Saturday, December 30, 2006

2006-12-30 Saddam

2006-12-30 Saddam, originally uploaded by royblumenthal.

There were quite a few options for the punchline on this one. In the end, I opted for sheer simplicity. And I hope the two different expressions on Mr Bush's face tell the story.

This painting was made in ArtRage 2.2 using my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc behind closed doors with the curtains closed cos I'm hoping the CIA's spy satellites can't spot me.

Matinee Soup 'Fetch'

Matinee Soup 'Fetch', originally uploaded by royblumenthal.

As promised... my second MATINEE SOUP strip. Many more to come.

Please feel free to pop it onto a t-shirt for non-commercial use!

This painting was made in ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc. No sticks were harmed in the making of this cartoon.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

2006-12-24 Illustration Friday -- Peace (In South Africa)

Last night a buddy of mine sent me the link to a blog by a South African babe called 'Jam'. Her post is titled 'No longer feeling so safe'. In it, she laments the fact that South Africans are in a certain amount of deep trouble with regards to crime. And she wants people to do something about it. Please read her post and respond as you choose.

She refers to an incident which happened recently in Melville, one of Johannesburg's trendy nightspots. In the incident, a late night reveller decided she would go home. Her car was parked out on one of the streets. She prudently asked a male friend to walk her to car as 'protection'.

So two thugs accosted the male friend, shoved him in the boot of the car, and drove the girl and their trunk-companion to Soweto, and proceeded to rape her several times.

They then told her how to get back to Joburg.


This on the back of the Illustration Friday topic for this week -- 'Peace'.

Here's my contribution. I've copied my comment from Jam's blog, neatened it up, and offer it to you as advice for coping with the threat of attacks if you also live in a hectic country.

I've also drawn up a visual guide on how to attack someone with a key.

This is distributed under a Creative Commons 'Non-Commercial -- Attribution -- Share-Alike' license. So please feel free to download the high res version and distribute it if you find it useful.

Here's my 'How To Survive Johannesburg':


Hiya Jam...

Just a quick 1:30am answer to your question as to who to be suspicious of...

It's not really a matter of WHO to be suspicious of. It's a matter of 'developing your radar'.

Something interesting happens to those who are observant. They tend to notice oddities in their environment just that little bit quicker than the rest.

And even more interesting is that 'the suspicious characters' we're on the lookout for are normally much more observant than the average person. When they notice an observant person, they tend to melt away.

It's not a hard and fast rule, cos some of the suspicious types are also high on crack, and don't give a damn, really. But they're exceptions to the rule.

Part of living in South Africa MEANS keeping a lookout. Stop BEFORE the line at traffic lights and stop signs. WAY before the line. As you're approaching, look left and right. Look behind you. Look where your blindspot is. Crane your neck about. If you see ANYONE in an 'out of the way' place... they're more than likely criminals.

When you're approaching your car in a parking lot or out in the streets of Melville, concentrate. Seriously. DON'T kiss your lover outside your car. Be aware, alert.

Have your key in your hand from when you get onto the pavement. There's a special way to hold a key to sucker punch someone. It's NOT the way you've been taught... that way will rip your hand open. See my illustration for details.

Lastly, it's imperative that you learn some form of self defence. I can recommend tai chi. It's a long, slow route to becoming adept at it. But it IS a lethal martial art, and it definitely generates the type of non-paranoid awareness you need for South Africa.

Here's one self-defence tip that you need to know...

The ONLY place to attack a man is the top of his foot. It's vulnerable. Lots of fragile little bones. Not easy to defend against. And it's the easiest target to take by surprise.

It's the only place to attack because it is literally the only part of the body that you can damage instantly, and that will debilitate the man.


Not the bollocks. Not the shin. Not the knee. Not the nose. Not the windpipe. Those targets are all VERY difficult to damage.

The way to break the top of the foot is to simply stamp down hard on it with your heel. Repeatedly. Until the guy drops.

He drops because it's mechanically impossible to walk with a foot broken in such a way.

You can THEN aim stuff at his temple, where the lower jaw meets the ear. That's a nice secondary target once the guy has dropped.

But it's probably a good call to just drop him and flee.

The other tip you absolutely NEED to know is that a man gets approximately three times stronger than a woman when under the influence of adrenaline. (In other words, an adrenaline-charged man will be something in the region of three times stronger than an adrenaline-charged woman of the same body mass.)

This is physiological. And there is nothing you can do about it.

EXCEPT for one thing... don't let the guy get adrenalised.

If you can, do your best to help him stay calm. By talking in a low pitch, quietly, pretending to agree with what he's demanding. Engage him in a non-aggressive, non-threatening way.

This will get you close enough to his foot to break it.

Especially if rape is his intent. You must NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE RAPED. But you must give yourself all options of stopping the attack. And if that means pretending to cooperate, then that's what you've gotta do.

Lastly, do not EVER get into a vehicle with an assailant. It WILL lead to rape, and very likely death. Do WHATEVER you can to escape from a vehicle. DO NOT COOPERATE on this one. If they've got a gun, it's better to be shot in public than in whatever secluded area they take you to. You have a chance of surviving out in the open.

Oh... one absolutely last thing... if you happen to kill someone in self-defence, it is absolutely imperative that you say THESE words to the police when they come: 'I clearly saw his gun, and he was aiming it at me, and threatening to kill me.'

If you express even a shadow of a doubt as to whether or not your life was at risk, you may be jailed. A friend of mine shot two hijackers who actually shot at him first and missed. He killed both of them.

When the cops came, they said, 'Did you see the weapon?' He answered, 'With the first guy, I saw the weapon, and shot him after he missed me. The next guy came at me from behind, and I'm not EXACTLY sure, but he seemed to be pointing a gun at me.' The cops said, 'You're not really sure that he was pointing a gun at you?' And he said, 'I'm pretty certain he was.' Cop: 'But not certain?' And he went to jail for three months pending trial. And he recommends that no sane human being wants to go through that.


I hope this doesn't fuel the paranoia. It's really meant to help you think differenly about your personal responsibility for your safety.

Yes. I know we SHOULD be able to do without this. But we CAN'T right now. And so we HAVE TO be aware. And know what to do.

Blue skies


This painting was made using ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4. It's all entirely handpainted. There are no bucket fills or anything like that. The lettering is by hand. All of it. And yes... I DEFINITELY haven't glamourised myself by appearing to be more muscled in the pic than in reality. I'm really huge. Very very very strong. Right. That should stop people from challenging me to an arm wrestling match. Phshew.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Matinee Soup -- 'Bambi'

Matinee Soup makes its debut today!

Thanks to a chance chat with someone wanting a cartoon strip for her corporate newsletter, I resuscitated Matinee Soup. I originally had the idea about six or seven years ago. And I wrote about 100 gags for it in my writing notebooks.

When M asked me to come up with a strip, I decided to design it afresh, using my tablet pc to do stuff I couldn't have done a few years back. This is the result.

As it happens, this particular strip isn't quite what the client needs. I've come up with something else for them, which should be quite a lot of fun.

So... finally... Bambi is alive and well and roaming the earth.

I'll be releasing a new one every weekend, roughly. Kinda forcing myself to commit to drawing a new one every week. Yay!!!

I'd really love to hear from you. Lemme know what you think. And if you've got any thoughts on what Bambi should be saying, lemme know those too, as long as you're happy to have me 'borrow' your gags. I won't be paying you for your ideas though. And I won't promise to use them.

If you like this strip, please help it spread -- use it on your blog, make a t-shirt. And let me know what you're doing with it. I'd really like to know where Bambi ends up.

Lastly, please read the description of my release conditions. I've released this strip under a Creative Commons 2.0 'Non-Commercial, Attribution, Share-Alike' license. There are more details in the description I've written for the entire set, which lives on my Flickr gallery: Matinee Soup (Set).

This strip is painted in ArtRage 2.2, using my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Please click on the pic to see it at a reasonable size on my Flickr gallery.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

2006-12-15 Illustration friday -- Help

Excellent! I'm finally getting better. With a little help from some antibiotics.

I went to the doctor again, and he told me, 'We've tried plan A with the first course of antibiotics. We've tried plan B with the second course. It's now ten days of you having diarrhoea. And unfortunately, there's no plan C or D. We've got to go directly to plan Z.'

Plan Z is basically a vicious antibiotic that simply HAS to work.

When I went to pick up the script, the pharmacist told me that it was VITAL that I eat a meal before I have them.

I said, 'Why?'

And she said, 'Cos this particular antibiotic is very aggressive, and can burn your stomach lining. In fact, it's recommended by the manufacturers that you drink a FULLL glass of water straight after to ensure that it doesn't get lodged in your oesophagus and burn a hole there.'

Holy cow!!!!

I've just spent some time making a painting. At first it was just me doodling with a grey colour palette. But then it turned into something quite primal.

The Illustration Friday topic this week is 'Help'. And I've been sorta wondering what to do with that.

I was actually going to put it in the back of my brain and go watch CARNIVALE in the lounge, and do something tomorrow.

But I discovered this grey palette that is in the new version of ArtRage, and I wanted to quickly try it, and then suddenly I was making a dark, ominous, ambiguous painting on the topic.

I'm not exactly sure what's going on in the painting. I know the 'facts' of it...

1. There's a guy and a gal.

2. They're both naked.

3. He's behind her.

4. She's facing away from him, craning her head to look at him.

5. Her right arm is behind her back, and her left arm is on her left thigh.

6. His left arm is curved around her, under her breasts, resting on her belly.

7. His right hand is on her inner thigh.

8. Her legs are open.

9. They're standing.

Those are the facts. What's ACTUALLY happening is anyone's guess. All I know is that it relates to the idea of 'help', and there's dark stuff in the painting. And it really stirs me.

This painting was made in ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc in my bedroom with no music on in the background, no clothes on me cos I had a long bath a little while ago, and midnight approaching.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

2006-12-09 Illustration Friday -- Mask & Might

I'm pretty satisfied with this as a final pic.

It captures the bathos of me sitting in a bathroom at 4am puking my lungs out (mercifully, I haven't depicted that -- nice guy, or what?) AND doing what people nomally sit on a toilet to do. No. NOT reading a book.

Last week's Illustration Friday topic was 'Might', and I was in the grips of this tummy bug. I wanted to make this painting for that, but I was laid low. So when 'Mask' arrived this week as a topic, I decided to blend the two.

The might of the tummy bug crossed with the bucket as a mask gives you.... toilet-paper rash!!!! Yes!

Here's a hint for you. Go to the shops NOW and find a coupla rolls of luxury THREE-ply loo paper. The kind that promises to be softer than an angel's breast. And keep it in your cupboard. Cos if you're on the loo for 7 days straight, trust me... two-ply is the same as an industrial belt sander.

This painting was made using ArtRage 2.2 in my bedroom on my Toshiba Tecra M4 surrounded by the debris of someone too sick to clear stuff out and do washing up. Okay. So I'm not THAT sick. But I'm indulging myself, okay? Now go and eat a piece of chocolate mousse cake for me, all right? Go!

(This pic is the final version of a set where I show how I worked from beginning to end. You can look at the whole set at: How I Work In ArtRage.)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Roy Blumenthal's Creativity Coaching, Mentoring, and Workshops -- Pricelist

A client of mine recently asked me to put together a list of some of
the things I could offer his company in terms of creativity workshops
and mentoring for his staff and clients. So I thought I'd share the
menu with you, in case you know of anyone who would like me to tailor
one of my interventions to their needs.

The prices below are valid until the end of February 2007. If you book
now for dates later than that, these prices will still hold! So book

The menu is split into
  1. Creativity workshops and Facilitations.
  2. Individual or small-group, results-oriented mentoring/coaching for selected staff members.
Lemme know if any of this appeals. My (new) number is +27 74 104 6386. My email address is

Blue skies


An Interactive Roleplay Workshop
3.5 hours.

Staff who feel they're stuck, and staff who simply want to 'refresh' the way they see their projects. We'll need 8 to 18 people in this one.

Four facilitators from 'Beyond the Box', the open source industrial theatre company I've founded.

What we'll do:
We'll have the participants in the group interacting with each other to express their blockage. We'll then role-play various blockage scenarios, and have participants actively engage with one another's issues to help solve them. This session will create 'option thinking', helping the participants to find new ways of doing things.

  • Personal responsibility for clearing blocks
  • Relationship building within the produciton teams so that they have internal support for their new ideas
  • Better interpretation of client briefs.
R 9 450 (fixed price, up to approx 18 people)

An Interactive Roleplay Workshop
3.5 hours.

The 'team'. 8 to 18 people in this session.

Four facilitators from 'Beyond the Box', the open source industrial theatre company I've founded.

What we'll do:
This is about the delicate art of being an individual with strong, definite views amongst a bunch of other individuals with similarly strong, definite views. It's about the chaos of being a maverick in a team of mavericks. How the heck does a person BE themselves, and yet still contribute to the myth of 'the team'?

This is also an interactive role-play, where the participants bring out their difficulties, and the group roleplays these through to satisfying conclusions. Repeat after me, 'We are all unique.' Heheheheehe

  • Really getting to know WHY certain people do certain things
  • Demystifying the individualists in the group
  • Giving people better 'handles' on each others' working habits
  • Relationship-building
  • Converting chaos (or even light turmoil) into productivity
R 9 450 (fixed price, up to approx 18 people)

Human Sculptures Reveal All
1 hour.

Management, production teams, decision-making groups. 4 to 18 people in this session.

Four facilitators from 'Beyond the Box', the open source industrial theatre company I've founded.

What we'll do:
This is focussed on finding solutions to particular issues. Whatever the issue is on the day, this workshop helps create a new way of understanding and interacting with the challenge. We make 'human sculptures' out of the issue, and the sculptures find ways through to solutions.

  • Clarify the issue
  • Find ways to the ideal outcome
  • Identify blocks to the ideal outcome
  • Find transitions to achieving the desired outcome
  • Problem solving
  • Option thinking
R 3 200 (fixed price, up to approx 18 people)

A Fullday Creativity Workshop
8 hours. (Can be split over two morning sessions.)

Everyone in business who wants to feel more creative. Up to 26 people in this workshop.
Clients who want to 'embrace the craziness'.

Roy Blumenthal

What we'll do:
This is the workshop I've been running for the past 7 or so years. In it, we look at different takes on creativity, how to mobilise our creativity, tricks and tools to use when we're stuck. We also learn that goalsetting and action are intrinsic to unleashing creativity, and we work on tools to be more effective at setting and realising goals. This is a fun workshop, with lots of interaction and 'playing'.

  • A creativity 'toolkit'
  • Effective goalsetting
  • Effective action planning
  • Unleashed creativity
  • Profit and gain
R 15 250 (fixed price, up to approx 26 people)


I'm happy to work with individuals and small groups of up to 3 people per group. It's much more cost-effective to work with small groups, as I discount the per-head price.

The way I normally do this kind of work is to contract for a minimum of six sessions, in multiples of six sessions. Optimum coaching takes place over 12 to 18 sessions, with six being a 'low hanging fruit' and 'getting to know you' kind of intervention. The longer the number of sessions contracted for, the more cost-effective.

It's best to meet once every two weeks, or once every week, for 60 to 90 minutes. Once a month CAN work, but continuity suffers. Twice a month is optimum, with once a week being good if there are crises to be dealt with.

So, here's the menu...

  • 6 sessions -- R1 200 per session
  • 12 sessions -- R1 000 per session
  • 18 sessions -- R 900 per session

Groups of 3:
  • 6 sessions -- R900 per person, per session
  • 12 sessions -- R800 per person, per session
  • 18 sessions -- R700 per person, per session
I'm also happy to negotiate a discount if I'm coaching more than one group.

Please let me know what you feel about these options. And gimme a call on (my new number:) +27 74 104 6386, or email me on, and we can leap into action whenever you're ready.

Remember, these prices go up at the end of February 2007, so book now, and the early-bird prices will hold regardless of the date you book for!

Friday, December 01, 2006

2006-11-30 Roy With Exploded View of New Tattoo

Yup. That's me. With my brand new tattoo.

I'm into deep irony. Which is why the text reads, 'Right Arm. Property of Roy Blumenthal.'

However, most people don't really GET irony. It sorta slides over their heads. Which is why I didn't opt for the deepest irony of all... to have this tattoo upside down.

That's ULTRA-deep irony, cos it implies that the tattoo is for my benefit alone, so I can look down and know that it's my RIGHT arm, and to remind myself who I am.

But that's waaaaaay too subtle. Most people seeing that would go, 'Roy -- why's your tattoo on upside down?' And then I'd have to explain about deep irony and all that.

Now, they get the gag immediately. It's a sight gag, and it's an immediate laugh.

When I was showing the design to friends and strangers before I committed to it, I got this comment quite a few times: 'Roy, it's funny NOW. But will YOU still find it funny years from now?'

The short answer: 'Who knows?'

The long answer: 'Tattoos are forever. I've been ironic since birth. I think I'm optimistic that this one's a keeper.'

Oh... one thing... if you're thinking of asking... Yes. It is indeed on my right arm.

This painting was made in my bedroom, on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc, using ArtRage 2.2 painting software, with me wearing a deep red sarong and a t-shirt, listening to Paste Magazine samplers on my mp3-playing Nokia N91, with the scent of Zam-Buk antiseptic cream wafting off the tattoo, and a highveld thunderstorm smashing the sky outside. And yes. I'm still dating. And I remembered to eat tonight.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

2006-11-29 Roy and Ethel at Kevin's Kustom Tattoos

It's NOT as sore as people make out. In fact, it's even below the flinch threshold.

I'm talking about getting a tattoo.

I went to Kevin's Kustom Tattoos yesterday afternoon with my design in hand.

The lovely Ethel did the hard work.

And I listened to my music on my Nokia N91.

While reading AS USED ON THE FAMOUS NELSON MANDELA: Underground Adventures In The Arms and Torture Trade by British comedian and activist, Mark Thomas.

Thanks to Mark Thomas there were a few dodgy moments when Ethel had to pause for my laughing to stop.

This is a painting of me getting the tattoo. Soon I'll upload a rendering of the actual design. And you can laugh your head off and say, 'Sheeeeeesh! Roy DOES do his very best to come across as a wise-ass eccentric.'

And you'd be right.

Now give them a call. And go get yourself inked. Here's the number of the Cresta branch: +27 11 678 1595. And no... I do not receive free tattoos from them. I paid full price for mine. They just happen to be one of the best tattoo parlours in Africa, according to tattoo types.

This painting was made in my bedroom on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc using ArtRage 2.2 software with me listening to STADIUM ARCADIUM by The Red Hot Chili Peppers and noticing that it's now 2am and I forgot to have supper! Damn.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

2006-11-29 Jacob 'Laduma' Zuma

This is a spec painting of South Africa's great bad-man, Jacob Zuma. He's the presidential hopeful who was accused of rape and acquitted.

He did admit to having unprotected sex with the woman, even though he knew she was HIV positive. He claims that he 'had a shower aferwards', and believes that that would ensure that he doesn't get the virus.

He's also involved in all sorts of corruption allegations.

And the bad news is that he is South Africa's equivalent of George Dubbya Bush. He's likely (in my cynical opinion, anyway) to be elected in our next 'democratic elections'. Which is, frankly, terrifying.

The populace love him. They cheered when he was let off the hook. This country could be in some very serious trouble.

Back to the painting... I'm kinda hoping one of the big newspapers in South Africa will use it for their year-end publication. Cos Mr Zuma will be sure to feature as a superstar personality of the decade. Sheesh. What a loser.

This painting was made in Mugg & Bean, Cresta, with innocuous music playing in the background, using ArtRage 2.2 painting software, on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc. My arm is burning as I speak. All will be revealed.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Roy Blumenthal's 'Living Your Art' Mini-Manifesto

1. I live my art in prosperity and abundance.

2. I do what I love, and the necessary resources follow.

3. If I CAN'T do what I love, I love what I do.

4. I ask myself three questions every night before I sleep: (i) What did I learn today? (ii) What did I contribute today? (iii) What did I enjoy today?

5. I go to therapy.

6. I make art.

7. I share my art.

8. I partake of other people's art.

9. Everything is art.

Hugh MacLeod over at gapingvoid recently issued a challenge to his readers to create their personal mini-manifestos in 500 words or less. I reckon the above sums me up pretty well. Hugh has some guidelines on how you can submit your own manifesto to him, as well as an archive of all of the manifestos he's linked to.

Stars And Spikes -- by Silvisrivers

Stars And Spikes ..
Originally uploaded by Silvisrivers.
Wow! Came across this painting by Silvisrivers on Flickr. He left a poem as a comment on my Scientist pic, so I went exploring his work.

And this one absolutely kicks all butt for me. Protest art of the highest order.

It spurred me to recall one of my protest poems:


by Roy Blumenthal

The lovers lie like statues
shattered by the tanks.

Do click on the picture for a full-sized view, and go take a look at the rest of this dude's art. Wow!

Monday, November 27, 2006

2006-11-27 Illustration Friday -- Invention

So this is a self portrait of me holding up a red paperclip.

That's cos a paperclip is one of the most basic inventions to have changed the lives of millions. A simple piece of wire twisted into a shape that holds pages together. Who woulda thought???

And the reason I'm writing about inventions is that the Illustration Friday topic this week is exactly that.

So I've added several layers of subtlety to my interpretation of this topic. A self-portrait is also an invention. It's me creating a face to show to the world.

But that's not all. In the background in this picture, you can see a bunch of paintings. Well... in my study I have a bunch of portraits of me. They're by other artists. And they're inventions of me through someone else's mediation.

What I've done here is to do very rough copies of them. Which means I've re-invented them!

Insane, huh?

Gee, Roy, you're a real master of irony and subtlety, aren't you? Have a noddy badge.

This painting was made on my Toshiba Tecra M4 using ArtRage 2.2 in my study, with the November Paste Magazine CD playing on repeat, and me corresponding with several hot babes from the dating site. No paperclips or hot babes were harmed in the making of this pic.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Robert Altman is dead

Robert Altman with hat
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
Robert Altman made SHORT CUTS, one of my top three films. Thanks for all the art, Robert. I hope you can make movies where you've gone.

(He died from complications connected to cancer that he was diagnosed with 18 months ago.)

Here's the New York Times obituary.

This drawing was made a few years ago on my iPAQ 2210 pocket pc, using Mobile Atelier drawing software.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

2006-11-20 Scientist Reading

Last night was my second date with the Scientist. I googled her name, and I developed a sharp pain in my left testicle due to the awe the search generated. She's a top-boffin.

One of the stipulations to dating her was that I was required to make good on the brag on my internet-dating profile... 'If we hit it off, maybe I'll sketch you'.

So... I've made good. Can't promise that it looks anything at all like her. But that's probably a good thing. Maybe a polyamorous scientist doesn't really wanna be tracked down or recognised?

I'm currently sitting in Gloria Jean's in Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton. I started this painting at home late last night, and finished it here. Took a break when my buddy Ed popped in for a quick lunch. He bought me a copy of THE GAME by Neil Strauss.

So far, the babe count has gone off the scale. It's higher than 5 stars out of 5. Food was fine: 3 out of 5. Ambience is good: 4 out of 5. And service is excellent: 5 out of 5. (My waitress immediately spotted me pouring milk all over my power adaptor, and came rushing over with a cloth to wipe it.)

This painting was made with a live model in my lounge, with me using ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc. I wanted to wear a beret to REALLY impress my model as to how much of an artist I look, but the beret is buried in my car boot somewhere.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

2006-11-19 Hotel Ilness

2006-11-19 Hotel Ilness
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
I'm at Doppio Zero in Greenside. Had a lovely second date with one of the gorgeous gals from the dating site.

We chatted a little about Polyamory. And it's something she's keen to engage with.

I asked her what form it might take for her.

At first, she said, 'I'd like two boyfriends.' Then she thought about it, specially as I'd been telling her about the time I had two girlfriends, M and J.

It's quite a lot of, uh, hard work being the 'central person' in that kinda relationship. And one of the reasons she wants to try polyamory is because it feels to her like a solution to too much intimacy. (One of the things I found in my experiment is that it was VERY intimate on an emotional level, but the intimacy was measured out, spread around a bit, so it wasn't overwhelming to me.)

So then she said, 'Actually, I think I'd prefer to be someone's second girlfriend. Cos that would give me time on my own.'

She headed off home to go and do some work. And I stayed to make a painting.

This pic is based on a terrifically atmospheric photo by Victoria Frigerio. Her photo is titled 'Hotel Ilness' (that's the correct spelling).

I left a message in her comments section telling her I'd love to make a painting based on it. And she contacted me to say, 'Go ahead!' Yay!

I've really enjoyed making this one. Took me about 3 hours and five decaff cappuccinos. Nice.

Right now, the babe count of Doppio Zero has gone back up to 5 out of 5, cos there's a seriously gorgeous gal sitting at the next table. She has eyes similar to S's. Sigh. And she's been making eye contact. But she's with two dudes. And while I'm SURE she might CONSIDER polyamory once I've evangelised her, I somehow doubt I'm gonna get the chance. Sigh. I'd gladly be her second or third boyfriend.

This piece was painted on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc using ArtRage 2.2.

For more information about polyamory in South Africa, you can visit and You can also join the ZA Poly discussion forum at Random perverts are excluded from the list. So, seriously, only join that list if you're genuinely interested in poly. It's a moderated list, and membership is vetted.

2006-11-18 Beth -- Colour

2006-11-18 Beth Colour
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
My first international commission. Beth contacted me to ask if I could do a portrait of her for her website.

I said, 'Yup!'

And we negotiated a price. She was cool with US$170. And it would be settled on a 'pay it forward' basis. She works in humanitarian aid, so she's going to donate her services to the value of US$170 to a worthy cause.

That makes me happy. Makes her happy. And the pic gets a decent home.

I made the painting using ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc, in Mugg & Bean, Parkhurst.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

2006-11-18 Wang Yue Han

2006-11-18 Wang Yue Han
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
I've spent a delightful afternoon with Wang Yue Han at Mugg & Bean in Parkhurst.

No... she's not Chinese. That's the name her friends gave her when she lived in Taiwan for a coupla years.

And yes... the standard artist's disclaimer applies... she looks much more gorgeous in real life.

Today was our first meeting. She's one of the gals I've encountered on my internet dating forays.

It's really cool. She's the fourth gal I've met this time around. And so far, ALL FOUR have been delicious! Wow.

What's even MORE cool is the fact that they're actually chosing to respond to my missives. I've asked them what makes me worth responding to. And they've all basically said that my description of myself is very unusual. And yeah... of course, I've gone out of my way to paint myself accurately, eccentricities and all.

So BDSM is on the table. Polyamory is on the table.

A question she asked me after a while: 'Roy, do you sexualise ALL the women that you meet?'

And that's a very deep and penetrating question. With a long and hesitation-filled answer.

On my blog, I portray myself in a specific way, for specific effect. My blog- persona is an aspect of me, but isn't the entire me. So yeah... on the blog, I sexualise women. I do it for humorous effect. I do it to give the impression that I'm a salivating, lascivious eccentric. It's to make my blog more readable.

At the same time, in real life, there's a part of me that definitely sexualises all women. I DO look at most of the women I meet as potential sex partners. Not cos I want to have sex with them. But cos that's part of who I am... I'm a carnal creature, and I'm not ashamed of that at all.

However, I'm also a way deeper creature than that. I DON'T act on my sexual side very often at all. It's just ONE little factor. For me, it's far more important for me to be respectful to women (and people in general, actually, seeing as I'm a non-genderist). So, no, my sexuality isn't often on the table.

Also, I flirt. A lot. But my flirting is not directed. By this, I mean, I'm actually not trying to score by flirting. I flirt because I love to flirt. I seldom take advantage of my flirting skills to actually pick a gal up. There are exceptions to this.

So. Yue Han and I will indeed be seeing each other again. And I'm definitely seeing at least three of them again. And I'm still meeting one or two others who I've been corresponding with.

Sheesh. I dunno if blogging about my dating is GOOD or DANGEROUS. My policy is to have my cards on the table always, so I can't see it harming anyone. I'm not using the dating site for cheap scores. I'm trying to use it to generate possible relationships. So, seen in that light, I reckon honesty is the best policy. Even if some of the girls read this and think, 'Aaargh! Run a mile! This guy's a monster!!!!'

This painting was made in Mugg & Bean Parkhurst, with Yue Han sitting before me as my live model (I didn't work from a photo), using ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Ambience: 3 stars out of 5. Food: 3.5 stars out of 5. Service: 2.5 out of five. Babe Count: 5 out of 5.

Oh... one more thing... yup... she's a VERY sexually attractive gal.

2006-11-17 Illustration Friday -- Thanksgiving

Ah, I love Illustration Friday. It gives me the opportunity to be lateral about topics like 'Thanksgiving'.

In the American sense of the word, I have absolutely NO idea what it means, what it symbolises, or what it represents. I know turkeys have something to do with it.

But I didn't want to show an American interpretation of it. I wanted to show something that demonstrates thankfulness in some way.

So I've interpreted a photo called 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' by Taxiguerrilla on Flickr. (He releases his stuff under the same licence I use... Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike.

The way I've read his pic (which looks like a brilliantly shot self-portrait times three -- in other words, him, in three different poses) is that this is a family of three brothers sharing breakfast together.

They're in a peaceful space together, and they're just WITH each other. They're well-fed, prosperous, in touch with abundance. And they're aware of their surroundings. They've also embraced simplicity.

Their individualism shines through, and the peace they've created is their expression of thanks.

That's what my painting INTENDS to convey. Who knows what it REALLY conveys. Enjoy!

I made this painting at Mugg & Bean in Killarney, listening to a selection of Paste Magazine samplers on my Nokia N91 MP3 player phone, using ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc. I'm in the process of exploring the dating scene again, so I'm communicating with several babes on a South African dating site. Yay!!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

2006-11-12 -- Illustration Friday -- Clean

Back in high school, my biology teacher wore transluscent blouses with a flesh-coloured bra. She was a real looker, with a hot bod. And a maltese poodle called 'Muffy'. Seriously.

And she was rumoured to 'choose' a matric every year to have sex with.

In my matric year, it wasn't me.

Several years after I left school, I found out that she married one of her ex-matrics. A dude about two years ahead of me. Lucky fellow.

When the Illustration Friday topic hit my inbox this week, I knew EXACTLY how I was going to interpret 'Clean'.

Yup. For anyone who's a little vision impaired, the teacher cleaning the board here is NOT wearing a transluscent top with a flesh-coloured bra. She does NOT have a dog called 'Muffy'. And in THIS version, she selects ME!

See... I've made a clean sweep.

This painting was made in ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet PC in my lounge, on a tripod, with me listening to The Violent Femmes more loudly on a Sunday night than my neighbours ought to tolerate.

As reference, I used a pic by Dave Sackville on stock.xchang called 'Classroom'. Thanks Dave.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Illustration Friday: Smoke

This week's Illustration Friday topic is 'Smoke'.

I made this painting a few months ago, using Alias Sketchbook Pro 2.0. on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc. I was really just challenging myself to paint smoke convincingly.

The painting is based on maryanne_b's pic, of her boyfriend, 'A Day in the Life'.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

2006-10-28 Illustration friday -- Wind/rewind/unwind

This week's Illustration Friday topic is 'Wind'.

Because I'm a natural-born contrarian, I decided to think a little laterally. So I looked at it as 'wind' as in 'wound-up'. And what better way to unwind than to listen to a decent piece of music?

I've been sitting in JB Rivers in Hyde Park, Johannesburg all afternoon painting this. The babe count is extraordinarily high today. Definitely a full 5 out of 5. The food was okay... I had my usual Cajun chicken salad. But they sliced the chicken quite thick, so it was a bit harder to eat than usual.

The ambience was super. Especially with me wearing in-ear headphones attached to my Nokia N91 MP3 player/phone. Listening to my collection of Paste Magazine sample cds. Yeah!

This painting was made on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc using ArtRage 2.2.

Monday, October 23, 2006

2006-10-23 -- Illustration Friday -- Ghost.jpg

I'm a bit slow off the mark for this week's Illustration Friday again ('Ghost' this week). But that's okay. I've made my first painting using the new update to ArtRage. It's now version 2.2. And it cooks even more than it did before. Yeehaaa!!!!

I was planning to do a sort of painted montage of my mom and my dad with me in the middle. They're both dead, see? And I've inherited bits and pieces of both of them.

I decided not to right now cos I just don't really want to confront their ghosts for the meantime. Their legacy is enough for me to deal with.

Instead, I thought a weird self-portrait would do the trick. I mean, heck... they're IN me anyway, right? So why would I even NEED to depict them separately?

(It's amazing how adept ex-advertising people can be at post-rationalising their blatant laziness, huh?)

Uh... my hair doesn't REALLLLLLY look like that. But it's getting there.

This painting was made using ArtRage 2.2 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc, while sitting in Tashas Cafe in Atholl Square in Sandton (contact them on +27 11 884 0365). Babe count: 5 stars out of 5. Unbelievable babeage here. Most of whom are finely sculpted by fine surgeons. Ambience: 3 and a half out of 5. Food: 4 out of 5. And no... there ISN'T an apostrophe. Even though there SHOULD be one.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

2006-10-18: Illustration Friday -- 'Smitten'

I've been a bit whacked this past week. Cos I'm directing a piece of industrial theatre for a pharmaceutical giant, and I'm thoroughly exhausted.

We did a preview for the client on Monday. And it would be a lie if I said I wasn't apprehensive. And to say I was apprehensive would be an understatement. And to claim that it's an understatement is to be creative with the truth. I was crapping myself.

Our client-run was at 3pm. And by noon, my actors still hadn't quite cracked it. I had an outburst. Shrieked a bit. Shouted a bit. Used several dirty words. And we did a quick run before leaving for the client. And the run was good. The energy was higher. And the actors were liberating the comedy in the piece. Phshew.

So we got to the client. And found that the boardroom they'd booked for us was WAY too small. Unusably small. So I went scouting with Seanarie, our production manager. And we found an outside porch where smokers at the company congregated. And we annexed it. Set up. Had some last minute notes. And then the client and his extremely pretty communications person arrived. And it was showtime.

My three actors -- Bronwyn, Linda-Michael, and Billy -- TOTALLLLLLLLLY bowled the client (and me) over. They were awesome. Extreme amounts of energy. VERY funny performances. And two clients laughing their heads off in the right places. And the round-table notes session after with all of us present was VERY positive and encouraging.


Which brings me to this week's Illustration Friday topic -- 'Smitten'.

Because of some of the strife involved in directing a show, I've gone for a literal sideways interpretation of the topic. I've taken it to mean 'smote', as in 'hit'. According to Webster online, 'smitten' means:

1 : to strike sharply or heavily especially with the hand or an implement held in the hand
2 a : to kill or severely injure by smiting b : to attack or afflict suddenly and injuriously
3 : to cause to strike
4 : to affect as if by striking
5 : CAPTIVATE, TAKE intransitive verb : to deliver or deal a blow with or as if with the hand or something held.

I sourced my reference photo on stock.xchng. According to the
photographer, Pablo Medina, it's a pic of 'the Uruguayan "Mouse" Herrera offering a brutal beating to [his] rival of Argentina.' The title of the photo is: 'Box 1'.

I've definitely taken a liberty or two with the pic, just to make it more
dramatic for me.

I painted this on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet PC using ArtRage 2.11 at a coffee-shop called 'Gloria Jeans' in Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton this afternoon. Seriously high babe count. Definitely a 5 out of 5. Service and food were excellent. 4.5 to 5 out of 5. Ambience gets a 3 out of 5. A lovely place for coffee.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

2006-10-08 Self Portrait -- Illustration Friday -- Trouble

It's been a while since I last did a self-portrait. And when this week's Illustration Friday topic turned out to be 'Trouble', I thought I'd make a suitable subject.

This works for me on several levels.

Firstly, since I stopped shaving my head, I've basically been letting my hair grow wild. And I assure you, it is TOTALLY wild. The only thing I'm doing with it in the mornings is washing it and combing the knots out. I let it dry as a mop of strangeness.

So, in a way, my hair is the opposite of trouble, since it's no trouble at all to deal with it. But it's also real trouble, cos it's unmanaged, untamed, and says something about me, I suppose. (Or maybe I'm just hoping it does.)

Secondly, I reckon I'm a BIT of a handful as an individual. Even though I've mellowed out significantly in the past few years, I certainly do have my quirks. The word 'eccentric' is actually a bit of an understatement for me.

And I've really thought about this. Some of my eccentricities are cultivated. Some of them are realllllly just part of me.

For instance, I'm a total hermit when I'm in hermit mode. I don't open my door for anyone, unless I know they're coming to visit.

I don't EVER answer my home phone. In fact, only about six people in the world KNOW my home phone number.

I wear strange socks. (Wow, Roy, THAT's eccentric! Yeah. Whatever.)

Some years ago there was an Israeli film festival playing at Cinema Nouveau, the arts cinema in Rosebank, Johannesburg. This was at the (then) height of the suicide bombings in Israel, and passions were running high in South Africa at the time.

I walked into the cinema, spread my arms, and said VERY loudly, WITH ABSOLUTELY NO VOLUNTARY CONTROL OVER WHAT I SAID, 'Excuse me,' I bellowed, 'would all the Palestinian suicide bombers please move to the NEXT cinema. Thank you.'

Stunned silence.

That's a quirk, isn't it?

I dunno.

I don't really think of myself as 'trouble'. But I AM on the odd part of the spectrum.

This painting was made on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc using ArtRage 2.11 software while sitting in Mugg & Bean Cresta, demonstrating the painting software to Ockert and Keith, managers of the place.

Monday, October 02, 2006

2006-10--01 Nadia Chaney on Her Birthday in Africa

Yesterday the industrial theatre troupe I'm co-building did an intervention at the Pioneers of Change 'Arts for Social Change' Day. We ran a forum theatre workshop for people who are interested in using art as a means to change society.

Our workshop got some tremendous feedback from the delegates, and our facilitators took part in other workshops given on the day.

Nadia Chaney was one of the people running a workshop. Hers was on performance poetry, and I was very sorry that our workshop coincided with hers, cos I'd really love to have made it.

Not just cos I'm also a performance poet. More cos as soon as I clapped eyes on her, I wanted to cuddle and hold and and and and and all those embarassing things. (Yes Nadia... this painting IS supposed to be a seduction painting. Now get that gorgeous ass of yours back to Africa as soon as possible.)

This is the description of her from her website:

'Nadia Chaney is an emcee, poet, musician, budding novelist, and multimedia visual artist who loves to dance and imagine. She has been working in arts empowerment in as many areas of her life as possible, from violence prevention, to unity-work, to hip hop classes in detention centres, to self care-for-employability programs, to a massive car-free volunteer-run festival, and lots more. She mostly works in collective, non-profit scenarios, but is also interested in enlightened for-profit work. She believes the sublime centre of the universe can be found at the heart of every moment.'

This week's Illustration Friday topic is 'Quiet'. I chose to paint Nadia for reasons other than seducing her. She performed one of her poems at the celebration after the arts day, and she's really good.

So I figured it would be good to paint a performance poet without her microphone, offstage.

That's my justification, and I'm sticking with it.

One of the other reasons is that she had her birthday in Africa, and she says she really enjoys it here. I'm hoping she enjoys it enough to come hurtling back soon in a jet plane. I'll even pick her up at the airport.

This painting was made using ArtRage 2.11 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc with Paste Magazine's CD 24 (link to PDF of CD cover) playing on repeat in the background.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

2006-09-19 Illustration Friday -- Change Please

This week's Illustration Friday topic is 'Change'. I've interpreted that as 'small change', and, 'things must change'.

So I've depicted a homeless person who HAS changed, though not necessarily in the best way possible. Interestingly, he has a level of happiness that leaves him content. Here he is on the street, drinking, asking for money, living his life.

There are people in the office blocks nearby who AREN'T happy. Not in the slightest. And he's a reminder to them of that. Which is probably why so few of them give him money. They don't want to engage with what he represents.

I'm into change. I want change. I would like to free myself from my own rigidity. Lose some of the rules that bind me and keep me from engaging in meaningful loving relationships. Get out from under the grip of being brought up in an abusive, alcolholic family.

May we all find the right kinds of change.

This pic is based on a photo I found on stock.xchng by haloocyn called 'Street Chillout'.

I painted this one on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc using ArtRage 2.11 in a coffee-shop called Europa in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

The Holocaust, Redheads, and Dysfunctional Families (sitting at Europa, Rosebank, Johannesburg)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Service: * * * * 1/2
Food: * * * 1/2
Ambience: * * * *
Babe Count: * * * *

I've bagged myself a sidewalk table with a power-point for my tablet pc. So I've been sitting in Rosebank watching models limping between the toilets and the modeling agency.

There've been some delicious co-sitters too. At the next table is a red-headed couple. A mom and a daughter. The mom was probably once delectable. But not really anymore. The daughter. Hmmmmmm. Yeeks. She's dressed like a Capetonian gal. Flowing white dress. Tasteful bra just barely peeking out. Full cleavage.

I've just been reading Dori's blog. In it, she has a post asking people about the 'Books and Films that 'wounded' me'. Here's my reply...
The book that blew the back of my head off, and wasted boxes and boxes of tissues was THE LAST OF THE JUST, by Andre Schwarz-Bart.

It's a holocaust novel about a Jewish myth that the world is kept going by a  number of 'just men' hand-picked by god to take on the suffering of all humanity.

The book is the story of the last of those just men, and it's harrowing and brilliant, and a must-read.

The other book that opened the waterworks: HOMECOMING by John Bradshaw.

This is a non-fiction book, and it helps the reader overcome childhood trauma and abuse. I worked through it on a holiday in Cape Town many years ago, and didsn't stop crying for an entire three days. I tore muscles I was crying so hard.

A film that nailed me was KORCZAK. It's about a Polish doctor who decided that he would not allow his Jewish patients to enter the concentration camps alone. He chose to die in the holocaust rather than sit back and watch as a gentile.

I've recently started working on the fact that I came from an abusive family. And I only very recently worked out why the holocaust is such a major source of pain for me.

My father lost most of his family to the holocaust. He was born in Latvia, and was on the last ship containing Jews to be allowed out of Europe.

I realise that the holocaust was ever-present in my house as I grew up, and that it was probably used -- inadvertantly or even intentionally (I don't have memories of it) -- as a tool of abuse.

Another film that really touches me, and which continues to touch me, is BETTY BLUE. It's one of the most authentic explorations -- for me -- about being an artist.

Blue skies
The delicious redhead just stops being delicious. Her waiter is standing near her table. And she wants to hand him her payment. She says, 'Hullo? Hullll-ooo-oooooooo?!?' And says to her mom, 'Uh! They're deaf here!' Then more loudly to the waiter, 'HULLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!'

One of the other waiters taps Steven on the shoulder. He spins around, apologises.

'Oh please,' she says, and she and her mom flounce off, breasts jiggling huffily.

Monday, September 04, 2006

JB Rivers, Hyde Park, Johannesburg

Monday, September 04, 2006

Service: * * *
Food: * * * *
Ambience: * * *
Babe Count: * * * * *

This week's Illustration Friday topic is 'Safe'.

Since I like kittens, and since I've completely finalised my breakup with 'S' by being snotty and horrible to her (no, I'm not proud of it; I'm hurting horribly, and so's she; I guess I'm trying my hardest to make sure that we CAN'T get back together again; I dunno; damn idiot, me), and since I'm not feeling entirely safe in the world...

I thought I'd do a picture of innocence. For me, this kitten is curious and alive and loving and naughty and fun. And she's hiding behind the chair leg, believing herself to be completely invisible and impervious to detection from anything.

The source pic I used as reference is from stock.xchng. It's called Cat Story 8 by bretz.

This painting was made using ArtRage 2.11 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc, sitting in JB Rivers in Hyde Park, Johannesburg, with a Jesus-freak two tables away saying loudly and drunkenly, 'ANYONE WHO DOESN'T TAKE JESUS INTO THEIR HEARTS IS EVILLLLLLL! EVILLLLLL! I'M TELLING YOU! IF YOU DON' T TAKE JESUS INTO YOUR HEART YOU'RE EVILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!' Well, she's safe. I'm not.

And I just met a gal I thought I recognised from my days working as a promo producer at SABC3. But it wasn't her.

She ended up having some water with me (we both have plastic bottles filled with water), and we chatted for ages about the art world and the movie world (she runs an art consultancy, and she's an executive producer in the movie industry... TSOTSI was one of the projects she collaborated on). And we've agreed that a date would be a good idea.


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Scusi Coffee-Shop, Parkview, Johannesburg

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Service: * * * *
Food: * * * *
Ambience: * * * *
Babe Count: * * * * *

Phone: +27 11 646 8639

I've been strolling up and down Tyrone Avenue for the last hour or so, seeing what there is to see. Unfortunately, I've got my leather satchel slung over my shoulder. And it's damned heavy. Cos inside it is my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc and various other writing stuff.

The Toshiba is NOT a light machine. But heck, it really does what I need it to do.

I go into Scusi.

A waiter greets me warmly, and offers to find a table for me. They look full. Lunchtime full, and it's only noon.

I say, 'If it's possible, I need to sit near a plug point, for my computer.' I heft my bag, and he nods.

'Do you mind sitting in the back?'

'I don't mind sitting in the kitchen, if there's a plug point.'

He shows me to a table. A biggggg one. Which is great. Cos I like to spread out.

The manageress, a darkly pretty brunette with curves, comes to my table as I'm cable-locking my machine to the table. She says, 'I have to apologise... our WIFI isn't up and running right now. We've exceeded our bandwidth cap, and they're busy recharging.'

'How much do you charge for your WIFI?' I ask.

She says, 'It's free. It's just a service we provide for our customers.'

I order a decaff cappuccino.

It's been a long time since I've done one of my characteristic 'Coffee-Shop Schmuck' coffee-shop reviews. I just can't resist this one, cos the cappuccinos are exceptionally good.

The flavour on this one is reallllly worth writing home about. I'm pretty sure most caffeine abusers wouldn't be able to tell that this is a decaff one. And I'm not jolting about, so I know they haven't slipped me a mickey.

I order lunch. It arrives. It's butternut ravioli in creamy napolitana sauce. And it's superb. Delicious. Real value for money at only R40 for a generous portion.

Last night I rented the second disc of season 2 of DEADWOOD. And watched two episodes. Yeeks. I think it's safe to say that DEADWOOD has completely blown my mind.

One of the babes sitting at the big table just to my left has been giving me the eye. And she looks a heck of a lot like the cute little blonde prostitute in DEADWOOD. The new one. The one who's been brought in to 'deal with' the needs of the mysterious mining-scout.

So now, it's off to therapy. To tell my shrink, Zahava, all about how I'm coping with not being in a relationship with 'S'. And to find out from her what I need to do to attract wholesome gals.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Trying out Zooomr as an alternative to Flickr

When I submitted my story about Flickr silencing artists to DIGG, one of the replies I got was from Thomas Hawk at Zooomr.

Here's his message:
Hey feel free to send your art to Zooomr. We are happy to have both you and your artwork and will not Nipsa you. If you are also a blogger we are giving free pro accounts for bloggers.

So I'm giving Zooomr a try. And using this blog post to take advantage of the free Pro account they're offering to bloggers.

From what I've seen of the site, it's a kind of a pared down Flickr. Doesn't seem to have any communities, nor any way to make sets. But I'm open to correction. That's really just a first impression.

I must say, if it's just hosting I want, Flickr kinda does the trick. It's more the community aspect of it that excites me about Flickr, and which disappoints me bitterly about being made invisible to people.

But who knows? Zooomr is in Beta at the moment, and things might change.

This drawing is one of my early ones on my palmtop. It was made using Mobile Atelier on an iPAQ 2210 with me standing listening to music at CD Wherehouse in Rosebank.

[UPDATE:] I've just been looking around the Zooomr site, and found something called 'Smart Sets'. I'm not sure yet, but I THINK this might be the same as 'Sets' on Flickr. But it uses a different creation system. This one allows you to create an automatic set using various criteria. For instance, 'This set must include any tag that matches this criterion... (etcetera).'

So, if you're a disciplined tagger, that'll be good for you.

There's another feature called 'Portals' which I haven't investigated yet. But it seems to be a collection of pics to do with some or other topic you stipulate.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Illustration Friday -- 'Run' -- 2006-07-23 To Run From the Sun

This week's Illustration Friday topic is 'Run'.

I haven't been painting for a little while, cos I've been on a hectic writing deadline for a piece of corporate video I was asked to script-doctor in a rush. It turned out to be WAY more than script doctoring. And it's still not over. Sheeeeesh.

I painted this one a little more than a month ago, when 'S' and I were first breaking up. This was in the lull that we were calling 'a break'.

I was feeling terrible at the time, and so i made this pessimistic painting of a dude fleeing from warmth and love, at the same time avoiding being burnt alive. Three guesses who the dude is.

Since then, I've decided that part of what i want in the world is the possibility of me being increasingly open to RECEIVING love from a love- and life-partner. (In the past, I've been a bit too much of a love-giver, which has left my love-partners feeling that I'm not able to receive anything from them. I want this to shift. I want a partnership.)

Before I say cheers for the week, please go to the DIGG site and vote for my article trying to pressure Flickr into relaxing their absurd policy of making artists invisible to searches on the site.

With enough DIGG votes, the story will make it to the attention of someone in command at Flickr, and maybe we'll see some rational action from them. Thanks!

This painting was made using ArtRage 2.11 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Flickr forcing artists to become 'non-public', known by them as 'NIPSA'

Something disturbing is happening at Flickr at the moment. They're forcing people who have predominantly art in their galleries to become 'not public'. This means that if you do a search for something, non-public pictures will not show up in that search.

This appears to be a bureaucratic implementation of one of the clauses in their 'Community Guidelines'. But it's very disturbing, because it indicates a lack of responsiveness to their paying users. (There are two ways of using Flickr.... Free and Pro. Free users can have 200 pics in the gallery at any time, and three 'sets'. Pro users can have any number of pics, and any number of sets.

If you want to look at my pics, you need to do it by following a link to my gallery. There is no way you can find me without that. (If you're interested, here's my Flickr gallery:

Here's a copy of my correspondence with Flickr about this issue. If you're a Flickr user, please consider writing to them asking for a change in their policy. To me, the policy is senseless, and seems unnecessarily punitive to the many artists and viewers of art that use the site.

My Query to Flickr:

I've been a Flickr Pro member for some time now. A friend of mine tried to do a search for my pics, and can't find any.

I subsequently tried a search too, and my work doesn't show.

I've seen several threads in discussion groups about the fact that you
seem to be making all artwork that is non-photographic 'private'.

I really would like to know why you're doing this.

I've gone through the Yahoo! terms of service, and it mentions 'photos,
graphics, audio and video' everytime it mentions anything to do with
photos. So there is nothing explicitly stated in those terms of service
preventing me from hosting my drawings publicly on Flickr.

Next, I went to your FAQ section to find out if there was a thread about this there. Maybe I overlooked it, but I don't see one.

I went to 'About Flickr'. And found nothing.

I'm very confused about this. There are literally hundreds of thousands
of artworks on Flickr, and many of them are on Pro user's accounts.

I am a digital artist. Every single image on my Flickr gallery was
created by me on my computer or on my palmtop. Almost all of them are
based on photos I took.

I'm paying you for this service, and when I flipped over to Pro, there
was nothing said about the fact that my drawings would not be public.

I'd really like to know if you can reset my status so that people can actually see my works when they search for them.

Can you get back to me about this?


Blue skies

Flickr's reply:
On 8/23/06, Flickr Support <> wrote:


Thanks for your question.

Please see our Community Guidelines.

Here is an excerpt:

"With some exceptions, it's OK to post other images, but if
the majority of your photostream contains content other than
photographs (like illustrations, screenshots, diagrams,
etc.) it's very likely that your account will be marked Not
in Public Site Areas (NIPSA). NIPSA means your photos won't
show up in photo searches, but they will still be visible
in your pages, your groups and contacts."



My response:

Thanks Monish...

I appreciate the reply.

But I'd reallllllllllllllllllllllly like to know WHY?

It doesn't make sense.

You haven't really answered any of the questions I asked.

If you have hundreds of thousands of images on Flickr which AREN'T photos, and hundreds of groups dedicated to artworks, why do you have this bizarre policy?

And why don't you make it clear and upfront in the FAQ?

You're NOT very friendly to artists. And yet it's a site that is home to a substantial number of artists.

So, I repeat... what can be done to revert my account from NIPSA to normal?

What are you guys doing to address the concerns of the hundreds of artists who are asking this question?

I looked at the forums and did a search for NIPSA and found hundreds of questions about this, with not a single answer (in the threads that I browsed) from Flickr admin people.

You guys are literally begging for a PR disaster at some point by not addressing these concerns, and sooner or later you're going to have to actually say something in response to this that is NOT a cut and paste from some sub-clause.

I'm inviting you to escalate my email upwards to one or more of your PR and Marketing mavens to actually pause and reflect and then take real action.

This isn't me being a grain of sand in the system. It's not me being egotistical and thinking I can change Flickr with the might of my words. It's more an honest evaluation and an honest appeal to you guys to do something.

What does it actually COST you to be friendly to artists on the site? What twisted logic (besides some obscure clause about artworks) FORCES you to hide our pictures from the public? You guys are coming across as rigid bureaucrats who can't think for themselves. Kinda like, 'This is what the RULES and REGULATIONS state, so our hands are tied.'

Your hands are NOT tied. You have free will. You have a giant site. You have the goodwill of zillions of people. But you're squandering that goodwill. And at a certain point, that goodwill ceases to exist. And even if it ceases to exist for a small subset of the image-sharing community, once the rot sets in, no amount of marketing spend will be able to prevent the spread of that rot.

You have the power in your hands to avert a Flickr disaster that is brewing as I sit here and type.

Please engage me on these questions.

Blue skies

[UPDATE -- 25 August 2006:] There has been no response to Flick so far. So, what I've done is this... I've submitted this blog posting to DIGG, where it seems to be generating some interest.

Here are two things you can do to help show Flickr that artists are citizens too:

(1) Please click on this DIGG link, and add your voice to the melee. It's only through pressure that Flickr might relent on this policy. After all, they want artists to be their friends. Surely?

(2) Send Flickr a politely worded note via their 'Help by Email' link. Please be polite. We're not looking to be banned! We're looking to be made pulbic and treated like humans. So please treat them like humans.

Thanks for your help. -- Roy

Friday, August 18, 2006

Illustration Friday -- Match -- 2006-05-13 Diani & Carli

2006-05-13 Diani & Carli
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
Today's Illustration Friday topic is 'match'. This one's a drawing I made in May.

(I'm on a writing deadline right now, so don't want to procrastinate by making a new drawing. And anyway... what could illustrate the topic better than a pair of delicious twins?)

Diani (on the left) is a member of the cast of WE WILL ROCK YOU, the Ben Elton/Queen musical that 'S', my ex-girlfriend, is in.

On the right is her twin sister, Carli.

In the flesh, it's hard to tell which one's more gorgeous. Let's just say they're both a 'match'. Heheheheheheeh.

This painting was made using Alias Sketchbook Pro 2.0 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet PC.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

2006-08-13 Ingredients for a successful relationship

This is from the book, ADULT CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS by Janet Geringer Woititz.

I'm sure the list is incomplete, but these bits are essential.

  • Vulnerability
  • Understanding
  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Respect
  • Trust
  • Acceptance
  • Honesty
  • Communication
  • Compatibility
  • Personal Integrity
  • Consideration