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The new web site brings more colour to my life. I got my first web site in 2005 and it remained the same for a time. The last big renewal was made in 2009 but it was mainly technical. There had been some updates but I needed a lighter way of telling the people news about my life. After all, we are living in the age of Facebook, Twitter and blogs. My intention is to update here some things and thoughts that are currently important. I hope they will entertain you!

Saila from wall-to-wall

Tuesday 28.4.2015

Saila Forss’ exhibition ‘Saila from wall-to-wall’ grand opening took place at my gallery friday 24th of April! It features 25 paintings and collages which have been done throughout the years the artist has been active. I am extremely happy that she decided to go forth with this project with us. Our friendship has lasted nearly 60 years as we met in the kindergarten. Therefore it’s needless to say that this exhibition means a lot to me as well.


After the grand opening the exhibition is open for public from 25th of April till 9th of May. On mondays, tuesdays, thursdays and fridays the gallery is open 11-17 o’clock. On wednesdays 12-18 o’clock and on the weekends 12-16 o’clock. On Mayday the gallery is closed. Saila is present at the gallery also on wednesday 29th of April 12-14 o’clock. Welcome!

The address of the gallery is Kalevankatu 42, Helsinki. You can’t miss it as in front of it is a huge construction site! If you’re arriving with a car, keep in mind that it might be hard to find a parking space nearby, hence the ongoing maintenance work on Kalevankatu. If you’re arriving in a wheelchair please give us time to install the ramp for easier access.

Friends forever

Wednesday 18.2.2015

Photo: Saila and me. A dear friend of mine, Saila popped by at my atelier. Our friendship started back in 1958 at the kindergarten. Therefore it's safe to say it's the robust kind of friendship!

Spring on my mind

Monday 16.2.2015

Photo: Today I've been working on a painting where children are playing on the beach. Sunny greetings from my atelier! Today I've been working on a painting where children are playing on the beach. Spring is coming and if something is wonderful, that is!

New year, new tricks!

Wednesday 4.2.2015

Image: Today I have two new paintings under the works: "A morning at Käpylä" and "An afternoon at Lanzarote". Today I have two new paintings under the works: "A morning at Käpylä" and "An afternoon at Lanzarote".

Please, Remember the children

Thursday 4.12.2014

Image: The Good Holiday Spirit –campaign collects money for less fortunate Finnish families with children. As my gallery's Christmas themed display window has gathered several, little smiling faces around it it's hard to avoid getting into the holiday spirit. Therefore like every other year I will remember the families which suffer unbearable stress because of the holiday season by donating for the unfortunate. I wish that every family and child would have as merry Christmas as I've had. I'm so glad that there is a way to help out those in need.

For me and my family the way is the Good Holiday Spirit ‑campaign.

My gallery´s Christmas Window is Updated!

Sunday 30.11.2014

Image: Gallery´s Christmas Window 2014 It´s almost there, full of nice little details and the spirit of the Season. I am still expecting a couple of late add-ons from Santa´s Workshop but other than that Heidi and I are very pleased with the results. The Kids and the tourists love it! It is a big hit in the age group between 3-185.

Hope you enjoy it too!

Making of: The Christmas themed display Window

Sorting out the papers!

Wednesday 5.11.2014

It’s always nice to receive gifts and giving them is even more fun. Especially when the gift is wrapped nicely.

Friendly reminder that you can wrap your Christmas presents with the illustrations of the Mouth and foot painting artist associations giftwrappers. They are sold at the MFPA shop in Helsinki. One package contains ten colourful, Christmas themed wrappers; 5 different themes, two of each theme and costs only 10 euros. The package includes matching parcel tags as well.

There’s still a bit time until Christmas, but...

Monday 3.11.2014

It’s unbelievable but yes, It’s Christmas season again. I have to admit that once again the year has gone by really quickly. Tuning to the holiday spirit this early is still a bit hard, yet I am startled every time when I bump into the seasonal sweets at the supermarket. After all they are often laid out to the height of my wheelchair. Can’t really believe that it’s Christmas again, but it just is!
For the Mouth and Foot painting artists across the globe November has become an important month during the years. In November many receive our season greetings by mail which include postcards and calendars. This year the collection contains six Christmas themed cards with envelopes, three parcel tags, two bookmarks and the calendar for the upcoming year 2015. All illustrations in the collection are made by MFPA artists. Most of our work during the year focuses on inventing new ideas for the Christmas season, but as you can guess one can’t necessarily be in the holiday spirit in mid-July. Often the best ideas appear just before or after Christmas. Therefore it's fortunate that Christmas is every year!
Mouth and Foot painting artists association is an international organisation which operates on every continent except on Antarctica. Keeping this in mind all the products sold in Finland aren’t just by Finnish artists. In return us Finns who are in the organisation have a chance to showcase our work in foreign exhibitions for example in Germany or Singapore. I’m ultimately pleased to announce that this years postcard collection contains one of my illustrations, "Christmas Night". The painting has a black cat running into a house and my dear friend, Meelis Luks has a painting in the calendar called "A quiet morning".

Joint exhibition in Mikkeli

Wednesday 1.10.2014

Image: Logo of Finnish Artists Association As a member of the Association of Finnish Artists two of my paintings were included in their annual exhibition. This year the event will be held at Mikkeli town library's Mikkeli-hall. If you happen to be in the area please drop by.

Autumn activities

Saturday 20.9.2014

Image: Maalaukseni "Catwalk". Early autumn has become as a sort of a tradition for me when I gather all the finished paintings which I have been working on during the spring and summer before posting them to VDMFK. My work will be photographed, catalogued and weighted at the headquarters. It feels good to know that my artistic skills are monitored by specialists. It is one of the most important phases of my work, which gives a nice boost to it as well. Of course I get the biggest satisfaction if one of my paintings is published and it will reach a bigger audience. We artists need you. The audience, the public. Even though several artists claim to paint for themselves none of my colleagues hide their work intentionally. During the early days of November the annual compilation of Christmas cards will be published. This years package includes six postcards, three gift labels, two bookmarks and the calendar of 2015. I know already that one of my works is included in the cards so I'm excited how it will be received!

Artists on the yard

Wednesday 4.6.2014

Image:   "Metsä II". Concurrently with my exhibition at the gallery Dix I was given a chance to get some of my work on display at the "Artist on the yard'-event (Fin. Taiteentekijä Pihalla). At the distinctive gallery Ajatuksenpoikanen's (free transl. gallery "Tiny Thoughts") backroom I have three small (30 x 30 cm) oil paintings which are forest themed and in my opinion they fit in there like they've had always been there.

The event is organised by 'Who would listen to the poor?'-group (Fin. Kuka kuuntelee köyhää?) and it is open for this week from Tuesday to Friday from 12 pm till 6 pm and on Saturday from 11 am till 15 pm at the yard of the Balder building (address: Helenankatu 4, Helsinki, Finland).
The organiser is available at the venue during opening hours and visitors are welcome to discuss and support the up and coming artists and craftsmen. The café offers various types of coffee and tea, karelian pies and home made cacao-coco balls! Unfortunately I can't be present at the event, but if you have the chance; a genuine summer day at the heart of Helsinki is an experience I can dearly recommend.

The Gallery Dix

Monday 2.6.2014

Image: The Gallerty Dix. The opening of my exhibition is over and I feel very happy. Thank you all who could make it there and also thank you all who´s been there in your thoughts. The last day of May is very challenging because of the end of school celebrations and many of you had to make difficult arrangements just to be there with me. Thank you!

Something old, something new 31.5.–19.6.2014

Friday 30.5.2014

Image: The Invitation card. I have always painted. By 'always' I mean I started around the 60's. When I was 11 years old I got an easel as a present from my grandfather, which he had built himself so it would fit my needs. The easel was light green and had the scent of fresh paint. I remember it like it was yesterday. We became pretty much inseparable as I already loved to paint back then. Not too long afterwards I got acquainted with some new easels and techniques, while studying and searching to discover my own style. I've decided to dedicate this moment to review the past and see will history repeat itself.

In my "Something old... something new... everything personal" exhibition I'll be showcasing several of my paintings, which some of are more than 20 years old.

Welcome to Gallery Dix in Uudenmaankatu 19, 00120 Helsinki. Gallery Dix is open from Tuesday to Friday 11am–5pm and on Saturdays and Sundays 12pm–4pm, closed on Mondays.

Back to weekly routines

Wednesday 23.4.2014

Photo: In the window some puzzles and children's books. I spent the sunny Easter with my family and friends by enjoying various delicacies. As always after a holiday comes a weekday, and therefore we stripped down the Easter decorations from my gallery. Currently I have on display in the window some puzzles and children's books while waiting the summer to come!

Greetings from Tarvaspää

Sunday 20.4.2014

Photo: Tarvaspää and I Today we walked along the broadwalks of Tarvo towards Tarvaspää and the Gallen-Kallela museum. Last time I visited there was about ten years ago. The exhibition was called "How Many Keitele Lakes? - Variations of Motifs", and it examines the work of Akseli Gallen-Kallela through out a few different themes. Especially the exhibition focuses on the Lake Keitele, a cliff called Ilvesluola (transl. bobcat cave) and the encounters of characters of the Kalevala mythology like Väinämöinen (an old bearded man), Aino (young maid) and Lemminkäinen's mother. It made me wonder... I didn't know that the wife of Akseli Gallen-Kallela - Mary - was posing as a model for both, Aino AND Väinämöinen!

---

Akseli Gallen-Kallela (26 April 1865 – 7 March 1931) was a Swedish-speaking Finnish painter who is best known for his illustrations of the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. His work was considered very important for the Finnish national identity.

More:
www.gallen-kallela.fi/english.html
wikipedia.org/wiki/Akseli_Gallen-Kallela

Happy Easter

Friday 18.4.2014



The video was filmed in my Gallery´s window. Happy Easter to all of you!

Fresh sea air

Thursday 10.4.2014

Photo: Lissu and Aurinkolahti beach. My dear little sister Heidi has always thought that the world has to be accessible for me. This occurred way before we even knew the term "accessibility". Therefore we have rumbled around with my wheelchair pretty much where ever we pleased - with various results and sometimes our mom didn't have a clue about this. Today we conquered the beach of Aurinkolahti! The wheels of my wheelchair sunk deep in to the sand, but getting next to the waterfront was amazing. The sound and movement of the waves and the fresh sea air was truly an experience not to miss. Dearly recommended!

Preview

Tuesday 1.4.2014

Photo: A grandmother with two little ones examining the gallery window. The Easter themed display window of my gallery isn't finished yet, but it's certainly collecting admiration from the experts of this field. A grandmother with two little ones spent quite a while examining the painted eggs and the little chickens on it.

Live and learn

Monday 31.3.2014

Photo: Mika Vesalahti and Lissu. Painter Mika Vesalahti visited at my Atelier and taught me acrylic painting techniques. He also is my teacher at the Finnish Adult Education Centre of City of Helsinki.

The Easter preparations

Wednesday 26.3.2014

Photo: Lissu and Zelda. The Easter preparations at my Atelier are in full swing, but what does the Zelda witch and beach ball have in common?

Vernal Equinox

Thursday 20.3.2014

Photo: Vuosaari's Aurinkolahti beach, Helsinki. Vernal Equinox 2014, The First Day of Spring? Vuosaari's Aurinkolahti beach, Helsinki. Few minus degrees and a freezing wind - the secret to a red nose.

Something old...

Wednesday 12.3.2014

Photo: Lissu. 'Something old... something new... everything personal...' exhibition in June at Gallery Dix. I have quite a few new paintings and now I should only pick the 'old ones'...

Cheerful visit from Turku

Wednesday 26.2.2014

Photo: Satu and Lissu deserved coffee break. Satu Vuorinen from Turku was on a business trip in Helsinki, but had the time to pop by at my gallery as well. Her presence always tends to light up the room. It is magical how she does it.

Satu is the niece of my dear friend and colleague Anja Hämäläinen. Satu also assists Anja often and as it happens the last time we met was in July at the VDMFK's conference in Wien. As you can probably imagine our rendezvous was very pleasant! This time we became fascinated with the idea of organising a group exhibition at my gallery in collaboration with the foot and mouth painting artists of Finland. In addition the event could contain 'hands-on' presentations regarding the painting procedure itself and showcase our organisation in general. It's a great idea which requires further thought and another cup of coffee as well!

Today

Wednesday 19.2.2014

Kuva: Lissu in the window. Currently I have puzzles by mouth and foot painting artists on my gallery's display window. Wonderful, I bet the spring is just around the corner!

Orange!

Wednesday 5.2.2014

Photo: Lissu working. When the skies are dark and grey I tend to ignore it and spread some sunny shades of orange to my canvas!

Waiting for Spring

Monday 3.2.2014

Photo: Lissu working. A new week and a new painting under work. Although I am waiting for the Spring and the Summer to finally come, winter themes are still very current.

Christmas is over

Monday 9.1.2014

Photo: The New Year-baby (which looks quite old to me) wondering how the year 2014 will pan out. As Christmas has gone by it's time to get back to work!

Happy New Year 2014!

Wednesday 1.1.2014

Photo: Happy New Year 2014!
Happy New Year 2014!

Christmas window is open

Monday 9.12.2013

Image: The Christmas themed display window is nearly finished! Yesterday we held a small opening ceremony of the Christmas themed display window at my gallery acquainted with mulled wine and rice porridge. With the display window I wanted to emphasise the joy of the holiday season and the importance of being with your loved ones during Christmas. The window contains various decorations which have been featured in our past family related Christmas festivities, but in addition also objects that were gathered just in the means to construct the display. The illustrations featured in the display window are originated from the paintbrushes of mouth and foot painting artists and several of them are most likely known to many from SJK's Christmas campaigns. We utilised in total of 30 Christmas themed postcards and calendar illustrations to create the mood we wanted to reflect with the display window. Special thanks for providing the large illustrations swiftly in such a short notice goes to the British artist and member of the board of Artists of the association, Tom Yendell. The list of the paintings and artists involved in the project are also clearly displayed in the window. Planning out the Christmas themed window with Heidi and Mika was fun and the final result most joyful. Like in the Finnish Christmas carol "…and so the old grows younger and begins to play like a child…" The exact same thing can be found by looking at the photographs of this blog post.

I am painting at my gallery on Mondays during 8 am till 4 pm and on Wednesdays from 12 pm till 5:30 pm. In addition I will be doing an extra shift next Saturday (14/12/2013) from 12:30 pm till 5 pm.

First Sunday Advent

Sunday 1.12.2013

Regardless the modest first snow that came down in Helsinki yesterday which transformed itself to rain and pitch black darkness, the first Sunday Advent gets me into the holiday spirit. Preparing for christmas is fun and it can be achieved in several different ways. By participating The Christmas Spirit Campaign brings me a lot of joy and hope. By making a donation to support an important cause brings assuring happiness to me. The aim of the campaign is to provide as many families as possible a grand Christmas and this is personally a dear matter to me.

The campaign is orchestrated by the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare and the Finnish Red Cross and it started on the 22nd of November 2013 and will continue till Christmas eve.

You have mail?

Monday 11.11.2013

During the first days of November you might have received the SJK xmas letter. Like every other year the package contains six high quality xmas/winter themed postcards, two bookmarks and three parcel tags. All of the original artwork have been painted with mouth or feet. In the variety of postcards the one that is personally most to my liking is a piece called 'Enchanting Lapland' which is painted with foot by Risto Toivanen. If you were intrigued by the themes featured in the postcards you can order the cards of your own choice straight from the office of SJK. You can also inquire the cards featured in the previous xmas packages if you so wish. In addition the themes of the new 2014 calendar form again a successful entity which is delightful to look at throughout the whole calendar year. Finally; please note that direct mail recipients are under no obligation, either to purchase the cards, or even to return them.

PS. The SJK office sells also xmas themed packaging paper, puzzles and books which are more than suitable gift ideas!

The Pre-xmas exhibition sale of Gallery Dix

Wednesday 6.11.2013

As the year has been hectic and full of activities I haven't had an exhibition of my own, but few of my works are featured in the Pre-xmas exhibition of Gallery Dix (Uudenmaankatu 19, 00120 Helsinki). Three of my smaller acrylic paintings (30 x 30 cm) are on display in the studio of the gallery which were also featured in the 'Behind a disability - there is a person'-festival. The pre-xmas exhibition sale is open till 28th of November, but I highly recommend to pop into Gallery Dix to scope out impressive artwork from talented artists regardless what the occasion may be.

VDMFK´s latest news has been published!

Friday 4.10.2013

VDMFK´s latest news (in english) has been published and can be read as an e-paper version on the VDMFK´s international website http://www.vdmfk.com/worldwide/en.html.

PS. My painting 'Storm' is one of the eleven paintings slideshow on the homepage of VDMFK.

Art from Rome to Helsinki

Wednesday 18.9.2013

Roman Gallery 'Galleria Il Collezionista' brought 14 italian artists artwork to the AVA Gallery in Helsinki (Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 17).
At the opening we met Leena and Leif Ostbaum of SJK Kustannus Oy. Although we just spent three days together with Leif in Vienna I was very happy to see him again. My main interest in the exhibition was – of course – my college and mouthpainter signora Santina Portellis atmospheric and lovely painting 'Rondó Veneziano'. Unfortunately the painting was in an unreachable level for wheelchair users. Problems, however made to be solved and the very nice gallerist brought the painting personally to me to enjoy it up close. It was most compelling and I just do not have the proper words to describe it. Simply lovely!

If you are interested, 'Rondó Veneziano' and the other artworks are on display in AVA Gallery until to the 6th of october 2013.

Grüß gott! And greetings from Vienna!

Saturday, 20.7.2013

I had the honour to participate to the general assembly of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists worldwide (AMFPA) which was held 1.-6.7 in the sunny Vienna. My finnish colleagues Anja Hämäläinen and Risto Toivanen arrived with the same flight as well. Anja lives in Salo (115 km from Helsinki) and Risto in Jyväskylä (270 km from Helsinki). That being said we do not see each other too often and therefore it was a great chance to exchange greetings with my fellow artists and countrymen.
The schedule for the week was tight and carefully calculated (as usual) so everyone found themselves exactly where they were supposed to be at the right time. We sat two days in a row in meetings at the gorgeous Messe Wien. One of the subjects was the election of the new president and two new members of the board of our Association.
Official language of the meeting was German but all statements were translated by professional interpreters. There is usually two interpreters in the translation booth at once as the work is quick paced, but as I cannot hear the speech through the headphones I was arranged a personal interpreter. That being said the lovely Varpu Vuorijoki was able to sit beside me and give me whispered interpreting throughout the meeting.

May I introduce, the new president of AMFPA: Serge Maudet

At the meeting, 2nd of July, a new President of the Board of Artists was elected by the members of the Association. French, 59 year old Serge Maudet is the fourth president to be elected for the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists worldwide (AMFPA). In May 2002 in Lissabon he was elected to the board of Artists. In the same assembly the late Eros Bonamini was elected as the president of the Association.

The Opening of the Exhibition 4.7.2013

The opening of the exhibition was held in 4th of July in the Palace of Hofburg, which featured over 200 paintings by the artists of 29 nations. The Ceremonial Hall offered a gorgeus scene for the event while the president of Austria, Hanz Fischer acted as the honorary patronage. Speeches at the exhibition were given among others by the head secretary of the Austrian branch of Amnesty International and painter Heinz Patzel and by the professor Herwig Zens. It felt good to notice that the appreciation and the equality of making art is a hot topic all over the globe. After the opening we went to the Albertina art museum which is located near to the Hofburg palace. The on going exhibition at the museum was the works of Herbert and Rita Batliner's 'Monet to Picasso'-series. Albertina made its acquaintance for us artists when in 2007 AMFPA's 50th year celebratory exhibition was held there featuring 250 paintings.

Business before pleasure - and the Gala evening

After a busy week of official runnings we were pampered with a dinner at the amusement park of Prater's traditional Schweitzerhaus restaurant and with a wonderful afternoon trip to the eastern state of Austria, Burgenland. We arrived to the Esterházy Palace which was located at the capital of Burgenland, Eisenstadt after travelling a bit more than an hour with a bus. We were entertained by traditional music and dance of Austria on the glorious yard of the palace until we entered the palace itself. As we arrived to the beautiful Haydn Hall I was mesmerised by the ornamental walls and ceiling. A great week came to its end as we enjoyed the musical performance by the Haydnorchester Eisenstadt in our beautiful surroundings.

Tere tere! Hello there!

Tuesday, 11.6.2013

Four intensive days in Tallinn and the "Behind a disability - there is a person"-festival (Puude taga on inimene) in the singing field are now behind us. The experience was absolutely amazing and the event full of quality activities.
You can find the published pictures and news from the festival's Facebook site. If you do not feel like stroll through the Facebook site you can always head to the website of the Estonian foot painter Meelis Luks. The website of the television station of Tallinn published a videoclip and YouTube contains another one featuring Meelis in Silver Wheels dance performance.

Leena & Leif Ostbaum and Helena Korkala from SJK Kustannus Oy (Finland's publishing house) and Ly Luks from SJK-Kirjastus OÜ (the Estonian publishing house) arrived on Friday. The exhibition was held in the Pilar Hall which was really spacious at all even though the amount of exhibited arts and crafts were substantial. The technique how the paintings were laid out was unknown to me; they were suspended from the ceiling with fishing lines. That being said the paintings seemed to float around in the hall. The first impression of the technique seemed peculiar turned out to be a superb one. A detail which is also worth while mentioning is the tags attached to the paintings which contained information about the painter and the painting. The tags were covered with Braille.

In addition to the "Blind Café" I mentioned earlier in another blog post one could participate in various workshops eg. foot painting, assembling puzzles blindfolded or even try to test-drive a wheelchair. On the festival site the fire department workers also gave information about putting out a fire and a local driving school offered a chance to experience how a car does a well controlled flip in slow-motion. It looks really intense when a car is flipped around several times with a machine and is left on its roof. The "victims" were left hanging inside the car suspended by the seat belts while a calm discussion about how one should proceed in this kind of situation was held. The proper approach in this sort of accident was to open the seat belts, push the windscreen out with your feet and carefully crawl through the front window to safety. Modern and effective approach from the driving instructors indeed!

From the substantial sports events one to mention was the tennis doubles where the Estonian social minister Taavi Rõivas and the representative of the national wheelchair tennis team Viljar Villiste played against the goal keeper of the national ice sledge hockey team Valeri Falkenberg and the football goal keeper Mart Poom (known from teams like Kups, Arsenal and Watford). The social minister was not playing in the winning team but most likely took a few points home regardless as Rõivas is constantly involved in developing the status of disabled people in Estonia.

Another event worth while mentioning was the wheelchair floorball match featuring the Estonian national team TTÜ and the Estonian national electric wheelchair floorball team. For safety reasons also the non-disabled team utilised electric wheelchairs in the match. The tight battle between the teams ended up in the score 8-7 for TTÜ's favour.

The spirits were high all through the event and the organising party clearly did a great job. A lot of people came to the festival and the weather was most pleasurable. It was truly a privilege to be a part of the event!

All aboard!

Wednesday, 5.6.2013

We will be heading off for a trip tomorrow once again. This time to Estonia and to the "Behind a disability - there is a person"-festival which I blogged about earlier. Now that Estonia is part of the European Union transporting my paintings across the border exponentially easier. As there is not any extra hassle and stressful custom forms it is easier to focus on what actually matters - enjoying the exhibition. Of course travelling with a wheelchair there is a few important aspects that one should take into account regardless of the form of your transportation. For example when travelling with a ship it is good to inform the crew beforehand that we will be boarding with a car and also with a wheelchair. This enables the crew to reserve a parking space for our vehicle which is easy to enter and exit and usually is also located nearby the elevators as well. After making these arrangements our previous trips with the Tallink M/S Star have been most successful and that is why they are worth of recommending.

Spring Bloom

Saturday, 11.5.2013

Once again in Oxford. The spring is here in full bloom and the nature beautiful as you can imagine! If this scenery does not inspire to paint, write or sing it truly is a wonder. I tend to stick with what I know best and keep on painting and that is why when I arrive back to Helsinki I will head to my atelier as soon as possible. My godson's studies end here in Autumn, but I will surely return to this lovely town more than once again. I guess "you can always leave Oxford but Oxford doesn't leave you"… which truly is a blessing!

Behind a disability – there is a person

Monday, 6.5.2013

A month ago my estonian colleague - Meelis Luks - contacted me and enquired would me and my paintings be willing to participate an event held on the 7th till 8th of June in Tallinn. The 'Behind a disability - there is a person'-festival is expected to attract nearly 10 000 visitors and the events initial purpose is to manifest that a person can be talented regardless of a possible disability. Its goal is to create a more tolerant society and break barriers between 'us' and 'them'. Even though the main demographic of the festival are the Estonian public - and that being said the official languages of the event are Estonian, Russian and Sign language - I am really looking forward to it myself as well! The activities feature music, films, dance, theatre, sports, art and crafts and all this can be enjoyed more or less without fully understanding the language. One of the attractions that the festival has to offer is the "Blind Café" where the customers dine in absolute darkness. All possible luminous electric equipment like mobile phones are strictly forbidden at the cafe. All the staff of the cafe are blind and this being said it is a great opportunity to learn how blind people experience the world around us all.
Two specialists from Finland will be lecturing at the seminars held at the festival site; a representative of the Finnish National Gallery in Helsinki Sari Salovaara and Olli Nordberg from Kynnys ry. Another remarkable invitee from Finland is the dance group "Taika-tanssi".
I will be participating with 15 of my paintings in a group exhibition with the Estonian artists Meelis Luks and Tiia Järvpõld. Our intention is to paint as well at the festival site and Meelis is also attending the Silver Wheels wheelchair dance group's performance.
I dearly recommend you to participate the 'Puude taga on inimene' event and spend a bit more different summer day at the lovely city of Tallinn.

ps. If you are not able to attend do not be alarmed as the 'Cross Over'-festival is held simultaneously in Helsinki at Kaapelitehdas on the 6th till 9th of June. 'Cross Over' has been a great inspiration for 'Behind a disability - there is a person'-festival.

Return call

Thursday, 4.4.2013

On a thursday afternoon in April the lovely ladies of the Toimela Adult Education Centre arrived to my atelier for a scheduled return call. The brutal spring wind that blew ruthlessly on the street of Kalevankatu did not interfere with our warm and upbeat spirit which we had on our coffee break. I promised earlier to exhibit my painting techniques to the respectful ladies which I did, but with an addition of offering them a chance to get acquainted with oil colours and paintbrushes in a more practical way. Just after a while of pondering Minna Lankinen grasped a brush without a doubt in her mind and with her mouth! Minna painted swiftly her own version of the AMFPA's calendar painting and received a well deserved round of applause after finishing her creation process. The time flew by during our lovely afternoon and the Ladies eventually returned to their routines, but even after their departure from my atelier a bird of paradise in a vase remained to remind me of my joyful guests.

Utain – Tampere University´s magazine

Sunday, 20.1.2013

Somewhere in the middle of January Emilia Kortekangas contacted me. She is studying photography at Tampere and she wanted to come to my atelje with her friend Roosa Murto - a journalist student - to interview me about my art for the Tampere University´s weekly magazine for journalist students, Utain. I never heard about the magazine, so I looked it up on the internet. It is a very proper paper with very good photographs about current affairs.
We set up a meeting for a saturday when they were coming to Helsinki anyway. In the morning they were at the Zoo and covered a story about wounded animals. In the afternoon at the agreed time the bell rung and two red cheeked girl stood in the cold winter street and smiled. Without any hesitation they started to interview me and I could´t help but admire their natural approach and questions in a situation which was probably new to them. We spent three hours together and they got their story and pictures which was published in Utain number 3/2013 (only Finnish).

The Christmas Spirit!

Friday, 14.12.2012

Since my childhood Christmas has meant great times for me and I dearly hope that many of you feel the same. I'm sure that every parent does their most to create the best possible Christmas for their kin which they would remember with smiles later when they have grown up. As a child "Great Christmas" meant most of all the presents that Santa would deliver, but the concept also contained the aroma of great food and the presence of my mother, siblings and grand parents which created a safe atmosphere. Now when some years have gone by my "Great Christmas" is dependent on the same features, but the most cherished ones are undoubtedly the time spent with the family and our warm holiday spirit. During this holiday season, like during many others, I would like to be there for the many families who, for a reason or another, don't have the possibility to have a "Great Christmas". The Christmas Spirit Campaign collects money for less fortunate Finnish families with children. The money collected will be used to give 70-euro food vouchers to 18,000 poor families at Christmastime. "The Christmas Spirit" Campaign is now ongoing and will continue till the Christmas eve.

Lady Power from Toimela!

Friday, 23.11.2012

When Minna Lankinen from the Adult Education Centre of Toimela contacted me about month ago and inquired would I be willing to participate as a guest lecturer for the Culture Club for the Elderly, "honored" did not even start to describe the emotion I was feeling. I'm often more than willing to tell people about my work as an artist, but still I rarely receive invitations to this kind of events to do so. At Toimela my audience consisted nearly twenty lovely women and I was able to witness an immense amount of so called "Lady Power"! For now my lecturing skills have been fairly limited and that being said I was afraid how my presentation would carry on, but thankfully my observant audience took care that it did with their relevant comments and questions. The Technical preparations at Toimela were also done very well so we were able to view some of my paintings and a video material about my techniques through my website. It truly was a great afternoon with interesting people which certainly cheered me up! Thank you!

The Enchanting Brighton

Saturday, 17.11.2012

Once again it was the time of the year when the urge to travel became unbearable and I had to acquire some new experiences and relax. The getaway destination we selected was the familiar but oh so fascinating town of Oxford. This being said I had also the chance to say "Hi!" to my godson whose second year studies had just began. My brother-in-law is a skilled driver and his experiences from his last summers trip to Scotland reinforced his confidence behind the wheel so we thought that it would be wise to rent a car. The British left-hand traffic with their several roundabouts started to make sense pretty quickly after we got the hang of it. Mainly I was scared by my sisters high pitched screams from the front seat as she was terrified. An hour away from Oxford, in the town of Holybourne, lives a dear colleague of mine Tom Yendell (who paints with his feet and mouth) so naturally we had to visit them at their house. Tom's wife, Lucy is a native Brighton girl and Tom happened to study there as well. As a matter of fact they fell deeply in love in the same town during the beginning of 80's. We invited Lucy and Tom as our tour guides and started making our way to Brighton. The day was absolutely brilliant and while staring at the sunset it was easy to plan our future. As we returned home, to our hotel, our minds were refreshed and it took a while before we could relax and hit the hay. A week is just such a short time especially when you're travelling and returning home is inevitable, but then again it's always nice to wait for the next trip.

Finnish Artists Assosiation 44 years Exhibition

Thursday, 4.10.2012

The festive opening of Finnish Artists Assosiation 44 years Exhibition was held at the Sanomahouse's Mediapiazza in Helsinki on the 2nd of October 2012. A lot of people came by and even as the event was really crowded the atmosphere was extremely positive. The event consisted speeches, musical performances and of course the amazing artwork. During these festivities it was also possible to purchase the catalog containing all the paintings included in the exhibition. The exhibition is open till 14th of October 16:00 so If you haven't visited there and you would like to do so, you can still absorb some visual perfection to your grey weekdays.

Sanomahouse's Mediapiazza is open from Mon - Fri, 7-22 and Sat - Sun, 9-22 the Sunday 14th being an exception as the exhibition closes at 16:00.

Leonard Cohen, Visual Artist

Sunday, 16.9.2012

I confess to being a huge fan of Leonard Cohen, so I obviously went to his concert at Sonera Stadium on the 2nd of September and fully enjoyed his over 3-hour concert, despite the intermittent rain and wind. Today I complemented my knowledge of Leonard Cohen by visiting the Art Factory of Porvoo and getting to know him as a visual artist. His 54 graphic artworks, very Leonard Cohen-ish, that were on view filled nicely the big art hall, and the background music – Leonard Cohen, naturally – went perfectly together with the self-ironic works of art. A good start for getting to know the exhibition was the poem "If there were no paintings" that was hanged on the wall. In the poem Cohen convincingly declares that "If there were no paintings in the world, Mine would be very important. Same with the songs."

Horses and me

Monday, 6.8.2012

Velvet muzzle making acquaintance. On one August Sunday I got to visit my friend Linda’s parents’ home farm in Vihti. The place was green and beautiful but that’s not all of it! I got to make friends with the horses of the farm. When I was young I used to even ride on horses, but that was a really long time ago. I didn’t even remember how lovely and soft the horse’s muzzle can be, or how good the warm breath that smells like hay and sand can feel on your face. After a small moment of timidity, both the mare and the foal came to sniff and gently nip my hair.

Light, light…!

Saturday, 30.6.2012

Today we got to admire the new look of my atelier and gallery. Changing the floor for a lighter one was a successful decision, even though we will have to use the mop more often in the future. The white walls of the gallery got their first paintings, and in my opinion the outcome is very fresh.

Peek to my renewed gallery

Sunday, 17.6.2012

Renovation The long planned renovation of my atelier is under way. The walls of the gallery will be painted white instead of present gray, and the dark, partly very worn out laminate floor will be replaced with dove grey stone patterned laminate. The shelves of the storage are delaying the work – it’s just that packing and carrying about 300 paintings would have been impossible, so at this point we have to support the shelves before we can put the new laminate under the legs. Sounds mad and I cannot even imagine how it’s done, but I highly trust the professionals. The renovation began only on Tuesday and surely there will be enough work for the whole week, but I just couldn’t wait to stay away so I went to peek through the window. And it’s looking good!

Excitement and reunion

Sunday, 1.4.2012

Collegues The inaugurations of exhibitions are always equally exciting; nowadays people have so many obligations regarding work, friends and family that it's impossible to have time for every happening. On the other hand I was expecting visitors all the way from Denmark which was exciting as well. The excitement turned into joy immediately when my Danish colleague Ruth Cristensen and publisher Randi Viereck entered Gallery Dix with a smile on their faces. The last time I met Ruth was a few years ago in a meeting of delegates in Mexico City so it was really nice to see her. Also my Finnish colleague Anja Hämäläinen came from Salo to see my exhibition here in Helsinki so my joy knew no bounds. Except some peak moments there was a regular flow of visitors during the whole opening. The feedback I got was excellent and especially the glowing words from Leif Obstbaum, Sjk Kustannus Oy (MFPA Finland) that "the exhibition was full of positive surprises" made my day.

Thank you to all of you who could make it. The exhibition lasts until 19th of April and Gallery Dix is open from Tuesday to Friday 11am–5pm and on Saturdays and Sundays 12pm–4pm. I will personally be there every Wednesday and Sunday during the whole exhibition. Welcome!

Congratulations VDMFK!

Monday, 19.3.2012

VDMFK 55 years. Quite precisely 55 years ago, 19.-20.3.1957, 16 foot and mouth painting artists from different European countries gathered in Liechtenstein. During these two spring days was held the constitutive meeting of VDMFK (Vereinigung der Mund- und Fussmalenden Künstler), an initiative by German mouth painter Arnulf Erich Stegmann. The work of the association was soon seen as important and it spread around the world. The first Finnish artist was accepted as member already in 1958. Nowadays the association has almost 800 artists from 74 different countries.

To celebrate the 55 years of VDMFK, we raised our glasses to honor A.E. Stegman and his great ideas.

Two weeks until the exhibition

Sunday, 18.3.2012

Exhibition. All my new paintings have returned home now and they are waiting for the final touches. The big picture of the exhibition has been clear for a long time but still some kind of limiting needs to be done. These last two weeks before the exhibition will be spent on composing the show. Changes are possible, almost probable, until the moment of the opening because it´s in the gallery where you finally see how the paintings go together.

Butterflies in the Stomach

Friday, 10.2.2012

Tango. Soon it's time for my next personal exhibition, I will have it from 31st March until 19th of April 2012 in Gallery Dix. The invitations have been already printed but I'm still waiting for some of my paintings to arrive back to Finland, which gives me extra excitement. Luckily, Dix is a familiar gallery to me as I've had exhibitions there before as well. Not to mention the seamless cooperation with the gallerist Tuule Mäkinen.

The art products of Christmas 2011

Thursday, 1.12.2011

Christmas Set 2011.

Even though I have been painting in our association for years it's always so exciting when the brand new campaign package arrives. I was happy to notice that also this year's calendar there are paintings by Finnish foot and mouth painting artists – this time two. My own painting “At the Observatory Hill” was chosen as the picture of October and November's painting is “View over Mäkelä Street” by Anja Hämäläinen-Numminen, a dear friend and an active member of our association since 1965. As the icing on the cake is the idyllic Christmas card painted by Risto Toivanen who has taken part in the activities of the association since the 1960's. This is not an insignificant achievement considering there are almost 800 brilliant artist from 74 different countries in the association. Everyone can imagine how great it feels when your friends and, luckily, strangers too still send real paper Christmas cards in this e-card era. Cards that may be found after years, maybe fallen behind the bookshelf. I will be waiting for the spring selection with great interest...

Greetings from Selborne, Hampshire

Saturday, 15.10.2011

The Selborne Gallery.

My godson Roope started studying in the SAE Institute of Oxford last autumn so we spent there a week before the school started. At the same time I had the opportunity to visit my English colleague Tom Yendell whose paintings – made both by mouth and foot – are incredible! As a mouth painting artist I can understand how it's possible to hold the brush between the teeth and paint. But by foot! Even the idea gives me cramps in my feet. In the photo I'm with Tom in front of a gallery run by an English publishing house. There you can personally choose your favorite copy or just look and admire the paintings and get more information about mouth and foot painting artists and their amazing work.

Tom Yendell truly has a big heart. He is a man of action who works for independence and self-motivation. As a result of Thalidomide medication he was born without arms and his life hasn't been very easy. Besides his many activities he gives presentations to different kinds of communities and is always ready to help – even in Ghana. [Look YouTube video 2011]. An autobiography “Here for a purpose” is under way. The book written by Marc Alexander will be published early in 2012.

Spring of London, Tate Modern and Miró

Thursday, 28.4.2011

London, Tate Modern.

Our quick spring visit to London 20.-24.4. was a success. The weather was nice and everything went well. Our hotel was the old and familiar Mercure London City Bankside, which is accessible for people in wheelchair. Good location is a bonus: the hotel is just a few blocks from the Tate Modern. The museum was one of our principal places of interest because they held a special exhibition of Miró´s art, more than 150 pieces of art. In the exhibition there was a surprise waiting for me: my travel companions (Mikael and Heidi) gave me a Tate Modern membership for my birthday! Coffee and cake were served in the Tate Member area on sixth floor.

 

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2015-04-28 Saila from wall-to-wall
2015-02-18 Friends forever
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2013-01-20 Utain – Tampere University´s magazine
2012-12-14 The Christmas Spirit!
2012-11-22 Lady Power from Toimela!
2012-11-11 The Enchanting Brighton
2012-10-04 Finnish Artists Assosiation 44 years Exhibition
2012-09-16 Leonard Cohen, Visual Artist
2012-08-06 Horses and me
2012-06-30 Light, light…!
2012-06-17 Peek to my renewed gallery
2012-04-01 Excitement and reunion
2012-03-19 Congratulations VDMFK!
2012-03-18 Two weeks until the exhibition
2012-02-10 Butterflies in the Stomach
2011-12-01 The art products of Christmas 2011
2011-10-15 Greetings from Selborne, Hampshire
2011-04-28 Spring of London, Tate Modern and Miró