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 Sweden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sweden. Show all posts

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring in Stockholm......with vice-cream!


Last Friday I got an early taste of spring as I spent a lovely sunny day in Stockholm. While large amounts of snow were still evident last week here in Finland and temperatures were still low enough to catch a cold, I hopped onboard a Viking Line ferry in Helsinki and headed southwest to the picturesque city of Stockholm in Sweden. I had been on short visits to the city before but always during cold and unpleasant weather. This time it was perfect, a bright sunny day with temperatures around 15C degrees. Not too hot, not too cold, perfect conditions for any irishman!

I really like the ferry trip between Finland and Sweden. There's always an interesting mix of people from both countries, aswell as a few russians and the occasional 'foreigner' like me! Everybody onboard always seems to be enjoying themselves.

The weather in Stockholm was indeed good to me on this occasion and I took full advantage of it by walking around the city streets and sitting outside several cafes. Lot's of interesting sights to see. I also noticed a lot of flowers sprouting up around the town centre. A refreshing sight to see after several months of snow and freezing cold.

National Museum of Fine Art, Stockholm.
In the afternoon I dropped by the National Museum of Fine Art where there was a special art exhibition taking place. It was titled 'Lust and Vice', a collection and an account of how sexuality, virtue and sin have been illustrated and shown in art from the 16th century to present day. The exhibition is varied and quite graphical, not the sort of thing you might like to take your grandmother to. Then again, granny does enjoy a good laugh! And yes, once again, lots of interesting things to see!





Here's a video I found on the exhibition. It's only in Swedish, but there's great detail to the images so it's worth a look.


Bildspel, Lust & Last from Nationalmuseum on Vimeo.


Unfortunately this irish catholic boy had to give this exciting exhibition a miss. Alas I had good reason not to corrupt myself with this unique insight. For one thing, the sunshine outside was just too nice to be stuck indoors. And secondly I didn't have much time to see a complete exhibition as I had a tight schedule and a boat to catch at the end of the day.

Instead, I opted for a big fat ice-cream and a short boat trip along Stockholm's canal and waterways instead.
Let's call it my vice-cream!

Here's a short video I put together with some photos of my little day out. A little less costly and not a bad substitute for a day at the gallery!
Excuse the dodgy camerawork and enjoy!







Before I finish this post I want to say a big thank you to the nice person in Exton, Pennsylvania who purchased a print of my painting titled 'Birch Path' yesterday. You have excellent taste and I fully appreciate the sale!




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

-Alan

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





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Saturday, March 6, 2010

In the Viking Club, at last!



Woo Hoo! I finally got my Viking Club card in the post.
And no, it's not a membership card to become a real Viking. I won't be growing any scruffy beard any time soon. And I certainly won't be heading off on any long journeys marauding and pillaging foreign lands, unfortunately.
This precious card does however allow me certain discounts on board the Viking Line fleet of Ferryboats operating out of Finland. I can receive discounts on goods such as alcohol, sweets, beer, alcohol and meals, as well as a small discount on drinks and alcohol from their bars onboard.
It's the closest I'll ever get to becoming a Viking I suppose. And it's about time us Irish got some kind of compensation from the Vikings for all their years of plundering in little old Ireland many years ago.
Now where did I leave my axe?


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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Date with the Saami people!





Renée Zellweger chews her finger
in the title role of Bridget Jones’s Diary.

From Universal/Neal Peters Collection





Living in Finland for over two years now I am still amazed at just how large the country is. Finland has a similar population size to my home country Ireland, but is actually four times larger in area coverage.
Of course a large area of northern Finland is open to severe weather conditions in the winter months and therefore considered uninhabitable by some. Add to this the lack of daylight and it paints a grim picture of how anyone could survive winters in this northern region of Finland where temperatures can drop to between -45°C and -50°C.
I live in the most southerly area of Finland and winter here can be hard enough to bear. I honestly cannot understand how anybody can live in the north of Finland.

However this northern area of Finland we all know as Lapland has a large community with busy towns and modern infrastructure. And with a population of about 184,000 it seems that long cold winters hasn't deterred anyone from living there.
Of this quite large population living in Finnish Lapland around 7,000 belong to the Saami community. These are the people who most of us are used to seeing in photos and on TV wearing traditional red, blue and yellow lined clothing and usually occupied by reindeer herding and age-old crafts like carpentry and sowing.
However, nowadays you are more likely to see a Saami rushing around after reindeer on a turbo-quad vehicle with an iphone gps attached. And why not? These are people who welcome the use of modern devices where needed, yet they still maintain and respect old traditions.

Here's a clip about the modern Saami in Norwegian Lapland.




I don't know much more about the Saami people and I'm not qualified to write any detailed information, but since moving to Finland I have discovered that they are very much a part of a detached culture to most Finnish people. They have their own language, they even have there own TV broadcasts I believe. You can read more about the Saami here.




Lapland


This leads me on to Hollywood star Renée Zellweger.

What???....... What has she got to do with Finland you may ask?

Homeland of the Saami people


Well, nothing really.
But I was a little surprised to see her photo on Wikipedia's page about some of Finland's most northerly inhabitants, the Saami. Well actually the Saami people live in the nordic area more commonly known as Lapland, which encompasses parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.

The Saami Flag












It appears that Renée Zellweger's mother, Kjellfried Irene (née Andreassen), is Norwegian-born and of Saami origin.
And today, February 6th marks the Saami National Day.
I wonder if the Hollywood star has this date written in her diary, definately a day to toast a proud part of her heritage.





And finally a little bit of modern Sami music. I'm not familar too much with the Sami culture, I think it would be great to head up to Lapland one day and say hello to all the gang. Here's some music I found on YouTube which appealed to me.





You can find out more about the Saami people and Finnish weather at these interesting links.






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

-Alan

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








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The Art Garage, Finland

The Art Garage, Finland
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