About

Anne Ryan Hanafin moved to the South of France in August 2010 after spending five years in Dublin.

me at Au Vieux Four, Gourdon, Oct 2014

Au Vieux Four, Gourdon, Oct 2014

She lives with her husband Mick in Mougins, in a sunny flat with a view towards the foothills of the Alps. In addition to this blog, Anne works on a variety of projects, including teaching English literature to local students as http://www.whitecrow.fr.

My study in Mougins, May 2015. Pictured centre is "The Bluest Eye (Flower Head)", a mixed-media painting by my neice, aka "The Sprite."

My study in Mougins, May 2015. Pictured centre is “The Bluest Eye (Flower Head)”, a mixed-media painting by my niece, aka “The Sprite.”

 

Some readers have asked about the blog’s title. As with the inspiration for this project, it’s taken from Henry James’ A Little Tour in France. In the chapter on Poitiers, he writes, “It is carrying the feeling of race to quite inscrutable lengths when a vague American permits himself an emotion because more than five centuries ago, on French soil, one rapacious Frenchman got the better of another.”

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4 thoughts on “About

  1. drchipbeck says:

    Dear Annie
    I should have added that I did not interpret your response to the painting as a criticism per se. As someone who, like you, often viewed the haunting B&W photo (I still have a copy in my files) of 2LT King in the old Post Office, I am well-aware of the power it had, peering somewhat off over the viewer’s shoulder from a distant past. As a artist, it is hard to compete with the poignecy of that moment in time. I also understood that the overall blog was more about your memories and your own journey back into earlier places and times. I’ve made similar sojourns and appreciated and connected with your feelings and observations.
    My own daughter (Beatnomad.com) is well into her own 3-year journey to distant places on the planet and has her own blog, and yours reminded me of her, although your writing styles are individually your own.
    On this Veteran’s Day, I salute you for remembering the sacrifice and service of others, including ton pere et tous les autres anciens soldats.
    Regards,
    Chip
    (CDR, USNR retired)
    Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia
    Operation Desert Storm
    Operation Just Cause
    Operation Enduring Freedom

  2. drchipbeck says:

    As the combat artist (and Arlingtonian) who retraced LT Preston King’s final paths in the jungles of Panama and restored long lost details of his life to his Westover community, I was sad that you did not see the humanity and tenderness in the pastel portrait that replaced his old B&W photo. Not only did I go to great pains to be faithful to the old family photo, but the elaborate details of his life, death, and WWII mission that I discovered on two continents brought me extremely close to “PK” as a man, neighbor, and fellow veteran. To me, he was more than an image by the time I traced his final footsteps, his place of death, and his initial burial place along the Panama Canal. I felt PK was a kindred spirit, and I felt strong emotions as I rendered his portrait for the new USPS Station (which BTW was formally named the “Preston King Station” in 1948).
    The next time you visit “Preston,” please take another look and read PK’s story adjacent to the painting. Maybe he’ll speak to you this time.

    • Wombat1865 says:

      Dear Dr. Beck:

      Thanks very much for taking the time to respond to my work. Your comment reminds us of the intimate relationship that forms between artist and subject, and how our intentions as artists can sometimes remain obscured from our audience. My piece was about memory, about the dangers of nostalgia and the resonance of childhood experience. It was not intended as art criticism, nor as a reflection on the life of Preston King. In a few hours — the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, to be precise — I will walk up to the Monument des Anciens Combattants just outside the village where I live. The paper poppy I’ve been wearing pinned to my coat over the last month has gotten a bit crushed, but it’s there all the same. On this day of all days, I can assure you that the stories and sacrifices of men and women like Preston King, like yourself, are more than images to me. The fact that even after forty years, across an ocean, half a lifetime, I can remember his face as vividly as my own father’s is, I think, proof of that.

      With thanks,
      amrh

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