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 city. Show all posts
Showing posts with label city. Show all posts

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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- Alan 



                     
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Helsinki Artoteque celebrates 17 years!




Last weekend I was invited to birthday celebrations held at an art gallery in Helsinki. But this wasn't just any art gallery, this particular gallery was called Artoteque, or Taidelainaamo in Finnish. 


This gallery is situated on Rikhardinkatu, only a five minute walk from the main Esplanade walkway, right in the heart of Helsinki. The gallery is part of the Rikhardinkatu library, a fine old building also worth a visit.

The street entrance to Artoteque (left) which is situated only a few steps away from the main entrance to Rikhardinkatu Library (right). 


On this occasion I was greeted with a nice cup of coffee and some biscuits served to me by the lovely Eeva Muona, manager of the Rikhardinkatu Artoteque. On this day they were celebrating 17 years since the gallery was established back in 1995.  The Artoteque displays works of art by members of the Helsinki Artists' Association, which comprise of over 700 professional artists. The selection of art works include 3000 paintings, drawings, graphics, sculptures and photographs. I must mention and say a special thank you to Riitta, a friendly and informative lady working at the gallery who talked to me during my visit. The Artoteque is open every Tuesday to Friday,12.00-18.00 and Saturday/Sunday, 12.00-16.00.

The main collection and reception area at the Artoteque in Helsinki.


The concept of the Artoteque allows members of the public to come and view art from a selection of Helsinki's best professional artists. If interested they have the option to buy or rent the artworks available. Customers can also be private persons, corporations or organisations. The idea of paying for a piece of art through installments is quite refreshing for me as an artist. I realise that purchasing a piece of art can sometimes be expensive, so I think it's good to have such a set-up in place. It makes art more accessible to those who really desire a certain work but can't afford the full cost immediately. It may also suit those looking to purchase from a notable artist as an investment.

I can't imagine this arrangement would work everywhere however. I guess a high level of trust and respect must be adhered to between the customer and the seller for it to work smoothly. But then, trust is taken very seriously here in Finland, so it doesn't seem to come into the equation too often. There are a few similar artoteques to this in other cities and towns around Finland, but I have been informed that the Rikhardinkatu Artoteque has the largest selection of artists and artworks to choose from in Finland.





My own impression from my visit last weekend was one of inspiration and ideas. I found the variety of styles, colours and techniques that surrounded me truthfully inspiring. I am always seeking to adapt new ideas and techniques to progress my own art, and I wasn't short here! Also, in commercial matters I have only ever sold my art in one single payment, whether it be selling locally or to someone on the other side of the world. Having said this, if I suddenly receive any interests from clients in Finland enquiring about either renting or buying my work through installments I would certainly consider it.





To sell your art at Artoteque you must be a member of Helsinki Artists Association. Which is why I paused with the thought of joining this association. But the fact is that I would need to be a resident of Helsinki to qualify for membership to both the association and the gallery. Nevermind, I took with me back to my home in Karis a bucketful of thoughts and plenty of ideas for my own artwork.

This little anniversary celebration was filmed by YLE, the Finnish national television broadcaster, which you can check out here at 05.50 on this link. YLE news
The footage is of course in Finnish, but you can see some of the wonderful art and layout of the gallery. And you have the bonus of watching me looking like I know something about art. Don't blink now or you'll miss me!!!

Happy Birthday Artoteque!


Thanks for reading my blog and feel free to share with all your friends.

-Alan

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The Art Garage, Finland

The Art Garage, Finland
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