i always start a painting from a drawing or collage. i have done collage for 30 years - my own, and also "assembling" my late partner's collages.
i build the collages from material that (usually) i have generated myself, and then cut up. the source material is sometimes nebulous, sometimes a slight pattern reference, but always the cut out shape itself has "structural" (in my head anyway) properties. i assemble them (7x7") by holding the pieces over various parts of the collage, and rotating them, until they SNAP! that is the gestalt moment i refer to in this group.
anyone else use that? any variations on it? if not, what DO you use?