I Painted Russian Literary Scholar Sidney Monas

Sidney in his study, answering emails

My friends Tom and Linda have known Sidney for 30 years or so. Linda actually worked for Sidney, at the University of Texas, where they published and edited a Slavic cultural journal. Retirement can cause enough isolation, but Sidney’s hearing loss trapped a man who loves intellectual exchange into a solitary world, by comparison. We had very little conversation before or after the hour sitting.

What looked like a curse became a blessing: I had banged out Sidney’s profile and figure before leaving, and was going to finish the surroundings with the photo that I took. Well, I accidently erased the photo. Tom and I had to go back out to Claire (his wife) and Sidney’s again. When we arrived, Sidney was in the kitchen with Claire, and his daughter, Debra. He was animated, chipper, and charmingly engaged. You see, he had new hearing aids, and his full world was returned to him. We had the best conversation about Russian books, access to Russian Art, etc. He told me about this book that he was currently reading, titled “The Possessed” by a Turkish author, dealing with the hunt for Russian Cultural access. It was a great time, and I was so very happy to be able to talk with Sidney. If I hadn’t erased the photo by accident, I would not have had the opportunity for this second and wonderful meeting.


  1. Posted April 9, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    this is some really cool artwork

  2. Posted April 11, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Really nice piece and a great story, too.

  3. Posted May 15, 2010 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    I can guess Sidney’s character and surroundings by your painting. i think it (your painting) is much better than the photo what was erased by accident. specially i like juxtaposition of yellow and violet in your painting.
    How are you lavanna?

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