I went to Truro last week to buy a few canvases, and while I was in my local art shop the owner (who I'd never met) approached me and asked if I could do her a favour. Intrigued, I replied of course and she asked me if I would judge a children's painting competion! I jumped at the chance, and there and then she led me upstairs to a room with a table festooned with children's paintings of local places.
It took me right back to my youth when I would jump at the chance to enter any painting competition. I even came runner up in a Blue Peter competition to paint a dinosaur, and my grandmother took me up to London to see it being hung in the Natural History Museum.
I chose my first second and third, not so much for the talent but for the boldness and quirkyness. And the lesson I took from this experience was to remember what first fired me up about painting. When I was young I was passionate and very serious about my art. Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of that pure thrill of painting, especially when there are deadlines or too much pressure. Seeing those paintings so full of life and so unselfconscious in their use of colour and wonky perspective made my day.