My artistic process can be summed up with how I write poetry. (I do the same for my visual art as well). I decide on an idea (you can call it the 'big idea", the "kernel of an idea", whatever). This idea has been ruminating in my head for awhile, so it is pretty much decided upon. I make lists with the heading of each of the senses on them, and then list everything that can be connected to the idea. So for example, presently I am building a puppet of a specific person. I think about all of those things that remind me of that person that I could categorize under the senses. (these lists generate many other ideas...kinda like spider diagramming if you know what that is). What smells do I think of connected to the idea, what sound, what sights, touch, taste? In my poetry for example, words generate other words, which goes on forever. In fact pruning becomes essential in the process of poetry, as well as visual arts. I start with preliminary rough sketches, which may really never see the light of day finished,
just to get the "pump primed". Then for my puppet, as in other mixed media pieces, it becomes the thrill of the hunt to gather materials that may or may not work, but have been "suggested" by the lists. Once I am surrounded with the lists, and the materials, then I am ready to start combining to head towards the original idea, which may have by this time, congealed into something solid. I will work on a piece for a couple of days, then let it rest for a couple of more, then revisit the work with fresh eyes. I am always amazed at what I have written at the end of the process (in terms of poetry), and in terms of the visual arts, I can be surprised by the outcome as well. In my work I have found that a connection to the senses "opens" up the work to viewer.