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 snow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label snow. Show all posts

Saturday, February 15, 2014

WINTER IS COMING....or maybe not!

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I got up from bed this morning to find the temperature here in southern Finland had gone over to the plus degrees side again, +3° celsius to be exact.  This has been the norm now for the past few weeks.  Usually this time of year it would be somewhere between -7°C and -35°C.  We've had very little snow this winter so far.  Normally I would have enough snow-shovelling exercise finished by now to prepare myself well for the intoxication hit that comes with a certain green celebration in March.  Instead I find myself looking at reports of bad weather from abroad.  For example, torrential rain in the Caribbean, heavy snow and continued freezing temperatures in the US and Canada, and of course crazy floods and storms in the UK and Ireland.  At the moment I saw it's snowing in Ireland, maybe because it has probably been blown halfway up towards Greenland!!





Foggy February in Finland!














Instead of shovelling walls of snow I have to look at constant grey skies and think fog. There's even the occasional shower. I can't complain really, in fact I'm very happy! The less snow-shovelling the better, I'm not much of a morning person, especially anytime before 08.00 or when temperatures are -10C or less. 

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


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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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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Out from the winter duvet!




Hogan's Blog is back from yet another winter pause. These pauses have become regular and probably occur because of the weather. Up here in Finland the dark winters can affect one's motivation to do anything, especially during long periods of cloud cover. And this winter we've had a lot of it, in fact it's been exceptional. In the southern area of Finland where I live only 50 hours of sun has managed to get through the clouds since the beginning of December. It's been quite depressing to say the least.  In fact, it reminds me of the endless summer days of rain I often experienced while growing up in Ireland. Yes, it's that depressing! ... (this is why there are so many good pubs in Ireland!) 

The lack of sunlight here this winter has been the lowest for the last 25 years. With the absence of leaves added to snow coverage everywhere and endless grey skies you might think you've been transformed into a dog. Everything looks so grey! 



Fortunately the weather seems to be getting better this week though, even if it is still freezing cold. The huge duvet-like cloud cover has been gradually falling away and the wonderful colour blue has entered our lives once again. Occasionally the snow gains a light yellowish glow which brings to mind the return of some much appreciated sun. I haven't seen the actual sun yet, only it's light hitting against some buildings and treetops. But it's on it's way slowly along with blue skies and scenes just like the ones in the video below. Yes, believe it or not it does get this nice in Finland!




On another good note, I went to visit the annual Snow day-out on Sunday February 17thin the nearby town of Ekenäs/Tammisaari (it's a bi-lingual town, hence the two names in Swedish and Finnish). The main attraction at this event are the snow sculptures. While held on a frozen beach with dull weather and cold temperatures, the spirit of the locals is upbeat and a fun atmosphere is always present. Despite the longer timespan of darkness this year was no exception. Smiles, laughter and chatting could be found everywhere. I managed to take a few photos of the day with my camera, and later needed to fix the contrast on them because of the weather. Here's are my photos with a video I made comprising of images from both the 2012 and 2013 events below.













You may have noticed from the video above the difference in the weather between 2012 and 2013. It can make a difference to have a big blue sky instead of the monotones from the snow and clouds. Luckily the people at this event bring enough colour and cheer of their own every year to make it a success no matter what and a fun day out for all the family. If you liked this you can read all about what happened in 2010 on one of my previous blogposts called 'There's no art like snow art!'


Thanks for reading my blog and please feel free to share it with any of your friends on Facebook or wherever.
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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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!!



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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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summertime Blues?.....No thanks!!!



This blogpost is written especially for anyone living here in Finland.


Living in Finland for a few years now, I have witnessed the harsh winters and learned to deal with cold temperatures. I have shovelled my fair share of snow and lost the feeling in my fingers several times.
It's been a long cold winter and now summer is finally here!


Time to get the Kabanossi and Karhu out, put the sandals and shorts on, set up the trampoline or pool if you're lucky enough to have one. 




Going a little crazy just because of a bit of sun is something I can relate to, being an Irishman. One could easily replace the Finnish cold for Irish rain in this equation. And believe me, a cocktail of Irish rain and atlantic winds can really get you down sometimes. Show an Irishman a window full of summer sunshine and he'll be straight out for a game of golf before getting ready for an evening of barbeque and beer! I've noticed that Finns are very similar in their appreciation of all things sunny and nice too. While the Finnish winter can be beautiful and unique in it's own way, one window of summer sunshine and the Finnish public are straight down to the beach, park or their summer cottage for some quality time!!

So before you go out and disappear under the big glow of the summer sun, let me wish all my blog visitors in the northern half of the world a very happy summer!

And if any readers living here in Finland have doubts about letting your hair down this summer, or if you are having second thoughts about jumping in that lake with nothing but your birthday suit on, why not watch this video. Remember, while the winters here are wonderful and picturesque, they are also very long. The summer is short, and I think this will encourage you to enjoy it even more. It's a long video, but worth watching at least for the guy's commentary. I thought he was funny and....and I must go visit that well-known "Baltic country Viagra", I heard it's economy has been growing rapidly since joining the Eurozone. He seemed to enjoy his visit anyway. I watched this on full screen as he used a top of the line Sony camera.






Thanks for reading my blog and feel free to share with all your friends. My next blog will return to a subject I love to hate!

-Alan

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Songs for the Snow




With the early arrival of snow to Finland last November, I've had the ongoing job of clearing snow at my humble residence. Constant shovelling has proved to be good exercise for me and my Finnish snow experience came in handy this Christmas when I visited my parents home in Ireland. I was a very surprised with the amount of snow that fell over there this Christmas. It wasn't easy to help with the clearup given the lack of proper snow shovels, but you make do with what you have.
And while the snow quickly melted away in Ireland I could then only think of spring, sunshine and good times ahead.


Unfortunately I'll have to wait a bit longer for spring to reach Finland as I was greeted with a snow storm on my return to Helsinki airport. Time to get the snow shovels out again!


To make the shovelling go a little easier I find it helps to listen to some tunes on my mp3 player. 
Here's my Top 5 Snow shovelling songs at the moment. Maybe you might know another, please add it in the comment box below!

No.1
Guru Josh - Infinity
........because there's no sign of the snow ever ending!  :(





No.2
John Lennon - Clean-up Time
.....because it has to be done!






No. 3
Death in Vegas - Aisha
.... great tune for building some rhythm to your shovelling.




No. 4
Snow Patrol - Take Back the City
.... and hope to overcome the elements.






No. 5 
The Seven Dwarfs - Hi! Ho!
..... simply to get outside the door to the freezing cold. Get past this step and the jobs half-done!





Happy Shovelling!!



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

-Alan

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Barbeque Time!



A typical small portion at a Finnish barbeque.
Finnish pork sausage and potato salad.




I can't believe there's still some snow lying about over here.
I know it's Finland, but it's almost May!

Nevermind, it's not going to stop this years barbeque kick-off! I'm looking forward to my first barbeque of the 2010 season this weekend.
Well, I tell a lie, it's actually my second.
My first BBQ took place last February, but it was a snow barbeque, so it doesn't really count.

Believe me it's a totally different experience.

Here's some photos to prove it.






I remember it being -13 degrees celsius that afternoon, apparently warm enough for some Finns to go outside for a barbeque!
Honestly, they're crazy!!

As it was just too cold for me to take my gloves off, I left all the grilling to my friends.





I found a fun and easy way to warm myself up while checking out the nearby slopes. Extreme sports here I come!!

(If the owner of the sledge in this photo is reading this, I'm very sorry!)




Well, hopefully that troublesome volcano in Iceland will calm down a bit and our weather can get back to some normality. I'm hoping that the sun will burst out this weekend with a massive heatwave here in Finland.

I'm going to get my Kabanossi sausages out and have a few cold cans of beer in the blistering sunshine. I might even put my shorts on!

'Got to be optimistic!!







And I got a nice surprise last week at the shops when I saw that my favorite Finnish beer is now available in a one litre can. (I'd love to see 'em shotgun this baby!)





















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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

There's no art like snow art!







The date was the 14th of February, St.Valentine's Day.
This is a holiday I have normally associated with love, romance, cards, flowers and chocolate. A day every Irish teenager eagerly awaits at their halldoor for the postman to arrive with a Valentine card from that someone special who supposedly loves them so much, whether they like it or not. Oh yes indeed, the memories of Valentine's Day!


This holiday in Finland is slightly different however. The holiday of St.Valentine is relatively new here. In fact it first appeared in diaries here in 1987 as 'Friend's Day' or "Ystävänpäivä" in Finnish.
And to this day it is still called "Ystävänpäivä".



However, nowadays you can see cards and other items advertising 'St.Valentine's Day' in shops and on television everywhere in Finland. But it's just another word for Friendship to most Finns. And while the elements of romance which are associated with St.Valentine's Day slowly begin to creep in to Finnish culture, you are still more likely to see close friends and even relatives giving each other cards and gifts of friendship on February 14th.



As it turned out, 'Friendship' was the theme at a very 'cool' event I attended last month. The local municipality of Raseborg in Southern Finland were I live had organised a day out for the public which included some ice-swimming, bbq sausages and most importantly a Snow sculpting contest. This contest was held over a period of 3 hours on a beach in the town of Ekenäs. The sea here was frozen at the time, so I got a chance to walk on ice. This was a first for me!



A selection
of snow sculptures.




And here's the sculpture
that came first in the contest.

















Well, that's what happened down my way last month on Valentine's Day. Definately something different for me and also a novelty day-out. I reckon a Friendship Valentine is always a good thing!

Here's a little clip I made of the Snow Art and more.
Thanks for reading my blog and enjoy the video!

Alan








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The Art Garage, Finland

The Art Garage, Finland
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