Where do ideas come from?

Where do ideas come from? I've been pondering this question in my mind, turning it over in my mind like a gem. Finally, I decided that in order to answer it, I'd break that big gem down into many smaller gemstones (and thus many new gems!) I'm looking at my subject matter first--followed by inspiration, points of departure, choice of materials and finally style--because style becomes the lens through which we understand our subject.

That all said, when I think about subject, it often feels as if the subject chooses me rather than the other way around. Often my subject is a path of inquiry that I want to investigate in my art work. When I first became interested in studying Judaism, I began exploring the religion on thick creamy sheets of BFK Rives, working with Jewish symbols long before I visited a synagogue or met with a Rabbi. My quest begins in the studio. My subject can also be something that is tugging at me, weighing heavily on my mind and heart. Most recently that has been my work at the hospital. The recent deaths of a number of children we'd served took me to the edge of burnout. As part of my own grieving process, I began work on a series loosely titled "Remembrances." Small 6" x 6" collaged panels commemorate children the children I knew and loved. As I finish this series, I'm looking around for clues about the next one. I'm not sure yet where I'm going, but trust in my curiosity and where it will lead me.