakfast!




This is a repost from 2011. I'm trying to restart my blog yet again. And what better day to reboot it than this special day in the Finnish calendar. Since Finland is celebrating it's 100 year birthday as an independent nation this year 2017 I hope to repost a few old stories here aswell as some photos from my time living in Finland.  

The 5th of February is known as Runeberg's Day in Finland, named after Finland's national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg who was born in the town of Jacobstad, Finland on this date 1804.




'Runeberg's most famous work is Fänrik Ståls sägner (The Tales of Ensign Stål, Vänrikki Stoolin tarinat in Finnish) written between 1848 and 1860. It is considered the greatest Finnish epic poem outside the native Kalevala tradition and contains tales of the Swedish War of 1808-09 with Russia. In the war, Sweden ignominiously lost Finland, which became a Grand Duchy in the Russian empire. The poem, which is composed episodically, emphasizes the common humanity of all sides in the conflict, while principally lauding the heroism of the Finns. The first poem "Vårt land" (Our Land, Maamme in Finnish) became the Finnish National Anthem. Runeberg is celebrated on 5 February each year.'
- taken from Wikipedia


While the National anthem of Finland is sung in the Finnish language by the majority of people over here, it is also sung in swedish with the same passion and pride by a part of the Finnish population living in the west and south of Finland. In my opinion there is something very special and respectful for the people of Finland to have their anthem in both languages.

   


And it is also on this day Feb 5th every year that a certain cake named 
Runeberg's torte (Finnish: Runebergintorttu; Swedish: Runebergstårta) is eaten all over in Finnish homes to celebrate this great national poet. The story goes that the poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg enjoyed a torte with some brandy punsch for his breakfast every morning.





And not wanting to be disrespectful, I am only too happy to carry on this good tradition in my own home today. A little too late for breakfast, I will be eating one of these two little beauties here with a nice cup of tea later on this evening.



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

-Alan

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Original post from 2011.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Mayweather in Finland!

I just wanted to throw a blogpost in quickly as it seems the winter in Finland may finally be over, well at least until after autumn. And no, this post has nothing to do with the recent boxing fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas, so apologies to any boxing fans who stumbled onto my blog here. I hope it was a good fight. I didn't see it myself unfortunately, I was fast asleep in bed!

Getting back to May-weather, last Thursday saw the arrival of Vappu, Finland's annual Mayday celebrations which actually begins on the 30th of April and can continue until May 1st or even longer for some folk depending on whether or not you have a strong head! It's traditionally a very Finnish affair with students past and present wearing their white graduation hats. I've been told that in the past students also had a blue hat which was worn during the winter months and then swapped for a white version on Vappu to celebrate the arrival of spring, summer and happy days. There are various styles of hats symbolising which area, academy or field you studied. For example if you qualified as an engineer you would normally have a long string and tassle attached to your hat. I think I prefer the normal white sailor type hat myself.


The traditional Finnish student hat


Of course as I studied in Ireland myself I don't have this white student hat. To my knowledge students in Ireland don't have student hats, maybe one or two junior schools wear them as part of a uniform but definately not used as graduation wear for Secondary School (High School). Nope, all we received was a certificate and a jolly good wave goodbye! Some third-level colleges and universities may have special graduation garments and hats similar to those found in the United States of America. These are usually rented though, so you would never see them worn annually on May day.

Anyway, with the absence of a white hat I decided to grab my old school tie instead and throw it on just for Vappu. Don't ask me why I still have my old tie, just a bit of nostalgia I suppose! I wasn't going to any Vappu parties so it didn't matter if it offended anyone or looked silly. With my striped-maroon St. David's school tie fitted on and a few drinks ready for some cocktail-experimentation I felt a bit like Harry Potter. My first trick was the exploding champagne bottle!!! Maybe I've just started a new trend for expats, wearing an old school tie on Vappu!

This years Vappu weather couldn't have been more confusing. I was planning a nice garden barbeque with friends for last Thursday, but then after a few pleasant sunny days this arrived on Wednesday morning and continued for most of the day. The final snow show!


  

With no option but to cancel my bbq plans I decided simply to enjoy a bottle of bubbly and some drinks indoors. This didn't stop those in the big cities from partying hard though  and to everyone's surprise the snow melted away like magic and sunshine brought joy to the land of Moomin and trolls. From what I heard there were actually a few new trolls crawling the streets of Helsinki on Thursday night! But overall throughout Finland people had a great day out. Lots of fun, balloons, good weather and of course champagne! Here's a video by a young mexican lady who went to the Vappu outdoor celebrations in the town of Lappeenranta in eastern Finland. She's explains what Vappu is all about in a more photogenic way than I could ever do!





You can read more about Vappu in Finland on my previous blogpost called 

Vappu! - May Day in Finland

Simply click on the image below!
















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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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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 

    

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Vappu! - May Day in Finland










In Finland, Walpurgis day (Vappu) is one of the four biggest holidays along with Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, and Midsummer (Juhannus). During Vappu one can find big festivals held on the streets of Finland's towns and cities. This celebration which begins on the evening of 30 April and continues to 1 May, involves an all day party with consumption of sima (mead), sparkling wine and other alcoholic beverages.



Student traditions, particularly those of the engineering students, are one of the main characteristics of Vappu. Since the end of the 19th century, this traditional upper-class feast has been appropriated by university students. Many lukio (university-preparatory high school) alumni (who are thus traditionally assumed to be university bound), wear a cap. One tradition is to drink sima, a home-made low-alcohol mead, along with freshly cooked cakes called Tippaleipä. The first time I saw these cakes I thought they looked like fish-bait. But like anything new it must be tried at least once, so I tasted this worm-like delicacy. My verdict was negative. The taste was likened to that of a dull donut, and the cake was a little awkward to eat as it crumbled apart into small pieces on my first bite. In conclusion, it's now near the bottom of my cake list along with carrot-cake!



Tippaleipä and Sima (Mead)


Since I've had all my education back in Ireland I don't have a Finnish cap to wear on this day. I usually celebrate Vappu with a few Finnish friends at home in my garden, depending if the weather is nice. My friends always wear their student caps as is the custom in Finland. During the first few years living in Finland I used to feel a little out of place or somewhat unbelonging for being the only person not wearing a cap at these parties, but this feeling has since disappeared thanks to good food, good company and the joyful consumption of alcohol!



A typical Finnish student cap


I was at one large Vappu party a few years ago where I had an interesting and fun night. Lots of dancing, Finnish food, balloons and even some salmiakki!! It was back in Dublin long before I moved to Finland at a special Vappu event organised by the Irish-Finnish Society. I remember it well as it was held in a place called 'The Garda Club', a recreational venue owned and run by the Irish Police. That was the first time I saw the now familiar sight of the white Finnish student cap.






The main event as far as Vappu is concerned in Finland is the placing of a student cap on Havis Amanda, one of Helsinki's famous statues.



Havis Amanda statue and fountain
in Helsinki, Finland.


Here's a clip of Finnish students placing the cap on Havis Amanda in 2013. The weather was just as it is today here, blue skies and sunshine. A nice start to the new Spring!






I'm not sure what my plans are for tomorrow 1st of May, but for tonight I shall be having a quiet night in to celebrate Vappu with my own brand of Sima from Bunratty! And who knows, I might end up wearing my own student cap by the end of the night (ie. the cap of the bottle!)




Hauskaa Vappua!!!
Glada Wappen!!!
Happy May Day!!!

Lá breá Bealtaine agaibh!!!




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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 



                     



Friday, December 13, 2013

No Snow in Finland!

Karjaa, Finland - 12.12.2013


Okay, so this blogpost was meant to go out a few days ago. It was meant to be a short post with lots of pretty snow photos from Finland. I even took a quick video from where I'm actually sitting right now which was going to be followed by more winter images. There was a drop in temperature to -13 degrees celsius, so everything was looking all nice and glitzy. I could almost hear the Jingle bells ringing!

But then all of a sudden the temperature rose to +8C degrees! And did I get a chance to take my Christmas photos? ...No!
Instead, after seeing awful weather on tv from the recent memorial for the late Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and hearing about the first snow in Jerusalem for over 60 years, I stood at my window taking photos of grass outside my Finnish home. This is truly terrible! It's now less than two weeks to Christmas and there's no snow in Finland! What's up with that?






Here lies possibly the last piece of snow of 2013. 
It is now in my freezer in case of emergency.



I realise the title of my blogpost isn't entirely true, of course there is snow in Finland. It's such a big country, you only need to drive 200 kilometers north and you will be guaranteed snow. But if anyone is travelling to the capital area of Helsinki, beware for you may be disappointed, especially as one of Finland's finest events occurs today.




Today marks the crowning of Lucia, an annual event on December 13th happening in various towns across Finland with the largest and most media-covered crowning being held in Helsinki against the backdrop of the fabulous Helsinki Cathedral.  


 Click to see original painting


I have seen this event without snow before. I remember a group of students from Sweden brought their own Lucia celebration to St.Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland about 10 years ago. It was something special indeed, especially when I first saw the group all dressed in white gowns with red sashes walking up the freezing stone floor in their bare feet. It was a very cold evening and walking barefoot didn't look easy. While I still remember that occasion in Dublin very well, it is still not as spectacular as the proceedings in Helsinki. 
If you missed the Lucia celebrations at the big white church in Helsinki today don't worry, you can watch it all on the Finnish National broadcaster's channel. Just click this Link













Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends. Let's hope the snow arrives here and wherever you are for Christmas!





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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 



                     
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The Art Garage, Finland

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