This is how it goes for me - in art journals and on canvas.....
I generally start with some collaged papers and a big swoosh of color!
See the collage paper under there?
It looks like faint black lines in the upper right corner.
There's some on the left side too just above the blue.
Then I will usually "excavate" a familiar shape out of the chaos OR like this time,
begin painting a face or other object.
I don't really "design" it at all . . . just let it emerge.
Rubbing off the paint layers on her face let the collage paper come through.
Often a feeling comes over me prompting me to write words . . .
almost like a message from the art itself.
Some times no words come at all - it's all good.
More layers of paint, pen, doodles or collage will come next.
And when I'm satisfied, I just stop.
I see symbology appear time and again in my work.
Images like flowers, spirals, dots and plant life that looks like it's moving like it's underwater.
I know the dots are me simply slowing down . . . taking breaths . . .
each dot another inhale or exhale.
(I even do that when I write apparently!)
I don't know what any of the other stuff means and that's cool by me.
Typically I finish an art journal spread in one sitting.
Paintings usually take many more . . . but sometimes magic can happen on canvas in 30 minutes!
Ya just never know - the aim is always to just go with the flow.