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



Sunday, September 22, 2013

Eyes without a face

Okay, so this blogpost has nothing to do with Billy Idol's hit song of the 1980's 'Eyes without a face', but hey it's a catchy title, so it might attract a few new readers to my blog via taglines!

What my blog is about is this....

Last June I posted a request for photos featuring peoples' eyes on my own Facebook page and a few other pages. I didn't get a lot of offers, but received enough for what I required. Firstly I want to thank those who helped me out, especially those of you from the IESAF Facebook group (International English Speakers Association of Finland). 
The photos I received where used to complete a series of four paintings which are to be exhibited by myself at the Stoa Culture centre in Helsinki this September and October 2013. It is part of a themed art exhibition called Reflections/Heijastuksia being held by the HIAA (Helsinki International Artists Association). There are 14 other visual artists participating alongside me at this exhibition which holds it's opening night this Tuesday, 24th September at 18.00-20.00. All of you are welcome to come and join myself and the other artists as we celebrate the association's 5th anniversary! The exhibition will run until 13th October 2013. For anyone using Facebook, an event page has been created here.

Here's a short video I put together showing the four paintings I will be including as part of the exhibition. 
The eye being an instrument of reflection can determine opinion and an individuals judgement of what it sees. One person's reflection of a vision is a separate account and will usually differ through analysis to that of another person. Such is my interpretation and approach to this exhibition theme of Reflections.




I hoped you liked my little video and hopefully you can make it to the exhibition. 
My apologies to any Billy Idol fans who may have stumbled on to my blog, here's that song you wanted to hear!






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



Share



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 



                     
                                                                      Click here and join our Facebook group!

Please leave your reaction to this blogpost by ticking one of the boxes below. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Living next door to Alice


ALICE by Mick Minogue


Kieran Street, Kilkenny

This is an extension to an earlier post I wrote about a short visit I made to Kilkenny in July 2013. While I was walking around the city's streets I discovered an impressive piece of street-art. Situated at an empty building plot on Kieran street, this large art project entitled 'Alice' by Kilkenny artist Mick Minogue depicted images of a woman called Dame Alice Kyteler




Mick Minogue and Alice

My first thoughts when I saw the artwork was 'I like that, nice work...and something to do with witchcraft!!!'  I also wondered to myself how long will this artwork be here? I realised it was presented in an empty building space with a main part painted on the area's hoarding. I assumed it was perhaps a temporary addition to the city's art scene and would in time be replaced by a new property or business. With that thought in mind I had to enjoy the painting all the more in that moment, as it will most likely be out of sight before I get back to Ireland again. 

ALICE by Mick Minogue

Detail from the hoarding


I've never been much of a historical buff, but I sometimes like an interesting story or character. So after seeing the 'Alice' painting I read up a little more about this Kyteler woman. I discovered that "she was the first woman in all of Europe to be tried by the Church for crimes of witch craft". Now witches as part of Irish history or folklore never really seemed to register in my head as being interesting or popular until now. It was always Tír na nÓg, Queen Maeve, Setanta and banshees for me, and leprechauns for the tourists! 

Detail from Mick Minogue's ALICE


So leaving legends, myths and the little people aside, this old witch story seems to be somewhat documented with names, dates and occurances in time from 13th century Ireland and thus worth a little attention. A mild browse over Alice Kytelar's history and activities kindled up an image to me of a beautiful woman who apparently had a wicked way with men but in time befell to certain forces of evil and witchcraft (or maybe not?). There's some relevant reading about this woman on Mick Minogue's Blog and also Scandalous Women: Dame Alice Kyteler (1280 - 1324?)

Mick Minogue Made This!

The 'Alice' project was a special commission by The Keep Kilkenny Beautiful Committee as part of Tidy Towns 2013 and the artist has integrated this theme cleverly into his designs. Close evidence of this can be seen here in this short video. I particularly liked the witch themed anti-litter signs.






Seeing Mick Minogue's 'Alice' project made me check out more of his work, which I found to be both interesting and a little quirky. I don't get to travel back to Ireland as often as I would like, so I feel lucky to have had the chance to see this example of Mick Minogue's work and the Kilkenny art scene. More of Mick's work can be found at his website here or on his Facebook page.



Share this blog!





Check out these six 'Ireland' travel posts here on my blog. Click on the destinations below to read the rest!





















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 



                     




Tervetuloa Kilkenny!!!






This is the sixth and final blogpost looking back at my holiday adventures in Ireland, and this time it's all about Kilkenny
It's probably a name known to a lot of people worldwide for being a distinctive red-coloured beer of the same name. But there's a lot more to Kilkenny than just beer. For example, when I hear the name Kilkenny I immediately think of the black and amber colours of the county and the great history Kilkenny has in the sport of hurling. If you are not familiar with this sport here's a short video clip to give you an idea.






Not forgetting also that Kilkenny refers not only to a city in Ireland but also to an entire county. It was here that we set as our next destination having said farewell to beautiful Kinvara and the west of Ireland. It was also a chance for me to meet up with my brother and his young family who made the trip down from Dublin. We all arranged to stay at the same hotel for a night in Kilkenny. 

Before we reached Kilkenny city we decided to stop somewhere for dinner. A popular place to go eat in Ireland is the pub, where the food is usually very good and value for money. We had been sampling several pubs for their food during our trip and our next pub was one of the best we found. It was called Delaneys Bar in Clomantagh, County Kilkenny. The owner was very friendly and the food was fantastic!


(Click all photos to enlarge!)


Delaney's Bar and Restaurant, Clomantagh, County Kilkenny

Great food at Delaney's Bar!

Having had a good feed we drove straight towards our hotel in Kilkenny city and checked in. The hotel we stayed at was called the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel and we were not disappointed.
We had a wonderful stay with a very comfortable and spacious room. Our Finnish friends were upgraded to a superior executive suite which was a nice surprise and we also received a big discount on parking. The hotel itself and it's facilities are without fault, and the cavery breakfast was delicious. What impressed me the most however was the way the staff treated us having arrived back late after a long day's stroll around the city. With the hotel's restaurant closed and their chef gone home for the evening, the manager and some staff prepared an inexpensive platter of pizza/chicken goujons/salad and chips for all of us (six adults and three children). Good customer service!

Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel


As I mentioned, we all had a nice stroll around the city. This isn't too difficult to do in that Kilkenny city feels more like a small town and most of what needs to be seen is condensed in a small area of space.
The main attraction and most famous landmark in the city has to be Kilkenny Castle, with it's wide open lawn and impressive gardens. The weather was fabulous yet again, so we had a nice walk around the castle grounds. It was a perfect escape from the noise and traffic outside the castle walls. My brother's kids were happy to find a kids play area nearby also. On our second day a few of us took a tour inside the castle. As we walked around inside, apart from all the wonderful art and interior features we were oddly impressed that they had free Wifi available, especially given the fact that the castle walls are extremely thick inside. A Finnish friend was also impressed by the greeting he received as we walked through one of the castle hallways. An old woman working as a guide kindly said hello and asked my friend where he was from. On his reply of "Finland" she then replied by saying "Tervetuloa!"(the Finnish for Welcome!). This was a bit special I thought. With so many tourists coming through this building every day, I only expected the lady to perhaps know greetings for the more common visitor languages, eg. French, German or Italian.   

Kilkenny Castle gardens


Entrance to Kilkenny Castle



Kilkenny Castle



Kilkenny Castle and lawn

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle




Walls of Kilkenny Castle overlooking the River Nore



The River Nore and John's Bridge in Kilkenny

Another way to get around Kilkenny is to take one of the small train tours like the one in the photo below. It's a fun way of getting around to see areas outside the city centre. On our little train trip we found more examples of Kilkenny's fine churches and we also got to catch a glimpse of the famous St.Francis Abbey Brewery.  


The Castle Express, Kilkenny



St.Mary's Cathedral, Kilkenny

St.Canice's Cathedral, Kilkenny


Kilkenny City Town Hall





After our trip around the city it was time for ice-cream and sweets from Kitty's Cabin sweet shop. This is an old style sweet shop which isn't something I frequent everyday. They had a huge selection of sweets, some old favorites and some new ones with crazy flavours! I decided I had to fill up my pockets with a few bags to take back to Finland. Let's just call it a bad case of Wonkavision!







Kieran Street, Kilkenny

One last thing I must mention about my short visit to Kilkenny was a piece of street-art I discovered. It was situated at an empty building plot on Kieran street in the heart of the city. The title of the artwork was 'Alice', but it featured images of a woman called Dame Alice Kyteler, the first woman in all of Europe to be tried by the Church for crimes of witch craft. The whole piece created by artist Mick Minogue was cleverly presented and very eye-catching to passers by. To view the full artwork and read some more about Mick Minogue, simply go to my next blogpost by clicking here or the image below.


Mick Minogue Made This!

Dame Alice Kyteler by Mick Minogue

Share this blog!





This is part 6 of a set of 'Ireland' travel posts here on my blog. Click on the destinations below to read the rest!



































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 



                     




Monday, September 9, 2013

Loops and Hookers!

Connemara pony at Gurteen Bay, Roundstone


Part 5 of my holiday adventures in Ireland and sadly this was our last day on the west coast. The main reason I made this blog was to reflect on the type of holiday I rarely have a chance to take. Mainly because whenever I do manage to get back to Ireland it is important for me firstly to spend time with my parents and my brother's family living in Dublin. Also, it's rare that Ireland's summer weather gets as good as this year 2013.







This part of our trip took us around one of Ireland's best locations to drive, the Connemara Loop. After leaving early in our car from our Kinvara holiday home we first drove around Galway bay and immediately tried to bypass Galway city. Easier said than done however, with so much traffic and a chain of roundabouts to pass. Luckily our Finnish friends had lots to talk about and questions to be answered, so the time went nicely. Below are a few photos from our trip, simply click on each image to enlarge.


  
Roadtrip map around the Connemara Loop.
(our route in red)

Having bypassed Galway city our journey took us right through Galway county and it's beautiful landscape. It's easy to enjoy the views of the Twelve Bens mountain range along the way, but care was necessary as some of the local sheep have a habit of wandering out on to the roads. Here's someone else's video footage of the views.







This area is a popular part of Ireland for artists also, with some of the country's most famous artworks originating from here. Jack B. Yeats and Paul Henry are just some of the famous Irish names associated with painting in Connemara.



Cloudy Day, Connemara - Paul Henry
Oil on canvas board, 


The first stop we made on our route was Roundstone, a village popular for it's culture and arts. As well as being a home for painters, it's also rich in traditional Irish music and dancing. Unfortunately we weren't sticking around long enough for any of that. So a quick stroll up and down the village, a cup of coffee and a slice of cake in a cafe and we were on our way again. We did get to see the nearby bus-stop, an all-in-one Post office/Petrol station/Grocery store and a couple of Galway Hookers!

Click images to enlarge!




Bus-stop at Roundstone



Shop/Gas station/Post office



Galway Hookers
Traditional fishing boats used in the Galway Bay area



Roundstone, Co.Galway.



After leaving Roundstone, we couldn't resist stopping of at one of the many nearby beaches dotted along the Connemara coastline. Here we had to kick off our shoes and go for a paddle.



White sandy beach at Gurteen Bay, Roundstone.




'Good to get the feel of Irish waters again!!



Beach at Gurteen Bay, Roundstone.




It was time to head to the town of Clifden next for dinner. The sea air in Ireland always makes me hungry for some reason. We had some excellent food at Mannion's Seafood Restaurant on Market street in Clifden. A great place to eat!
After dinner we headed out from Clifden via the Sky road, a scenic route which takes you up over the landscape and offers amazing views of the coast from a parking point along the way. It's not called the Sky road for nothing!



View from the Sky road, Clifden


With the sun finally began to go down it was time to head back to spend our last night in Kinvara. But before that we made our way past several other scenic locations, stopping at Connemara National Park, Killary Harbour (Ireland's only fjord), Leenane and Kylemore Abbey. Although we didn't actually manage to see much of Kylemore Abbey as the sun was setting blindingly in our view. But I did capture this nice shot from the opposite direction which I thought was even more appealing. 



Landscape close to Kylemore Abbey


Share this blog!





This is part 5 of a set of 'Ireland' travel posts here on my blog. Click on the destinations below to read the rest!
























Share this blog!





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 



                     


There was an error in this gadget

The Art Garage, Finland

The Art Garage, Finland
Click this banner to visit my website!