Sunday, July 30, 2006

2006-07-30 Long Dark Teatime of the Zoloft

I'm now on my fifth day of starting Zoloft, a medication akin to Prozac, used for fighting depression, and, in my case anxiety.

I've been distrustful of psychiatry for decades. Especially the decade after reading THE LOONEY BIN TRIP, in which feminist bipolar sufferer, Kate Millett, finds herself incarcerated not once, but twice, in a mental institution, against her will, by her lover.

Things have changed.

Medications now are cleaner, more targeted, more predictably helpful.

For me, the anxiety is the hectic thing. Depression I've coped with all my life. But anxiety. Jeeeeeez. It's the worst.

Right now, for instance, I'm sitting drawing heavy gulps of air to try and fill my lungs.

Shouldn't the Zoloft be helping?

Well, yeah... in a few weeks. Right now I'm still in the side-effect zone. Which translates to the feeling that I've drunk 40 cups of coffee. I'm jolting around the place, but unbearably tired too. But hey. Should wear off by tomorrow night.

When I got home earlier, I decided a cup of tea in darkness would be exactly the right calming thing for me to have. Hence this pic.

This painting was made using ArtRage 2.11 on a Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc with a cuppa tea to hand. Lipton, if you're wondering.

Roy Blumenthal, Voice-Over Artist, gives you some sample clips of his voice

Here are some of my voice-clips, in case you were thinking of using me as a voice artist.

Thanks to the wonders of ISDN, and the fact that South Africa has a very highly advanced advertising industry, I'm available to do work wherever you are.

The best way to book me is through my agent, Shane Vorster, at X-Factor. Phone
ZA +27 11 884 7515 or +27 11 884 7512. Email

Here they are:

Roy's Voice -- Character -- Home Tech Expo (with Jannes Eiselen in HardSell mode)
Here I play the 'Sound Engineer', with Jannes Eiselen playing 'The Hardsell Announcer'. (Book Jannes through his agent, Leads. Phone ZA +27 11 782 1162. Email

Roy's Voice -- Soft-Sell -- Karinna's Sparkling Water
This is me sounding soft and calm, lending some colour and class to a bottle of water.

Roy's Voice -- Corporate -- Action Mortgage
This is a straight corporate read, very close to my normal speaking voice.

Roy's Voice -- HardSell -- Hot, Sexy, Now!
I do a muscled hardsell on this spot. It's an alternate take on 'Hot
Sexy Now' which also features in this series of voice-pieces.

Roy's Voice -- Sexy-Sell -- Hot, Sexy, Now!
Here I do a sultry sexy-sell version of 'Hot Sexy Now', an alternate take to the hardsell version.

Roy's Voice -- Comedy Hardsell -- Interlink Airlines
I play both voices in this spot... the 'Singing Santa' and the 'Announcer'.
I'm looking forward to... uh... I'm listening forward... fast forwarding... uh... I'd love to do voice work for you!

Blue skies

Friday, July 28, 2006

2006-07-27 Illustration Friday -- Clean

The topic for Illustration Friday this week is 'Clean'.

Which gives me the excuse to paint my bathroom. And to reflect a bit on clean starts in relationships.

I'm working through a book called PARTNERING: A New Kind Of Relationship, by Hal Stone & Sidra Stone. It's awesome.

Their main premises are:

1. An individual is made up of several selves... primary selves and discarded selves.

2. We attract into our lives people who 'carry' our discarded selves.

3. We manifest different selves depending on context, and what self our partner is presenting to us.

4. These selves interact differently with each other.

5. Being aware of which self is communicating (in both you and your partner) clears the way for compassionate and unloaded commuication and loving.

6. Being presented with your discarded selves is a gift to allow you to reclaim them, and operate from a place they call 'the aware ego'.

7. Integrating these selves gives you balance, and allows harmonious relationship.

I wrote 'S' a long email last night, trying to offer her a glimpse of the turmoil within me. Parts of me reallllly love her and want her. Other 'selves' within me are irritated with her, angry with her.

I wanted her to see that this is NOT a simple, cut-and-dried case of 'we're not a good match'. Cos we ARE a good match. We've got powerful stuff to teach each other and learn from each other.

It's weird. I'm about a quarter of the way through the book, and it's like a weight has been lifted off me. I've been trying to be perfect for 'S'. And I've kind of expected and demanded that she be perfect for me.

Now, I'm sitting here feeling grateful to her for showing me the parts of myself that I need to get back in touch with. Cos those discarded selves she 'carries' are the bits I threw away through co-dependence and abuse as a child.

If you want to start cleaning up your relationship, I seriously recommend that you get this book.

This painting was made using ArtRage 2.11 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc. And no... the water wasn't running while I painted.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

2006-07-27 Roy Blumenthal Self Portrait After Chatting To 'S'

Just had a long chat to 'S' on the phone. She's in Cape Town. I'm in Joburg. When she left to drive down, we parted under a cloud, and we're not really sure whether or not we're still a couple.

It's kinda on the table that our parting was actually a breakup, and that we were maybe a bit too sore to admit it.

At the same time, we're not sure what it is. Could be a breakup. Could be a break. Could just be us dealing with some of the stuff that we didn't deal with before.

When our relationship started, it was amazing. We were the ideal couple. Partners. Making love all the time. Having fun. Teaching each other things. Learning from each other. Giving each other space.

Then she moved into my place, and suddenly the co-dependent hooks kicked in. And we were enmeshed in something that was work, not fun. And hard work at that. With tears and arguments.

We're both going through a period of self-growth. I'm dealing with issues of child abuse when I was growing up. I've also just gone onto Zoloft, a Prosac-like drug, to deal with my anxiety and depression.

So who the hell knows?

'S' asks, 'Are we MEANT to be together?'

And my answer is, 'It's a Hollywood notion, the idea that two people can be 'meant' for each other. Relationships are invented things. Co-created. They have problems as well as joys. They're 'meant' only if the two parties decide to partner.'

So I may be flying down to Cape Town on the 1st of September. Or I might just waste the ticket, and not do it. We'll know through time.

This drawing was made in ArtRage 2.11 using my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Fiona Long reciprocates with a portrait of me

Roy Blumenthal
Originally uploaded by fionalongart.
Yesterday I painted a portrait of Fiona Long, a British artist I came across on Flickr.

Today I found a surprise in my inbox... this awesome watercolour portrait of me by her.

Thanks Fiona. It's delicious.

Tutorial: How to Test Your Art Materials for Colour-fastness and Longevity

Your artwork SHOULD be around in one-hundred years time. How certain are you that yours will survive the ravages of exposure to ultra-violet light? Be sure you're using archive-quality materials, and you're well on the way to ensuring your work's longeivty.

This is a quick tutorial on how to test your art materials for colour-fastness.

I recommend that all artists try this. You'll be amazed at how poorly some of your favourite inks and pigments survive.

1. Do two almost identical paintings of something. These are really just scribbles. Not art. Make sure you have some ultra fine lines, some splatters, and some densely coloured areas.

2. Put the date on both pieces.

3. Put one piece in an envelope, and put the envelope in a drawer, away from light.

4. Tape the other on a window that gets the midday and afternoon sun. The pigment should be facing the sun.

5. Go back two months later, and compare the two pieces.

  • If you used ballpoint pen, you'll notice that it takes about a month for ballpoint pen to fade to a very pale yellow line, no matter WHAT the manufacturers claim about colourfastness. One month more, and there is NO evidence that a line existed at all.
  • If you used genuine pigment-based India Ink, you'll notice that those lines haven't changed in the slightest.
  • If you used cheap student paint, oil or acrylic, you'll notice that almost ALL of the colour has degraded badly, especially the reds and blues.
  • If you made digital art, and printed it out on an inkjet printer, you'll be horrified. Totally horrified.
  • If you printed your pics out at a professional photographic studio on actual photo paper, you'll be quite pleased, but not over the moon.
  • If you specified to your digital print expert that you were looking for archive-quality, pigment based, UV-resistant inks on an acid-free paper, you'll be grinning from ear to ear, and understanding why it costs so much more.
The lesson is this: use India Ink for line, and use the very best, most expensive paint that is made out of pigment, not chemical dye. And pay the most you can afford to print digital images.

One other thing... you can add a THIRD page to this test... make one on cheap typing paper, and the other two on acid-free art paper. Put one of the acid-free ones in the envelope, and the other two in the window.

You'll see that the acid-free paper 'helps' the ink stay fresher. Cheap paper degrades the ink.

Jackson Pollock's paintings are at this moment crumbling, and being restored flake by flake by experts. The paint he used was substandard. The materials he painted on were substandard. If he were a lesser artist, it would not be economically viable to actually restore the works.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

2006-07-25 Fiona Long At Her Exhibition

I thought I'd do a very rough sketch-type painting of Fiona Long, an artist in England. (Correct me if I'm wrong, Fiona?)

We've been commenting on each others' pics through Illustration Friday, so I figured a portrait would be the polite thing to do. Of course... she may not think so, specially cos it's not a great likeness at all.

But hey.

This painting was made using ArtRage 2.11 on a Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc, interpreting liberally from several pics of Fiona in her Flickr photostream.

2006-07-25 Ed Godinho Revisited

I drew Ed ages ago on my palmtop, at extremely low resolution.

So I tried an experiment this morning... importing the small pic into ArtRage, converting it to paint, enlarging the pic, and seeing what would happen if I worked freely into the work with my palette knife, some tubes of paint, and a dry brush loaded with tons of thinners.

This is the result. And he looks darker and meaner and altogether more frightening than he did in his earlier incarnation.

I'm moderately happy with the result. It certainly has a better feel than the old version. And I'm very happy with the painterly nature of the pic. I'm also quite happy to do away with my linework in favour of squishy paint.

Does this pic work for you?

This pic painted in ArtRage 2.11 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 based on an original drawing of Ed by me.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

2006-07-23 The Waiting

2006-07-23 The Waiting
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
Self explanatory, I suppose. It would be good to see 'S' again when I fly down to see her in September. Assuming we haven't broken up by then.

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

2006-07-23 To Run From the Sun

Sitting at Mugg & Bean in Parkhurst, painting.

'S' and I have been taking a short 'no contact' break from each other since Thursday night. She's in Cape Town now with WE WILL ROCK YOU. And we're kinda deciding whether or not the 'break' is actually a 'breakup'.

So I'm driving myself crazy with anxiety, and have consequently opted to visit the big wide world in an effort to counteract cabin fever.

Hence this strange painting, depicting a dude fleeing from warmth and love, at the same time avoiding being burnt alive. Three guesses who the dude is.

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

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Friday, July 21, 2006

2006-07-21 Illustration Friday -- Come-Go -- Opposites

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

Right now I'm in a bit of relationship turmoil, and taking a bit of a break from my girlfriend, 'S'.

I thought I'd depict the kind of 'stop/start', 'yes/no', 'come here/go away', 'I want you/I want you to stay the hell out of my space' energy that comes with this turmoil.

She's in Cape Town for about two months, cos the show she's in -- WE WILL ROCK YOU -- has moved from Joburg to the 'Mother City'.

I was originally going to go down with her, but we started fighting, and a gig I was doing was postponed, so I decided not to join her.

I'll be flying down on the 1st of September, if all goes well with our 'break'. And we'll spend the last ten days of her stay there together before taking a leisurely drive back.

In the meantime, I'm just taking a breather and trying to re-establish my boundaries.

For your info... 'S' does NOT look anything like this. This is probably the 'inner Roy bitch'. Who knows? Certainly not the artist.

This painting was made using ArtRage 2.11 on a Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc, with I'M YOUR FAN -- The Songs Of Leonard Cohen playing in the background.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Happy birthday, Nelson 'Madiba' Mandela -- thank you for South Africa

Nelson Mandela is 88 years old today, 18 July 2006.

Thank you very much for making South Africa possible.

May this country live up to the potential you helped create.

Blue skies

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Shooting War: a free graphic novel in weekly instalments

Chapter 1: “Boom”

Hokay. Don't miss this one. Click now and be prepared to spend a fair amount of time rivetted to your screen. Cos this is THE new graphic novel.

Several great things about it.

(1) It's set in 2011, in a 'future' VERY similar to the one George W. Bush seems intent on creating for us right now.

(2) There's a hardbitten realism to this that suggests that the writer and artist have done a ton of research into what's ACTUALLY going on in the Middle East today.

(3) The world they posit is technologically probable. The hero of the piece is a video blogger who happens to be in the right place at the right time. He becomes a media hit when he accidentally videos a bombing on his cellphone. This is really where we're headed.

(4) The artwork is nothing short of stupendous. They're marrying hyper-saturated photography with dirty, super-duper illustration. You're IN this world with these characters.

(5) Throw in the fact that it's being released chapter by chapter every week, with a possible love-story in-the-making, and that the whole thing is free... what more could ya ask for?

Stop reading my review. And go and treat yourself to a thought-provoking look at the politics of violence in Shooting War, written by Anthony LappĂ© and  illustrated by Dan Goldman.

Friday, July 14, 2006

2006-07-14 Three Kids -- One Bowl

After a false start on Illustration Friday, in which the theme was announced as 'Aging', a second theme was revealed... 'Sacrifice'.

I had found a pic some time ago of three kids enjoying some icecream on stock.xchng. The original pic is titled 'Sweet Havana' by bonaparty. The pic is allowed to be used as long as I notify bonaparty that I'm doing so. Thanks bonaparty!

So, because sacrifice is the order of the day, I decided to modify the photo somewhat to have three kids with one bowl. Inevitably, with an arrangement of this sort, someone's going to be making a sacrifice at any given point.

I made this painting using ArtRage 2.11, on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc, with American Music Club's LOVE SONGS FOR PATRIOTS playing loudly in the background.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

2006-07-13 Nude Dude on a Deckchair

When I saw 'Nude on a Ship' by vealj, it was only a matter of time before I painted it.

I emailed him for permission, and he said, 'OK by me, i'd love to get a copy when you're done.'

Coolness, vealj. Please feel free to download and print the high-res copy of the painting.

This one took about two hours, with multiple layers. I used a wet brush to lay down the background and the main colours on the body. Then I started working with a dry brush to get the details sorted. Finally, I used a wet brush to do the shadow work.

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

[UPDATE 14 July 2006:] Just got the Illustration Friday topic for today. It's 'Aging'. And I think this pic fits beautifully.

[UPDATE 14 July 2006, a few minutes later:] Apparently 'aging' has already been used as a topic before, so they've put a new one up... 'sacrifice'. So my pic has been 'sacrificed' at the altar of newness. Blah.

I've been tagged by Realist at Cerebral Yoga with a 'c'

Hmmmm. I've been tagged. By Realist. At Cerebral Yoga. In a post titled 'C stands for'. And my letter is 'c'.

Apparently, what this means is that I have to make a list of things starting with a 'c'. Or something like that. Phshew.

  • Cave (Nick)
  • Costello (Elvis)
  • le Carre (John)
  • CSS (cascading style sheets)
  • Computer artworks made on my tablet pc (check my Flickr gallery)
  • Caricature
  • Coitus interruptus
  • Coitus non-interruptus
  • Cappuccino (decaff)
  • Coffee-Shops
  • Cashflow
  • Clients that goddamn pay on time, goddammit!!!
  • Creativity
  • Creating
  • Convertible car (mine, Mazda Mx5 series 1)
  • Cellphone
  • Czech Republic -- Prague (haven't been; have been told that if I do, I'll want to stay)
  • Comedy, standup (I've done a bit of that; loved it; will do more)
  • Conversation
  • Counselling (I used to be a crisis counsellor; now I'm a therapy-evangelist; get yourself a therapist; do it; do it now)
  • Cats (I love love love cats; haven't had one since childhood, cos I don't fancy the idea of not being able to stay away from home for a night; which is pathetic, really, cos I'm actually a fully-fledged hermit who only gives the appearance of being gregarious and social and extroverted; in reality, I never answer my doorbell, and I get anxiety attacks when my home phone rings; and parties are a punishment for me, not a pleasure -- I'll go to them if I have to)
  • CRYPTONOMICON and SNOW CRASH and THE DIAMOND AGE and anything else by Neal Stephenson
  • Courage
  • Comfort
  • Connecting with 'S', my girlfriend
  • Contributing to the world (I ask three questions when I go to sleep: (1) What did I learn today? (2) What did I contribute? (3) What did I enjoy?)
That should do it for now.

So now what do I have to do with my tag apart from post it on my blog? Do I have to tag someone else? I'm not great with that sorta thing, cos it kinda constitutes spam in my mind, and I don't pass chain letters on. Even though I enjoyed doing this.

I've been going through some hair-raising times in the past few months, all connected to the death of my mother in early April, and all of the issues that have come up around her being an alcoholic since I was born, and my dad physically and sexually abusing her, and my brother and me consequently having been emotionally abused. Co-dependence starts with a 'c'. So I've been in an ultra-low space. I have depression and anxiety tendencies which I hide very well from the outside world.

So this has been nicely connecting and cathartic and cool. Thanks Realist.

Blue skies

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

2006-07-12 Joyful Chap

2006-07-12 Joyful Chap
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
My third painting in ArtRage. Here's something interesting to me... in all the other packages I work in, I think of my pics as 'drawings'. In ArtRage, I think of them as 'paintings'.

A subtle distinction, but a vital one, I think.

In this pic, I painted using only the pallet knife after I did my line work. I realllllly enjoy how loose it feels. Hmmmm.

I based the painting on a photo titled Snow Happiness by keoshi.

I asked him for permission to work from the pic, informing him that I release my work under a Creative Commons 'attribution, non-commercial, share-alike' license.

And he said, 'Yes. On two conditions. That you give me credit. And you send me the URL when it's done.'

So I'm doing both of those things.

This painting was made using ArtRage 2.11 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet PC, while listening to the PASTE magazine sampler from issue 22. What a cool magazine.

2006-07-11 Bending Nude

2006-07-11 Bending Nude
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
I based this pic on '6 Euro' by subconscience, which is released under a Creative Commons 'attribution, non-commercial, share-alike' license.

This is my second pic made using ArtRage 2.11 on my Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

2006-07-11 Coffee Break

2006-07-11 Coffee Break
Originally uploaded by royblumenthal.
I've just bought an amazing new drawing package. It's called ArtRage2.11, and it gives me things that Alias Sketchbook Pro 2.0 hasn't even dreamed of giving me. For instance... paper texture, and brush texture. Yay!!!!! Yippeeeeeeee!!!! At last.

Now here's the rub... ArtRage, which is as powerful, is priced at US$20. Sketchbook Pro goes for around US$150.

This pic is my first attempt using the software. It's based on 'Coffee Sans Cigarettes' by vidrio. (The pic is released under a Creative Commons 'attribution, non-commercial, share-alike' license.

What I'm loving about this software is that it really allows me to 'paint', with loads of messiness. And it allows me to work very intuitively.

The more powerful Corel Painter 9.5 also allows the painterly feel, but it's got THE most clunky interface in the world. I rarely use Painter because of this.

This pic was made using ArtRage 2.11 on a Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

2006-07-09 Illustration Friday -- Skyline

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

I found two pics on stock.xchng that worked for me. The one of the dude is titled 'Carnival', and is by martina123. The backdrop is titled 'Minneapolis Skyline' by jdkoenig.

I composited them together in CorelDraw, and then zapped the result into Alias Sketchbook Pro 2.0, where I reworked it.

The joys of working on a Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

2006-07-02 Illustration Friday -- Sticky

This week's Illustration Friday topic is 'Sticky'. So I searched the Flickr tags, expecting to find someone pouring honey into her mouth. That sorta thing.

Instead, I found 'Happy Birthday' by nmoira, distributed under a Creative Commons 'attribution, non-commercial, share-alike' license.

I totally identify with this kid. Chocolate icecream is pretty high on my list of favourite things.

This drawing was made using Alias Sketchbook Pro 2.0 on a Toshiba Tecra M4 tablet pc.