Join the adventure into the world of midsummer magic, wildflowers and fantasy cats. blog follows the path to fascinating art, where dreamy elements are playing with the reality - and illustrations are completed with Finnish wildflowers. Artist Sanna of the Sandcastle takes you into a journey to creativity, art and illustrations.

Lusto - Finnish Forest Museum and Upmks exhibition

Finland has been celebrating 100 years of independence and it has been nice to emphasize Finnish themes also in the blog. One of those themes has been the Finnish forests as a source of inspiration. For that reason I wanted to tell you also about Lusto, the Finnish Forest Museum.

Lusto is a national museum and science centre focusing on Finnish forest culture and illustrating the interaction between man and the forest from the past to the future. Lusto’s exhibitions, events, work demonstrations and theme days provide a diverse and illustrative insight into the significance of forests in the life of Finns.

Lusto also has an interesting website with a lot of information about the museum and all the events:

The Finnish Forest Museum is located in the beautiful area of Punkaharju in Savonlinna. Punkaharju lies 340 kilometres from Helsinki. Punkaharju can be reached by train and bus, and Savonlinna also has an airport.  

More info about the beautiful area of Punkaharju can be found for example in here:

The Finnish Forest Museum is like a treasure in a forest. The beautiful surroundings are shaping the whole museum visit and are transforming it to an unforgettable experience. The whole scenery and museum area is telling a story of Finnish forests.

Lusto also organizes guided tours to the nearby attractions of Punkaharju ridge area and Finnish Natural resources Institute´s (LUKE) research forest and arboretum. The guided tours to the Arboretum of the Finnish Natural Resources Institute for example give the visitors a change to familiarize themselves with different tree species. There are 54 coniferous and 48 broad-leaved species in the area. The tour will also take the visitors to see the tallest tree in the whole of Finland.

More info can be found also in here:
Guided tours of Lusto
Punkaharju research forest (LUKE)
Punkaharju Nature Reserve

But already from the outdoor area of the Lusto opens a beautiful postcard view. What an incredible scenery for all the outdoor events that are held in the Forest Museum. The museum is an interesting place to visit every season and the time of the year colors that surrounding postcard view differently... Fall with colorful tress have been one of my favorite times for the museum visit.

Remember to check the opening hours and season information when planning your visit. Especially during the summer there is a lot of outdoor events and guided tours available.

In the landscape the Lusto building itself appears to be like an exciting forest adventure, inviting to visit. It gives the visitor feeling like one would be entering a fascinating hidden forest - inside a forest. Visiting the museum is like a journey into that another reality built of information and forest stories. And at the same time it is a time travel into the decades of the Finnish forestry and its developmental phases. But above all Lusto cherishes that beautiful bond that the Finns have with their forests. 

When wandering inside the beautiful museum, one can easily lose track of the time. There´s so much to see, and as a one of the largest special museums in Finland, it is wise to have enough time to really enjoy and get the most of the experience.

The Finnish Forest Museum really has something to offer to everyone. The exhibitions have been built beautifully - with a lot of knowledge and style. And even the smallest details seem to merge beautifully into the entirety. As a result the visit to forest museum is fulfilled with many visual experiences. When looking into those worlds that the vitrines and showcases are telling about, you almost feel like becoming a part of those sceneries yourself.

And what about the incredible miniatures in the exhibitions!  Well, they just are a story of their own.

The miniatures are skillfully created and they are carrying the forest story throughout the whole museum. All the information behind the themes is really coming alive when the different miniatures are illustrating the events and details. One could spend hours only by exploring those miniature worlds and their amazing details.

The miniatures are also creating an interesting contrast with the bigger elements of the museum. As a result there is a beautiful balance and harmony in the whole museum, that is appearing in the interaction between the smallest miniature characters and the massive forest machines. The unforgettable visit is an outcome of that rich variety.

The big and massive elements in the Forest Museum are impressive. The massive forestry machines and different simulators in the Machine Age - exhibition are forming one collection inside the museum. Exhibition explores the mechanization of timber harvesting, as well as the development of forestry and the forest industry.

There is a lot of things to see in the museum. Lusto also has several artifacts and locations where you can touch and experiment with things yourself.

Lusto is also a fun place to visit with children. The miniatures and machines in the exhibitions may be fun, or then trying to identify trees. But there is also a lot more...  like the Children’s Tree and the bear’s den. Read more about how to encourage the smallest museum visitors to discover the exciting adventures within:

In the Lusto behind every corner there is always something more to be found... The museum is a great experience giving a lot new information and experiences.

I also enjoyed how the Finnish art and illustrations were integrated into the exhibitions of the museum. The nationally well-known artworks were telling their own stories throughout the whole museum.

For example concerning the swidden cultivation the best-know illustration of the technique is the painting created by national artist professor Eero Järnefelt. The painting was painted partly outdoors at a burn-beating site in Savo, with local people as models. The original painting belongs to the national Gallery of Finland. In Lusto the historical view about the forestry together with the picture of the painting was telling a deep and touching story about the swidden cultivation.

Nationally known illustrations were combined to forest themes also when entering the space called  "Mythic Forest" (”Myyttinen metsä” in finnish). The room is a part of the permanent exhibition called “ The Forests of the Finns”.

For Finns, the forest has always been – and still is – not only a source of income and a treasure trove of the offerings of the forest, but also a place for recreation and retreat. The exhibition also unveils new paths deep into the forest of folklore, the world of forest myths, stories and beliefs – the world where you could vanish in the forest in a supernatural way.

Especially the forest myths were appealing to me when I first heard about the Lusto. After wandering in Finnish forests and drawing dryads and forest creatures all my life, it was impossible to resist the Finnish Forest Museum. And for that reason one of my favorite rooms was the "Mythic Forest".

The "Mythic Forest" had just the same feeling that one would get in Finnish forests -  like one would step straight into a fairy tale storybook! Visual elements and lights in the room were creating that mythic atmosphere to the whole space. The whole room whispers gently of that ancient forest magic.

On the walls of the room there is a beautiful collection of pictures from Rudolf Koivu´s illustrations.

Rudolf Koivu was a significant Finnish illustrator. The topics in his illustrations vary, but there is one recurrent setting – the Finnish forest. You can see some more pictures of  his amazing illustrations for example in here:

In the "Mythic Forest" room one can step into that fairytale forest of Rudolf Koivu. But visitor can also read fascinating stories about Finnish folklore and mythic traditions.

The space continues into The Room of Silence, that is a virtual experience. The Room of Silence exhibition has been a favourite experience among visitors to Lusto. Initially designed to run for just six months at Finland’s pavilion at the EXPO 2000 World Fair in Hannover, Germany, this unique exhibition have been enjoyed by a total of more than two million visitors in Hannover and at Lusto. The Room of Silence will remain open until 7th January 2018.

After leaving the Room of Silence I had the museum broschures and map with me when heading into the next sight. Navigating with the map felt like actually reading a forest map, and find all those places with different moods inside a forest. In a way Lusto reminded me of a big forest that has many smaller parts with an unique atmosphere of their own.

The next place I navigated into was a special art exhibition called "Building up a national identity". The exhibition is organized by the UPM-Kymmene Cultural Foundation. More information of the foundation can be found here:

The exhibition looks at how art that has been inspired by the forest has been important with regards to the construction of the Finnish national identity. Exhibition is comprised of 28 works by artists including Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Berndt Lindholm, Eero Järnefelt, Gösta Diehl, Hugo Simberg, Jalmari Ruokokoski, Jussi Mäntynen, Pekka Halonen, Santeri Salokivi, Tuulikki Pietilä, Victor Westerholm and Yngve Bäck. The exhibition is curated by the director of the UPM-Kymmene Cultural Foundation and Dr. Anna-Maria Wiljanen.

The overview of the exhibiton invited the visitor to explore the art and enjoy the various forest stories that the artworks were conveying. The great bronze sculptures of Jussi Mäntynen were giving a rythm to the space.

Exploring the artworks and watching the exhibition from different angles offered fascinating views.

One of the highlights in the Upmks "Building up a National Identity" exhibition was the painting that was also in the brochures of the exhibition. That is the painting of Pekka Halonen, Autumnal Aspens, that is on the right in the picture above.

On the left there´s Eero Järnefelt´s qouche work, Landscape from Koli.

Especially the landscape paintings were like windows into the national identity of Finns...

These incredible paintings (above) were taking the visitor straight into the Finnish national sceneries.

Works in the picture from the left:
Axel Gallén, View of the River Oulankajoki at Paanajärvi
Berndt Lindholm, Cliff landscape
Eero Järnefelt, Island of Happiness and Love

The exhibition offered many unforgettable moments...
Moments, when seeing the Hugo Simber´s etchings (below).

... or seeing the Forest Maiden bronze sculpture from 1950 from artist Matti Haupt (on the right in the picture below).

In the exhibition it was also interesting to read about the complex of networks between industry and the arts. In the exhibition there was also additional information describing Hugo Simberg´s design process of the trademark symbol - the griffin design. The Griffin etching is on left in the picture above.

One special detail presented was the Hugo Simberg´s design for the Kymi Company´s 2th anniversary scroll iIn 1899 (below).

The exhibition "Building up a national identity" will be at Lusto till 7.1.2018.

The exhibition was a great part of the Lusto visit. The special exhibition was emphasizing the themes of Finnish forests  - and one couldn´t imagine a better place for the exhibition than the Lusto. The beautiful collection of artworks was giving an extra touch to the whole museum visit.

The forest museum together with the amazing artworks were completing each other´s stories, creating a joined visual language. Eventually the experiences both from the forest museum and from the art exhibiton are forming one beautiful story in visitors mind - that story of Finn´s forest relationship.

Pinacoteca di Brera

I finally got the chance to visit the Pinacoteca Brera in Milano.
The Pinoteca di Brera website (also virtual gallery in there):

I´ve waited the possibility to go through this entrance for a long time...

For me the highlight of the visit was to see the amazing paintings of Francesco Hayez.

Especially to see the "Il Bacio" in real life. More info about the painting:


And the "Odalisca" from Hayez too.


But this room became my favourite for other reasons too.


Because the same room had also other treasures: the beautiful landscape painting called "Paesaggio lagunare" from Guglielmo Ciardi and from Girolamo Induno the painting called "Triste Presentimento". And also paintings from Giovanni Fattori.

Below is photo of very effective work from Pellizza da Volpedo (Giuseppe Pellizza) called " Human flood".

Museu Nacional d´Art de Catalunya in Barcelona


I visited the Museu Nacional d´Art de Catalunya in Barcelona. I´ve climbed the hill once before some years ago, but the place affected me again by its beauty and all the fountains.

From the Museum entrance there´s a great view to Tibidabo.



In the Museu Nacional d´Art de Catalunya there´s currently two exhibitions that i was interested of: works of the modern art collection and the Josep Tapiró (Painter of Tangier) paintings.  The Museum´s website is: and there´s a lot of info about the collection and exhibitions.

Especially the Tapiró watercolor paintings were truly amazing - so extremely detailed and beautiful. It´s unbelievable that the paintings are painted by watercolors. The exhibition is open till 14th of September 2014. In the website there´s good pictures of the paintings:



Due to the refurbishment of the modern art rooms, which will be reopening next September with a new presentation, a selection of works from the collection has been put together in temporary exhibition. More info in here:

In the exhibition there was also few paintings from Joan Ferrer Miró. You can find picture of one the painting in here: Joan Ferrer Miro.

My favourites were the paintings from Francesc Masriera, Mariá Fortuny and Ramon Casas. The picture below is from few of their paintings.

On the left: Francesc Masriera - Winter 1882
Up on the right: Ramon Casas - Plein Air
Down on the right detail from: Mariá Fortuny - The Spanish Wedding

In Palazzo Pitti in Florence


One of my favourite places in Florence is Galleria D'Arte Moderna in Palazzo Pitti. Great portraits every time! More about the paintings in



This photo below is from the Palatine Gallery (also in Palazzo Pitti). Located on the left wing of the Palazzo, the Palatine Gallery includes works of art by Italian and European masters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

In the Palatine Gallery all the details, paintings and sculptures are creating a new bigger picture – like a dreamlike reality, where all the elements are melting together. And it´s never enough to stare at all the details. The Palatine Gallery and rooms are one of the places where you just would like to lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling - and it´s almost what I did when taking this photo.


And behind the Palazzo Pitti there´s also the beautiful Boboli Gardens.

My Work was selected to RWS Exhibition in Bankside Gallery in London

Watercolour work "Forest life in Finland" was selected for RWS Contemporary Watercolour Exhibition in the Bankside Gallery in London (situated on the Thames Path just along from Tate Modern.

Here´s picture from the exhibition and detail from the selected work “Forest Life in Finland”. Check out the miniature mushrooms and the scale for millimeters below.

Blog archive