When I first moved back to California after living in New York for ten years, I went for lots of hikes. I could hardly go a few steps without having to stop and pick up some small bit of natural debris. Little treasures kept catching my eye, and I soon had quite a collection of feathers, stones, shells, etc in my art cabinet. What on earth was I going to do with these things? Finally, I took a few of my favorites out and just placed them on a piece of clean white paper on my desk to admire. I arranged them in a composition that pleased me, then took out my watercolors and painted them just like that.