My career as an artist was relatively brief by modern standards: it started yesterday tea-time and ended this morning at about ten o’ clock. The body of my work is equally elusive, comprising as it does of just the one picture, illustrated above. Whilst some take to the charcoal stick and paint brush, driven by a need to find their soul or explore the very nature of being, my motive was somewhat less prosaic – I was in search of the perfect white balance.
My brother – whose career as a real artist has spanned six decades – emailed me with a technical problem yesterday, concerning the best way to photograph his watercolour sketches without getting a blue background tint resulting from incorrect white balance in the photographic process itself. “Try sketching a few lines on a white sheet of paper and find out what setting you find works best”, he wrote. I should have pointed out to him that was a little like asking Harry Houdini’s second cousin to wrap himself in chains and jump in an alligator swamp; but no, I kept my counsel, took a piece of white paper and started “sketching a few lines“. It would be nice to say that I took to it like a duck to water, but it is more accurate to say that I took to it like Harry Houdini’s second cousin wrapped in chains takes to the Everglades swamp.
I left things overnight in the hope that inspiration (and skill and technique) would come with the dawn, but it didn’t. My last hope of redemption was to use my technical skills and solve the white balance problem – but as the sample sheet I came up with proves, I couldn’t even do that.
I have therefore decided to retire as an artist with immediate effect. After all, in the words of the great prophet, “why keep a dog and bark yourself“. Over to you, Roger.