Usually when I sit to paint I have already several ideas that are bursting out of my head. I sketch a few things, and some others just go directly into the canvas.
I like to collect pictures, clippings, my own pictures and quick sketches done when I happen to see something I like, even if it's just a sentence, to remind me later of the image that caught my attention.
It's funny. Years ago, when I was living in Mexico and ALL my friends were artists -what a blast!- each of us had a different way of doing their thing.
A musician friend of mine who is also a composer, had always a little notebook in his pocket and he'd get it and write something fast to write more in detail about it later. Some other friends would be more like a hands on work at the moment without previous thoughts to make their art.
At that time I had a graphic design studio and there was always something going on. Either a group of actors rehearsing for a play, my clay group mixing mud to make masks or getting together to finish a project.
My old town has 5 big universities and tons of students from many states and countries. I had friends from Panama, Venezuela, Argentina, Spain, the US and some other places I can't remember at the moment. Most of us moved away from there, a lot of us got married and started a family, some of them made a strong professional carrer out of their artistic talents.
It is a pleasure to see them again when there's a chance. They are still a great source of inspiration.