Careful, as they say, what you wish for. I had determined to spend more time in the studio in March. As a result of the fire below Circa (see previous blog), I get to spend an awful lot more time in the studio. Of course, the office moved with me…

But I do get some time to pull out the paintbrushes. By now there are 30 images hanging on the walls of the ‘office’. Yesterday I was dabbing away, but all the while justifying to myself the pictorial choices I was making. Justifications often follow on from a question of the sort, “Why (the hell) did you…?" And of course a magazine like Circa is full of justifications, in the form of analysis and criticism.

As around half our writers are artists themselves, they will be well acquainted with being on both sides of this justification fence: they will be used to trying to explain to themselves and others what they are up to, as artists, just as in their criticism they seek to understand what others are up to.

But cycling in today, I started to mull over the nature of justification. It’s the “Why (the hell) did you…?" question I was pondering. It’s the ‘the hell’ part that is optional, but how often is it close to the surface? Is the ‘why?’ producing some sort of power relation vis à vis the artist? Are justifications somewhat demeaning? And what’s going on if you’re constantly self-justifying as you paint?