I cut myself today, a deep gouge in my ring finger. I did it as I was striding through my studio, moving boxes of materials while my mind was a million miles away. The red was so beautiful that I let it drop onto some watercolour paper, smearing it as the base for a drawing. It reminded me of an English Literature tutorial during one of my sojourns at university. We were studying a poem in which there was imagery of blood. I tried to argue for the beauty of blood, especially its colour; all one had to do, I said, was detach emotionally from the implied violence and pain. Everyone, including the lecturer, looked at me as if I were mad or disturbed. Even the class goth blanched.Maybe it's an 'artist thing'. In the documentary Rivers and Tides, Andy Goldsworthy talks of the emotive power of the colour red. He points out that blood is red because of its iron content, which is a rich russet. Goldsworthy uses powdered iron oxide spilled into water to create beautiful imagery – stones look as if they're bleeding, rivers gush like opened veins, small pools of vibrant red sit still in smooth rock, like disjointed blood cells.