Thursday, August 14, 2014


In an earlier blog, I referred to a remark my late husband (a Clinical Psychologist) had made about my work. He claimed I suffered from “only child syndrome” and the need to create “company” on my canvasses was the result of some existential loneliness. Well, guess what? In my latest effort, I’ve come up with a man to protect me and keep me company. He’s a bit of a slob and not my type, but hey, when I need him, he’s there. That’s more than you can say for most men.

I have to thank the ace graphic designer Bob Callahan for finding Herman for me. Callahan likes to occasionally amuse himself by putting (“virtually,” not actually) my artwork in all sorts of high-class places like the Louvre, or the Neue Gallery. Of course, my work looks great in big, fancy galleries and who knows, maybe someday, if I live long enough (like another 100 years) it might get there. One day, Bob e-mailed me a photo of Herman (that’s the name I gave him) admiring one of my well-endowed maidens (nothing like virtual reality). I decided I needed him in my life so I took the photo Bob sent, copied it onto a sheet of acetate and used my overhead projector to create a life-sized figure with his back to the viewer. I then copied the image onto a large piece of canvas and painted it in oil. Herman came out great; he was Everyman, the universal Zhlub*: thirty pounds overweight, sloppily dressed; even the creases in his saggy pants looked real.

My next step was to glue the painted Herman onto a piece of foam core and cut him out. I have to say, the result was so realistic that you could swear he was actually in the room. My immediate reaction when I came into the studio at night was to jump back, thinking there was someone there, looking at my work. When I realized it was only Herman, I relaxed, knowing I now had someone to protect me; like a dog; he would scare away intruders.

All my friends love Herman and insist that I photograph them next to him. He’s like one of the painted figures at a carnival with a hole for your face or maybe he’s actually a Golem, arisen to protect the Jews of Prague (in this case Renee Kahn in North Stamford). I’m not quite sure I need protection, but it’s nice to know he’s there and he that he admires my work.

Herman is happy to pose on request. Just let me know and I will make an appointment.


A crude person lacking in social skills along with insensitivity and a lack of manners, oaf, nebbish 


  1. I love Herman! Thank you, Renee.

  2. This is great! Renee, you are a genius!